Hidalgo, Bartolomé (1788–1822)

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Hidalgo, Bartolomé (1788–1822)

Bartolomé Hidalgo (b. 24 August 1788; d. 28 November 1822), Uruguayan gauchesco poet, fervent defender of the independence of his native country, and a close friend of its liberator, José Artigas. Hidalgo attended a Friars Franciscan school. He became a bookkeeper in the ministry of the royal public treasury in 1806 and then joined the militia. Hidalgo fought the English and the Portuguese and was declared Benemérito de la Patria (National Hero) for his Himno oriental (Oriental [Uruguayan] Anthem). He carried out a series of political functions in the newly liberated Uruguay, including administrator of the general post office, interim finance minister, and censor at the Casa de Comedias. In 1818 he went to live in Argentina, where he died in the village of Morón. He wrote "militant" poetry (Cielitos y Diálogos patrióticos, 1820–1822), inspired by his fervid participation in the civil movement for independence.

Hidalgo was the initiator of gauchesca literature, poetic compositions written from the point of view of the gauchos, recreating also their speech, an archaic form of Spanish (see the Diálogos as well as Relación de las fiestas mayas de 1822). A neoclassic poet, Hidalgo nevertheless was very successful in creating this form of rioplatense (Argentine and Uruguayan) popular poetry, which attracted the mass of the citizenry at a moment when it was necessary to impress on them the need for independence. His passion for freedom and concern for subjects that inspired the people ensured the success of this new kind of authentically American sociopolitical poetry.

See alsoArtigas, Josó Gervasio; Gaucho.


Rodolfo Borello, "Hidalgo, iniciador de la poesía gauchesca," in Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 204 (December 1966): 619-646.

Nicolás Fusco Sansone, ed., Vida y obras de Bartolomé Hidalgo, primer poeta uruguayo (1952).

Martiniano Leguizamón, El primer poeta criollo del Río de la Plata, 2d ed. (1944).

Additional Bibliography

Benavides de Abanto, Flora. El lenguaje dialectal en un texto de la poesía gauchesca: Nuevo diálogo de Bartolomé Hidalgo; análisis fonético, morfológico y sintáctico. Lima: Universidad de Lima, Facultad de Ciencias Humanas, 1993.

Orgambide, Pedro G., editor. Gauchos y soldados. Buenos Aires: Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos, 1994.

Zárate, Armando, comp. Literatura hispanoamericana de protesta social: una poética de la libertad. Córdoba: Lerner Editor, 1990.

                                 Angela B. Dellepiane