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Guardiola, Santos (1812–1862)

Guardiola, Santos (1812–1862)

Santos Guardiola (b. 1812; d. 11 January 1862), military figure and president of Honduras (1856–1862). Guardiola established himself as a prominent Conservative and military leader during the National War against William Walker's invasions. Known as "the butcher," Guardiola was considered a particularly ruthless and cruel commander. His forces defeated Walker and the latter's small force of fifty-five men at Rivas on 29 June 1855. Guatemalan Conservatives helped establish Guardiola as president of Honduras on 17 February 1856. He assumed a second term on 2 July 1860 and ruled until his assassination.

Guardiola's presidency had certain measurable successes at first but in the end was marred by violence and economic stagnation. After signing an alliance with Guatemala and El Salvador against Walker, Guardiola set out to assert Honduran sovereignty over the Bay Islands and Mosquito Coast, areas of permanent British incursions and long-standing dispute. British citizens were allowed to remain as inhabitants of the Bay Islands and were exempt from taxation. The Dallas-Clarendon Convention of 17 October 1856 removed the British protectorate over the Mosquito Coast but at the same time restricted Honduran sovereignty. Plans were made in January 1853 for an inter-oceanic railway with the founding of Ferrocarril Interoceánico de Honduras (Inter-oceanic Railway Company) on 28 April 1854, organized in Honduras with offices in New York and London. Walker's eventual capture and execution at Trujillo in 1860 represented the pinnacle of Guardiola's presidency.

Difficulties with Miguel del Cid, head of the diocese of Honduras, resulted in Guardiola's excommunication on 26 December 1860. Guardiola's rebuke and anticlericalism erupted in the Guerra de los padres, which pitted the church against its former Conservative ally in April 1861. The same month, Guardiola was forced by deteriorating economic conditions to authorize the issue of copper coins. The deteriorating economy, coupled with the violence of Guardiola's presidency, led to his assassination in early 1862 and, after several Conservative administrations, to the consolidation of power by the Liberal Party in 1876.

See alsoHonduras; Walker, William.


Lorenzo Montúfar, Reseña historica de Centro-América, 7 vols. (1878–1888).

Luis Mariñas Otero, Honduras, 3d ed. (1983).

Pablo Yankelevich, Honduras: una historia breve (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Montúfar, Lorenzo, and Raúl Aguilar Piedra. Walker en Centroamérica. Alajuela, Costa Rica: Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría, 2000.

                                      Jeffrey D. Samuels

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