Batlle, Lorenzo (1810–1887)

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Batlle, Lorenzo (1810–1887)

Lorenzo Batlle (b. 10 August 1810; d. 8 May 1887), general and president of Uruguay (1868–1872). When the Great War (Guerra Grande) began in 1839, Batlle became a captain on the side of the Colorado Party (Unitario) and played an active role in the circle associated with the Defensa of Montevideo. From 1847 to 1851, he was minister of war and the navy in the cabinet of Joaquín Suárez and became a central figure in the postwar period, which was characterized by political experimentation, efforts toward a stable peace, and the ongoing debate concerning political parties. First he joined the ranks of the so-called Conservative Party, a Colorado group with an oligarchic slant and strong support from the military and financial sectors. He subsequently became a member of the Liberal Union and then returned to the Colorados. He became minister of finance in the government of Gabriel Antonio Pereira (1856–1857) and minister of war and the navy again during the dictatorship of Venancio Flores (1865–1868).

Batlle was elected president in 1868, introducing a "politics of partisanship" with a decided elitist bent. During his administration, he faced a grave economic crisis, permanent conflict with his party's regional caudillos, and the outbreak of the so-called Revolution of the Lances led by the Blanco caudillo Timoteo Aparicio. After his presidency, he went into a long period of retirement from public life, interrupted only in 1886 when he became a leader of the Quebracho Revolution against the dictatorship of General Máximo Santos. Batlle died in poverty a year later.

See alsoUruguay, Political Parties: Colorado Party .


Juan E. Pivel Devoto, Historia de los partidos políticos en el Uruguay, 2 vols. (1942).

José P. Barrán and Benjamín Nahum, Historia rural del Uruguay moderno, vol. 1 (1967).

Lucía Sala De Tourón and Rosa Alonso Eloy, El Uruguay comercial, pastoril y caudillesco, vol. 2 (1990).

                                      Gerardo Caetano