José Francisco de San Martín y Matorras, 1778-1850, known simply as José de San Martín or El Libertador of Argentina, Chile and Peru, was a Spanish-Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern and central parts of South America's successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire.
In 1812, he set sail for Buenos Aires and offered his services to the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, present-day Argentina. After the Battle of San Lorenzo and time commanding the Army of the North during 1814, he organized a plan to defeat the Spanish forces that menaced the United Provinces from the north, using an alternative path to the Viceroyalty of Peru.
He led the Crossing of the Andes to Chile, and triumphed at the Battle of Chacabuco and the Battle of Maipú (1818), thus liberating Chile from royalist rule. Then he sailed to attack the Spanish stronghold of Lima, Peru. After seizing partial control of Lima, San Martín was appointed Protector of Peru.
San Martín is regarded as a national hero of Argentina and Peru, and one of the Liberators of Spanish South America.
Between 1970 and 1992, the Argentine currency was devalued many times, also with various names - Peso ley, Peso Argentino, Austral. Until Austral was introduced in 1985, General San Martín appeared on most Banknotes.
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