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Centurión, Juan Crisóstomo (1840–1903)

Centurión, Juan Crisóstomo (1840–1903)

Juan Crisóstomo Centurión (b. 1840; d. 12 March 1903), Paraguayan diplomat, journalist, and author. Born in Itauguá in 1840, Centurión received his early education in Asunción, where he studied literature with European tutors. In the late 1850s, the government selected him as one of several young Paraguayans sent abroad for further education at state expense. He went to Britain, where he learned English and French and studied international law. He returned to Paraguay in 1863 and immediately became a key adviser to President Francisco Solano López. Two years later, when his country became deeply involved in a war with Argentina and Brazil, Centurión contributed his part, acting as a military officer, magistrate, and state propagandist. Faithful to López to the end, he fought at Itá-Ybaté and, in 1870, was with his commander at Cerro Corá, where he suffered a painful face wound. His Brazilian captors took him to Rio de Janeiro after the war.

Released a few months later, Centurión made his way to London, where he married a Cuban acquaintance. He and his wife then moved to Cuba, where he practiced law. In 1877 he published a short memoir in New York. In 1878 he returned to Asunción, where he edited a key newspaper, La Reforma, served as attorney general under President Bernardino Caballero, and began writing another set of memoirs. Centurión joined General Caballero in organizing the Partido Colorado in 1887 and served as foreign minister under Patricio Escobar. In 1895, Centurión was elected senator, a post he held until his death in Asunción. His three-volume Memorias o reminiscencias históricas sobre la guerra del Paraguay (Buenos Aires, 1894–1897) is still regarded as the best war memoir from the Paraguayan side.

See alsoJournalism .


Charles Kolinski, Historical Dictionary of Paraguay (1973), p. 49.

Harris G. Warren, Rebirth of the Paraguayan Republic: The First Colorado Era, 1878–1904 (1985), p. 292.

Additional Bibliography

Guerra, Sergio. Paraguay: De la independencia a la dominación imperialista, 1811–1870. Paraguay: C. Schauman, 1991.

Lewis, Paul H. Political Parties and Generations in Paraguay's Liberal Era, 1869–1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.

                                     Thomas L. Whigham

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