Melo, José María (1800–1860)

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Melo, José María (1800–1860)

José María Melo (b. 9 October 1800; d. 1 June 1860), Colombian military leader. A consummate professional military officer, Melo revolted in 1854 in defense of a permanent military institution. Born in Ibagué in west-central Colombia, Melo entered the patriot army in 1819 and participated in the battle of Ayacucho. He served in the Venezuelan military from 1830 to 1835, when he was expelled for his role in the Revolution of the Reforms. Melo served for three years at a Bremen military academy, after which he joined the War of the Supremes (1840–1842) against the Colombian government. President Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera restored his military rank in 1849. José María López appointed Melo commanding general of the department of Cundinamarca in 1849. The efforts of the Gólgotas to eliminate the permanent military led Melo to found the promilitary El Orden in 1852. Melo's ill-fated 17 April 1854 revolt failed to attract the support of leading Draconian Liberals. In exile, Melo continued his military career in Central America and Mexico, only to be killed in service to Benito Juárez.


Alirio Gómez Picón, El golpe militar del 17 de abril de 1854: La dictadura de José María Melo, el enigma de Obando, los secretos de la historia (1972).

Dario Ortiz Vidales, José María Melo: La razón de un rebelde (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Homenaje al general José María Melo, soldado de Bolívar sacrificado en Chiapas. Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico: Ayuntamiento, 1989.

Vargas Martínez, Gustavo. José María Melo: Los artesanos y el socialismo. Bogota, Colombia: Planeta, 1998.

                                          David Sowell

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Melo, José María (1800–1860)

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