The Guayaquil Conference (Spanish:Conferencia de Guayaquil) was a meeting that took place on July 26, 1822, in Guayaquil,Ecuador, between José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar, to discuss the future of Perú (and South America in general).
San Martín had taken his army north from Chile into Peru to attempt to liberate the country from the Spanish Empire. While San Martín was securing independence in Chile and attempting to in Peru, Simón Bolívar had been doing similar acts of freedom and liberation in northern Latin America. Bolívar had freed Venezuela and Colombia from the Spanish and was now turning his eyes to the south towards Peru, the last real Spanish power on the South American continent. It was decided that both San Martín and Bolívar could not take Peru at the same time, there would have be a meeting between the two. As well as Peru, both men had also had their sights set on a port city in Ecuador, Guayaquil. Both men saw this city as valuable and were attempting to persuade the city to join either general’s side. Eventually Bolívar gained the upper hand in the matter and was able to annex Guayaquil to Colombia. It is at this point that the two generals attempt to reach out to each other and arrange a meeting at Guayaquil, so as to avoid “a humiliating scandal” (San Martín's words) of a conflict between the two. San Martín arrived in Guayaquil on July 25, where he was enthusiastically greeted by Bolívar. However, the two men could not come to an agreement, despite their common goals and mutual respect, even when San Martín offered to serve under Bolívar. Both men had very different ideas about how to organize the governments of the countries that they had liberated. Bolívar was in favor of forming a series of republics in the newly independent nations, whereas San Martín preferred the European system of rule and wanted to put monarchies in place. San Martín was also in favor of placing a European prince in power as King of Peru when it was to be liberated. The conference, consequently, was a failure, at least for San Martín.
San Martín, after meeting with Bolívar for several hours on July 26, stayed for a banquet and ball given in his honor. Bolívar proposed a toast to “the two greatest men in South America: the general San Martín and myself” (Por los dos hombres más grandes de la América del Sud: el general San Martín y yo), whereas San Martín drank to “the prompt conclusion of the war, the organization of the different Republics of the continent and the health of the Liberator of Colombia (Por la pronta conclusión de la guerra; por la organización de las diferentes Repúblicas del continente y por la salud del Libertador de Colombia).
After the conference, San Martín abdicated his powers in Peru and returned to Argentina. Soon afterward, he left South America entirely and retired in France. San Martín knew that the Spanish forces left in Peru under the viceroy were still too powerful for either the single army of San Martín or Bolívar. It was for this reason that San Martín bowed out and ended his military career, leaving his army to Bolívar for the purpose of using it to liberate Peru from Spanish control. Bolívar completed the liberation of Peru with the help of San Martín’s forces several years later.
- Lecuna, Vincente (1951). "Bolívar and San Martín at Guayaquil". The Hispanic American Historical Review 31 (3): 369–393. doi:10.2307/2509398.JSTOR 2509398.
- Masur, Gehard (1951). "The Conference of Guayaquil". The Hispanic American Historical Review 31 (2): 189–229. doi:10.2307/2509029. JSTOR 2509029.