1763 - The ANGLO-PORTUGUESE INVASION to the Rio de la Plata.

The Anglo-Portuguese Invasion of the Río de la Plata (1763) was framed in the Seven Years War operation by which the Portuguese Empire, ruled by Joseph I of Portugal and his minister the Marquis of Pombal, and Britain, the early years of the reign of George III of the United Kingdom, they tried to take control of the Government of Buenos Aires, part of the Spanish Empire.


In 1756 a new war broke out between the major European powers, called the Seven Years War. Spain, governed by Carlos III, finally entered the war on the side of the France of Louis XV in January 1762, bound for the Third family pact that united two monarchs of the House of Bourbon. That same month the frigate Victoria (26 Guns) sailed from Cadiz, commanded by Navy Lieutenant José Carlos Sarria, with orders for Governor Pedro de Cevallos to besiege and take Colonia del Sacramento.

The expedition:

Meanwhile in England matured since early 1762 driven by the Portuguese ambassador a plan to intervene in the Rio de la Plata leaning in Colonia del Sacramento, plan involving the Portuguese government, the British cabinet of Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, and the East India Company British.

According to this plan would the Eastern Band for the Portuguese and the West for the British. The company organized the expedition, so the legal status of the proposed expedition was questionable and approached to a corsair operation.

The Company entered into a subscription to gather £ 100,000 and contributed the ships, publishing an edict In the streets of London calling for adventurous expedition crew, ensuring "absolute freedom for the looting."

On January 14, 1762 was aquired the HMS Kingston, ship of 1068 tons built by Bassel in Hull in 1697, which had 60 guns and was reinforced and carried 64 pieces of brass and placed in command of Captain MacNamara formally officer of the Company. Also purchased to the Admiralty the frigate HMS Ambuscade, of 40 guns, commanded by Captain William Roberts, the fleet sailed from London in July 1762 for Lisbon with 700 enlisted men and crew, without the replacement of Newcastle By Earl of Bute as prime minister affected the operation.

In the Portuguese capital, MacNamara was recognized by the authorities as squad leader "to be had among the Portuguese as their own monarch and the proper orders for completing from Brazil the ships and troops necessary".

On August 30 departed for Rio de Janeiro. There his governor Gomes Freire de Andrade, Count of Bobadela reinforced his squad with the frigate NossaSenhora da Gloria, of 38 cannons, eight brigantines for transport, and a force of 600 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Vasco Fernandes Pinto Alpoin.

Gomes FreireMacNamara also recommended to disembark in the Ensenada de Barragán( near the city of La Plata) for their depth and because it was not protected.

On 20 November the squadron left Rio, unknowingly crossing the ships carrying the Portuguese colonial prisoners. The project, ignoring the fall of that plaza, expected to land in the Ensenada de Barragán and march on the city of Buenos Aires .

Already in December, in the waters of Montevideo, MacNamara's squad captured a small Spanish vessel that Informed them of the surrender of the Colonia del Sacramento , so he decided to go directly to Buenos Aires. However, lacking port pilots (pilots of the Portuguese river had been captured by Cevallos and sent prisoners to Rio), could not locate the access channel to the city, surrounded by sandbars, so he returned to Montevideo.

Cevallos, who remained in the colony, despite going through a severe attack of malaria, stood in front of the defense. ignoring the point of landing, sent part of his troops to Maldonado and Montevideo, Leaving in Colonia 500 men and 100 on San Gabriel.´

On January 2, the Anglo-Portuguese squads off Montevideo wagered with the intention of make an attack, but the next day came from Rio de Janeiro in a Portuguese ship orders to return. A pilot who was on board informed them that the ships had much Draught to enter Montevideo and advised move to Colonia, whose access channels claimed to know well.

MacNamara brought on board the senior officers to his flagship which decided to attack Colonia. On January 4, 1763 anchored in The Riachuelo in front of Cologne, rehearsing a surprise attack and several minor attacks to probe the defenses, which were rejected.

The Spanish squadron under the command of Lieutenant Sarria stood in front of Colonia, and was composed of the frigate Victoria, the Santa Cruz (captain Urcullu) and San Zeno Ketch. When appearing the squad of MacNamara, Sarria abandoning the plaza to their fate retired to the nearby island of San Gabriel where he abandoned the ship with his officers disembarking, leaving the crew (180 men) aboard under the command of the Boatswain.

Rejection of the Anglo-Portuguese fleets:

Cevallos had set sail in early September with a squad composed of a frigate, a Line ship of armed registration, three Ketchs twelve Large boats and fifteen armed transports. After arriving in Colonia on September 4, the 7th Spanish vessels anchored and began disembarking that continued until the 14th. itwasnt until the 26th that the Artillery from Montevideo arrived and the 27th 1200 natives joined from the Jesuit Missions. On 1 October the army set off the site starting at Colonia on October 5, 1762.