The Naval Prefecture, the oldest security force in our country, was born with the country on June 30, 1810. It originated in the old Port Captaincy and was initially in charge of custody, security and police control of ports and shores. . Juan Antonio Guerreros was the first Captain appointed by King Ferdinand VII in 1756. Later, the cry for freedom of May 1810 was joined by the decision to incorporate this Captaincy into the incipient Creole government.
On June 30, 1810, Mariano Moreno signs the Decree that designates the frigate lieutenant, Mr. Martín Jacobo José Thompson, as the first Captain of the Port of the Río de la Plata, position that he had already held since 1806. Previously, and given his “militancy” in favor of the men of May, he was discharged from the Spanish Navy.
The Regulation for the Port Captaincies of 1814 is due to him. From January 31, 1882, the institution will be called the Maritime Prefecture, in 1969 and until today, it will be renamed the Argentine Naval Prefecture.
Martin James Thompson
Different men contributed to the greatness and prestige of the force. Training institutes and boats bear their names: Matías de Irigoyen, Zapiola, Azopardo, Toll and Bernadet, Espora, Erezcano, Mantilla among others. Over time, it modernized its structures by expanding, perfecting and strengthening its roles, nationally and internationally, adding scientific and environmental responsibilities, according to the needs of the country and the times.
The constant training, updating of norms and competences, aptitude and attitude of its members in the citizen sphere and its extended arm to the population close to the territory of its performance insert it in the social and community level, providing security and assistance to the inhabitants in multiple cases.
Patagones-Viedma, the first inland port
As a matter of regional belonging and territorial integration, we must say that the first inland port recognized by Captain Thompson on July 21, 1810, was none other than Carmen de Patagones, an outpost of civilization and sovereignty with intense port activity and commercial. He appointed the Commander of the Patagones Fort as chief: Captain Francisco Javier de Sancho. Close to Viedma and Patagones are the detachments Desembocadura in Río Negro and Bahía San Blas south of Buenos Aires. In San Carlos de Bariloche it will begin to function in 1934 as the Maritime Sub-prefecture.
In 2016 three regions are created; Coast, headquarters in Corrientes that covers the entire North; Center, in Rosario, which includes the Central zone and the Delta strip and on March 10, 2017 starts the South Region Directorate, headquarters in Viedma that covers seven provinces from Mar del Plata to Tierra del Fuego. It has under its orbit the Prefectures of the Lake Zone and Comahue, South Argentine Sea and North Argentine Sea adding 7,989 km” of surface of lakes, 1,993 km of rivers and 3,670 km of maritime front.
a sea of love
Loving and choosing were difficult to admit at the beginning of the 19th century, “Mariquita” Sánchez and the founder of the force, Martín Thompson, did not escape this. Both from Buenos Aires, María Josepha Petrona de Todos los Santos Sánchez de Velazco y Trillo was born on November 1, 1786 and Martín Jacobo on April 23, 1777.
Martín Jacobo Thompson and Mariquita Sánchez de Thompson.
He studied at the Colegio de San Carlos and entered the Naval Academy of El Ferrol in Spain in 1796, graduating in 1800. The only son of Londoner Guillermo Thompson and Tiburcia López Escribano y Cárdenas, Martín experienced loneliness at the age of 10 when he died. his father. His mother locked herself in the Capuchinas Convent and she would never see him again.
Mariquita turns 14 and is strictly opposed to a marriage arranged by her father with a much older Spaniard. She is hopelessly in love with her second cousin, blond, attractive, of medium height and a melancholic face, somewhat shy and sensitive; that he wears the uniform of the Royal Spanish Navy very well: Martín Jacobo Thompson.
Martín in Spain participated in the famous battle of Trafalgar, then returns to Buenos Aires at the request of his girlfriend and is rejected by the woman’s parents. With influences from Viceroy Del Pino, they manage to send him to Montevideo first and then to Cádiz. Martín will return and, according to Mariquita, he decides to start a “Dissent Trial” against her mother, already her widow, on June 7, 1804.
Decision, courage, intelligence, legal rigor in an implacable partnership with the rebels… to the point that due to her defiance, “Marica”, she is admitted to the Casa de Ejercicios de Calle Independencia. With the help of the water bearer, Martín approaches the cistern and visits his beloved. A scene from the time: wanting to marry a Creole… rebel against Spain. “Marica” all her life fought for the free choice of a partner, the education of women and their insertion in politics. Finally, in the middle of 1805, the permission arrived and on June 29, 1805, Fray Cayetano Rodríguez will consecrate the historic marriage, from which five children were born.
At that time, English spies settled in Buenos Aires, and American patriots were targeted. Thompson warns Sobremonte that the English ships that can be seen are actually warships. The English invaded the city and failed, but at the time of the Capitulation they did not know how to do it; Thompson stars in the negotiation with the British: he is fluent in English and has a copy of a Spanish gazette written when the capture of Pensacola in Florida. He participates in the “Society of the 7” precursor of the May Revolution, after the Open Cabildo as Port Captain and in favor of Saavedra. Mariquita and Martín always encouraged the patriotic cause: in his house (Florida 200) the National Anthem will be sung for the first time. Seven governments passed in his term and he had full confidence until the end of his career.
In 1816, appointed on a diplomatic mission to the United States, he would be promoted to Colonel. There Martín falls ill, his mind deteriorates and he is admitted to a psychiatric hospital in New York. “Mariquita” will send money to buy him clothes and food and begs the assistant “don’t bring him dressed like crazy but as I dressed him” because she said, “the mentally ill are kept and treated in a degrading manner” (María Sáenz Quesada in her book “Mariquita Sánchez, political and sentimental life”) FHe died on October 23, 1819, back in his homeland, and his body was thrown into the sea. On June 28, 2019, the bicentennial of his death, President Mauricio Macri decreed his promotion “post mortem” to the degree of General Prefect, in recognition of services to the Homeland.
*Diploma in preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage (UBP)