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Castro, Julián (1815–1875)

Castro, Julián (1815–1875)

Julián Castro (b. 1815; d. 1875), provisional president of Venezuela from March 1858 to August 1859, during which time the Constitutional Convention of Valencia created the Constitution of 1858. Castro began his career as an officer in the republican army of Venezuela. As a captain he participated in the Revolution of the Reforms in 1835–1836. He joined the Liberal Party at its inception in 1840. Before being chosen as provisional president of the nation, he was governor of the province of Carabobo.

Castro assumed office on 18 March 1858 as the titular head of a coalition of Conservatives and dissident Liberals who conspired to overthrow President José Tadeo Monagas. His "gobierno de fusión" was doomed from the start. The only goal the Conservatives and Liberals shared was their desire to remove Monagas from office. Both groups jockeyed for Castro's approval. The Conservatives quickly alienated the Liberals by pushing through Congress a bill making government employees responsible for past embezzlements. The Castro government's refusal to free Monagas and other prominent Liberals who had sought refuge in the French embassy resulted in a blockade of Venezuela's two major ports by the French and British in 1858. Castro's attempts to placate rebellious Liberals through concessions, along with the fact that his government was weak and unpopular, led to the Federal War, a civil war that lasted from 1859 to 1864.

On 1 August 1859, Castro was overthrown by a Conservative-led coup known as the Federalist Revolution. He was imprisoned by government troops, then tried and convicted for treason but later absolved. He completed his career as a general in the Liberal armies of Antonio Guzmán Blanco.

See alsoVenezuela: Venezuela since 1830 .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Garrido Mezgiita y Compania, ed., Diccionario biográfico de Venezuela (1953).

William D. Marsland and Amy L. Marsland, Venezuela Through Its History (1954).

Guillermo Morón, A History of Venezuela (1964).

Rafael Páez, Los hombres que han hecho Venezuela (1983).

                                          David Carey Jr.

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