The intellectual activity of the Spanish military men was much more important then the classic dilemma between weapons and sciences, represented, often erroneously, by a cliché that runs through all the Modern Age. As recent studies have shown, the collaboration of military men with the enlightened circles was very important in the 18th century. This collaboration was not restricted only to the technical fields (engineering, navigation, fortifications, etc.), where the development of the military art itself required a major preparation in specialized military corps. It is proved that enlightened soldiers abounded in all the fields of the artistic creation. Amidst this numerous group, a personage like Jorge Juan Guillelmi de Andrada (Seville, 1734 - after 1808), although not studied in a detailed way, appears as a good example of an enlightened soldier that proliferated in the Spain of the 18th century.
Jorge Juan Guillelmi was born in Seville in 1734. He was a son of Lorenzo Nicolás Guillelmi (Brussels, 1698), one of the foreigners who had flooded the administration of Felipe V. Lorenzo Guillelmi had been appointed secretary of the embassy of the Monarchy in Vienna. Besides, due to his work he was granted with the Gentleman's title of the Order of San Jorge. After his stay in Vienna he went as a military Judge of the General Captaincy of Andalusia to Seville, where Jorge Juan was born.
With such predecessors, most of the children of Lorenzo Guillelmi had to make the military career and one of the most outstanding among them was Jorge Juan Guillelmi. At the age of ten, after a special assignment, since the entry into the military career was possible only at the age of twelve, he joined the regiment of infantry of Brussels. He ascended gradually in the complex military Hispanic career of the XVIII century, where the actual duties were mixed up with the theoretical classes. During this period of training he was assigned to places as different as Ceuta and Flanders, and finished it appointed a Sub-lieutenant of Artillery in 1757.
The more or less typical military career of Jorge Guillemi was positively altered in 1764. This year, the General Commander of Artillery and, ultimately, The Director of the College of Artillery of Segovia, Félix Gazola, count of Gazola, recommended Jorge Guillelmi for the post of Tertiary Teacher of the College of Artillery of Segovia. From 1764 to 1787, Guillelmi was accomplishing pedagogic duties in this institution, only interrupted by missions to different battles that the Monarchy was involved in, that his superiors entrusted to him as to a distinguished artilleryman. Standing out among the expeditions were those carried out in the war against Portugal of 1762 and, especially, the unsuccessful siege at Gibraltar between 1779 and 1783.
Thus a profound theoretical training as a professor of mathematics in the school of Segovia was combined with a practical observation of different campaigns that he participated in. The stay in Segovia allowed him to investigate new artillery technologies that could be put into practice in the military campaigns he was taking part in. Besides, he got to know enlightened soldiers, who facilitated his ascent in the career, and made important contacts in the literary Spanish world.
Thus, from the time of his stay in Segovia, Jorge Juan Guillelmi developed simultaneously an intellectual activity of different nature, from his appointment an honorary academician of the Academy of Literature (Academia de Buenas Letras) of Seville on May 29, 1772, to a series of texts about military equipment and recounting his European trips.
Probably during the siege at Gibraltar, where Guillelmi was concentrated on the development of artillery of heavy calibre, he got on good terms with Francisco de Lacy, appointed General Commander of Artillery for the siege. As a result of this relation, Lacy recommended Guillelmi and a young artilleryman, Tomás de Morla, to make a number of journeys to different European countries in order to improve their artillery skills and compile the military and civil advances of the Europe of the period. These journeys, which continued intermittently between 1787 and 1792, were part of a general program of the enlightened despotism that acknowledged the necessity of knowing the last European scientific and technical improvements and applying them in the Hispanic Monarchy.
After his several European stays, Jorge Juan Guillelmi was nominated, on July 6, 1793, Field Marshal of artillery. As a marshal, in the campaign in Roussillon, he was seriously wounded and survived miraculously. In reward for his work he was designated lieutenant-general on September 4, 1795 and, finally, on July 5, 1797, Governor and Captain General of the Army of Aragon that since the War of Succession bore the Presidency of the Hearing of Aragon. He was occupying this post until the beginning of the anti-French revolt in 1808. On May 25, 1808 he was replaced by Carlos Huoni. Moreover, the revolted obliged Guillemi to resign because of his indecision about resisting the French troops. From this moment no information is held about Jorge Guillelmi's life. It is supposed that he died promptly because of the delicate state of his health.