Echenique, José Rufino (1808–1887)

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Echenique, José Rufino (1808–1887)

José Rufino Echenique (b. 1808; d. 16 June 1887), president of Peru (1851–1854). Chosen by the national congress, he had been a counselor to President Ramón Castilla. But he was politically naive and chose anti-Castilla ministers and counselors, some of them reputedly dishonest. He accepted fraudulent claims against the public treasury, leading to a tremendous increase in the internal debt. In 1853 he secretly converted nearly half of this debt into claims on Peru's foreign debt. Intended to strengthen domestic public bonds weakened by speculation and embezzlement, the debt consolidation was funded by huge foreign loans backed by guano. A great scandal ensued, which combined with the outrages of his ministers, encouraged a popular revolution. During the rebellion, Echenique decreed abolition of black slavery, apparently to generate an army. His opponent, former president Castilla, duplicated this decree. In 1855 Echenique was forced into exile, first in Panama and then the United States. His successors continued the policy of linking the national debt to foreign trade.

See alsoPeru, Political Parties: Overviewxml .


David Werlich, Peru: A Short History (1978), pp. 83-84.

Paul Gootenberg, Between Silver and Guano: Commercial Policy and the State in Postindependence Peru (1989), esp. pp. 126-127.

Additional Bibliography

Salinas Sánchez, Alejandro. Caudillos, partidos políticos y nacionalismo en el Perú, 1850–1879. Lima: Seminario de Historia Rural Andina, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, 2003.

                                             Vincent Peloso

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Echenique, José Rufino (1808–1887)

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