Day of Commemoration and Remembrance of Don Andrés Guacurari in Argentina Date in the current year: July 2, 2024

Day of Commemoration and Remembrance of Don Andrés Guacurari in Argentina The Day of Commemoration and Remembrance of Don Andrés Guacurari (Día de la Conmemoración y Recuerdo de Don Andrés Guacurari) is observed in Argentina on July 2 every year. It honors a renowned political and military leader of Guarani origin and commemorates the Battle of Apóstoles during the Portuguese conquest of the Banda Oriental.

Andrés Guacurari (also spelled Guaçurarí, Guazurarí or Guasurarí, popularly known as Andresito) was born on November 30, 1768 in the Jesuit reduction (mission) of Santo Tomé in the present-day province of Corrientes. Back then, it belonged to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, established by the Spanish crown two years prior.

Guacurari was born to a Guarani family but was eventually taken in as a foster and then legally adopted by José Gervasio Artigas, who would later become famous as the father of Uruguayan nationhood. The use of Artigas’s last name helped Guacurari to avoid being excluded due to his indigenous origins and receive promotions in the military.

Little is known about Guacurari’s early life. His career began in earnest in 1811, when he joined Manuel Belgrano’s troops in the Paraguay campaign of the Argentine War of Independence. In 1815, Guacurari became the governor of Misiones Province (Provincia Grande de las Misiones), of which the present-day Argentine province of Misiones is only a remnant. He was one of the first federal caudillos (prominent military and political leaders) in the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata and the only fully indigenous caudillo. During his four-year tenure, Guacurari introduced agricultural reforms and worked to abolish slavery.

Guacurari also continued his military career. During the Portuguese conquest of the Banda Oriental, which began in 1816, he joined the Artiguistas led by his adoptive father José Gervasio Artigas to fight against the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algraves. One of the most important battle of that campaign involving Guacurari was the Battle of Apóstoles, fought on July 2, 1817.

The Battle of Apóstoles was an encounter between the Portuguese-Brazilian forces led by Francisco das Chagas Santos and Guacurari’s forces near the town of Apóstoles, where Andresito had established his headquarters. In early 1817, the Portuguese frequently attacked ranches, villages and towns in Misiones, and their residents (mostly Guarani and Creole gauchos) fled to Apóstoles, seeking Guacurari’s protection.

In late June, a Portuguese force composed of 800 men crossed the Uruguay River into Misiones and headed toward Apóstoles. The Portuguese attacked the town at dawn on July 2, but local troops led by Guacurari put up a fight and drove the invaders out of town by nightfall, forcing them to retreat.

The anniversary of the Battle of Apóstoles is now observed in Argentina as the Day of Commemoration and Remembrance of Don Andrés Guacurari. It is not the only holiday dedicated to Andrés Guacurari. His birth anniversary, November 30, is observed as National Mate Day because Guacurari was responsible for restoring yerba mate plantations in Misiones and actively popularized the drink.

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Day of Commemoration and Remembrance of Don Andrés Guacurari, holidays in Argentina, observances in Argentina, Andresito