Ferreira, Benigno (1840–1920)

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Ferreira, Benigno (1840–1920)

Benigno Ferreira (b. 18 February 1840; d. 24 November 1920), president of Paraguay (1906–1908) and soldier. Born in Limpio, Ferreira moved with his family to Argentina at an early age. He studied law at the University of Buenos Aires, where he affiliated with a group of radical Paraguayan emigrés opposed to the government of Carlos Antonio López and his son, Francisco Solano López. With the outbreak of the War of the Triple Alliance in 1864, Ferreira helped convert this group into the Legión Paraguaya, which fought alongside the Argentines in their invasion of Paraguay. With the defeat of Solano López in 1870, Ferreira's prospects should have dramatically improved, but the chaos of the postwar era meant that he had to limit himself to temporary alliances with various political patrons. He was interior minister under Salvador Jovellanos and later vice president of the Partido Liberal.

During most of the late nineteenth century Ferreira was back in exile in Buenos Aires, but after the successful Liberal revolt of 1904, he was recalled to Asunción. Though he was without major popular support, he nonetheless was appointed president two years later. New revolts that threatened to oust him from that position quickly coalesced into full-scale civil war. In July 1908, having had little chance to do anything with his presidency, Ferreira was forced from office, and from Paraguay, this time for good. He died in Buenos Aires.

See alsoParaguay: The Nineteenth Century; War of the Triple Alliance.


Carlos Zubizarreta, Cien vidas paraguayas, 2d ed. (1985), pp. 210-213; The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 5 (1986), pp. 475-496.

Additional Bibliography

Pesoa, Manuel. General doctor Benigno Ferreira: su biografía, insertada en la historia del Paraguay. Asunción: Intercontinental Editora, 1995.

                               Thomas L. Whigham

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