|José Francisco de San Martín, known simply as Don José de San Martín (c. 1778 Yapeyú, Corrientes, Spanish Empire – 17 August 1850 Boulogne-sur-Mer, France), was an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America's successful struggle for independence from Spain.
Born in Yapeyú, Corrientes, in modern Argentina, he left his mother country at the early age of seven and studied in Málaga, Spain.
In 1808, after joining Spanish forces in the Peninsular War against the French and participating in several battles such as the Battle of Bailén, San Martín started making contact with South American supporters of independence from Spain.
In 1812, he set sail for Buenos Aires from England, and offered his services to the United Provinces of South America, present-day Argentina. After the Battle of San Lorenzo of 1813, and some time on command of the Army of the North (Spanish: Ejército del Norte) during 1814, he began to put into action his plan to defeat the Spanish forces that menaced the United Provinces from Upper Peru, making use of an alternative path to the Viceroyalty of Peru. This objective first involved the establishment of a new army, the Army of the Andes, in Cuyo Province, Argentina. From there, he led the Crossing of the Andes to Chile, and prevailed over the Spanish forces at the Battle of Chacabuco and the Battle of Maipú (1818), thus liberating Chile from royalist rule. Then he set sail to attack the Spanish stronghold of Lima, in Peru, by sea.
On 12 July 1821, after seizing partial control of Lima, San Martín was appointed Protector of Peru (Protector del Perú), and Peruvian independence was officially declared on 28 July. A year later, after a closed-door meeting with fellow libertador Simón Bolívar at Guayaquil, Ecuador on 22 July 1822, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru. San Martín unexpectedly left the country and resigned the command of his army, excluding himself from politics and the military, and moved to France in 1824. The details of the 22 July meeting would be a subject of debate by later historians.