Aycinena Piñol, Juan José de (1792–1865)

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Aycinena Piñol, Juan José de (1792–1865)

Juan José de Aycinena Piñol (b. 29 August 1792; d. 17 February 1865), third marquis of Aycinena and titular bishop of Trajanópolis (1859). Juan José de Aycinena was the dominant figure of the conservative political faction in nineteenth-century Central America and the Guatemalan Republic, which he helped found. Born in Antigua Guatemala to a family of immense wealth and power, Aycinena trained as an attorney before entering the priesthood in 1817. Although a cleric, he was involved in virtually every area of Guatemalan public life. As a member of the Economic Society, he promoted the development of a Central American silk industry. Most important, he operated in the midst of Central American politics. A promoter of Central American independence from Spain (1821) and annexation to the Mexican Empire (1821–1823), Aycinena was sent into exile in the United States for most of the 1830s with his political faction's (and family's) defeat in the Central American civil war of 1827–1829.

A forceful advocate of constitutional monarchy and of a pronounced secular role for the Catholic church, Aycinena is perhaps best known for a series of political tracts written in exile in the early 1830s. The Toros amarillos (yellow-paged polemics) called for the dissolution of the United Provinces of Central America in the name of isthmian peace. Returning to Guatemala in 1837, Aycinena played a central role in the formal breakup of the United Provinces through his newspaper, El Observador, and as a delegate to the federal congress.

With the collapse of the federation, Aycinena exercised extraordinary power as Guatemala's minister of government, justice, foreign affairs, and ecclesiastical affairs (1842–1844). Subsequently, as vice president of Guatemala's Chamber of Representatives (1851–1865), as a councillor of state (1856–1865), and especially as rector of the University of San Carlos (1840–1854; 1859–1865), Aycinena helped set the tone of politics and society under Guatemalan strongman José Rafael Carrera (1844–1849; 1851–1865). His biographer, David L. Chandler, asserts, no "single individual [was] more responsible … for the outlines of society and government that subsequently took shape in Guatemala…. Father Aycinena became the Conservative prophet of a new era."

See alsoGuatemala .


David L. Chandler, "Peace Through Disunion: Father Juan José de Aycinena and the Fall of the Central American Federation," in The Americas 46 (October 1989): 137-157; and Juan José de Aycinena: Idealista conservador de la Guatemala del siglo XIX, translated by Victoria Vázquez, Marina Vázquez, and Lucia Robelo Pereira (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Chandler, David Lee. Juan José de Aycinena: idealista conservador de la Guatemala del siglo XIX. Antigua, Guatemala: Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamerica, 1988.

                                 Richmond F. Brown

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Aycinena Piñol, Juan José de (1792–1865)

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