10 London memorials commemorating foreign leaders – 8. General Don José de San Martín..

PICTURE: Peter O’Connor/licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another of the many statues in Belgrave Square and surrounds, this statue depicts a giant of South American history.

Don José de San Martín was an Argentine general who was instrumental in the continent struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire and is regarded as a hero in Argentina, Chile and Peru.

The bronze statue, the work of Juan Carlos Ferraro, was cast in Buenos Aires in 1993 and unveiled in the northern corner of the square’s gardens by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1994 in the presence of dignitaries including Senator Eduardo Menem of Argentina, Lord Mayor of Westminster Angela Hooper, UK Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd and Argentine Ambassador Mario Campora. It was erected by the Argentine-British community in Argentina and is dedicated to the people of London.

San Martín is depicted standing in military uniform on top of a heavy plinth. It’s inscribed on the front with the words “General Don José de San Martín, 1778-1850, founder of the Argentine independence, he also gave freedom to Chile and Peru.” There are also some further inscriptions referring to its creation and one on the right side of the plinth saying “His name represents democracy justice and liberty”.

A plaque was added on the ground in front of the statue to mark the 150th anniversary of San Martin’s death – 17th August, 2000.

It’s not the only memorial to San Martín in London – there’s also a Blue Plaque, erected by the London County Council in 1953, at 23 Park Road in Marylebone (San Martín stayed here for a few months in 1824).

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