Jose Artigas is to Uruguay what George Washington is to the United States.

You see enough statues in enough places and finally you wonder about the men behind them. You do a little research and discover that Jose Artigas is a real person with a real history. Some of his history has been romanticized, but he played a huge part in Uruguay achieving its independence from Spain. Born in Buenos Aires, he spent the last years of his life exiled in Paraguay, but he is the man that people of Uruguay salute as their national hero.

As a boy from a wealthy family ,who settled in Uruguay, Artigas was sent  to church to learn religious studies but refused to accept the discipline and dropped out of the school. At 12, he was sent to work on family farms and became close to the gaucho way of life.That stuck with him through his life and when, at 86, he felt he was going to die, he asked to be placed in the saddle of a horse so he could die there, which he did.

In his early days he had a price on his head for cattle smuggling and got a pardon in exchange for joining the military. He escaped capture several times, and made life and death decisions in his role as a military General fighting for Independence.

This compound, in Maldonado, occupies a city block and holds remnants of what used to house Artigas and his troops, men who were loyal to him to the end.

What is odd is that the kid who didn’t like discipline turned into a man who lived discipline, made rules, and had them enforced.

Men of substance often do things they don’t want to do, and live by rules they don’t like.

Discipline and success are not strangers.

 

 

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