BECK index

Caribbean Islands & Central America 1817-1865

by Sanderson Beck

Haiti and Santo Domingo 1817-65
Puerto Rico and Cuba 1817-65
British and French West Indies 1817-65
Central America & Confederation 1817-52
Costa Rica 1835-65
El Salvador 1841-65
Honduras 1844-65
Nicaragua 1838-65
Panama 1817-65

Haiti and Santo Domingo 1817-65

Haiti’s Slave Revolution

      The Haitian revolution and what the Spanish Dominicans called the War of Reconquest had devastated Santa Domingo by 1809. Spain recognized Juan Sánchez Ramírez as governor, and he put many people on the government payroll before his death in February 1811. His successor, Licentiate José Núñez de Cáceres issued paper money in 1812 that devalued the currency 75%. Attempted revolts by French sergeants in 1811 and by blacks in August 1812 were crushed, and the leaders were executed. The military commander Carlos Urrutia arrived in May 1813 to govern and went back to copper coins. Sebastian Kindelan came from Cuba in 1818 and governed Santa Domingo until 1821.
      Haiti’s first President Alexandre Pétion served for eleven years and died on 29 March 1818. He was succeeded in the South by another revolutionary leader, Jean-Pierre Boyer. He sent six regiments to put down the peasants’ 13-year revolt in Southern Grande’Anse led by Jean-Baptiste Perrier who was called “Goman” and was trapped on a cliff where he was shot or jumped to his death in May 1819.
      Henri Christophe ruled in the North and had proclaimed himself Haiti’s King Henri in 1811. He ruled autocratically and became unpopular. Col. Paulin led a mutiny by the 8th Regiment at St. Marc that was suppressed. Queen Marie-Louise persuaded King Henri not to execute him, and he sent Paulin to the Laferrière dungeons. On 15 August 1820 Henri suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that paralyzed his right side. Facing a coup by the St. Marc conspiracy joined by General Richard Marmelade, Henri killed himself on 8 October, and his son, Prince Jacques-Victor, was assassinated ten days later. Boyer arrived with 20,000 soldiers on 26 October, took over the treasury of £11 million, and reunified the Republic of Haiti. He had a firing squad kill Marmelade in February 1821. In three years Boyer’s government at Port-au-Prince had spent the surplus left by King Henri.
      On 8 November Haitians led by Major Andrés Amarantes proclaimed independence north of Santo Domingo and urged towns there to join the Republic of Haiti. On the 30th a junta led by José Núñez de Cáceres captured the Santa Domingo fortress and imprisoned Governor Pascual Real. They declared Santo Domingo independent of Spain with a constitution, and Spanish Haiti joined the Colombian federation. Guy-Joseph Bonnet advised President Boyer to mediate; but in early January 1822 the Senate of Haiti authorized troops to defend frontier towns and unify the island. On the 11th Boyer sent a long letter to Cáceres urging unity, and he mobilized the Haitian army and led them east. On the 22nd Cáceres wrote back accepting protection from Haiti. Boyer stopped his soldiers from looting Santiago by bringing cannons into the town square. They reached Ciudad Santo Domingo on 9 February, and Cáceres gave Boyer the keys to the city, unifying the island of Haiti. Slavery was abolished again, and freed men were promised land. Boyer proclaimed that the Haiti Constitution of 1816 was the supreme law now in Santa Domingo. In June he appointed a commission to determine what land could be given to freed slaves, and in October they reported that these included Spanish land and much church-related property. Haiti’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies approved the report on 7 November. Although Haitians grew vegetables, commercial agriculture suffered. Churches had few priests, and on 5 January 1823 Boyer suspended the salaries of the archbishop and other clergy in the cathedral chapter. After study by commissions the system of terrenos comuneros (communal land) was canceled in the east on 8 July 1824.
      France’s King Louis XVIII sent Jacques Boyé to negotiate with Boyer in Haiti, and in July 1823 they agreed that Haiti would pay an indemnity of 100 million francs; but Louis insisted on controlling Haiti’s foreign relations. On 17 March 1825 France’s Charles X decreed the independence of Haiti and sent 14 warships. Finally Haiti was recognized as a nation, but Boyer had to borrow money at high interest to pay the first 30 million francs. Haitians were upset that their mulâtre (mulatto) President and mulâtre Senate had capitulated to the white French, but the 45,000 in the army relaxed. In Haiti the color line was drawn between the noirs (Africans) and the mulâtre.
      On 1 May 1826 the Haiti Senate enacted the Code Real to improve agriculture that authorized inspectors and the army to supervise cultivation for all those attached to the land, but this code was not enforceable especially in the east. Haiti had exported 9,250 tons of raw sugar in 1801, but this fell to only 16 tons in 1826. Cotton dropped from 1,250 tons to 310. Simón Bolívar refused to recognize the independence of Haiti, and in 1826 he did not invite them to the Congress of American States meeting in Panama. France also would not recognize their former colony.
      By 1830 Haiti could not pay its foreign debt. Spain’s Fernando VII sent a frigate to Santa Domingo, but his envoy Felipe Fernandez de Castro could get nothing. On 23 January 1838 a French delegation came to Port-au-Prince and negotiated a deal that reduced the debt to 60 million francs to be paid without interest over thirty years. Haiti’s Senate ratified the agreement on 28 May, and soon Holland, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, and Britain recognized Haiti. The United States still refused, and no Latin American country did so either until Brazil did in 1865.
      Port-au-Prince suffered from fires in 1820, 1822, and 1832, by an arsenal explosion in 1827, and on 7 May 1842 an earthquake devastated Cap-Haïtien killing 5,000 people, followed by a tsunami that swept away about 250. The newspapers Le Manifeste and Le Patriote criticized the Boyer administration, but his friend Beaubrun Ardouin edited Le Temps in response. Boyer expelled his critic Hérard-Dumesle from the legislature in 1833 and again in 1838.
      In 1842 Boyer used soldiers to keep 28 of the 72 deputies out of the Chamber. In August that year Charles Riviere-Hérard organized the Society of the Rights of Man and of Citizens, and they published their complaints in the Praslin Manifesto. Then his cousin Hérard-Dumesle led the executive committee. On 27 January 1843 they began a revolt that spread from Praslin. The government’s army faced them at Mapou Dampuce on 11 February, but after some shooting the soldiers joined them to march on the capital. Two days later Boyer left Haiti and went to Paris. Charles Riviere-Hérard moved into the palace at Port-au-Prince, and he joined a junta. A constitutional convention met in September, and on 30 December they produced a constitution with new elective offices. Charles Riviere-Hérard was inaugurated as President of Haiti on 4 January 1844.
      Juan Pablo Duarte had founded La Trinitaria society in 1838, and in July 1843 the Haiti government had learned of the Trinitarians’ plan to be separate. On 1 January 1844 a pro-French group proclaimed their desire to be independent of the Haiti Republic, and 15 days later the Trinitarians also urged separation from the Haitians. On 27 February the Trinitarians led by Duarte occupied the fortress in Santo Domingo and proclaimed independence, but two days later Commissioner Barrot persuaded Duarte to capitulate and depart. President Hérard led 30,000 troops that marched to Santo Domingo where he dissolved the assembly. Peasants fought the Haitian troops, and Riviere-Hérard encountered them at Azua on 19 March and had more than fifty men killed. Hérard sent an order to Jean-Louis Pierrot, but on 25 April he would declare the North and the Artibonite a republic to be headed by his friend Guerrier. Louis Jean-Jacques Acaau led a revolt by piquets (soldiers), and on 5 April they fought a government force and entered Cayes. Haiti’s army led by generals Fabre Geffrard and Jean-Baptiste Riché at Aquin defeated spearmen on 10 April. On 5 May a wealthy delegation made 86-year-old Philippe Guerrier the President of Haiti. The Trinitarians elected Francisco del Rosario Sánchez chief military commander who told General Pedro Santana that his Southern Army could enter Santo Domingo, and he did so with 2,000 troops on 12 July. Santana agreed with the junta that on 22 August accused Duarte, Matías Ramón Mella, Sánchez, and five other Trinitarian leaders of treason and exiled them for life. The conservatives in power now included Tomás de Bobadilla who favored the Church and those who supported the French. Their constitution based on the United States Constitution was adopted on 6 November. They elected Santana president, and he appointed a cabinet on the 13th. They discovered a conspiracy and executed the leaders on 27 February 1845.
      Guerrier governed by decree with a Council of State for the established mulâtres until he died on 15 April 1845. The Council of State replaced him with 84-year-old Jean-Louis Pierrot. He made Cap-Haïtien the capital, and in February 1846 he ordered his troops to march against the Dominicans. He alienated the Council and the army by promoting his followers and peasants to officers, and he was removed on the first of March. Eleven days later Acaau killed himself, and the illiterate 65-year-old black General Jean-Baptiste Riché became President. He died on 27 February 1847 from an overdose of cantharides believed to be an aphrodisiac.
      Meanwhile the ruin of the Catholic Church led to Vodou (voodoo) becoming the folk religion of Haiti. On 1 March 1847 the Senate of Haiti elected the black 64-year-old General Faustin Soulouque president. He ordered General Similien to suppress the rebels, and Soulouque aroused the blacks and zinglin leaders to arrest opposing mulâtres. On 9 April he dismissed his mulâtre cabinet and proclaimed himself President for life. Many mulâtres and some blacks gathered at the palace and sent Céligny Ardouin to the President who had him arrested. Similien ordered the mulâtres to put down their guns and then had soldiers fire. Firing squads executed resisters. On 23 April the President Soulouque led an army that killed hundreds of mulâtres in disloyal towns. He returned to the capital on 15 August and prohibited anyone from leaving Haiti without his permission. Santana resigned on 4 August, and War Minister Manuel Jimenes became President of the Dominican Republic on 8 September. On the 26th he decreed amnesty for the political exiles so that they could return. France made a provisional peace treaty with them and recognized the independence of the Dominican Republic.
      Haitians suspected that the French intended to occupy Samaná Bay. On 15 March 1849 President Soulouque led 15,000 troops east, and on 30 April they attacked the Dominicans and had several hundred killed. The Haitians retreated and looted and burned towns as they fled. Soulouque declared victory as he returned to the capital on 6 May. The Dominican Congress nullified the decree of Jimenes discharging Santana whose forces then besieged Santo Domingo on 17 May, and Jimenes left the country on the 29th. Santana called elections for 5 July, and his favored candidate won but resigned. Congress then held elections on 5 August, and Santana’s recommended Congressman Buenaventura Báez was elected President. He was inaugurated on 24 September and quickly mobilized the army and navy for the war against Haiti. Negotiations with Britain, France, and the United States led to a friendship and trade treaty with Britain on 10 September 1850. Báez protected those persecuted by Santander, and he worked to improve church relations. Santander was elected the next President, and in March 1853 he took office and accused Archbishop Tomás de Portes of inciting rebellion. On 3 July he charged Báez with serious crimes and expelled him. In February 1854 Santana got a new constitution that greatly increased the power of the presidency and allowed him to serve two consecutive terms. The constitution limited the Congress to seven Senators and would only let it meet three months a year, and it was passed on 23 December. After US President Franklin Pierce tried to lease land on the Samaná Peninsula for a navy base, Spain on 18 February 1855 signed a peace treaty with the Dominican Republic.
      On 26 August the Haitian Senate crowned Soulouque Emperor Faustin, and on 20 September a constitution recognized his monarchy. He gave 400 persons titles of nobility including 4 princes, 59 dukes, and 215 barons. Faustin studied voodoo and used it to assert power. Piquets used roadblocks in the South to rob people, and Soulouque’s zinglins did that in other places. The Emperor had so much money printed that the value of gourde notes fell to a quarter of their previous value. Faustin led another attack on Santa Domingo in December 1855, but they were repelled and turned north. On 24 January the Dominicans defeated them at Savana Larga, and Faustin left Santa Domingo.
      Civil resistance persuaded Dominican President Santana to resign on 26 May 1856, and he was succeeded by Vice President Manuel de Regla Mota. He did not have funds to pay soldiers and discharged many. The Spanish consul Segovia arranged for Báez to return from exile, and he was made Vice President and then President after Mota resigned on 6 October. Santana was accused of crimes in January 1857 and was sent into exile. Báez favored liberal policies, and he replaced the Senators and other officials. He had 18 million more pesos printed, and his favorites used money to buy tobacco and gold in Cibao before the exchange rate changed. Military leaders in Santiago rejected Báez on 7 July, and they installed General José Desiderio Valverde as President. People in Cibao supported them and marched on Santa Domingo. Civil war broke out, and General Santana returned on 27 August and gained command on 18 September. Báez printed nearly 60 million pesos in one year, and the Cibao government put out 20 million, causing the national peso to fluctuate around 4,000 per dollar. Moca wrote a new constitution that was promulgated on 19 February 1858 and allowed every citizen to vote. Santana’s troops outside the capital persuaded Báez to negotiate his departure that let him take the wealth he had stolen from Cibao. After he left, Santana and his troops opposed the Cibao liberals and took control on 27 July demanding restoration of the Constitution of December 1854 which Santana decreed on 27 September.
      A world depression in 1857-58 affected the sale of coffee and cotton, and Haiti was bankrupt again. On 20 December Fabre Geffrard, his son, and two friends escaped from Port-au-Prince, and two days later a revolutionary committee proclaimed Haiti a republic under the Constitution of 1846. The next day Geffrard became President, and he was supported by the Artibonite department and the North. Soulouque marched north, and his imperial navy bombarded St. Marc, but two days later Faustin withdrew to Port-au-Prince. He abdicated on 15 January 1859 and left on a British ship one week later.
      Fabre Geffrard was inaugurated as President of Haiti on 23 January 1859. The first thing he did was reduce the army from 30,000 men to 15,000. In June he founded a national law school, and he improved the medical school. On 18 July the Constitution of 1846 was reinstated, and Geffrard was made President for life. Soulouque’s Interior Minister Guerrier Prophète had gone over to Geffrard and retained his office. Geffrard organized secret police who discovered that Prophète was conspiring against him, and he was sent into exile on 3 September. On the 12th they caught the murderer Timoléon Vanon who named 900 accomplices including 70 who were in prison. They convicted 23 conspirators, and 16 were shot in public.
      The Dominican Republic’s President Pedro Santana had nearly 40 million pesos printed in 1860. On 18 March 1861 he gave Santa Domingo back to Spain’s Queen Isabella II, and he became its Governor-General. An insurgency broke out, and Haiti provided sanctuaries for the guerillas in May. Geffrard also sent his Tirailleurs as volunteers to fight against the Spanish army. In July a Spanish squadron appeared offshore of Port-au-Prince, and Admiral Rubalcava demanded that Haiti close the frontier to Dominican rebels, pay an indemnity of $200,000, apologize, and give the Spanish flag a 21-gun salute. Consul Byron mediated and reduced the indemnity to $25,000, and Geffrard agreed. Santana suffered poor health and resigned on 6 January 1862.
      The United States and President Lincoln recognized the independence of Haiti and Liberia on 5 June 1862. That year Haiti made a treaty of friendship and trade with Liberia, and they began diplomatic relations in 1864. During the US Civil War Geffrard allowed the United States Navy to use a coaling-station at Cap-Haïtien for its West India Squadron. Because of that war Haiti’s cotton exports went from $144,000 in 1861 to $2,892,000 in 1864; but after that crops failed, and Haiti went back to truck-farming. Haiti’s deficit was 2 million gourdes in 1859, but in 1865 it was four times that. Haiti printed more paper money, and some of it was taken by high officials.
      On 14 January 1862 Spain issued a Royal Order evicting Haitians from the border land. While Dominicans led by Santiago Rodríguez were rebelling against Spain in 1863, President Geffrard dissolved Haiti’s legislature on 3 June. On 10 October he revived the colonial corvée so that citizens would be required to help build roads. He purchased three small steamboats for the government and five merchant coasters as a public subsidy for a Haitian company. The new legislators raised the President’s salary to $50,000 a year, and they gave Geffrard two plantations. Uprisings were suppressed in Gonaïves in November 1861, near Torbeck in May 1862, in the Artibonite in June 1863, at Port-au-Prince’s arsenal in April 1864, and the piquets began a persistent insurrection in 1865 in the Plaine des Cayes. On 7 May 1865 Dominicans crossed the frontier, took over the garrison at Ouanaminthe, and were welcomed in the Cap-Haïtien. On the 15th government troops fought them at Puilboreau, and General Morisset was wounded. The government spent 100 million gourdes suppressing the revolt at the Cap. The Dominican war to restore independence from Spain was successful as all the Spanish troops left by 15 July.

Puerto Rico and Cuba 1817-65

Cuba and Puerto Rico 1744-1817

      Spain governed Puerto Rico as a colony, and in 1815 the Cédula de Gracias encouraged Europeans to settle there by giving them six acres for each member of their family and three more acres for each slave they owned. In the next 19 years the population of Puerto Rico increased 38% to 138,000 people. They were not allowed to trade with anyone else in the Caribbean except for emergencies. In January 1820 some armed forces in Spain supported liberals who restored the 1812 Constitution that made loyal Puerto Rico a province. They elected the San Juan native Demetrio O’Daly, who was in the military in Spain, to represent them in the Cortes. He introduced a bill that passed which separated the civil government from the military. In May 1822 the Spanish businessman González de Linares arrived in San Juan as Governor. In 1822 the Puerto Ricans elected the liberal José María Quiñones as their deputy, and he co-sponsored a bill for gradual self-rule.
      However, in 1823 Spain’s Fernando VII was restored as the absolute ruler, and Governor Linares was rewarded for having loyally opposed the revolutionaries. He recruited Marshal Miguel de la Torre, who had been Captain General of Venezuela 1820-22, as the military governor of Puerto Rico, and he ruled with increasing military forces to maintain stability from January 1822 to 1837. Torre used the government newspaper La Gaceta to portray revolutionaries as rapists, terrorists, and anarchists. He implemented the Cédula de Gracias that promoted the importation of African slaves, and the number of slaves in Puerto Rico increased from 21,730 in 1820 to 41,818 in 1834. He imposed a strict slave code that punished any slave who defied the system. Slave conspiracies were discovered in Bayamón in 1821 and Naguabo in 1823, and the military court was given jurisdiction. While Latin Americans were struggling for independence prior to 1825, privateers used the Caja de Muertos Key off the southern coast of Puerto Rico and attacked other ports. In April 1825 Secretary of State Henry Clay said that the United States opposed the liberation of Cuba and Puerto Rico because neither was competent politically to rule themselves.
      In 1826 when independent Latin American republics met in Panama, Governor Torre put 10,000 troops on alert. That year he decreed the Slave Regulation with some reforms such as limiting the slaves’ workday to 9 hours but to 13 hours during the sugar harvest rather than the usual 18 hours. Slaves were to have three meals a day, medical care when needed, and two changes of clothing each year. Slaves leaving the premises had to have written permission from the owner. Slave holidays and festivities were reduced to prevent conspiracies. Any slave who reported a conspiracy would be freed with 500 pesos. Yet only four of the fourteen conspiracies between 1826-48 were reported. Torre tried to keep Creoles and others happy by allowing dances, drinking, and gambling. He was accused of implementing liberal policies not authorized by the monarchy and was removed in September 1836. In 1837 Spain required Puerto Rico to pay a war tax of 500,000 pesos, and a revolt was planned for July; but an informer alerted Governor Francisco Moredo Prieto who had suspects arrested and tried by a military court. Five were executed, and others were imprisoned.
      In 1834 the mercenary George D. Flinter had published his Account of the present State of the Island of Puerto Rico in Spanish and English arguing that the slaves were better off than free workers in Europe because many owned land and were encouraged to marry and raise families and because masters took care of all their needs. In 1841 the French abolitionist Victor Schoelcher visited Puerto Rico and criticized Flinter’s views noting that the slave codes were often violated. He observed that they worked from 3 in the morning to 8 at night and even had to work 4 hours on Sundays and holidays. Benjamin Nistal found that hundreds of slaves ran away despite the risks. Guillermo Baralt learned that some slaves stayed to organize revolts, kill masters and overseers, and burn the sugar fields even though captured leaders of revolts were killed.
      The manufacture of sugar, rum, cigars, and other industries helped Puerto Rico increase its trade from 269,000 pesos in 1813 to 7.8 million in 1835. In the 1830s 75% of sugar exports went to the United States, and Puerto Rico imported manufactures and food. In 1830 sugar acreage was 11,103 cuerdas, and in 1862 it was over 55,000. During that period coffee went from 9,000 cuerdas to 34,000.
      In 1838 Governor Miguel López de Baños imposed Worker Regulations that required any person 16 years or older without means of support to work for wages, and violators could be fined, imprisoned, or forced to work for half pay. Spain’s government abolished the Regulations in 1839; but after the abolition of the slave trade in 1845, Governor Juan de la Pezuela issued stricter Regulations in 1849 that lasted until the 1870s.
      General Juan Prim became Governor in May 1848 and learned of slave revolts on the islands of Martinique and Saint Thomas. He decreed the harsh Black Code with the death penalty for any African slave who threatens with a gun (even if justified) a white person, and a free African was to have the right hand cut off. Article 1 put all blacks under military jurisdiction, and Article 5 gave masters the right to kill slaves. In July slaves in Ponce planned to revolt. An informer was given freedom; three leaders were shot, and 13 were sentenced to ten years in prison.
      Governor Pezuela replaced Prim in December 1848 and was instructed to suspend the Black Code. He reduced the number of lashes punishing slaves from 100 to 25, and he allowed infant slaves who were baptized to be freed. Pezuela also enforced the strict libreta (license) system in 1849 that led to the arrests and deporation of many Creoles including the abolitionist Julio L. Vizcarrondo and the liberal playwright Alejandro Tapia. Pezuela banned popular horse races, private dances, and annual festivities. The next Governor Fernando de Norzagaray shut down the newspaper El Ponceño in July 1854 for publishing Daniel Rivera’s poem “Agüeybaná El Bravo” about an Indian chief who told Spaniards to go back to Spain. In 1859 Governor Fernando Cotoner banished two Creole physicians for organizing a secret abolitionist society. Vizcarrondo lived in New York from 1850 to 1854 when he returned to Puerto Rico. In 1857 he founded the El Mercurio newspaper, and he started the Spanish Abolitionist Society in 1864. Abolitionists pointed out that the 1860 census showed that only 10,000 of the 41,000 slaves were workers, and Puerto Rico had 70,000 other workers who were more productive than slaves.

      José Cienfuegos governed Cuba for Spain as Captain-General 1816-19. He encouraged diverse agriculture and decreed the end of Spain’s tobacco monopoly in June 1817. In February 1818 he opened up trade to any country in America or Europe, and exports quadrupled in one year. In 1817 Cuba’s Intendent Alejandro Ramírez hired Ramón de la Sagra, the friend of Marx, Engels, and Proudhon, to teach natural history at the University of Havana. In 1828 Sagra opened the University’s print shop, and he published his Annals of Science, Agriculture, Commerce and Arts. He would start the first anarchist journal in 1845.
      After the 1817 census showed that whites were only 45% of Cubans, Spaniards were offered 33 acres of land, two cows, a horse and a mule with no tax for 15 years to move to Cuba. After Spain sold Florida to the United States on 22 February 1818, more than 3,000 Cuban natives left Florida to return home. In 1819 communal lands were divided up or founded sugar mills. In 1817 the British persuaded Spain to end the slave trade in 1820. As prices were lower in Africa and higher in America, in the years 1817-20 Cuba imported about 77,000 African slaves. Cuba’s port of Matanzas increased its population from 17,000 in 1817 to 45,000 by 1827. In that period their export of sugar multiplied by five and of coffee by more than ten times. Mexico’s independence in February 1821 ended the gold shipments from there. From 1821 to 1865 Cuba imported 200,354 slaves.
      Col. José Francisco Lemus had fought for independence in Colombia. After Spain’s Fernando VII was restored to power in April 1823, Lemus in July led a small uprising in Cuba; but he was captured with other officers on 1 August. Francisco Dionisio Vives had become Captain-General of Cuba in May, and he kept order until 1832. In 1831 he had the first railway built in the Spanish empire. In May 1825 Vives was given unlimited power, and Cuba would be under martial law for the next five decades. In April 1826 he prohibited the importation of books that opposed the Catholic region or monarchy or which advocated rebellion. Conspiracies were crushed with leaders hanged by 1827, the year that Havana’s population reached 100,000. As 40,000 Spanish troops arrived, government spies and informers proliferated. Laws prohibited those born in Cuba from serving in the military or the civil service. Vives allowed the importation of more than 50,000 slaves.
      By 1825 Cuba was collecting £2 million ($8 million) in taxes annually, and this would multiply two and a half times by the 1860s. Steam power and the introduction of the vacuum boiler in 1830 greatly improved sugar production. By 1860 of 1,365 mills in Cuba 55 had modern machines and produced one-fifth of the sugar. In 1856 Cuba produced more than 13% of the world’s sugar (including from beets in Europe) and nearly three times as much as the United States which ranked second among nations. Coffee was Cuba’s second major crop. In 1829 they invested $85 million in coffee and $84 million in sugar; but sugar yielded $8 million and coffee only $4.3 million. In 1855 Brazil produced nearly thirteen times as much coffee as Cuba and Puerto Rico combined. In 1817 Cuba had a population of 553,033 including 199,145 slaves, and in 1861 Cuba had 1,396,530 people with 370,553 slaves. Chinese began immigrating in 1844, and by 1861 Cuba had 34,834 Asians.
      Miguel Tacón y Rosique was Captain-General 1834-38, and he promoted law enforcement, sanitation, firemen, and gas lighting in Havana. He banned weapons in Havana except for soldiers, and the military courts he established were more efficient and less corrupt. He initiated the building of a large prison that separated black and white prisoners. Tacón allowed the illegal slave trade to continue, and he banished the journalist José Antonio Saco who criticized his policies.
      Captain-General Jerónimo Valdés (1841-43) tried to discourage the slave trade and slave rebellions by increasing white immigration, but slave revolts broke out in 1843. Early in 1844 some 4,000 people were arrested in Matanzas including more than 2,000 free blacks, over 1,000 slaves, and about 70 whites. Joaquín de Agüero freed his slaves in 1843 and had to leave Cuba. He returned in 1849 and founded La Sociedad Libertadora de Puerto Príncipe. He led about forty men who demanded independence; but their revolt lasted only a few days, and he and three others were executed on 12 August 1851. On 19 May 1850 Narciso López had directed 600 American filibusters who landed at Cardenas, but they were forced to depart after a few hours. He led another invasion of Cuba in August 1851, but he and some others were captured and executed. Some politicians in the United States wanted to annex Cuba as a slave state, but they could not agree on a deal. After this effort failed, some prominent Creoles organized the Havana Reform Club to work for political improvement. They tried to work with Captain-General Serrano (1859-62) and Captain-General Domingo Dulce (1862-66) even though the martial laws did not permit political parties. The reformist newspaper El Siglo was begun in 1862 and lasted six years. In 1865 Dulce authorized the reformists to send a letter with 24,000 signatures to General Serrano in Madrid.

British and French West Indies 1817-65

British and French West Indies 1744-1817

      In 1831 slaves in Antigua revolted, and the Governor of Barbados had to send reinforcements to quell the rebellion. On 25 December in Jamaica about 60,000 slaves stopped working and demanded more freedom and wages at half the going rate. Samuel Sharpe was a black Baptist preacher who could read, and he led the uprising. During the 11-day “Baptist War” 207 rebels and 14 whites were killed. Afterward about 325 slaves were executed for various reasons.
      On 28 August 1833 Britain passed the Slavery Abolition Act, and on 1 August 1834 slaves under the age of six were liberated in the colonies. The other slaves became apprentices, and the apprenticeships were to end in two stages on 1 August in 1838 and 1840. In the British West Indies 38,218 owners put in claims for compensation for their 540,559 slaves that included 255,290 in Jamaica, 69,579 in British Guiana, and 66,638 on Barbados. According to Fowell Buxton in the eleven years before 1832 the slave population in British Guiana had decreased by about 52,000 because of more than 20,000 punishments per year that inflicted a total of two million lashes. The British chartered the first Colonial Bank of the West Indies in 1836. A few East Indians began migrating to the British West Indies in 1838, and then 22,202 came from Calcutta and Madras to British Guiana, Trinidad, and Jamaica. The same colonies absorbed about 110,000 Indians between 1851 and 1870.

      In 1839 the French West Indies had 285,956 slaves. The Parisian Victor Schoelcher advocated abolition, publishing his Slavery of the Negroes and Colonial Legislation in 1833, French Colonies: Immediate Abolition of Slavery in 1842, and History of Slavery during the last Two Years in 1847. That year Sweden liberated 600 slaves on the island of St. Barthelémy. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1848 was intended to free the slaves in the French West Indies. In July that year slaves in the Danish Virgin Islands revolted for three weeks, and on 22 December the Danish government accepted the Emancipation Proclamation. In June 1851 Danish planters petitioned the Danish Parliament for compensation, and they received 5.5 million francs. France gave colonists 126 million which was 430 francs per slave in Martinique, 470 in Guadeloupe, and 618 in French Guiana. The Dutch stopped participating in the slave trade in 1818, but they did not abolish slavery in Surinam until 1863.
      In 1859 William G. Sewell visited the British West Indies and reported in the New York Times that freed slaves were making material and moral progress owning land, paying taxes, and voting. Using statistics he showed that in most colonies they were contributing more to the economy than they had before as slaves. In 1859 Martinique had 6,748 East Indians. Cannabis sativa was brought to the Caribbean from India about 1850.

Central America & Confederation 1817-52

Central America 1744-1817

      Captain-general Jose de Bustamante y Guerra governed Guatemala for seven years until he was replaced on 28 March 1818 by the elderly Lt. General Carlos Luis de Urrutia. The independence struggle in Central America had begun in November 1811. Bustamante had 16 leaders arrested in April 1812, and those who survived were released on 25 June 1817. Spain’s Fernando VII ordered other prisoners freed on 28 July, but they were not let go until 1819. In April 1820 King Fernando restored the laws passed by the Cortes for the progress of the American provinces. On 9 August the Cortes confirmed Guatemala’s Junta Suprema de Censura formed to adjudicate offenses against laws regulating the press. The conservative gazistas led by José del Valle won the elections over the liberal cacos whose chief was José María Delgado. Pedro Molina began publishing El Editor Constitucional to promote American rights, and the Amigo de la Patria opposed his radical views. In 1820 Central America had 1,227,000 people with 595,000 in Guatemala and 248,0000 El Salvador.
      On 25 June 1821 the Central American deputies presented to the Cortes their proposals for peace. They demanded free trade with Spain. Ailing Urrutia was replaced by Gabino Gaínza who opposed independence but was lured to support it by promises of being made the chief magistrate of the new nation. Ciudad de Real in Chiapas accepted the Iguala plan of Agustín de Iturbide and Vicente Guerrero in Mexico and separated from Spain on 3 September. Two days after this news reached Guatemala, on the 15th delegates from the six provinces of Central America (Guatemala, Chiapas, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) signed the Act of Independence of Central America. They agreed to invite one representative for every 15,000 people to a national congress in March 1822. On 17 September Gaínza proclaimed the Act and declared that any attempt to restore Spanish domination was treason. The Junta Consultiva passed decrees that were approved by Gaínza who was made captain-general with a salary of $10,000 a year.
      On 21 September the Ayuntamiento (Council) of Salvador declared independence, and they elected a junta. Honduras was divided by Comayagua which associated with Mexico while Tegucigalpa and Gracias related to Guatemala. On 11 October the city of Leon in Nicaragua seceded from Guatemala, but Granada refused to agree; on the 21st Leon joined Nicaragua with the Mexican empire. On the 27th Costa Rica removed their governor and seceded from Spain. The ayuntamientos in Central America voted, and on 31 December the count showed that a majority favored being annexed by Mexico. On 5 January 1822 the Junta decreed that all of Central America was annexed to the empire of Mexico. Four days later Gaínza decreed that conversations on this subject in public were prohibited. Iturbide sent a Mexican military force of 5,000 men; but many deserted, and only 600 reached Guatemala. The Junta in Guatemala was dissolved on 21 February, but Gaínza was retained as captain-general. Tegucigalpa and Gracias rejected union with Mexico, and Granada continued relations with Gaínza. Costa Rica was neutral.
      The revolutionary Salvadoran Manuel José Arce had spent four years in prison, but in 1822 San Salvador’s government gave him a command in defense of the city on 3 June that drove out the Guatemalan troops led by Col. Arzú supporting Mexico. Gaínza was summoned to Mexico and was replaced by General Vicente Filisola who led 600 men, arrived in Guatemala on 12 June, and took over the government ten days later. On 4 November the Mexican government decreed the annexation of Central America. Filisola with 2,000 troops took control of Santa Ana and attacked San Salvador. Their government on 2 December repealed incorporation with Mexico and appealed to the government of the United States of America. Filosola’s army defeated the Arce’s Salvadorans and entered San Salvador on 9 February 1823.
      Filosola declined to use force against disobedient Granada. After Mexico’s revolution at Casa Mata on 1 February he believed his duty was to stabilize the government of Central America, and on 29 March he canceled its incorporation into Mexico. Archbishop Casaus of Guatemala and Bishop Máximo Jerez of Nicaragua wanted to make Costa Rica a province of Mexico; but liberals withdrew from San José, gathered an army, and defeated the imperialists at Las Lagunas on 15 April. On 10 May the Assembly of Honduras voted to join the union of Central America.
      During their time under Mexico heavy taxes had been imposed, and in elections the Central Americans elected republicans. A Congress of the five provinces without Chiapas met on 24 June with José Matias Delgado presiding. On the first of July they declared their independence, and the next day they formed the Constituent National Assembly that met for 19 months to organize a government with the Assembly as the legislature, three elected executives, and a judiciary of existing courts. They acknowledged the public debt, proclaimed Catholicism the state religion, and decreed a free press. Liberals favored a federal republic while their opponents strove to retain Guatemala’s influence. To the executive the liberals elected General Arce, Dr. Pedro Molina, and Juan Vicente Villacorta.
      Negotiations persuaded Filisola to withdraw the Mexican forces from Costa Rica and Nicaragua on 3 August 1823. On the 21st they annulled the acts of the previous imperial government, and on 27 October they directed Central American deputies except for Chiapas to withdraw from the Mexican Congress. Unpaid soldiers led by Captain Rafael Ariza mutinied. After some disturbance negotiations led to Ariza being made commander-in-chief. When he refused to follow orders, he was sent to Antigua and then fled. On 12 October a Salvadoran force came to Guatemala City to support the rebelling soldiers, but after some brawls they left three weeks later. The principles of the constitutional republic were decreed and published on 17 December. By April 1824 they had emancipated all slaves including those coming from other countries, and they prohibited the slave trade. The constitution was not promulgated until 22 November, and the national congress finally ratified it on 1 September 1825. Two senators from each state acted as an executive council, and their president was vice president of the republic. The members of the supreme court were popularly elected. The treasury was depleted, but they got a favorable loan of $7 million from a London firm, using tobacco and customs duties as pledges for repayment.
      On 6 February 1825 the Congress of the Federal States of Central America met and chose the liberal Mariano Gálvez as their president. They began diplomatic relations with Britain and the Netherlands. Pedro Molina had resigned, but as plenipotentiary to Colombia he negotiated a treaty on 25 March. On 21 April the Congress declared that Arce had been re-elected to the executive. Central America made a treaty with the United States of America on 5 December. Arce tried to please both parties and lost the confidence of the Liberals. A second constitutional congress met on 1 March 1826. Arce was accused of squandering the money borrowed from London, and he dissolved the Congress. Deputies from Salvador and Costa Rica left their seats, and most of the opposing party called “serviles” resented liberal attacks on the clergy and left the chamber without a quorum. Arce survived a coup attempt by the state of Guatemala’s chief executive Juan Barrundia, and Arce had him arrested.
      President Arce summoned an unconstitutional congress on 10 October. Salvadoran forces marched toward the capital in March 1827 and were routed at Arrazola on the 23rd. Arce led a federal force that marched into Salvador and attacked the capital on 18 May but suffered heavy losses. They retreated, and by the end of the month Arce had only 300 men. Friends brought reinforcements, and they regained Santa Ana. Arce returned to Guatemala City to restore peace and summoned a new congress on 5 December. On 14 February 1828 Arce turned his office over to Beltramena who put Brigadier Manuel Arzú in command of the federal army. They drove Salvadorans back to their state in March; but after much fighting in San Salvador and San Miguel the federal army surrendered on 20 September at Mejicanos and on 9 October at San Antonio in San Miguel. Victorious General Morazán led a Salvadoran army that besieged Guatemala City on 5 February 1829, but they were driven away. Morazán’s army went back to Mixco and defeated federal forces at Las Charcas on 15 March, and on 9 April they attacked and plundered Guatemala City.
      Morazán had Beltramena, the allied commander Aycinema, and Arce arrested, and he assumed power and reinstated Juan Barrundia as chief of Guatemala. Many celebrated the defeat of the serviles. Prisoners were allowed to go into exile if they paid their prison expenses and a third of their estates. Morazán had the archbishop and friars of several orders deported to Havana, and on 7 September the Federal Congress declared that no religious orders would be recognized. Pedro Molina was elected President of Guatemala, but the state rejected his plan to make Guatemala City a federal district in 1830. Molina wanted a confederation with little federal government, and he was removed from office. Spain was planning an invasion, and in the fall of 1829 President Barrundia passed a law prohibiting Spaniards from entering Central American territory until Spain recognized its independence.
      In August 1829 the Federal Congress decreed the expulsion of troublemakers, and some went to British Honduras (Belize) where they aroused people in Olancho. Federal troops and the Assembly of Guatemala sent 500 soldiers on 24 November to Honduras. Morazán was chief in Honduras and commander of the Central American army, and they marched to Olancho and Opoteca with troops raised in Guatemala. The Olancho rebels surrendered, and on 21 January 1830 they agreed to obey the government. On 19 February Morazán’s force defeated the resistance in Opoteca. He sent the liberal Honduran Dionisio Herrera to Nicaragua where he was made the chief on 12 May.
      The Federal Congress had opened on 27 March 1830, and the Supreme Court was in place. Morazán was elected President, and Barrundia turned over the government to him on 16 September during the national celebration of independence. The liberal Mariano Prado of Salvador became Vice President. Barrundia had persuaded the British to return the island of Roatan they had seized. The servile party opposed the liberals, and Arce led an invasion from Mexico; but General Raoul’s forces defeated them at Escuintla de Soconusco on 24 February 1832. On 21 November 1831 Ramón Guzmán had seized the Omoa Fort with 200 blacks and raised the Spanish flag; but their ship to Cuba was captured, and after a five-month siege the rebel garrison surrendered on 12 September 1832.
      Arce supported Salvador’s chief José María Cornejo. Morazán wanted to use San Salvador as headquarters, and Guatemala’s chief Mariano Gálvez sent Col. Nicolás Espinosa to resolve the conflict with Conejo who rebelled on 6 January 1832 and drove Morazán away. The next day the Salvadoran Congress seceded from the federal government. Morazán led troops from Salvador and Honduras, and they defeated Cornejo’s force of 600 men at Jocoro in Santa Ana on 14 March. Next on the 28th Morazán attacked San Salvador and deposed the state government, sending them to Guatemala. Morazán’s taking over Salvador was considered illegal by other states. On 2 May the Federation ended the Catholic Church being the state religion and recognized freedom of conscience. Congress adjourned mid-year, and there was peace for a while.
      Between 1829 and 1831 the Guatemala government expelled Archbishop Ramón Casaus and his friars, censored church writings, seized their funds, and confiscated monastic property. In 1831 Gálvez revived native tribute. In 1832 the government stopped the collection of tithes and imposed a land tax on caballeria (knights). They abolished religious feast days in 1834, and that year Guatemala ceded nearly three-quarters of its land to foreign companies for colonization. A poll tax of 2 pesos per person began in 1836. On the first day of 1837 the liberals abolished corporate fueros (markets) to reform the legal system with the Livingston Codes that included trial by jury.
      The smaller states resented Guatemala. As antagonism increased in 1833, the new Congress met on 20 April. The federal government moved to Sonsonate on 5 February and then to San Salvador. Elections were held, and José del Valle was elected president; but he died on 2 March 1834. Congress called a new election in June, and Morazán was elected again, and José Gregorio Salazar became vice president, succeeding Prado who was chosen to be chief of Salvador. A fight broke out on 23 June. General Salazar led the federal forces, and they overthrew the local government. Local oligarchs turned people against the liberal ruling party. On 7 February 1835 San Salvador was made a federal district with a new constitution based on the one from 1824.
      President Morazán led 1,500 troops from San Salvador and returned to Guatemala, and after three months of fighting he entered the city. The serviles had gained strength, and they persuaded Morazán to be dictator. On 30 May 1838 the Federal Congress allowed the states to act on their own. He returned to San Salvador in July to suppress a revolt. The last Federal Congress meeting was on the 20th, and two days later, the state government of Guatemala dissolved and was replaced by federal officers. Carrera’s force defeated federal troops at Jalapa and Petapa in August. They pillaged La Antigua and then marched toward Guatemala City. General Carlos Salazar led the garrison of 900 men who defeated Carrera’s army of 2,400 at Villa Nueva on 11 September. Carrera gathered forces again, and in October he invaded Ahuachapan and Santa Ana before returning to Guatemala City; but on 4 November he was defeated and retreated to Mita. On 23 December he agreed to give up his arms but turned over only a few useless ones. On 24 March 1839 Carrero denounced the cruelty of Morazán, and on 13 April he led his army into Guatemala City and restored Rivera Paz with his conservative government. The Assembly restored the religious orders, and in December they made natives wards of the state with special treatment. In 1840 the tobacco monopoly was revived. The army demanded the return of the military fuero, and the government agreed to extend that privilege to the militia as well.
      Morazán’s presidential term ended on 1 February 1839. Nicaragua and Honduras had formed an alliance on 18 January, and they invaded Salvador in March; but Salvadorans whom Morazán led as federals defeated them near Lempa on 6 April. Later that year they invaded Honduras, routed the allies, and captured Tegucigalpa. However, on 31 January 1840 Nicaraguans and Hondurans led by Manuel Quijano defeated the federals and forced them to leave Honduras.
      Liberals in Los Altos had declared its independence, but Carrera’s forces crushed them in January 1840. He had announced his support for the sovereignty of the states, and the serviles asked him to take over Guatemala. Morazán marched an army there and entered the city on 18 March. He freed the liberal prisoners including General Agustín Guzmán who was crippled by shackles in a dungeon. The next day Carrera’s forces attacked them, and after 22 hours Morazán retreated. He returned to San Salvador but found little support. He embarked but was not allowed to stay in Costa Rica and went to South America. Antonio José Cañas became the leader of Salvador, but a diplomatic mission from Guatemala led by Carrera forced Salvador to agree to their conditions in a convention signed on 13 May 1840.
      A convention at Chinandega on 11 April 1842 declared a provisional national government with seven articles, and Antonio José Cañas was named the supreme delegate; but the Guatemala Assembly rejected the compact. Costa Rica accepted but with conditions on 20 July. One week later delegates from Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua formed the Central American Confederation under a constitution with sixteen articles. Guatemala’s envoy Jerónimo Carcache said his government would accept a treaty made in October that Costa Rica agreed to in May 1843. On 29 March 1844 Nicaragua’s Fruto Chamorro, who had edited the Mentor Nicaragüense 1841-42, was chosen to be the supreme delegate, and Juan Lindo of Honduras became president of the council. Honduras accepted this on 27 April, and Salvador and Nicaragua were satisfied; but Guatemala still considered the Confederation dissolved, and Costa Rica wanted an amendment. The executive of Honduras secretly opposed.
      President Malespín of Salvador was trying to create a theocratic regime to please Bishop Viteri when they learned that troops from Guatemala led by Manuel José Arce had invaded Salvador. Malespín mobilized an army of 4,000 men who forced the invaders to flee. Then he disobeyed the supreme delegate and invaded Guatemala to Jutiapa. The Salvadoran army lacked support and was reduced to 3,000 men. Honduras and Salvador made a treaty on 10 July that both governments ratified, and Salvador and Guatemala made peace on 5 August. Two weeks later Hondurans forced a Nicaraguan force to leave Honduras. Malespín wanted to attack Nicaragua and Ferrera; but 1,000 Nicaraguans were defeated at Nacaome in Honduras on 24 October, and the Nicaraguans returned to their country. Malespín invaded Nicaragua and then held a conference at Nacaome with the Honduran army on 31 October, and on 7 November they recognized him as commander-in-chief. Nicaraguans from Leon made a peace treaty two weeks later, but Nicaragua rejected a secret clause.
      On 24 January 1845 Malespín led the allied army that plundered Leon, committing many atrocities. In San Salvador on 15 February a speech in the Assembly by Joaquín Eufrasio Guzmán led to Malespín being deposed, and they chose Guzmán to be president. Honduras and Salvador agreed to a treaty at Chinameca on 18 April; but Honduras did not ratify it, and they invaded Salvador which allied with Guatemala. Hondurans attacked San Salvador on 15 August but lost two-thirds of their force. Nicaragua mediated a peace treaty made between Honduras and Salvador on 27 November that forbade Malespín and Espinosa from entering Salvador.
      In early 1848 Lindo of Honduras and Guerrero in Nicaragua agreed with Salvador to form a Central American union with a diet at Nacaome. Guatemala refused to join. Costa Rica sent deputies to Nacaome but later declared itself an independent state. In November 1849 commissioners from Honduras, Salvador, and Nicaragua met at Leon and agreed on a union, and it went into effect on 9 January 1851. The national constituent congress met at Tegucigalpa on 9 October 1852. They elected Trinidad Cabañas supreme chief, and the executive also included Pedro Molina as vice chief, four senators, and two ministers of state. Fear of dictatorship led the assemblies of Salvador and Nicaragua to declare their independence.

Costa Rica 1835-65

      Costa Rica had elected Braulio Carrillo chief, and he began governing in April 1835. A revolt broke out in Cartago on 24 September, and Alajuela and Heredia supported the rebellion. They marched on San José, but the government had more weapons. They also suppressed an invasion from Nicaragua in Guanacaste. Carrillo’s term ended in April 1837, and he was succeeded by Joaquin Mora for one month and then by Manuel Aguilar. In May 1838 Carrillo and his followers used force to depose Aguilar and his Vice Chief Juan Mora. A constituent assembly met in November.
      On 8 March 1841 Costa Rica’s President Carrillo claimed life tenure and inviolability. His enemies appealed to Morazán who landed at Caldera on 7 April 1842 with 500 men. The government had a force 1,000 men led by Col. Vicente Villaseñor. Morazán announced that he only wanted to remove Carrillo from power, and on the 11th the two sides had a friendly meeting at Jocote and joined forces. They agreed to let Morazán govern with Villaseñor acting in his absence, and Carrillo at San José accepted this. They revived the state’s constitution of 1825, and the people elected 13 to a constituent assembly that met on 10 July and unanimously accepted Morazán as Chief of Costa Rica. Those who did not like this gathered, and 600 men came together under the command of Florentin Alfaro. They marched to besiege San José, and their numbers increased to 5,000. Morazán and a few supporters retreated to Cartago where they were captured. Villaseñor stabbed himself but survived. On 15 September 1842, the anniversary of their independence, a firing squad executed him and Morazán.
      Alfaro was made provisional chief at San José. Minister-general José María Castro summoned a constituent assembly that met on 1 June 1843 and enacted human rights. They adopted a constitution that was promulgated on 11 April 1844. On 28 June Alfaro resumed the executive office, and on 15 November the legislature elected Francisco María Oreamuno chief of Costa Rica. He was opposed by many and resigned on the 26th. He was succeeded by the Senate President Rafael Moya Murillo until 30 April 1845 when his senatorial term ended. Then the Chamber of Deputies elected Senator José Rafael Gallegos. When four regiments mutinied in June, Alfaro once again resume power as Gallegos returned to being President of the Senate. The elections made Alfaro chief and Castro vice chief.
      The Constituent Assembly met in September and completed the constitution that was promulgated on 7 March 1847. On 30 August 1848 the Republic of Costa Rica declared itself an independent nation. Juan Rafael Mora Porras became President on 26 November 1849. He granted amnesty for political offenses, but to prevent revolts he exiled prominent citizens. Costa Rica was the first Central American nation to be recognized by Spain on 10 May 1850. Costa Rica made a concordat with Pope Pius IX on 7 October 1852 and treaties with the United States and several Latin American nations and major European countries. Mora was re-elected President on 3 May 1853. People were happy with peace, and he was made captain-general. However, owners of property, merchants, and the army opposed Mora, and they removed him on the night of 14 August 1859 and set up a provisional government. Mora and his family were sent to Salvador where he introduced coffee cultivation.
      A Constituent Assembly elected the provisional president José María Montealagre with wealthy Vicente Aguilar as vice president, and he became Minister of the Treasury and of War. His ruthless power was resented, and Costa Rica was divided by two parties both claiming law and order. The Constituent Assembly met on 16 October 1859 and promulgated a new constitution with 142 articles on 27 December. Human rights were protected except that only the Roman Catholic religion was tolerated. After an election the Congress met in April 1860 and declared Montealagre president of the republic. Some men persuaded the deposed Mora that he would be welcomed back to Costa Rica. He landed in September at Puntarenas with some friends and gathered about 350 men, but the government’s army defeated them at La Angostura on the 28th. Two days later Mora surrendered. He had claimed that Aguilar owed his family $200,000, but the Minister of War had him and General J. M. Cañas executed by a firing squad. Aguilar also confiscated his property, but he died of a heart attack on 26 April 1861. Costa Rica’s economy was improving. In the next election in May 1863 the compromise candidate Jesus Jimenez was elected president, and he maintained peace and prosperity through his term that ended in May 1866. In 1820 Costa Rica had only 63,000 people, and by 1860 the population had grown to 115,000. Costa Rica had per capita income more than four times that of the rest of Central America.

Guatemala under Carrero 1844-65

      In February 1837 Guatemala City had 3,000 sickened by cholera, and 900 died. Natives resented being forced to work building prisons, and on 6 March they rebelled at Ostuncalco. The cholera epidemic was spreading. The insurrection was greatest at Mita, and on 6 May they forced a magistrate with 40 dragoons to flee. These rebels were led by 21-year-old Rafael Carrera of mixed race who looked so native that he was called “El Indio.” The government forces defeated the rebels near Mataquescuintla on 15 June. That month Carrera announced his revolutionary plan to abolish the Livingston Codes and the poll tax, to grant amnesty to exiles, to restore the religious orders, and to gain respect for law by threatening death. In October he annulled the law on marriage and divorce, and he canceled English colonization contracts. He raised a large force and avoided fighting the army, but they defeated detached regulars. Many rebels gathered in La Antigua, and they threatened Guatemala City where a federal garrison mutinied on 26 January 1838. Three days later 800 rebels entered the capital, and on 1 February they were joined by about 10,000 natives led by Carrera who let 4,000 guerrillas pillage the city. Gálvez stepped down as chief of Guatemala and was succeeded by Pedro Valenzuela. Carrera wanted to sack the city but was bought off by 1,000 pesos and 10,000 for his troops, and he was appointed commandant of Mita. Carrera survived an assassination attempt by the bandit Andrés Monreal who stayed to loot and was killed.
      Although Carrera could not write, he had others write for him. While Rivera Paz was Guatemala’s head of state, Carrera often governed as the military leader, and on 7 December 1841 he had Paz and others arrested. He chose José Francisco Barrundia as his deputy, but he resigned in March 1842. Paz became president again in May. In March 1844 Carrera had the Assembly replaced by a council, and the Assembly dissolved itself. On 20 September unpaid troops began looting Guatemala City, and Lt. General Rafael Carrera stopped the violence. President Rivera Paz resigned, and on 11 December the Guatemala Assembly elected Carrera president to protect the elites as well as the natives. In January 1845 he took a leave of absence to visit his estates, and on 2 February conservative politicians and army officers led a revolt in the capital; but his brother Sotero Carrera fined the capital 20,000 pesos to pay his native troops. On 23 May 1846 the British consul-general Chatfield lectured Rafael Carrera on foreign policy and urged him to restrain the hostility to Europeans by General Pais, and he removed Pais.
      On 21 March 1847 Guatemala declared its independence, and President Carrera issued a manifesto explaining the reasons why. The caudillo José Lucio López challenged Carrera and was found and killed, but on 16 October the Lucios who followed him plundered Carrera’s estate at Palencia. In February 1848 Carrera was persuaded not to resign. France was the first European nation to make a treaty with Guatemala on 8 March. Carrera’s brother Sotero was killed, and his friends defected to the enemies. In August creoles in the Oriente united with Los Altos to oppose Carrera, and they allied with the guerrilla Francisco Carrillo. On 15 August Carrera asked the Assembly to protect the natives who work the land, and he left for Mexico. In early 1849 he went to Los Altos and helped indigenous people rise up against the creole government. In August he was welcomed back to Guatemala as commander-in-chief to pacify the rebellions.
      On 19 October 1851 Rafael Carrera was elected president of Guatemala again under a conservative constitution that centralized the government. His term began on 1 January 1852, and in October he made a concordat with Pope Pius IX that gave him patronage over the church. On 23 May 1854 he was proclaimed president for life. He led the Guatemalan army in wars against El Salvador and Honduras in 1851 and 1853, and again with Salvador in 1863 and against the American filibuster Walker in Nicaragua in 1856-57. Also a revolt in Quezaltenango had to be put down in 1856. By 1860 Guatemala had 951,000 people. Carrera died on 14 April 1865.

El Salvador 1841-65

      Salvador had formed a constituent assembly in August 1839, and during a new session in January 1841 the chief Norberto Ramírez resigned and was succeeded by Juan Lindo, but he and the Assembly were led by the commandant Col. Francisco Malespín. On the 30th they called their country the República del Salvador, and they adopted their second constitution on 18 February with a legislature having two chambers. Some were friends of Morazán, and Lindo dissolved the chambers on 6 November in a coup d’état for Malespín. On 13 January 1842 three senators organized a constitutional meeting at San Vicente. Juan José Guzman emerged as the provisional president in September, and he tolerated the press, especially El Amigo del Pueblo. Malespín urged the rebelling volcaneños in Santa Ana to overthrow the government. Bishop Viteri quarreled with Malespín, but both supported Friar Vazquez. He criticized President Guzman who praised Carrera. Guzman ordered the friar arrested, but Viteri, Malespín, and Vazquez aroused crowds. Malespín returned to Salvador and banished several people. Guzman resigned and was succeeded by Vice President Pedro Arce. No presidential candidate had a majority, and the Assembly made Malespín the President on 5 February 1844. Viteri exerted his influence which was resented by many as revolutionary.
      El Salvador’s presidential election once again did not give any candidate a majority, and in January 1846 the Assembly chose Eugenio Aguilar who believed in constitutional government. Bishop Viteri aroused people against him in July and demanded that Aguilar resign, but people upheld his authority, causing Viteri to flee to Guatemala. Malespín attacked Chalatenango, and Viteri hailed him as the providential defender of Salvadorans. Malespín tried to preach religion, but he was unpopular and was defeated by 800 men led by General Nicolás Angulo. Malespín fled to Honduras where he was killed at San Fernando on 25 November 1846. Bishop Viteri moved to Nicaragua, and Pope Pius IX assigned him to that diocese.
      Liberals elected Doroteo Vasconcelos president of El Salvador, and his term began on 7 February 1848. He hoped to reunite the Central American nations, but opposition rose with the revolution in Guatemala in August. Bishop Zaldaña of Antigua was given the diocese of Salvador. The constitution did not allow the President to be re-elected; but his friends re-elected Vasconcelos anyway in 1850, and this divided the liberals. In 1852 Francisco Dueñas was elected President of El Salvador. He managed to resolve differences with Guatemala, and he aided Carrera against Honduras. José María San Martín became president in 1854 and kept the peace, but San Salvador was destroyed by an earthquake on 16 April that was followed by cholera, hunger, and locusts. Rafael Campo was president 1856-57, and he supported Nicaragua against the American filibuster Walker in 1857.
      Natives called “Indians” who had converted to Spanish ways and mestizos were referred to as “ladinos.” In 1837 El Salvador had an estimated 230,000 Ladinos, 90,000 Indians, and 80,000 “Whites” (Europeans). In 1850 El Salvador had only 201 schools for boys with 6,696 students out of a population of 372,815. El Salvador’s Code of Commerce was published in 1855, and in the 1850s and 1860s Salvadoran trade increased greatly. Isidro Menéndez compiled Salvadoran laws into a code of civil and criminal procedure in 1857. A Chilean Code written by Andres Bello based on 1848 Spanish law influenced a new Salvadoran civil and criminal code that was promulgated in 1860.
      In 1858 Senator Gerard Barrios led a coup d’état against Campo’s successor. The Assembly met in January 1859 and accepted President Barrios, and they amended the constitution to increase his term to six years and deputies’ to four years. Barrios was elected president in 1860, the year that El Salvador’s population reached 424,000. Salvador allied with Honduras; but Guatemala and Nicaragua defeated them on the Santa Rosa plains on 16 June 1863, and that summer revolts against Barrios led to several departments proclaiming Dueñas provisional president. Guatemala’s Carrera supported him and defeated the army led by General Santiago Gonzalez on 3 July. Barrios held out in San Salvador for four months but departed on 26 October. On 18 February 1864 the Assembly deposed Barrios and recognized Dueñas as President. They promulgated a conservative constitution, and Dueñas was elected president. Barrios tried to raise a force in Nicaragua, but he was captured, extradited, and executed on 29 August 1865.

Honduras 1844-65

      During the difficult years in the early 1840s Francisco Ferrera had been President of Honduras in 1841 and 1842 and from 23 February 1843 to the end of 1844. Troops mutinied at Olancho in early December 1844. After its quick resolution Ferrera decreed stringent measures against the leaders on the 13th. The 1839 constitution did not allow Ferrera to be re-elected, but he became Minister of War with command of the army. No candidate obtained a majority in the election, and the legislature chose Ferrera’s follower Coronado Chavez as President. While Ferrera was leading the army in Nicaragua, the former chief Rivera invaded Honduras to try to overthrow the government; but they were defeated. He and three others were captured on 4 January 1845, and Rivera was hanged.
      After another election with no majority candidate the Assembly chose Ferrera; but he declined, and they selected Juan Lindo as president in January 1847. While the United States was fighting in Mexico, he issued manifestos on 1 and 2 June opposing the US. A constituent assembly created a new Charter that was adopted at Comayagua on 4 February 1848 that gave all residents born in Central America citizenship and allowed foreigners to be naturalized. Literate citizens could vote, and only the Catholic religion was allowed. President Lindo reported that they were at peace on 10 June 1849, though he recognized party divisions. General Santos Guardiola was influenced by aristocrats in Guatemala and the British Chatfield, and his announcement at Tegucigalpa on 12 February 1850 persuaded President Lindo to flee and ask for help from Salvador and Nicaragua. Guardiola had little foreign assistance, and on 25 March he submitted to Lindo’s government.
      During this era Belize was called British Honduras, and the people there abolished slavery on 1 August 1840. They exported 20,000 tons of mahogany per year, but it was declining. In October 1849 a British warship at Trujillo demanded that Hondurans pay $111,061, and a force occupied the town’s fort. The Honduran commandant raised $1,200, and the British commander accepted this on account. The British also seized various islands. On 29 December 1849 Felipe Jáuregui claiming to be a commissioner for Honduras agreed to a convention with British envoy Chatfield at San Jose, Costa Rica; but the government of Honduras disavowed the treaty. Honduras appointed a commissioner, and on 27 March 1852 they agreed to a debt for $80,000. After many years of disputes and negotiations Honduras agreed to a treaty with Britain regarding the Bay Islands, the Mosquito Indians, and the claims of British subjects on 28 November 1859.
      On 1 March 1852 the liberal Trinidad Cabañas became President of Honduras which had good relations with its neighbors except for Guatemala. General Guardiola got aid from Guatemala’s Carrera, and General Juan López backed their revolt with 700 men. On 6 July 1855 they overthrew Cabañas who found refuge in Salvador. The ill Vice President Bueso let Senator Francisco Aguilar take charge. Guardiola was elected and became president on 17 February 1856, and he came back from fighting Walker in Nicaragua. He was considered a tool of Carrera, and he made peace with Guatemala and settled issues with the British. Guardiola was re-elected and served until he was assassinated on 11 January 1862. Vice President Victoriano Castellanos was in El Salvador, and he returned and later made an alliance with Salvador’s Barrios. Castellanos governed during turmoil and died on 11 December. José Francisco Montes continued the alliance with Salvador in opposition to Guatemala and Nicaragua until troops from those two countries helped the serviles overthrow him on 21 June 1863. They made Senator José María Medina provisional president, and he outlawed Montes. On 15 February 1864 the election favored Medina. A constituent assembly met and reformed the constitution by 19 September. They appointed Medina provisional president on 29 October and adjourned. They also decreed amnesty for all political offenses committed since February 1848.

Nicaragua 1838-65

       Nicaragua’s population was estimated at 186,000 in 1820 and 278,000 in 1860, and during this period the rest of Central America had more than twice as much population density. In 1838 Nicaragua’s second constitution called for the Director Supremo to have a term of two years. Pablo Buitrago acted as the first director, though the chambers did not declare him constitutionally the Director Supremo until 4 March 1841. He replaced the liberal Minister General Francisco Castellón with Simon Orozco. Buitrago rejected Costa Rica’s chief Morazán and favored Guatemala. On 1 April 1843 he was succeeded by Juan de Dios Orozco temporarily until the Assembly chose Manuel Perez because no candidate had a majority. He brought back Castellón as Minister General. A civil war ended with Leon being sacked a second time in January 1845. That year Nicaragua spent $146,000 on the army and had a deficit of $100,102. (Dollars were equal to pesos at that time.) While the government was in San Fernando, General J. Trinidad Muñoz supervised the elections, helping the conservative José León Sandoval gain a plurality. On 4 April the Assembly declared him elected. He moved the capital from Leon to Granada. Nicaragua allied with El Salvador on 6 May. Revolutionaries in Managua were arrested, and Muñoz subdued a revolt in Leon on 24 June. In late July about 200 revolutionaries led by José M. Valle took over the town of Chinandega, and on the 26th Muñoz defeated in Leon those that Sandoval called robbers and assassins. The Nicaraguan government then moved to Managua.
      In August 1846 the British ship Daphne blockaded the port of Realejo to demand that Nicaragua pay claims to three British citizens, and the government pledged to use funds from its tobacco monopoly. After the next election José Guerrero became Supreme Director on 6 April 1847, and he moved the government to Leon on 20 July. Along the Mosquito coast of Nicaragua the British had planted the colony Belize, and on 12 August 1841 its superintendent Macdonald had brought a king of the Mosquitos to San Juan del Norte. Three days later British officers arrested the commandant and revenue officer, Lt. Col. Quijano. Most American nations protested except the chief Ferrera of Honduras who was influenced by Guatemala and consul Chatfield and recognized the Mosquito nation on 16 December 1843. In January 1848 two British warships occupied the San Juan port and replaced Nicaraguan officials with Englishmen serving the Mosquito King. Nicaragua sent a force but had to yield to returning British warships in March.
      In 1849 the Gordon expedition began transporting foreigners across Nicaragua from the San Juan River to Lake Nicaragua and then overland to Realejo. On 19 April 1850 the United States and Britain agreed to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty which claimed dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast or any other part of Central America so that they could build a canal and railroads. Spain made a commercial treaty with Nicaragua on 25 July and recognized its independence. The British withdrew their control over San Juan. Later an altercation with Solon Borland, the US minister to Nicaragua, provoked US Commander Hollins to bombard San Juan on 13 July 1854, and marines burned the town.
      Norberto Ramírez became Supreme Director of Nicaragua on 1 April 1849, and he sent a force led by General J. T. Muñoz that defeated Bernabé Somoza who had captured Rivas. Somoza was arrested at San Jorge and was convicted and executed on 17 June 1849. Jose Luareano Pineda became Director in 1851, and Muñoz led a revolt and arrested Pineda and his ministers Castellón and F. Diaz Zapata. Honduras sent troops to assist the Nicaraguan army, and Muñoz surrendered on 10 November 1851. A national constituent assembly proposed a new constitution on 13 October 1852, but the legislative Assembly rejected it on 30 April 1853.
      A new constituent assembly met on 13 May, and on 28 February 1854 they decreed a constitution with a president as the chief executive. On 7 April they declared themselves a temporary legislature, and they chose Fruto Chamorro, who got the most votes, to be provisional president until 1 March 1855, but only Granada and a few towns recognized his government. Liberals led by Castellón, Máximo Jerez, and Mariano Salazar tried to bring about a revolution in Leon, but the Managua government defeated this and banished the leaders. They gained support from Trinidad Cabañas and invaded Leon, Chinandega, and other towns that proclaimed Castellón provisional director which he accepted on 11 June 1854. Chamorro retreated to Granada which was then besieged for several months. After deadly battles Chamorro’s party regained Managua, Masaya, and Rivas. Chamorro died on 12 March 1855 and was succeeded by José María Estrada, but this was temporarily ratified by only 14 members of a constituent assembly. The civil war continued as military forces in Nicaragua and from Honduras gathered. On 17 May they defeated the liberals at Tecuaname, and two weeks later Estrada’s government decreed an amnesty for soldiers.
      In August 1854 Nicaraguan Liberals began discussions with the American Byron Cole, and on 28 December he made a contract with Castellón promising that 300 American soldiers would fight under the command of William Walker with the Liberals. On 4 May 1855 Walker with 58 men sailed from San Francisco, and they landed at Realejo on 16 June and were welcomed by Lt. Col. Félix Ramírez. Walker refused to serve under General Muñoz at Leon, but he was made a colonel in Nicaragua’s army. With a hundred natives led by Ramírez they went to Rivas where they were dispersed and fled, the natives into Costa Rica. Walker and his men retreated to Realejo. He led another expedition with 50 foreigners and 120 natives led by Valle that landed at San Juan del Sur on 29 August. Guardiola commanded 500 men at Rivas, but after attacking Walker’s better equipped men at La Virgen on 4 September they dispersed and returned to Rivas. Two days earlier Castellón died of the cholera that infected many.
      Walker had about 80 Americans and 250 natives when they captured Granada on 13 October. President Estrada and his ministers fled. Walker freed about a hundred political prisoners who joined his army. On the 28th Nicaragua’s government dissolved itself. Three days later the provisional president Patricio Rivas arrived at Granada, and he appointed General Ponciano Corral minister of war and Walker chief of the army. Rivas obeyed Walker and appointed a cabinet of democrats that included Máximo Jerez. Corral did not trust Walker and sent secret letters to Honduras. He was caught, court-martialed, and then executed on 8 November.
      Walker persuaded President Rivas to revoke the charter of the Accessory Transit Company on 18 February 1856, and they seized the company’s property because of a debt of $412,489 to Nicaragua’s government. Costa Rica’s President Mora declared war on Walker on the first of March, and Mora led the Costa Rican army of 3,000 men that defeated 500 North Americans at Santa Rosa on the 20th. Then on 10 April a force led by Walker himself fought a bloody battle and then retreated. Both sides suffered from cholera afterwards. The Costa Rican army took over the transit route at Virgin Bay and Rivas and held it for two months. On 20 April at Matagalpa some officers led by General Fernando Chamorro recognized Estrada as the legitimate president, but Chamorro was defeated and went to Honduras. The Costa Ricans left Rivas, and Walker punished some in the town in early May. On the 20th US President Franklin Pierce recognized Walker’s government in Nicaragua.
      Walker moved his government to Leon, and on 10 June he summoned a congress. On the 25th President Rivas declared Walker a usurper and an enemy. Walker deposed Rivas, and on the 29th Walker won an election for the presidency with 15,835 votes in the region of Granada, Masaya, and Rivas. On 3 July Rivas sent letters asking the Central American nations for help. On the 12th Walker read his inaugural address in English. The American minister Wheeler recognized Walker as president, but he had little Nicaraguan support. About 800 Salvadoran troops arrived in Leon on the 12th, and a few days later they were joined by more than 500 Guatemalans while 600 Hondurans were approaching. On 18 July those three nations at Guatemala City formed an alliance for independence and recognized Rivas as the head of Nicaragua’s government. On 12 September the Liberals and Conservatives agreed to unite to save Nicaragua’s independence from Walker’s adventurers. Two days later 160 Nicaraguan troops led by General Estrada defeated Walker’s 300 filibusters by San Jacinto ranch. Walker decreed slavery legal on 22 September. In October the allies drove Walker’s forces out of Managua, and they retreated to Granada.
      Walker had an army of 1,200 men who were mostly Americans with the rest Europeans, and they suffered from cholera and the climate. A Costa Rican army led by General Cañas occupied San Juan del Sur in early November. On the 18th Walker decided to evacuate Granada, and he ordered the city burned. Six days later the allies saw the fire, and some skirmished with the enemy and were defeated. The allied armies closed in on the filibusters, and Walker with 115 men on 13 December left on one of the steamships they used on the lake. As 1857 began, Walker’s army held only the town of Rivas and from San Juan del Sur to Virgin Bay. The allied armies besieged them, and Walker surrendered on 1 May. He was transported to the United States with about 400 of his men. Walker attempted another invasion of Nicaragua but was arrested at Punta de Castilla and sent back by the US Commodore Paulding on 8 December. Walker’s last expedition landed at Trujillo on 6 August 1860, but he was captured there by the British Navy and was turned over to Honduras where he was tried by court martial and executed by firing squad on 12 September.
      Nicaragua was governed by the Liberal Máximo Jerez and the Conservative Tomás Martínez as bipartisan executives from 24 June 1857 to 19 October. On that day Costa Rica declared war against Nicaragua, and Jerez and Martínez both resigned to lead the military defense. On 8 November a Constituent Assembly met in Managua, and one week later they elected Martínez president. The treasury had less than $100, and soldiers had not been paid during the war. Nicaragua and Costa Rica made peace on 16 January 1858, and on 15 April in a treaty they agreed on their boundary. On 19 August Nicaragua promulgated a new constitution with representative government. In 1860 Nicaragua’s population was estimated at 278,000.
      Nicaragua and Guatemala made a treaty on 20 September 1862 and were allies in the war against El Salvador and Honduras. President Martínez was re-elected on 1 March 1863, and Congress declined his offer to resign. He declared revolutionaries traitors, but amnesty was granted to all but the leaders on 20 April 1864.

Panama 1817-65

      On 18 December 1818 Scottish Gregor MacGregor led 417 men from England, and on 8 April 1819 they took over the town of Portobello in the Colon province of Panama. The unpaid invaders lacked discipline, and some sold ammunition for liquor. Governor Alejandro de Hore sent troops who occupied the nearly deserted town on the 29th, the day a ship from Jamaica brought supplies to the invaders. The next day Hore’s troops took back Portobello. MacGregor fled on a ship, and 340 of his men were captured. They were cruelly treated in chain-gangs with some officers shot, and only 121 survived and were deported to Jamaica on 20 September 1820. That year Panama got its first printing press.
      On 10 November 1821 José de Fábrega in Panama City called for Panama’s independence. On the 28th leaders in the City Council declared Panama free of Spain with Fábrega as head of state, and they joined the Republic of Colombia that included New Granada. In February 1822 José María Carreño became intendent, and Fábrega was made governor of Alange, Veragua, and annexes. They prohibited the importing or exporting of African slaves, and future children of slave mothers were declared free. In 1824 the British navy captain Charles Cochrane journeyed across the isthmus of Panama and wrote a book about his experience. In September 1830 General José Domingo Espinar led the Panamanians withdrawing from Colombia. In early 1831 Panama became part of New Granada which included most of what was Colombia. In November 1840 Panamanians led by General Tomás Herrera as their President tried to become independent of Bogotá as the Free State of the Isthmus; but they rejoined New Granada on the last day of 1841. In 1846 the Mallarino-Bidlack Treaty gave the United States the right to move across the Isthmus of Panama usually between Colón on the Caribbean side and Panama City by the Pacific Ocean.
      News of gold discovered in California in 1848 spread gradually at first, but United States President Polk mentioned it in his state-of-the-union address on 5 December. In 1848 only 735 people traveled across the isthmus, but in 1849 about 31,500 would cross, and by 1860 the total crossings were about 416,500. Those crossing in the 1850s had to wait for a ship on the Pacific side, and many suffered from diseases. A bridge over the Chagres River was completed on 26 November 1853. A locomotive was brought to Panama City in January 1854, and the railway from Colón began operating on 28 January 1855. An American company charged $25 to take passengers from one port to the other in under four hours.
      In 1848 General José Hilario López of the Liberal Party was elected President of New Granada, and he served four years from April 1849. In March 1850 a white American killed a black man in Panama City, and the Liberal Governor Manuel María Díaz let him go free. The angry blacks of Arrabal called “Arrabaleños” came into the conflict with elite residents of San Felipe in Panama City on 18 May. The Conservative newspaper El Vijilante warned there would be a caste war, and in 1851 Conservatives rebelled with arms against the coming emancipation of the remaining 500 slaves including 50 in Panama City that went into effect on 1 January 1852. The Liberals also ratified a radical constitution in 1853 that allowed all men to vote regardless of race or property.
      On 26 January 1854 the consuls of the United States, France, Britain, Brazil, Portugal, Denmark, Peru, and Ecuador complained that the governor of Panama was not protecting those passing across the Isthmus even though they had to pay a $2 tax. Justo Arosemena proposed a Federal State of Panama to unite the provinces on the isthmus, and he was elected its first chief executive; but he served only two months in the summer of 1855. The State of Panama was proclaimed on 17 September, and Conservative Francisco Fábrega became the chief executive on 4 October. He tried to resolve the financial troubles by getting a loan from a bank in the United States. The Liberal Pedro Goytia proclaimed himself Governor of the Azuero province, and on 14 January 1856 Fábrega learned that Goytia was leading a revolt.
      On 15 April 1856 a drunken sailor from the United States refused to pay for a slice of watermelon, and a fight with other drunken men broke out. A crowd gathered, and they attacked the American immigrants. All but two of the 17 killed were citizens of the United States who had arrived that day. This “incidente de la tajada de sandía” (incident of the slice of watermelon) became a significant historical event as the beginning of the Panamanian national struggle against the imperialism of the United States.
      In the election on 15 August 1856 the whites claimed that the conservative Bartolomé Calvo was elected by 4,000 votes; but the blacks believed that Manuel María Díaz was chosen. On 18 September the legislature declared Calvo the constitutional governor for two years with Fábrega as vice governor. In 1858 José de Obaldía was popularly elected governor, and during his term whites and blacks fought twice.
      On 1 October 1860 Santiago de la Guardia was elected over the opposition of the liberal black voters, and he moved the capital to Santiago de Veragua. After his departure the blacks chose Manuel Díaz provisional governor, and in a skirmish on 19 August 1862 liberals attacked towns and killed Guardia and two or three others. They drafted a new constitution ratified on 8 May 1863, and the Isthmus became a part of the United States of Colombia. They banned the death penalty and cruel punishment and made ten years the maximum sentence. The constituent assembly chose Pedro Goytia to be president of the state; but he was forced to resign, and on 13 August he was replaced by General Peregrino Santacolonia. He was soon sent as a delegate to the national congress at Bogotá, and Vice President José Leonardo Calancha was chief executive; but he was unpopular and was deposed and replaced on 9 March 1865 by Gil Colunje.

Copyright © 2018 by Sanderson Beck

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