Falcón, Jose (1810–1883)

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Falcón, Jose (1810–1883)

Jose Falcón (b. 1810; d. 1883), Paraguayan archivist, historian, and government official. Born in Asunción in the year of Platine independence, Falcón was well placed to participate in many key events during his country's formative years. Educated in the capital, he lived in seclusion in the far south of the country with his wealthy hacendado uncle during the dictatorship of José Gaspar Francia. In 1844, President Carlos Antonio López chose Falcón as Paraguay's first foreign minister. In this capacity, he convinced foreign powers—especially Brazil, Britain, and the United States—to recognize Paraguay's independence. After stepping down from the foreign ministry, Falcón served successively as justice of the peace, criminal court justice, and, finally, director of the national archive (from 1854), which he organized along modern European lines.

When Francisco Solano López succeeded to the presidency in 1862, he named Falcón to the posts of interior minister and foreign minister. Falcón also remained director of the archive, which he had to move several times during the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870) as Brazilian forces advanced into Paraguay. He also witnessed some of the worst scenes of the war, notably the massacres at San Fernando, where many of his colleagues in government were executed on López's orders.

Falcón's fortunes improved after the war. He again occupied many official posts: senator, high court justice, president of the Asunción city council, and, once again, foreign minister. He helped to establish the Colegio Nacional in 1877. During the mid-1870s he went to Argentina to negotiate boundary agreements with that country.

During his thirty-six years of government service, Falcón kept copious notes, which he always meant to weave into a series of historical studies and memoirs. Although evidently these were never published, they are available in manuscript in the Manuel Gondra Collection in the Nettie Lee Benson Library at the University of Texas, Austin.

See alsoLópez, Francisco Solano; Paraguay: The Twentieth Century; War of the Triple Alliance.


Justo Pastor Benítez, Carlos Antonio López (Estructuración del estado paraguayo (1949), pp. 245-246.

Harris Gaylord Warren, Paraguay and the Triple Alliance: The Postwar Decade, 1869–1878 (1978).

Andrew R. Nickson, Historical Dictionary of Paraguay (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Benítez, Luis G. Cancilleres y otros defensores de la República: Documentos. Asuncíon: Talleres Reprográficos de S.R.L. Ind. & Com., 1994.

                                        Thomas L. Whigham