BECK index

South America 1845-65

by Sanderson Beck

Brazil 1845-65
Argentina and Paraguay 1845-65
Chile 1845-65
Venezuela 1845-65
New Granada (Colombia) 1845-65
Bolivia 1845-65
Ecuador 1845-65
Peru 1845-65

Brazil 1845-65

Brazil’s Revolution 1817-22
Brazil’s Independence 1823-44

      The liberals in Brazil had regained power in 1844 and used the regressive laws to govern, gain patrons, and win elections. The Council of Ministers was given a president on 20 July 1847. Liberal cabinets ruled until September 1848 when the conservatives led by Pedro Araújo Lima, Visconde de Olina, took power. In November an uprising broke out in Pernambuco called “Praieria” from the liberal Rua da Praia newspaper. Their defeat in 1849 consolidated conservative control over Brazil. Rio de Janeiro’s population reached 200,000 in 1850. That year a land law ended the acquiring of land by squatting.
      Brazil had many slaves from Africa and their descendants. Yet slavery in Brazil and Spanish America was much less malicious, and slaves there had many more rights than the slaves in the South of the United States. In Brazil slaves could legally marry. The Catholic Church baptized their children, and it was against the law the break up families by sale. Brazilian slaves had many more free days to rest or earn money to buy freedom. In Brazil slaves had 85 free days each year on Sundays and holidays. Manumission was much easier than in the US, and the freedom of infants was often purchased for a small price at baptism. The history of slaves in Brazil began with their baptism and religious teaching while on the ship from Africa by a friar on board. By the 18th century it had been established that Portuguese and Spanish masters were better than the English and Dutch. In Brazil free Negroes had the same rights as whites. The idea that black slaves were an inferior race was much stronger in the United States than in Brazil and Spanish America where slavery was not intended to be perpetual and could be ended more easily. In the United States the master had absolute authority over slaves and could punish them severely and even kill them with impunity. In Latin America slaves had rights, and they were tried by legal courts for alleged crimes. Catholic priests provided religious instruction, and slaves could purchase their freedom and own property. Because Brazil had so many slaves it would take longer to abolish the institution there, and abolition would come gradually by 1888 without a devastating war. African culture survived more in Latin America, and they would have many more slave revolts than in the United States.
      In August 1845 Brazil’s Aberdeen Slave Trade Act approved the British Navy treating slave ships as pirates, and in the next five years more than 400 ships were captured and taken to vice-admiralty courts. Yet Brazil’s slave imports averaged more than 55,000 per year in 1846-49. Brazil finally enacted the strong anti-slave-trade Queirós law on 4 September 1850 that declared the slave trade piracy and imposed penalties for importing slaves which Brazil had banned in 1831. As a result the number of slaves imported decreased from 22,856 in 1850 to 3,287 in 1851 to 800 in 1852 to none in 1853 and 1854 and with one last illegal shipment of 90 slaves in 1855. For this violation the Minister of Justice José Tomás Nabuco de Araújo Filho replaced the President of Pernambuco. In a treaty made on 12 October 1851 Uruguay promised to return escaped slaves to Brazil, and Brazilians living in Uruguay were allowed to have slaves on their property.
      More Germans began coming in the late 1840s, and about 28,000 came by 1865. From 1850 to 1865 about 94,000 Portuguese immigrated into Brazil. More Germans began coming in the late 1840s, and about 28,000 came by 1865.
      In the early 1850s Brazil had only 61,700 students in elementary schools and 3,713 in secondary schools. In 1852 the Brazilian government began guaranteeing return on capital invested. Coffee planters supported building a railway from the Rio port to the Paraiba valley, and it reached the Paraiba River in 1858. Conservatives and Liberals formed the Ministry of Reconciliation led by the Marquis of Paraná 1853-56 and which lasted until 1861. In 1855 making electoral districts for single members aided the liberals, and their minority greatly increased in the 1856 election. Olinda appointed the Liberal leader Bernardo de Sousa Franco to be Treasury Minister, and tariffs were lowered.
      Some 3,000 Italians arrived 1861-65. Coffee planters supported the building of a railway from the Rio port to the Paraiba valley, and it reached the Paraiba River in 1858. Olinda appointed the Liberal leader Bernardo de Sousa Franco to be Treasury Minister, and tariffs were lowered. In 1859-61 the Conservative cabinet reversed the electoral reforms, and they enacted restrictive company laws. In the election of December 1860 moderate Conservatives joined with the Liberals. Although Conservatives were still the majority, some ardent Liberals gained seats. Both parties were split, and the Progressive League was formed. The Conservative cabinet was defeated in 1861, and the former Conservative Zacarias de Góis e Vasconcelos became Prime Minister for six days in May in 1862 and again in 1864 from January through August. In between Araújo Lima, Marquis of Olinda, was President of the Council. Another progressive reformer Francisco José Furtado replaced Zacarias, but he gave way to Olinda who became President for the fourth time in May 1865.
      In 1863 Brazil provided military support for rebels in Uruguay, and the Uruguay government asked for military aid from Paraguay. Paraguay’s President Solano López sent a warning to Brazil, but Brazilians invaded Uruguay on 12 October 1864. On 11 November a Paraguayan gunboat captured a Brazilian ship on the Paraguay River, and Brazil broke off diplomatic relations. President López sent an army that invaded Mato Grosso in Brazil on 14 December. He also asked Argentina to let him send a force through their Corrientes Province to attack Brazil’s army in Rio Grande do Sul and Uruguay, but Argentine President Bartolomé Mitre denied the request. In March 1865 Paraguay declared war on Argentina, and a Paraguayan squadron attacked two Argentine ships at Corrientes on 13 April. Brazil had made peace with Uruguay on 20 February, and on 1 May Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay signed a triple alliance. Paraguayans invaded Rio Grande do Sul from Corrientes, but on 11 June the Brazilian Navy and Marines defeated them at Riachuelo on the Paraná River. Brazilians drove the foreign troops out of Rio Grande do Sul by September. In November 1865 the fighting moved into Paraguay, and the war would go on until 1870.
      The first great native work of literature in Brazil was the novel O Guarani by the lawyer José de Alencar which was serialized in the newspaper Diario do Rio de Janeiro in 1857.

Argentina and Paraguay 1845-65

Argentine Revolution 1817-44
Paraguay 1817-44

      In 1843 Juan Manuel de Rosas had imposed a blockade on Montevideo, and the siege continued until 1851. In 1845 he tried to control the trade on the Paraná River which aroused the French and British, and from 18 September they blockaded the Rio de la Plata basin for five years. In 1849 Rosas declined to run for re-election; but he negotiated a treaty with Britain that was signed on 24 November 1849 and ratified on 15 May 1850, and France agreed to a settlement on 31 August.
      Argentina’s generation of 1837 promoted literary culture and progressive ideas through education and journalism, and they criticized medieval and Spanish colonialism and urged more European immigration. They were “romantic” activists led primarily by Esteban Echeverría, Juan Bautista Alberdi, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, and Bartolomé Mitre. Echeverría (1805-51) was a poet and novelist as well as a political activist. In the 1830s Echeverría promoted “moral regeneration” to overcome Rosas, and in 1846 he published his Manual of Moral Instruction and his Dogma socialista. Yet he is known mostly for his short story “El matadero” (The Slaughter Yard) which is a vivid attack on the violence of the Rosas regime. He wrote it while in exile in Uruguay from 1841-51, but it was not published until 1871.
      Alberdi was a friend of Echeverría and Juan María Gutiérrez. They started the group of liberal intellectuals called the “Generation of ’37” and began the Asociación de Mayo named after the Revolution of May 1810 in Buenos Aires. Alberdi moved to Uruguay in 1838 and to Chile in 1844, but he and Gutiérrez influenced the Constitution of 1853. Alberdi became more conservative and supported Urquiza and the federalist leaders who dominated the country.
      Bartolomé Mitre was a military leader and was the first editor of El comercio in Valparaiso, Chile, and he contributed to Sarmiento’s El progreso. He was a nationalist and opposed the politics of the lawyer Valentín Alsina who was governor of Buenos Aires twice in the 1850s. Yet in October 1852 Alsina asked Mitre to lead the defense of Buenos Aires. The moderate José Mármol was arrested for criticizing Rosas and went into exile. He published part of his auto-biographical novel Amalia in 1851 and revised it in 1855. He also wrote the plays El Poeta in 1847 and El Cruzado in 1851.
      The generation of 1837 did not like being called “romantics” and thought of themselves as eclectics or socialists. They promoted literary culture and progressive ideas through education and journalism, and they criticized medieval and Spanish colonialism and urged European immigration. Justo José Urquiza became Governor of the Entre Rios province in 1841.
      Sarmiento published his historical novel Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism in 1845 to denounce the tyranny of Rosas and to replace it with European civilization. The book discusses Argentine history and government and describes the life of Juan Facundo Quiroga who lived in Argentina 1788-1835. In 1849 Sarmiento published De la Educación Común to promote free schooling for all, and his Recuerdos de Provincia (Memories of Provincial Life) and his utopian Argirópolis came out in 1850. That year Sarmiento worked to reconcile leaders of Buenos Aires and the Confederation.
      Justo José Urquiza had become governor of the Entre Rios province in 1841. After gaining allies from Brazil and Uruguay he rejected the re-election of Rosas in May 1851. Urquiza raised the siege of Montevideo in September, and he led an army toward Buenos Aires that defeated Rosas by the city of Caseros in early 1852 and then massacred several hundred followers of Rosas in Buenos Aires. Rosas fled on a British Navy ship and spent the rest of his life in England.
      On 1 May 1852 Alberdi published in Valparaiso his Bases y puntos de partida para la organización política de la República Argentina, and copies were sent to Urquiza, Gutiérrez, Mitre, and others. Alberdi supported Urquiza, but Sarmiento backed the autonomy of Buenos Aires under Mitre. Yet Alberdi and Sarmiento agreed on religious tolerance and secular public schools.
      Provinces sent delegates to a convention at San Nicolás near Santa Fe, and in the Acuerdo San Nicolás they endorsed a liberal constitution urged by intellectuals such as Sarmiento and Alberdi. In opposition the Partido Liberal formed at Bueno Aires in June 1852. Liberals there removed Urquiza’s puppet governor Vicente López y Planes on 26 July and then revolted in September and were called setembristas. Sarmiento gained support for them from Argentine exiles in Santiago. They rejected the San Nicolás accord in early 1853, and their delegates withdrew from the constitutional convention organized by Urquiza who was supported by the wealthy cattle producers. Yet the other provinces ratified that constitution, and Urquiza became President of the new Argentine Confederation at its capital in Entre Rios. Buenos Aires declared independence, and the two states remained separate for six years. Buenos Aires had more trade and revenues while the Confederation struggled with inflated paper money and bankruptcy. Urquiza offered commercial concessions and gained diplomatic recognition from Britain in 1853.
      Argentina had 1.1 million people in 1857. That year Buenos Aires began paying off its defaulted loan made in 1824. From 1855 to 1858 Sarmiento edited and wrote influential articles in El nacional. On 1 April 1859 the former Governor Benavidez of the San Juan Province was assassinated. Urquiza invaded Buenos Aires, and his army defeated theirs at Cepeda near Santa Fe on 23 October. Buenos Aires rejoined the Argentine Confederation in November. The Confederate army occupied Buenos Aires until the military leader Bartolomé Mitre became governor there on 3 May 1860. Urquiza’s cavalry led revolts in the provinces; but Buenos Aires gained amendments to the Constitution of 1853, ratified it, and on 17 September 1861 Mitre’s militia with new rifles and cannons defeated the Confederates at Pavón. In the next two years Mitre tried to bring peace to Córdoba and the interior. Urquiza retreated and found so much resistance in Buenos Aires that after his rearguard revolted, he went back to his palace in Entre Rios where he was eventually assassinated at the age of 88 in 1870.
      On 12 October 1862 Governor Mitre became the first elected President of a united Argentina, and he served for six years. The amended Constitution provided for a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary with a bill of rights that outlawed slavery and the slave trade. The Congress improved education, promoted immigration, and funded railroads by gaining foreign loans. The Constitution banned restraints on trade and authorized a Senate for which only the wealthy were qualified and which had nine-year terms. Catholicism was recognized as the state religion although liberty of conscience was protected. Foreigners were not required to provide loans or serve in the military. Jurist Dalmacio Vélez Sarsfield developed a Commercial Code that passed in 1863.
      Ángel Vicente Peñaloza, who was called El Chacho, led gaucho clans in La Rioja province that attacked San Luis in the southeast in 1862. He controlled much of the west and took over Córdoba on 14 June 1863; but two weeks later they were defeated at Pajas Blancas. An army from Santiago del Estero financed by Buenos Aires invaded La Rioja, defeating and dispersing his army and eventually executing El Chacho on 12 November. The number of sheep in Argentina multiplied, and wool exports went from 300 tons in 1829 to 55,000 tons in 1865.

      In 1844 Paraguay’s Congress voted Carlos Antonio López a ten-year term as President, and they met only once every five years. In 1845 Uruguay opposed Argentina’s Rosas and recognized Paraguay’s independence. In 1846 a census counted 238,862 Paraguayans and an estimated 20,000 natives. On 15 May 1848 the illiterate Rose Dominga Ocampos won compensation in a lawsuit against her former fiancée, the Spaniard Martin de Abazolo, for breach of promise. López presided over the Congress in 1849, persuaded many deputies to resign, and was proclaimed President of Paraguay.
      Paraguay made a commercial treaty with Britain in 1853, but López refused to ratify one with the United States that included navigation. After Brazil raised a large navy in 1854, López partially mobilized the army in January 1855. Paraguay’s trade treaty with the British was allowed to expire in 1858. President López was re-elected and died on 10 September 1862. He was succeeded by his son Francisco Solano López who had been elected Vice President in 1857. More than half the business licenses granted at Asunción went to foreigners in 1863. That year López sided with the revolutionary government in Uruguay against Brazil which invaded Paraguay on 12 October 1864. In February that year López had been appointed Mariscal, and he ordered 64,000 men drafted into the army. He declared war on Brazil on 13 December, and the next day Paraguayans invaded Brazil’s province Mato Grosso and captured several cities by January 1865. That month López asked Argentina for permission to move his army of 20,000 men through the province of Corrientes, but Argentine President Mitre refused. Paraguay’s Congress met in March and declared war on Argentina. On 13 April the Paraguayans invaded Corrientes, and Argentina declared war against Paraguay on 4 May. On 11 June the navy of Brazil devastated Paraguay’s fleet in the battle of Riachuelo. Paraguay would fight the Triple Alliance of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay until 1870.

Chile 1845-65

Chilean Revolution 1817-44

      Chileans elected Manuel Bulnes their President again in 1846, and the scholarly lawyer Manuel Montt became Minister of Justice. In 1848 Valparaiso’s El Mercurio began publishing an edition for Santiago, and another with some English sold up the coast as far as Panama. External trade increased from the 1840s to the 1860s despite a major recession in the 1850s. An electric telegraph connected Santiago with Valparaiso in June 1852.
      Manuel Camilo Vial was the cousin of President Bulnes and became Interior Minister and temporary Finance Minister. He gave contracts and good jobs to three of his brothers and was criticized by the press. In October 1849 a Reform Club began, and a Progressive Party emerged promoted by the El Progreso newspaper. In 1850 Federico Errázuriz warned the Congress not to prevent the Republic’s march to civilization, and he and José Victorino Lastarria issued a liberal manifesto for the rights of equality before the law, free expression, inviolable property, free education, and private industry. They accepted universal suffrage for all men. The Society for Equality tried to take on the new tyrants. On 10 February 1851 about a hundred citizens in Concepción offered their Intendant General José Maria de la Cruz as a presidential candidate, and the Liberals persuaded Ramón Errázuriz to withdraw by the end of March. The Civic Guard quelled rebels in Santiago at Easter. President Bulnes endorsed Manuel Montt as the Conservative candidate, and he was elected. Liberals in La Serena revolted on 7 September, and they captured the Yungay Regiment by inviting the officers to lunch. General Bulnes commanded the attack on the rebels led by Cruz; but neither side won the battle by the Loncomilla River on 8 December, and they made peace eight days later with the honorable treaty of Purapel. The last skirmish of the brief civil war was at Copiapó on 8 January 1852.
      The 1850s were a time of material progress in Chile. President Manuel Montt believed in primary education for all the inhabitants and proposed one school for boys and one for girls for every 2,000 citizens. During his two terms from 1851 to 1861 the number of primary schools went from 571 to 911 including 648 public schools. The University of Chile had started in 1843, and most of their 859 degrees in the next 14 years were in law. The 1854 census found that 17% of men and 10% of women were literate. That year Chile began teacher colleges for women. President Montt was easily re-elected without much opposition in 1856.
      From the 1830s to the 1860s more than 80% of Chileans were inquilinos (tenant workers) or worked on haciendas or barely survived by stealing. Mining silver and copper as well as agriculture were the largest exports. Trains connected Santiago with Valparaiso in September 1863.
      In 1856 Lastarria published a book that criticized Chile’s 1833 Constitution for its failure to protect civil liberties, and he urged social regeneration. In 1858 young Carrasco Albano also urged more freedom in his Comentarios sobre la Constitución Política with separation of church and state and easier naturalization for Protestants. The Society for Equality urged agitation, and El Amigo del Pueblo supported the artisans and accepted the name “revolutionaries” but by the progress of ideas, not violence. In 1852 Pedro Félix Vicuña wrote El porvenir de hombre (The Future of Man) emphasizing the development of manufacturing and industry, and in 1859 Ambrosio Montt published his Ensayo sobre el Gobierno en Europa which looked at the successful examples of England and the United States. In March 1858 Pueblo published “Visiones proféticas” in which angels sing,

Democracy is the idea of God;
   it is the principle of social perfectibility;
   do not profane this sacred principle.
1. Love God the Creator above all;
   this is the principle of principles.
2. Do not be perjurers or wicked.
3. Render public worship to the divine idea.
4. Love your parents, your elders, and all men;
   respect others so that you may be respected.
5. Do evil to nobody; may your lips pronounce
   nothing but peace, concord, love, and friendship.
6. Raise women to the dignity they should occupy in society,
   seeking in woman the tender mother, the beloved wife,
   the chaste friend, the adored sister,
   the innocent daughter,
   and the angel that sheds perpetual peace
   in this exile we call the world.
7. Live content with what you possess.
8. Do not be false, or hypocritical or mendacious.
9. Respect the peace of families.
10. And love the creative principle.
   And then men understood how mischievous they had been,
   and understood what democracy was,
   and they were democrats, and they were happy.1

      The Liberals and Conservatives formed a Fusion movement, and they had a “protest banquet” on 19 October 1858. Radicals and younger liberals opposed the pact with the Conservatives, and they had been inspired by the Lamartine’s 1858 history of the early stages of the French Revolution. In January 1858 a small group of guerrillas seized the town of Talca in the Central Valley. A year later radicals seized the barracks and controlled Copiapó, and on 12 February 1859 rebels took over San Felipe. On 29 April soldiers led by Vidaurre Leal attacked the rebels near La Serena, and the revolutionary army dissolved. A mutiny in Valparaiso was put down in August. On 18 September armed men attacked a celebration and mortally wounded General Leal.
      On 16 September 1860 Antonio Varas gave an inspiring speech at the inauguration of a statue of Portales. Newspapers urged him to run for President, and National Party leaders supported him on 15 December; but on 12 January 1861 he declared that even if they elected him against his will, he would leave the country. In March the National Party nominated José Joaquín Pérez, and he was elected and cheered at his inauguration on 18 September. He urged national reconciliation, and on 4 October he submitted to Congress an amnesty bill for the past ten years. In 1862 President Pérez appointed officers from the Liberal-Conservative Fusion. In Santiago at the La Compañia church on 8 December 1863 at least 2,000 people, mostly women, died in a fire on the last day of month-long devotions to the Virgin Mary. This bitter tragedy stimulated new fire regulations.
      In 1865 one of five men could read and one of seven women. El Progreso condemned the Bishop of La Serena for banning books by Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Byron, de Staël, Gibbon, and others. A census in 1865 found 1.8 million people in Chile.

Venezuela 1845-65

Bolívar and Venezuela 1817-23
Bolívar and Northern Conflicts 1826-30
Venezuela & New Granada (Colombia) 1830-44

      In the 1846 election the Liberals had three candidates. Only 319 out of 8,798 electors voted, and Congress chose the Conservative José Tadeo Monagas who had 107 votes. Liberals rose up and were suppressed. The leaders were tried, and Antonio Leocadio Guzmán was exiled. On 23 January 1848 Conservatives in Congress formed a private guard for protection. The next day the Government had army officers and a mob attack the guard, and they insulted the members. When the elected members tried to leave, several were killed along with a few spectators. On the 25th Monagas made the Congress grant amnesty and give him dictatorial power. José Antonio Páez led the first revolt in February and March, but they were forced to take refuge in New Granada. On April 3 Monagas pleased liberals by abolishing the death penalty for political crimes, and a credit law repealed the rule that political rights could be stopped by debt. On June 21 revolts broke out in Caracas, Guárico, and Aragua, and in the capital the Belisario brothers led paecistas in an attack on the presidential palace against Monagas; but they were stopped and fled. In July 1849 Conservatives rose up in Caracas, but they also failed. Páez was banished but was kept in prison for months before his exile that lasted until 1858.
      Monagas used dictatorial power, but he appointed some Liberals and moved toward that party. Yet many Liberals joined with Conservatives against him. In the 1850 election José Tadeo’s brother José Gregorio Monagas was proclaimed President. He was supported by José Tadeo who was re-elected by the Electoral College with all but one of the 398 votes in 1855. In May 1853 a revolt broke out in Valencia that spread, and this led to the ending of slavery. On 23 March 1854 the Liberals abolished it, and 40,000 slaves were soon freed. They also ended the death penalty, expanded education to the poor, and made town councils autonomous, though these things were not always implemented.
      On 2 March 1857 President José Tadeo Monagas proposed a constitution that was promulgated on 18 April and gave the President the authority to choose the provincial governors and the Congress the power to select the next President and Vice President. Two days later the cooperative Congress elected José Tadeo to another term with his nephew and son-in-law as Vice President. Political leaders of both parties organized opposition outside of Venezuela, and the Congress of 1858 granted amnesty to political exiles since 1848. Carabobo’s Governor Julián Castro became the leader and launched the revolution in March 1858. President Monagas resigned and took refuge at the French embassy. Congress elected a provisional government led by Castro who arrived in Caracas on the 18th and announced, “No party has triumphed. The whole nation has triumphed. Let us all unite.”2
      Castro included in his cabinet Fermín Toro who demanded inspection of peculation in the Treasury. Wenceslao Urrutia arranged for French and British diplomats to escort the ex-president out of Venezuela, and this was challenged and led to a conflict in which the French and British broke off relations and blockaded Venezuela with warships in May. A National Convention met at Valencia in July to draft a new charter. Liberals planned a revolt, but Toro was president of the Convention. They gave Castro dictatorial power to handle the revolt. General Juan Crisóstomo Falcón led a revolt at La Guaira that was put down by troops led by Soublette. On 27 August the foreign diplomats and the commissioners agreed to let the Monaga family leave, and the Convention expelled the Monagas for life. On 31 December a new Constitution was promulgated that gave the people more power in elections and in Municipal Power over local government.
      In 1859 most of the wealth in Venezuela was in the hands of a few landowners and merchants. President Castro tried to work with Conservatives and Liberals and formed a cabinet in February 1859. The Federal War started on the 20th when forty revolutionaries took over Coro and then made exiled Ezequiel Zamora their chief. He returned two days later, and they declared a federation and tried to take over Puerto Cabello. While Zamora led the fight in the west, Falcón arrived in July and directed the Federalists in the east. In June President Castro retired but resumed a week later causing a period of chaos until he was succeeded by Vice President Manuel Felipe de Tovar on 29 September. Elections were held, and he was elected a constitutional President. In a major battle on 10 December at Santa Inés forces led by Zamora defeated the Government’s army. During a battle on 10 January 1860 a sniper killed Zamora. On 17 February the Government’s army defeated the Federalists at Coplé, and Falcón fled to New Granada. Conservatives wanted Páez to be dictator, and Tovar resigned on 20 May 1861 and was succeeded by Vice President Pedro Gual who asked Páez to resign his ministry; but the Caracas garrison arrested Gual and declared Páez chief. He became dictator on 10 September, but his negotiation with Falcón failed at Carabobo in December.
      In August 1862 Falcón sent Antonio Guzmán Blanco to Caracas, Aragua, Carabobo, and Guárico, and by early in 1863 the Federalists controlled most of Venezuela. Páez made a treaty at Coche on 23 April that gave power to the Federalist leader Falcón on June 15. He published a Decree of Guarantees to affirm democracy and human rights in August. That month Guzmán Blanco arranged a loan in London for £2 million based on custom duties, and the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly approved the terms on 14 January 1864; but Venezuela actually got only £900,000 at 6% interest. The national debt was up to 51 million pesos. On 24 December the Constituent Assembly met with mostly military members and Guzmán Blanco as President. They passed a new Constitution that went into effect on 13 April that changed the country’s name to the United States of Venezuela with the provinces organized into twenty states. Municipal Power was retained, and the states had judiciaries independent of the federal system. Some uprisings and mutinies broke out in 1864; but these calmed down by 1868, and more opportunity made the nation less unequal and enabled more people to become literate.

New Granada (Colombia) 1845-65

Bolívar and Colombia 1817-25
Bolívar and Northern Conflicts 1826-30
Venezuela & New Granada (Colombia) 1830-44

      Tomás Cipriano Mosquera was elected President in 1845, and he supported public works and technical development, introducing the metric system and modern bookkeeping. Steam navigation began on the Magdalena River. The Mallarino-Bidlack Treaty was signed with the United States on 12 December 1846 to guarantee New Granada’s sovereignty and protect transit over the Panama isthmus which led to the nation’s first railroad there. Independent Florentino González became Secretary of Finance, and tariff duties were reduced by 25% in 1847. The government’s tobacco monopoly was eventually abolished in 1850.
      The Liberal candidate José Hilario López got a plurality of the votes over two Conservatives, and in the Congress the Conservative Ospina helped López become President in 1849. Artisans angry about reduced tariffs on imports supported López. Congress raised custom duties, but not enough to satisfy the artisans. In May mostly privatized tobacco was freed of state control. The business was shifting from snuff and pipe tobacco to cigars, and by the 1860s tobacco would be more than a third of exports. This increased the wealth of owners of large estates and merchants. On 21 May 1851 New Granada passed a law that liberated the remaining 20,000 slaves on 1 January 1852, and the government issued bonds to compensate the former owners. Reforms included redeeming church mortgages, ending academic degree requirements for professions except pharmacy, abolishing libel laws, and reducing taxes by giving them to the provinces.
      Another constitution in 1853 included universal male suffrage, and direct elections replaced the electoral college. People began electing Supreme Court judges, the Attorney General, and provincial governors. The province of Vélez even passed female suffrage, but the Supreme Court blocked it as unconstitutional. All citizens were guaranteed freedom of religion, and religious censorship was banned. The Catholic Church regained autonomy of clerical appointments, but many Catholics did not like the introduction of civil marriage and legalization of divorce.
      José Eusebio Caro and Mariano Ospina Rodríguez wrote a manifesto for the newly formed Conservative Party, and they opposed heterodox European writers. In the 1853 elections the Liberal candidate José María Obando won a majority for the presidency, but Conservatives were elected as Attorney General and Supreme Court judges. The Liberal Party became divided with the radical reformers called “Gólgotas” (after the place where Jesus was crucified) being opposed by the artisans who collaborated with young liberals in the Sociedad Democratica that started in Bogotá and spread and by the moderate Draconianos who opposed ending the death penalty and the reduction of the army to 1,500 men. In April 1854 General José María Melo used his command in Bogotá to take control of the government, and he asked Obando to accept the coup. When he refused, Melo proclaimed himself a dictatorial president. Melo had little support beyond the troops and the artisans, and the Constitutionalists gradually regained control of the country and returned to Bogotá in early December. General Melo surrendered in the presidential palace and was banished, and about 350 of his followers were exiled in the less healthy province of Panama.
      The Gólgotas and Conservatives had allied against the Draconianos and artisans. A restored Congress impeached President Obando for allowing the coup, and José de Obaldía’s term as Vice President ended in early 1855. In that election the Conservative Manuel María Mallarino was elected to complete Obando’s term, and he appointed two Liberals to his cabinet; but the Congress repealed the legalization of divorce.
      In 1856 about 40% of the adult males who voted had elected the Conservative Mariano Ospina Rodríguez to be President in 1857, and he allowed the Jesuits to return. The Conservatives supported the first federalist constitution that established the Granadine Confederation in 1858. Panama had already become autonomous in early 1855. In 1859 Ospina and Congress passed laws that increased their power over Liberal opposition. The provincial government in Santander (formed from Socorro and Pamplona) enacted liberal reforms such as abolishing the death penalty, allowing coining money, private schools, and road-building, and taxing personal wealth. Conservatives rebelled, and Ospina proclaimed a public emergency in order to call out national forces. Mosquera also rebelled in May 1860 and led the Liberal forces opposing Ospina.
      The Liberals won the civil war as they took Bogotá in July 1861, though fighting went on for another year. Ospina, who had appointed a successor, was arrested and exiled to Guatemala. Mosquera as head of state claimed control of the Church. He appropriated church assets except for buildings being used for religion, and he expelled the Jesuits. The state took over the Church’s wealth and promised to pay back annually 6% of what was taken. Most religious orders of monks and nuns were abolished. Archbishop Antonio Herrán complained and was arrested, and Pope Pius IX excommunicated Mosquera. His administration issued treasury bills based on real estate sales that went slowly. The clergy were no longer able to provide as much welfare and education, and the government was not doing much either.
      On 3 February 1863 a constituent convention meeting in Antioquia provided a constitution even more federalist and renamed the nation Estados Unidos de Colombia with the states Antioquia, Bolívar, Boyacá, Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Panama, Santander, and Tolima. Each state was to have one vote to elect the President to a two-year term without immediate re-election. States could determine voting qualifications, and most made restrictions on male suffrage. The Constitution could not be amended without the consent of all nine states. Human life was affirmed, and the death penalty was banned for all offenses. Citizens were allowed to keeps arms and trade them during peace-time. The radical Liberal Manuel Murillo Toro was elected President and succeeded Mosquera on 8 April 1864. Conservatives in Antioquia overthrew their Liberal rulers and made Pedro Justo Berrío their governor. President Murillo Toro declined to invoke his power to maintain order, affirming federal self-determination.

Bolivia 1845-65

Bolívar and Northern Conflicts 1826-30
Bolivia and Ecuador 1829-44

      General José Ballivián was President of Bolivia from 27 September 1841 to December 1847 during a period of peace. National revenues increased to two million pesos by the late 1840s while native tribute was still providing 40% of the revenue. A census in 1846 counted 1.4 million Bolivians while an additional 700,000 natives were living outside the government in the eastern lowland territories. La Paz had 43,000 people and Cochabamba 30,000. In 1847 only 22,000 children or 10% of that age group were in school, and only 7% of the population was literate.
      José Miguel de Velasco Franco was President for about a year until December 1848 when the troops of General Manuel Isidoro Belzu proclaimed him President. During his years in office he faced about 35 revolts and several assassination attempts, but he was the first Bolivian President to resign voluntarily since Sucre in 1828. General Jorge Córdova was elected and was President from 15 August 1855 until he was overthrown by forces of the civilian Constitutionalist José María Linares in October 1857. He allowed more free trade but took more control over mining and established a monopoly on mercury. Native tribute was still 36% of revenues. Linares tried to reduce the military, but those expenses remained 41% of the budget. In September 1858 he took dictatorial powers, and his opponents mobilized against him. In 1860 the government massacred native rebels at the Copacabana shrine on Lake Titicaca during a large revolt. Finally three of his ministers drove Linares into exile in January 1861.
      The Bolivian Congress chose War Minister José María de Achá to be President. He abolished the mercury monopoly and organized finances. In 1862 his military governor of the La Paz province, Plácido Yáñez, ordered the massacre of opponents who favored Belzu. Chilean mining in the Atacama region in 1863 caused a conflict with Bolivia’s Mejillones nitrate fields. Congress voted for war, but President Achá was forced to accept Chile’s demands. Before elections Achá’s relative General Mariano Melgarejo overcame the forces of Achá and Belzu, and he seized power in December 1864 and would hold it for six years. In 1865 Bolivia made a treaty with Peru to gain free port rights at Arica that resulted in 450,000 pesos a year from customs houses in Arica and Tacna.

Ecuador 1845-65

Bolivia and Ecuador 1829-44

      While they were living in exile in Lima, Vicente Rocafuerte in A la Nación and Pedro Mancayo in La Linterna Mágica wrote promoting a revolution that began in Guayaquil in February 1845 led by Vicente Ramón Roca. Guayaquil’s Governor Manuel Espantoso learned of the plot and banished Roca, provoking the revolution that began on March 6. In May citizens from Esmeraldas, Loja, and Alausí joined the uprising. When the acting Vice President Valdivieso moved the nation’s capital, Quito revolted. Flores made two peace treaties on June 17-18 at La Virginia hacienda. Flores resigned from the army but retained his rank and property and promised to move to Europe for two years. He left one week later, and on July 11 the provisional government called a national assembly in Cuenca to revise the constitution and elect a president.
      The Liberal Rocafuerte was president of the Cuenca Convention that began on October 3, and in the next four months the 42 deputies created a liberal constitution with votes for all men. The President’s power to appoint bishops and other officials was reduced. Yet after 80 ballots the Conservative Vicente Ramón Roca was elected by a two-thirds vote, and he became President of Ecuador on 22 February 1846. The Convention rejected the La Virginia treaty and ordered the property of General Flores confiscated. Roca had attempts to make Flores dictator squelched, and he banished his supporters. Territory on the northern coast was made the province of Esmeraldas.
      In 1849 the Congress was divided between General Elizalde and the civilian Noboa y Arteta, and they could not elect a president. The honest Vice President Manuel Ascázubi governed for one year, but his posting of governmental expenditures aroused greed. General José María Urbina and the candidates Elizalde and Noboa objected to a partisan of Flores being made foreign minister. On 20 February 1850 Urbina abandoned Ascázubi and took control of Guayaquil to finance a revolution. Noboa y Arteta was proclaimed chief of Ecuador on 2 March, and Ascázubi resigned on June 10. A constitutional convention met at Quito on December 8 and offered a new constitution on 10 April 1851 that restricted male suffrage by age, income, and literacy. Voting was by local assemblies that elected a National Assembly which could elect the president by a majority vote. He was aided by three cabinet ministers and a council of five chosen by the legislature to act when they were not meeting. They affirmed free expression and barred the same person from having civil and military authority. They abolished capital punishment for political crimes and allowed commutation to exile. The Convention had elected Noboa president on 25 February 1851. He removed 63 military officers, exiling Elizarde and others. The Convention also authorized return of the Jesuits on March 25. Ecuador abolished slavery in 1851.
      The Liberals General Urbina and Pedro Moncayo in Guayaquil feared Flores. Urbina had President Noboa arrested while he was traveling from Quito to Guayaquil and shipped him off to Costa Rica. General Urbina claimed power on July 24 at Guayaquil and defeated governmental forces at Guaranda, Urbina, Villamil, and Quito, which he entered on September 27. General Flores led a naval expedition that invaded Ecuador in 1852, but they were defeated before reaching Guayaquil. There the National Assembly met on July 18 and passed Ecuador’s sixth constitution which was similar to Cuenca’s in 1845. The Assembly decreed free primary education for all, and the Jesuits were expelled again. On August 30 the Assembly elected Urbina a constitutional President. On 28 October 1853 he decreed the option of independent studies at the University of Quito with only an exam for a degree. Conservatives objected to the lodges of Freemasons and Urbina’s control over church affairs. Urbina directed an honor guard of coastal Negroes to use force to collect contributions to the Treasury and to drive out his opponents.
      In Ecuador’s first presidential election with popular suffrage in 1856 Urbina’s choice General Francisco Robles had defeated three other candidates. President Robles continued to improve education, and in 1857 the Congress abolished the head tax which natives had been paying since the Spanish conquest. Conservative opposition was led by Gabriel García Moreno who was alcalde (mayor) of Quito and rector of the University. Robles offended Peru when he ceded 16,000 square kilometers of land in the Oriente to pay British creditors. He quarreled with Peru’s minister Juan Celestino Cavero, and diplomatic relations were broken. With war threatened the Congress gave President Robles emergency powers and approved moving the capital to Riobamba before adjourning in 1858.
      In early January 1859 Peruvians invaded Puná Island near the port of Guayaquil. On May 1 the municipal officers of Quito rejected Robles and declared a provisional government led by the triumvirate of Gabriel García Moreno, Ecuador’s Vice President Jerónimo Carrión, and former Vice President Pacifico Chiriboga. They were supported by the mountain provinces of Imbabura, Pichinchia, León, and Chimborazo. Urbina returned to Quito on June 17, and he defeated the triumvir’s forces in Ibarra. On September 2 the triumvir’s forces overcame government troops in Imbabura, and two days later Quito’s Governor Borja y Lizarzaburu surrendered the city to the triumvirs. Then Guayaquil ousted the Robles Governor Teodoro Maldonado, but on September 6 General Guillermo Franco claimed power in Guayaquil. Robles and Urbina left Ecuador. Franco gave the Oriente back to Peru in exchange for Peru recognizing him as President of Ecuador. This aroused protests, and the Manabí province and coast communities defected. The triumvirate recalled General Flores from Peru and gave him military command against Franco. Their forces took over Guayaquil on September 23, and Franco left the country.
      On 10 January 1861 General Flores presided over a national convention in Quito that elected García Moreno interim president and then to a four-year term on March 10. Moreno (1821-75) had advocated tyrannicide at literary meetings in 1843, and in 1846 he married a wealthy lady who was 12 years older. He criticized Ecuador’s government in various periodicals over the years, and he persuaded President Noboa to let the Jesuits return. He satirized President Urbina in his ode A Fabio. In March 1853 Moreno began publishing the weekly La Nación. He had a doctorate in law and was elected a senator in May 1857.
      García Moreno led the Conservatives, and their new constitution provided for a congressional deputy for every 20,000 persons and strengthened the executive. They divided Guayaquil into the provinces Guayas and Los Rios to weaken the Liberals. Moreno punished corruption regardless of party, and he applied his salary to public service. He reacted to a border skirmish with Peruvians in July 1862 by leading an untrained force that was defeated at Tulcan on the 31st. He and his Minister of War Daniel Salvador were captured and released after recognizing Arboleda’s Grenadine Confederation. Moreno negotiated a concordat with Pope Pius IX that was signed on 26 September 1862 that greatly increased the role of the Catholic Church in Ecuador with new dioceses created in Ibarra, Riobamba, and Loja on December 29. The Concordat was ratified and proclaimed on 18 April 1863, but in August a majority of the Congress rejected it as invalid without their approval, though they worked out a compromise on some issues. Moreno asked Napoleon III to annex or protect Ecuador but gave up the idea in 1863.
      On August 15 Colombia’s Mosquera called upon his people to aid Ecuadorians who opposed Moreno’s policies. Moreno sent an army of 7,000 men led by General Flores to invade Colombia, but on December 6 they were routed at Cuaspud and suffered 2,500 killed and wounded with at least 2,200 men captured. In July 1864 Moreno declared Ecuador neutral in the war between Peru and Spain, but he allowed Spanish ships to get supplies in Ecuador’s ports. He quarreled with the Peruvian Chargé d’affaires Barranechea who left Quito. Moreno supported public works, notably the construction of a wagon road in 1862 to replace the mule path from Quito to Guayaquil. He reduced the army and imposed strict discipline including on officers. From 1862 to 1865 several Urbinist plots were discovered and defeated. Moreno was criticized for promoting torture, for keeping his political opponents in prison, and for having 24 prisoners executed after the Jambeli revolt was suppressed in June 1865.
      In the election that year Moreno’s chosen candidate, Jerónimo Carrión, was elected President over the Liberal Gómez de la Torre. Before Carrión was inaugurated on September 7, Moreno banished Gómez de la Torre and most of the Liberals who had just been elected to the Congress.

Peru 1845-65

Peru’s Revolution and Bolívar 1819-25
Bolívar and Northern Conflicts 1826-30
Peru 1828-44

      From 1839 to 1845 the tax on the native people in Peru had averaged 1,757,296 pesos per year, but it was reduced to 830,826 in 1846. Ramón Castilla was elected president, and at his inauguration on 20 April 1845 he promised law and order. His mother was a native American, but Castilla made travel between Lima and Trujillo safer by reducing the activities of the numerous bandoleros. He participated in religious festivals and ceremonies. He sent political opponents who plotted against him into exile but only for short periods and then granted them amnesty. On 21 October 1845 he sent Peru’s first national budget to Congress, and a general accounting bureau was set up in 1848. By that year interest had increased Peru’s debt to Britain to £4,380,530. Latin America’s first railway connected Lima to Callao in April 1851. Roads, aqueducts, and bridges were constructed, and steamboats were employed. Castilla used income from guano to pay revolutionary war debts and to provide pensions for veterans. He expanded public education at all levels, and in 1847 he founded a military secondary school (colegio) and a naval school. In 1850 a census found more than two million people in Peru but missed some who did not pay taxes, and this increased to about 2.5 million in 1862.
      Castilla supported his Vice President José Rufino Echenique who was elected President in 1851. During his term civil laws were codified. His Minister of War Juan Crisóstomo Torrico was criticized. Echenique was also advised by the reactionary church leader Bartolomé Herrera who wanted a theocracy. Domingo Elías had been a self-proclaimed president June-August 1844, and in 1852 he criticized the government with his Cartas politicas in El Comercio. This newspaper in 1853 serialized a translation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. After the consolidation of the internal debt of 23,211,400 soles in 1853, Torrico and his friends were accused of gaining 4 million soles. Elías started a rebellion which Torrico suppressed in January 1854. Yet the movement for reform spread. Castilla went to Arequipa in February to lead insurgents, and from exile San Román also joined them. Vivanco offered his forces to the government. Castilla challenged Echenique in the next election. While campaigning on 5 July 1854 Castilla promised that he would abolish the “Indian tribute,” and this would cause a 10% decline in government revenue. Near the end of the year Echenique decreed that Black slaves who served two years in the army were free, and Castilla in December promised to free all slaves its 25,505 slaves. On 5 January 1855 near Lima the revolutionaries defeated the army led by Torrico. In 1854 and 1857 Easter Islanders and Polynesians were brought to Peru to work with guano, and most of them died.
      Castilla won the election and was President a third time from January 1855 to October 1862. In February 1855 voters chose delegates to a constituent assembly, though those favoring Echenique were not allowed to vote or faced reprisals. José Galvez, who was influenced by Benjamin Constant, led the young liberals who supported Castilla, and his brother Pedro Galvez was Castillo’s secretary. Castilla compensated owners of 20,000 freed slaves with 300 pesos for each one by using one million pesos from guano fees. Many of those freed refused to continue working in agriculture, and production plunged in the next five years as some prices tripled. Landowners began importing Chinese laborers using bondage that was nearly slavery in 1850.
      Publicity of the abuses led to a law in 1856 suspending the traffic in Asian workers. That year the Assembly produced a new constitution with liberal reforms that increased the power of Congress to check the President. Arequipa rebelled on October 31, and the navy mutinied. Yet 87,952 had come by 1874. Landowners complained, and President Ramón Castilla got the law repealed in 1862. By 1857 Lima had 2,200 street lights and more than 5,000 lamps using gas. In 1856 the Assembly had produced a new constitution with liberal reforms that increased the power of Congress to check the President. Arequipa rebelled on October 31, and the navy mutinied. Castilla’s army besieged Arequipa for eight months until it surrendered on 6 March 1858. Castilla had silenced critical newspapers and exiled political adversaries. Then he dissolved the uncooperative Congress. From 1852 to 1858 military spending quadrupled. Guano revenues kept increasing with more than 16 million pesos in 1859 and in 1860, but the United States’ Civil War reduced demand and shipping. After 1859 Peruvian imports were four times its exports. Because of Catholic objections to usury (charging interest on loans), Spain and Peru and did not develop much banking and depended on foreign credit. Finally in 1863 three banks were opened by a Belgian, the British, and one by domestic investors.
      Vivanco persuaded Castilla to improve the navy. After Ecuador granted to creditors land that Peru claimed, Castilla led the Peruvian forces that invaded Guayaquil in October 1859. In 1860 Conservatives got a new constitution that once again strengthened the presidency. Liberals were angry, and two attempts were made to kill Castilla. Those he sent into exile included José Galvez. Peru got a favorable treaty with Ecuador, but Castilla declined to use the military to enforce it. Castilla supported his Minister of War Miguel de San Román as his successor, and he was elected President in 1862; but San Román appointed several anti-Castilla liberals to advise him. He became ill and died on 3 April 1863.
      Castilla refused to accept Vice President Pedro Diez Canseco and claimed the presidency for six days until the Congress chose Canseco who was replaced by General Juan Antonio Pezet on August 5. That month a labor dispute between Peruvians and Basque immigrants provoked Spain to take over the Chincha Islands in April 1864. Peru and Spain signed the Vivanco-Pareja Treaty on 27 January 1865, but the next week Spain’s Marine Minister Pareja led an invasion at Callao. Many Peruvians believed their national honor was offended, and mobs attacked Spanish residents. Pezet banished Castilla in February. Arequipa revolted, and the uprising replaced Pezet on April 25 with General Mariano Ignacio Prado who was President for two months before turning the presidency back over to Pezet who lasted until November 28 when the dictatorial Prado took over again.


1. Quoted in Chile: The Making of a Republic, 1830-1865: Politics and Ideas by Simon Collier, p.215.
2. Quoted in A History of Venezuela by Guillermo Morón, p. 153.

Copyright © 2018, 2020 by Sanderson Beck

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South America 1845-65
Caribbean & Central America 1845-65
Mexico and Civil Wars 1845-65
Polk and the US-Mexican War 1845-49
US of Taylor, Clay & Fillmore 1849-52
US of Pierce & Kansas Conflicts 1853-56
US Western Expansion & Indians 1845-65
Black Americans & Abolitionists 1845-65
United States & Buchanan 1857-59
United States Dividing 1860-61
Lincoln’s War for Union in 1861
Lincoln’s War for Union in 1862
Lincoln’s War for Emancipation in 1863
Lincoln’s War for Emancipation in 1864
United States Victory in 1865
Canada and British Provinces
US Peacemakers & Women Reformers 1845-65
American Literature 1845-56
Preventing United States Civil War
Summary & Evaluating America 1845-1865

World Chronology to 1865
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