May Revolution


The May Revolution consisted of several events which were of a revolutionary nature, which took place during the week of May and in which there were a series of events that would mark the nation.

  • When was it:  05/25/1810
  • Where was it:   Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata

What was the May Revolution?

The May Revolution is known as the revolutionary events which took place in May 1810 in the city of Buenos Aires and which resulted in the removal of Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros and the formation of the First Junta . These events led to the creation of the Argentine Republic , which would see the light six years later.


Characteristics of the May Revolution

Among the main characteristics of the May Revolution we can mention:

  • The monarchical abdication was the perfect pretext used by the Creoles to promote the total emancipation of the Spanish Kingdom .
  • The events of the May Revolution took place during the so-called May Week between May 18 and May 25 .
  • The First Board did not have the unanimous support of the Creoles of the Viceroyalty , encountering resistance mainly in the regions of Mendoza, Montevideo, Paraguay and Upper Peru .
  • prominent role played the political precepts of that time, especially those coming from the French Revolution and the American Revolution .
  • The dubious role of the Catholic Church was decisive because, although the official position was one of total support for the monarchy , in practice most of the clergy supported revolutionary ideas .
  • The dissolution of the Viceroyalty represented a change in the social model that would later lead to the implementation of republican and democratic ideals .
  • One lived freedom of expression is unprecedented in the history of the Viceroyalty following such movement .
  • The territorial fragmentation of the Viceroyalty into a set of provinces that, once liberated, became sovereign states, such as Paraguay and Uruguay, was inevitable .


The events that led to the May Revolution were those that we highlight below:

  • The ascension of Santiago de Liniers as Viceroy was conclusive because he was elected by popular acclamation , an unprecedented fact at that time.
  • The failed revolt led by the Spanish Martín de Álzaga against Viceroy Liniers deepened the hostilities between Creoles and peninsular Spaniards .
  • The appointment of Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros as the new Viceroy of the Río de la Plata by the Spanish Central Supreme Board generated rejection from the military leaders of Buenos Aires , with the exception of Santiago de Liniers.
  • The position adopted by the Viceroyalty in the face of the uprisings in Upper Peru further resented the Creoles against the peninsular Spaniards.
  • Although initially Viceroy Cisneros established Free Trade with other powers, he very soon revised this measure , which generated a huge rejection . In the same way, the harassment of the American Spaniards who supported the revolutionary ideas further opened the gaps between the colonial authorities and the Creole bourgeoisie .

Summary of the May Revolution

A group of Creoles who advocated for independence ( Cornelio Saavedra José Castelli Mariano Moreno , among others) had been planning the overthrow of Viceroy Cisneros , appointed by the Central Supreme Board . Finally, on May 17, 1810, the news arrived of the fall of the Central Supreme Board and the installation of a Regency Council , which encouraged the revolutionaries to take forceful actions in favor of emancipation. In the following days the seditious summoned an open town hall

, where they ignored the Viceroy declaring him illegitimate authority . For the day May 25, 1810 , the Creoles formed the Primera Junta, being ruled by Cornelio Saavedra and constituted by Creole patriots influenced by the ideals present in the French Revolution and the American Revolution.


  • Friday, May 18: the news of the fall of the Supreme Central Board was made public and Viceroy Cisneros issued a statement expressing his adherence to Fernando VII . That same night, some Creole leaders met to formally request the Viceroy to hold an open town hall.
  • Saturday May 19: some patriotic leaders -among them Belgrano and Saavedra- met with Mayor Juan José de Lezica and Attorney General Julián de Leyva in order to request their support to coordinate an open council before the Viceroy.
  • Sunday May 20: the military leaders met with Viceroy Cisneros. At this meeting, the former expressed the need to hold an open council, a measure that the Viceroy accepted.
  • Monday, May 21: armed men, distrustful of the Viceroy’s word, demanded the holding of the open town hall. They were finally calmed by the performance of Cornelio Saavedra. Invitations for said council were also distributed.
  • Tuesday, May 22: the open town hall was held, most of which were crowned by Creoles related to independence. In said town hall they discussed about the legitimacy of the Viceroy; as a result, his removal was agreed.
  • Wednesday May 23: the removal of the Viceroy and the formation of the First Board were reported. To that end, deputies from the provinces were summoned to be present.
  • Thursday, May 24: the First Board was formed with Cisneros at the helm. This measure caused great agitation in the town, which motivated the military leaders to request the resignation of Cisneros and the execution of a new open council.
  • Friday, May 25: a new open council was held, resulting in the formation of a new Board chaired by Cornelio Saavedra.


The main characters of the May Revolution were:

  • Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros
  • Santiago de Liniers
  • Cornelio Saavedra
  • Manuel Belgrano
  • Juan Jose Castelli
  • Manuel Alberti
  • Miguel de Azcuénaga
  • Juan Jose Paso
  • Mariano Moreno
  • Sunday French

Consequences of the May Revolution

  • The towns belonging to the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata suffered a paradigm shift which manifested itself in a transition from a colonial system to a republican system .
  • The Viceroyalty suffered a disintegration of its territory , all motivated by the economic and cultural distancing between its regions .
  • The cultural life and freedom of the press lived an unprecedented development in the region.


The events that occurred during the May Revolution represented the first steps towards the total independence of the peoples that were governed by the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty . They were also the spearhead for other independence movements that began to be forged throughout the continent , such as the neo-Granada independence movement and the Venezuelan independence movement, among others.

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