Skip to main content

Arias Madrid, Harmodio (1886–1962)

Arias Madrid, Harmodio (1886–1962)

Harmodio Arias Madrid (b. 3 July 1886; d. 23 December 1962), Panamanian politician and president (1932–1936). Harmodio Arias was a prominent and highly respected politician in the 1920s and one of the leaders of the 1931 revolution that overthrew the government of Florencio Harmodio Arosemena. He and his brother Arnulfo became the leaders of a new and more nationalistic generation of middle-class Panamanians. He was very popular for his opposition to the ratification of the 1926 treaty with the United States. Harmodio became president in 1932 after one of the freest and most honest elections the country had seen.

He came from a modest family. In 1911, he earned a doctorate in law and political science at the University of London. In 1912, President Porras appointed him to a commission charged with drafting a legal code. He was a professor at the law school (1918–1920), deputy to the National Assembly (1920–1924), and Panama's representative to the International Court of Justice at The Hague and the League of Nations. As a member of the National Assembly, he staunchly defended national sovereignty. He also had a very successful law practice.

As president, Harmodio Arias attacked corruption and incompetence, for which he incurred the wrath of those accustomed to using the government for personal gain. He presided over an honest administration. In 1935, Arias founded the University of Panama. In 1936, he negotiated a new treaty with the United States that ended the latter's right to intervene in Panama's internal affairs. As the editor of El Panamá-América, he continued to be an influential voice in Panamanian politics after he left the presidency.

See alsoPanama .


Mélida Ruth Sepúlveda, Harmodio Arias Madrid: El hombre, el estadista y el periodista (1983).

Patricia Pizzurno Gelós, Harmodio Arias Madrid y las relaciones internacionales (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Araúz, Celestino Andrés. Antecedentes históricos y balance sobre la obra de gobierno de Harmodio Arias Madrid. Panama: Editorial Universitaria "Carlos Manuel Gasteazoro," 2003.

                                         Juan Manuel PÉrez

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Arias Madrid, Harmodio (1886–1962)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . 22 Oct. 2018 <>.

"Arias Madrid, Harmodio (1886–1962)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . (October 22, 2018).

"Arias Madrid, Harmodio (1886–1962)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved October 22, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.