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Nieto was born in Ilo - Moquegua in 1803, to a Spanish-Peruvian noble family bearing the title of "Counts of Alastaya", who were also of local noble blood directly descended from the Inca Huayna Capac by marriage of his daughter Catalina Sisa Occllo to the Conquistador Pedro Ladron de Guevara, who is a direct ascendant of the family. As an aristocratic youth, he quickly became disenchanted with Spanish rule and took the cause for Peruvian independence at the age of 18. Being one of the few nobles at the time that participated directly in the wars of independence, he is a unique member of the "forefathers of the nation" pantheon in Perú.
During his military and political career he was called "the soldier/quixote of the law" for having a reputation of defending the constitution against all odds and siding with the rule of law, which clearly separated him from his peers. He is historically Peru's most remarkable military strategist and victorious figure, his military achievements made him a General by the age of 31 and Grand Marshall of Peru by the age of 39, something never repeated again in Peruvian history. He is also credited with participating and being victorious in the last recorded "personal combat" in Tarqui, with the Colombian-Venezuelan José María Camacaro, assuming the challenge of deciding the fate of a battle in a single one-on-one combat.
In his final years, he led, with Ramón Castilla by his side, the overthrow of the "Supreme Dictator"Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco, assuming the presidency of Peru after being elected by the provisional Government Junta (provisional congress) charged with the re-establishment of constitutional order. He died soon after in office, on February 17, 1844. Castilla succeeded him by election of the Junta.
Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco
|President of Peru|
1843 – 1844