The upheavals and revolutions following the struggle to gain independence from Spain were at their height during William Fea's time in Peru.
The Spanish had been in Peru since 1531, when the adventurer Pizarro had arrived and captured the thirteenth monarch of the Incas. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 but actual freedom from Spanish rule was not achieved until 1824. There were a succession of Civil Wars between 1821 and 1844.
Generals Santa Cruz and Gamarra were two of the most ruthless players in the upheavals. General Santa Cruz became president of Bolivia and General Gamarra of Peru in 1829.
General Santa Cruz was far more popular with the people of Lima than the elected president, General Gamarra. The reception of General Gamarra in Lima can only be described as one given by a sullen and resentful people.
In 1834, the liberals in Peru fought back and elected General Orbegoso. However, his presidency was short lived: six months. General Orbegoso was overwhelmed in a quiet palace coup and exiled.
Trouble arose again under General Gamarra's rule when General Santa Cruz tried to form a confederation. He was defeated on 20th January 1839, two years after William's arrival in the country, and a constitution proclaimed. On the death of Gamarra in 1841, his party split up into contending factions and revolution rumbled through the city until 1844. There were six more presidents in the four years after General Gamarra's death.