Portrait of Professor Natalia Sobrevilla Perea

Professor Natalia Sobrevilla Perea

Professor of Latin American History


Professor Natalia Sobrevilla Perea has published on a wide range of issues, from economic to social history, and has a special interest in intellectual history and constitutionalism. 

Research interests

Professor Sobrevilla Perea’s interests include state formation and political culture in the Andes from the end of the colonial period throughout the nineteenth century, as well as issues of identity, race and ethnicity, and military culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in South America. 

She has published on a wide range of issues, from economic to social history, and has a special interest in intellectual history and constitutionalism. Her monograph The Caudillo of the Andes: Andres de Santa Cruz was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 and in 2015 it was published in Spanish by the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. 

Her edited collection on the Impact of the 1812 Constitution of Cadiz in the Atlantic world that emerged from the work of an international network of scholars was published in 2015. Between 2015 and 2018 she led an international team, the War and Nation Network, funded by a Leverhulme International Network Grant. It studied the links between war and the emergence of nations in South America; several essay collections have been published, an edited collection is under preparation and an online resource has been produced.

Between 2014-2015 she held a Leverhulme Fellowship, and between 2017-2018 a Humboldt Fellowship which she held at the Free University of Berlin to write a monograph on the history of the army and the origins of the state in Peru from 1800 to 1860 which she is completing at the moment. 

Professor Sobrevilla Perea has contributed to the creation of the Digital collection of the Museum of Memory in Lima Peru (LUM), the digitalisation of newspapers with the support of the British Library Endangered Programme and is a regular contributor on issues of history and archives in the press and publishes a bi-monthly column in Peru’s prestigious newspaper El Comercio


Natalia Sobrevilla Perea teaches Latin American history and politics.



  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2017). Power of the law or power of the sword: the conflictive relationship between the executive and the legislative in nineteenth-century Peru. Parliaments, Estates and Representation [Online] 37:220-234. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02606755.2017.1334326.
    The Peruvian parliament was a central institution in the early republic, but so far very little has been written on its history. This is due to the fact that military leaders took control of power for most of the nineteenth century. This article reflects on three main questions: what was the role of the legislative in nineteenth-century Peru? What was its relationship with the executive power? And what part did conflict play in these relationships? Most initial congresses were tasked with writing up constitutions, because institutions had to be created, and there was a strong belief that having a written charter mattered. The strongmen who took power felt the need to obtain legitimacy from both constitutions, and elections, but often did not see eye to eye with congress. This led congress to be closed, particularly when legislators refused to bow down to presidential power.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2016). "Hallandome viuda sin recursos, sin apoyo y en la mas deplorable situacion": El montepio militar y la creacion del Estado en el Peru (1800-1880). Caravelle [Online] 106:15-30. Available at: https://caravelle.revues.org/1897.
    The military pension was paid to all family members of those who had served inthe army.

    El montepío militar fue el pago de una gracia a los deudos de quienes habían servido en el ejército. Creado en el periodo borbónico continuó siendo regulado por la legislación española durante el siglo diecinueve. La mayoría de beneficiarios fueron mujeres, las madres, viudas e hijas de los soldados y oficiales, aunque también hubieron excepciones. El presente artículo se basa en el estudio de mas de 1000 fojas de servicio militares y busca mostrar a través del análisis cualitativo cual fue el rol que jugó esta pensión estatal en la consolidación del ejército como una institución central en el país y en el proceso de la creación del Estado en el Perú.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2012). Luchando por ‘la patria’ en los Andes 1808-1815. Revista Andina [Online] 52:61-83. Available at: http://www.cbc.org.pe/index.php/products-page/revista-andina/revista-andina-n-52/.
    El presente artículo estudia cómo la ausencia de Fernando VII del trono afectó el sur de los Andes, primero con la creación de Juntas y luego con el enfrentamiento entre estas y el gobierno del virrey José Fernando de Abascal. A pesar de que la historiografía concibe como patriotas a quienes ve como a favor de la independencia, en ese momento todos los actores involucrados en estos procesos consideraron que su participación en estos conflictos se debía a que estaban ‘luchando por la patria’. Sin embargo, este concepto de patria fue variando, por lo que dejó de ser posible verse al mismo tiempo como parte de una patria más amplia que incluía a toda la monarquía hispánica, una patria americana y una patria chica, pasando a ser una patria cada vez más circunscrita a lo local. Con este fin, se estudia el periodo 1808-1815 en el espacio geográfico que va desde Lima a Buenos Aires.

    This article studies the way in which the absence of Fernando VII affected the southern Andes, first with the creation of the Juntas and then with the conflict between these and the government of viceroy José Fernando Abascal. Although historiography considers patriots those who they see as fighting for independence, all the actors involved in these processes at the time conceived their fight as one undertaken for the patria. Whatchanged, however, was how the concept of patria was perceived an how it was no longer possible to see oneself, at the same time, as part of a wider patria that included all the Hispanic Monarchy, an American patria and a smaller local patria, as the concept became ever more circumscribed to the small local patria. This article studies the period between 1808 and 1815 in the area between Lima and Buenos Aires.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2011). Elecciones y conflicto en la Historia del Perú. Revista Elecciones [Online] 10:9-32. Available at: http://www.web.onpe.gob.pe/escaparate-detalle-48_revista-elecciones-n-11.html.
    This paper shows the existent connection between elections held in Peru during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and social conflicts. The elections are taken as a subject of analysis of power conflicts arising at the time. These conflicts showed how elites managed affairs in order to retain power and how the pressure to extend the participation of society in the electoral process was on the increase. In many cases the elections were channelling of clashes that otherwise would have turned violent. The text also aims to show the existent differences in society rather than evaluate the democratic aspects of elections.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2011). Identity and Subaltern Actors in the Wars of Independence: Introduction to Dossier. Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe [Online] 22:1-4. Available at: http://www1.tau.ac.il/eial/images/v22n1/sobrevilla-v22n1.pdf.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2011). Colored by the Past: The Birth of the Armed Forces in Republican Peru. Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina [Online] 22:57-79. Available at: http://www1.tau.ac.il/eial/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=854&Itemid=341.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2011). From Europe to the Americas and Back: Becoming Los Ayacuchos. European History Quarterly [Online] 41:472-488. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265691411405296.
    This article studies the trajectories of the officers defeated at the battle of Ayacucho
    who upon their return to Spain had prominent political careers. It follows them before,
    during and after the Wars of Independence in the Andes in an attempt to discern a
    certain pattern of relationship between Europe and America during the crucial decade
    of the 1820s, and beyond. It enquires on the far-reaching consequences of prolonged
    mobilization on both sides of the Atlantic, and the degree to which the histories of
    Europe and America were intertwined during this period. The disintegration of empire
    and the reactions to the Ca´diz Constitution led to similar situations with confrontations
    between liberals, radicals and conservatives as well as the military irrupting onto the
    political world. It became possible, both in Spain and America, for capable and ambitious
    men of humble origins to reach the highest echelons of power.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2010). The Enduring Power of Patronage in Peruvian elections: Quispicanchis 1860. The Americas [Online] 67:31-55. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/tam.0.0300.
    Political patronage was at the very basis of society's functioning in nineteenth-century Latin America, yet we still know very little about its inner dynamics. Recent analyses of national politics have questioned the idea that Latin American elections were restrictive and fraudulent, or that there was no effective citizenship.1 These studies have widened the understanding of political participation, and have argued persuasively for the agency of those who had been previously reduced to the background. Leading scholars have stressed the importance of early widespread suffrage and electoral mobilization in Latin America, noting that detailed analysis of local power struggles promise to reveal the dynamics of social structures and electoral politics.2 This new literature has also firmly established that in Latin America the process through which this happened was not linear, as generous voting rights were often restricted over time.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2010). In Search of a Better Society: Constitutions in Peru. Rechtsgeschichte - Legal History [Online] 16:111-113. Available at: http://data.rg.mpg.de/rechtsgeschichte/rg16_111sobrevilla_perea.pdf.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2009). Batallas por la legitimidad: constitucionalismo y conflicto político en el Perú del siglo diecinueve (1812-1860). Revista de Indias [Online] LXIX:101-128. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3989/revindias.2009.014.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2003). Entre el Contrato Gibbs y el Contrato Grace: la participación británica en la economía peruana (1842-1890). Histórica 27:383-414.


  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2015). Andres de Santa Cruz, Caudillo de los Andes. [Online]. Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. Available at: http://www.iep.org.pe/fp_scont_1277_scont_4316.html.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2011). The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz. [Online]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item5759360/?site_locale=en_GB.
    Born in La Paz in 1792, Andrés de Santa Cruz lived through the turbulent times that led to independence across Latin America. He fought to shape the newly established republics, and between 1836 and 1839 he created the Peru-Bolivia Confederation. The epitome of an Andean caudillo, with armed forces at the center of his ideas of governance, he was a state builder whose ambition ensured a strong and well-administered country. But the ultimate failure of the Confederation had long-reaching consequences that still have an impact today. The story of his life introduces students to broader questions of nationality and identity during this turbulent transition from Spanish colonial rule to the founding of Peru and Bolivia.

Book section

  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2018). How (not) to make a durable state. in: Ginger, A. and Lawless, G. eds. Spain and the nineteenth century: New essays on experiences of culture and society. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, pp. 13-38. Available at: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526124746/.
    The great transformations brought by the age of revolution at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth resulted in the final dismemberment of the composite Hispanic Monarchy (monarqui?a espan?ola) and the emergence of over a dozen new states, which embarked on the process of creating nations. This was not only the case as regards the new republics that arose in the Spanish transatlantic possessions from Mexico to Chile but also with respect to Spain, which had to redefine itself and build a nation on the remains of an empire that still included the islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines as well as territories in the mainland with important cultural and linguistic differences such as those found in the Basque country, Galicia and Catalonia. The key question was how to build a durable state.
    I argue that the way in which the Hispanic Monarchy was constituted by the amalgamation of the crowns of Castile and Aragon, with their histories of expansion and dynastic unions, as well as how the colonial enterprise was carried out resulted in deeply embedded systems of government and governance that created particular idiosyncrasies. The way in which the composite monarchy unraveled from the eighteenth century onwards and the attempts the new Bourbon monarchs made to stem this decline are also considered as they created some of the challenges with which the new states had to grapple in the nineteen century. By looking at Europe and America I hope to present a richer picture of the differences and similarities that characterized both areas in the national period.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2015). La nación subyacente: de la monarquía hispánica al estado en el Perú. in: Contreras, C. and Glave, L. G. eds. LA INDEPENDENCIA DEL PERU. ¿CONCEDIDA, CONSEGUIDA, CONCEBIDA? Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. Available at: http://www.iep.org.pe/fp_scont_1277_scont_4346.html.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2015). Loyalism and Liberalism in Peru 1810-1824. in: Eastman, S. and Sobrevilla Perea, N. eds. The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA: Alabama University Press, pp. 111-132.
    Peru was the territory in mailand Spanish America that remained loyal to the Spanish Crown for the longest - so long, in fact, that the Cadiz Constitution was implemented twice, just as it was in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Florida. This loyalty confounded the creators of national myths for nearly two centuries, but at the time most in Peru believed this commitmentwas indeed, if not the best, at least the preferred option open to them.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2014). El impacto de la Constitución de Cádiz y los límites de la historia atlántica. in: Breña, R. ed. Cadiz a debate:actualidad, contexto y legado. Mexico: Colegio de Mexico, pp. 131-149. Available at: http://libros.colmex.mx/index.php/historias-minimas/item/cadiz-a-debate.
    How does Atlantic History help in the understanding of the impact of the Cádiz constitution, where does the concept originate and how does it translate to a better understanding of the phenomenon.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2013). Entre proclamas, actas y una capitulación: la independencia peruana vista en sus actos de fundación. in: Las declaraciones de independencia. Los textos fundamentales de las independencias americanas. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, UMAN, pp. 241-274.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2012). De vasallos a ciudadanos: las milicias coloniales y su transformación en un ejército nacional en las guerras de independencia en el Perú. in: En el nudo del Imperio: Independencia y Democracia. Lima: Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos; Instituto Frances de Estudios Andinos, pp. 251-270.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2012). Ciudadanos en armas: el ejército y la creación del estado, Perú (1821-1861). in: Las fuerzas de guerra en la construcción del Estado: América Latina, siglo XIX. Rosario Argentina: Prohistoria, pp. 161-182.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2012). El Bicentenario del Imperio Peruano. in: Contra-Historia del Peru. Ensayos de Historia Politica del Peru. Lima, Peru: MITIN, pp. 51-60.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2011). Introducción crítica al "Compendio de los sucesos ocurridos en el Ejército del Perú y sus Provincias (1813-1816)" del General Joaquin de la Pezuela. in: Sobrevilla Perea, N. and Ortemberg, P. eds. Compendio de los sucesos ocurridos en el Ejército del Perú y sus Provincias (1813-1816). Santiago de Chile: Editorial Bicentenario.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2007). Ciudadanos armados: las Guardias Nacionales en la construcción de la nación en el Perú de mediados del siglo XIX. in: Chust Calero, M. and Marchena Fernandez, J. eds. Las armas de la nación. Independencia y ciudadanía en Hispanoamérica (1750-1850). Madrid/Frankfurt: Iberoamericana / Vervuert, pp. 159-186. Available at: http://www.ibero-americana.net/cgi-bin/infodetail.cgi?isbn=9788484893325&doknr=521332&lang=es&txt=inhalt.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2007). Mid Nineteenth-Century Ideological Radicalisation in Peru: The French Post-Revolutionary Influence. in: Caruso, M. and Roldan Vera, E. eds. Imported Modernity in Post-Colonial State Formation: The Appropriation of Political, Educational and Cultural Models in Nineteenth-Century Latin America. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Available at: http://www.peterlang.net/index.cfm?vID=51584&vLang=E&vHR=1&vUR=2&vUUR=1.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2007). Apertura y Diversidad: emigrados políticos latinoamericanos en la Lima de mediados del siglo diecinueve. in: McEvoy, C. and Stuven, A. M. eds. La República Peregrina: Hombres de Armas y de Letras en América del Sur. 1800-1884. Lima, Peru: Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, pp. 289-311.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2006). La Repatriación del Generalísimo: Agustín Gamarra y la construcción del imaginario nacional en Perú. in: McEvoy, C. ed. Funerales Republicanos en América del Sur: Tradición, ritual y nación, 1832-1896. Santiago Chile: Bicentenario, pp. 57-80. Available at: http://www.bicentenariochile.cl/home/2006/05/post_30.html.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2005). Conflicto Regional, Guano y Poder. in: Drinot, P. and Garofalo, L. eds. Mas Alla de la Dominacion y la Resistencia. Estudios de historia peruana, siglos XVI-XX. Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2004). El proyecto Liberal, la Revolución de 1854 y la Convención de 1855. in: McEvoy, C. ed. La Experiencia Burguesa Peruana (1840-1940). Madrid/Frankfurt: Vervuert/Iberoamericana, pp. 223-243.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2002). The Influence of the European Revolutions of 1848 in Peru. in: Thompson, G. ed. The European Revolutions of 1848 and the Americas. London: Institute of Latin American Studies, pp. 191-216.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. (2001). La Colonia de Pozuzo. in: Bonfiglio, G. ed. Los Europeos en el Perú. Lima, Peru: Fondo Editorial del Congreso de la República del Perú, pp. 166-230.

Edited book

  • Eastman, S. and Sobrevilla Perea, N. eds. (2015). The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic World. The impact of the 1812 Cadiz Constitution of 1812. [Online]. University of Alabama Press. Available at: http://www.uapress.ua.edu/product/Rise-of-Constitutional-Government-in-the-Iberian-A,5993.aspx.
    In March 1812, while Napoleon’s brother Joseph sat on the throne of Spain and the armies of France occupied much of the country, legislators elected from Spain and its overseas territories met in the Andalusian city of Cádiz. There, as the cornerstone of a government in exile, they drafted and adopted the first liberal constitution in the Hispanic world, a document that became known as the Cádiz Constitution of 1812.

    The 1812 Constitution was extremely influential in and beyond Europe, and this collection of essays explores how its enduring legacy not only shaped the history of state-building, elections, and municipal governance in Iberian America, but also affected national identities and citizenship as well as the development of race and gender in the region.

    A bold blueprint for governing a global, heterogeneous monarchy, the Constitution represented a rupture with Spain’s Antiguo Régimen (Old Regime) in numerous ways—in the limits it placed on the previously autocratic Bourbon monarchs, in the admission to its governing bodies of deputies from Spain’s American viceroyalties as equals, and in its framers’ vociferous debate over the status of castas (those of mixed ancestry) and slaves. The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic World covers these issues and adopts a transatlantic perspective that recovers the voices of those who created a vibrant political culture accessible to commoners and elite alike.

    The bicentenary of the Constitution of 1812 offered scholars an excellent moment to reexamine the form and role of constitutions across the Spanish-speaking world. Constitutionalism remains a topic of intense debate in Latin America, while contemporary Spain itself continues to seek ways to balance a strong central government with centripetal forces in its regions, notably the Basque and Catalan provinces. The multifaceted essays compiled here by Scott Eastman and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea both shed new light on the early, liberal Hispanic societies and show how the legacies of those societies shape modern Spain and Latin America.
  • Sobrevilla Perea, N. ed. (2000). La Memoria del Sabor. Lima Peru: EIRL.
    An edited a collection of family recipes from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
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