Barrillas, Manuel Lisandro (1844–1907)

views updated

Barrillas, Manuel Lisandro (1844–1907)

Manuel Lisandro Barrillas (b. 1844; d. 1907), president of Guatemala (1885–1892). Barrillas was appointed provisional president in 1885 after the death of Justo Rufino Barrios and was constitutionally elected the following year. Like Barrios, he was a coffee grower who participated in the Liberal Revolution that swept the Conservatives from power in 1871. His liberal credentials and vast coffee holdings in San Marcos and Retaluleu ensured a smooth rise to power. The Barillas administration rested largely on its ability to induce the nation's Indian majority to labor on large coffee fincas. When the Indians resisted, his government, with the aid of the military, resorted to a number of forced-labor schemes that included the mandamiento, debt bondage, and a vagrancy law.

The Barrillas government coincides with a tremendous expansionary period for Guatemala's coffee industry. In the late 1880s and early 1890s world prices for Guatemalan coffee reached record high levels. Coffee cultivation was introduced to large new tracts of land to take advantage of the favorable world market. It is in this period that Guatemala gained its reputation as a producer of one of the world's finest mild coffees.

See alsoCoffee Industry .


Sanford A. Mosk, "The Coffee Economy of Guatemala, 1850–1918: Development and Signs of Instability," in Inter-American Economic Affairs 9 (1955): 6-20.

                                      Wade A. Kit

About this article

Barrillas, Manuel Lisandro (1844–1907)

Updated About content Print Article