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Mora, Fernando de la (1785–1835)

Mora, Fernando de la (1785–1835)

Fernando de la Mora (b. 1785; d. 23 August 1835), Paraguayan statesman. One of the most highly educated and influential Paraguayans of his time, de la Mora failed to gain the fame he deserved only because he stood in the shadow of José Gaspar de Francia, the country's first great authoritarian dictator of the nineteenth century. Born in Asunción, de la Mora attended school at the University of Córdoba, Argentina. He later aided in the defense of the viceregal capital during the English invasions of 1806–1807.

Returning to Asunción some time before 1810, de la Mora operated a successful distillery, dabbled in commerce, and held a seat on the cabildo of the province. With independence in 1811, he joined the first revolutionary junta alongside Francia. Unlike his isolationist colleagues, de la Mora openly favored some confederal arrangement for Paraguay with the other Platine states, especially Buenos Aires. This attitude drew much criticism at the time, however, and with increasing tensions along the rivers, it grew more unpopular as the months passed.

In 1812, the other junta members sent him as a civilian representative on a punitive expedition against hostile Mbayá Indians. During his absence, de la Mora's administrative powers were stripped from him at Francia's specific request. Then, in August 1813, he was forced to resign from the junta, again at the behest of Francia, who went on one year later to establish a "supreme dictatorship" that lasted until 1840.

De la Mora withdrew from politics to devote himself to his business affairs. He was not, however, permitted to enjoy his retirement. Branded as pro-porteño in sympathy, he was the object of constant police scrutiny. In 1820, though they had no clear proof of wrongdoing, the police accused him of complicity in an antigovernment plot. He was arrested and all his property confiscated. De la Mora died wretchedly in prison, forgotten by all save his family.

See alsoParaguay: The Nineteenth Century .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Jerry W. Cooney, "The Rival of Dr. Francia: Fernando de la Mora and the Paraguayan Revolution," in Revista de Historia de America 100 (1985): 201-229.

Carlos Zubizarreta, Cien vidas paraguayas, 2d ed. (1985), pp. 119-123.

Additional Bibliography

Duarte Barrios, Miguel Angel. Los perfiles de un pueblo: de Zavala-Cué a Fernando de la Mora. Asunción, Paraguay: M. A. Duarte Barrios, 2003.

Enríquez Gamón, Efraín. Francia, un hombre interminable. Asunción, Paraguay: El Lector, 1994.

                                   Thomas L. Whigham

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