Battle of Tarqui

Battle of Tarqui
Part of the Gran Colombia–Peru War

Uniform of the grenadiers dating from the time of the Battle of Tarqui, today worn by the presidential guard of honor at the presidential palace of Quito.
Date February 27, 1829
Location Portete de Tarqui, near Cuenca, Ecuador.
Result Gran Colombian victory
 Gran Colombia  Peru
Commanders and leaders
Antonio José de Sucre José de la Mar
5,000 5,000
Casualties and losses
360 dead and wounded; 600 desertions 400 dead, 600 wounded, 300 prisoners

The Battle of Tarqui, also known as the Battle of Portete de Tarqui, took place on February 27, 1829 at Portete de Tarqui, near Cuenca, Ecuador. It was fought between troops from Gran Colombia, commanded by Antonio José de Sucre, and Peruvian troops under José de La Mar. It was a victory for Gran Colombia. After winning independence from Spain, the countries that are now Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela formed a single nation known as Gran Colombia. Simón Bolívar, the liberator of most of the Andean countries in South America had hoped to join what is now Peru and Bolivia to Gran Colombia, but Peru (including what is now Bolivia) chose to remain a separate nation.

In 1828, José de Lamar the President of Peru, who had been born in Cuenca, was encouraged by influential citizens of Guayaquil to believe that the people of “el Austro” or the southern region of what is now Ecuador—including Cuenca, Guayaquil and Loja—would prefer to be part of Peru rather than Gran Colombia. José de Lamar, who also had the title of marshal or mariscal, occupied the city of Loja with Peruvian troops in November of 1828. The President of Gran Colombia, Simón Bolívar appointed Mariscal Sucre to lead the Gran Colombian troops to defend the “Department of Ecuador.” Helping Sucre was the Governor of the Department of Ecuador, Juan José Flores. Together Sucre and Flores recruited an estimated 5,000 troops by January 1829 and brought them into the area near Cuenca by the middle of February. Lamar also had an estimated Peruvian 5,000 troops in the vicinity of Cuenca. The two armies were set to confront in Portete de Tarqui with the victory of the Grancolombian troops.

Shortly after the defeat of peruvians he returned to Peru, Lamar’s government was overthrown and he was forced to go into exile in Costa Rica where he died in November of 1830. Also in 1830, the country of Gran Colombia was dissolved, Mariscal Sucre went on to become the President of Bolivia after it broke away from Peru. Juan José Flores became the first President of Ecuador.


  • Dupuy, R. E. and T. N. Dupuy. The Encyclopedia of Military History. (Philadelphia: Harper and Roe, 1986) p. 818

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