Cañas, José María (1809–1860)

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Cañas, José María (1809–1860)

José María Cañas (b. 1809; d. 30 September 1860), commander of the Central American army in the National War against William Walker in Nicaragua. Born in El Salvador, Cañas was an officer in Francisco Morazán's army and later rose to prominence in Costa Rica as an ally of his brother-in-law, President Juan Rafael Mora Porrás. After General Cañas distinguished himself at the battle of Rivas (11 April 1856), Mora named him inspector general of the Central American allied army in January 1857 and later commander in chief of the Central American forces. When Mora was ousted from the presidency of Costa Rica in 1859, Gerardo Barrios put Cañas in command of the Salvadoran army. In 1860, after supporting Mora's unsuccessful attempt to return to power in Costa Rica, Cañas and Mora were executed at Puntarenas. Cañas also represented Costa Rica in the intrigues relating to U.S. and British efforts to gain canal rights through Guanacaste in the border area between Nicaragua and Costa Rica during Mora's administration.

See alsoNational War .


Rafael Obregón, Costa Rica y la guerra contra los filibusteros (1991), has a detailed biographical sketch of Cañas on pages 291-293. Also useful are Alejandro Bolaños-geyer, William Walker, the Gray-Eyed Man of Destiny, vol. 4 (1990), and A. Paul Woodbridge, Los contratos Webster-Mora y las implicaciones sobre Costa Rica y Nicaragua (1967).

                             Ralph Lee Woodward Jr.