Federalist War (1898–1899)

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Federalist War (1898–1899)

Federalist War (1898–1899), the conflict in Bolivia that marked the end of the hegemony of the Conservative (or Constitutionalist) Party run by the Sucre-based silver-mining oligarchy and the beginning of the predominance of tin-mining interests based in La Paz. In 1898 a constitutional crisis developed when Sucre delegates to Congress forced through a bill that made their city the permanent site of the national government. The La Paz delegates stormed out and began a revolt, coordinated by the rival Liberal Party. The Liberals also were able to engineer an uprising of the Aymara Indians of the Altiplano under the leadership of Pablo Zárate Willka. The rebel army led by Liberal José Manuel Pando and composed of Liberals, La Paz Federalists, and, most importantly, the Aymaras, was able to defeat the federal army under Conservative president Sévero Fernández Alonso near La Paz in 1899. After the rebel victory, however, the Indians turned against all whites in the largest nineteenth-century Indian rebellion in Bolivia. Only a combined effort of the creoles was able to contain the incipient caste war. In the aftermath, Zárate Willka and other Indian leaders were executed, La Paz became the de facto capital of Bolivia, and the Liberal Party began its twenty-year reign.

See alsoBolivia, Political Parties: Liberal Party .


The definitive work is Ramiro Condarco Morales, Zárate, el "Temible" Willka: Historia de la rebelión indígena de 1899, 2d ed. (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Irurozqui, Marta. La armonía de las desigualdades: Elites y conflictos de poder en Bolivia, 1880–1920. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas; Cusco, Peru: Centro de Estudios Regionales Andinos Bartolomé de las Casas, 1994.

                                          Erick D. Langer

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Federalist War (1898–1899)