Mosquera, Tomás Cipriano de (1798–1878)

views updated

Mosquera, Tomás Cipriano de (1798–1878)

Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera (b. 26 September 1798; d. 7 October 1878), Colombian president (1845–1849, 1861–1863, 1863–1864, 1866–1867). Born into the Popayán elite, Mosquera had served only briefly in the military (1815–1816) before becoming a captain in 1820. He was a lieutenant colonel by 1822, and colonel by 1824. Severely wounded at Barbacoas, Cauca, in 1824, Mosquera lost most of his left jaw and as a result suffered from a lifelong speech defect. His ambition, dedication, and family connections brought him the intendency of Guayaquil, where in August 1826 he proclaimed Bolívar's dictatorship. He became intendant of Cauca in 1828. His forces routed by Colonel José María Obando in November 1828 at Popayán, he was publicly humiliated by General José María Córdoba before leaving, now a general, as envoy to Peru (1829–1830). Mosquera was in Europe and the United States from 1831 to 1833. Back in Colombia, he was elected to Congress, where, from 1834 to 1837, he opposed Francisco de Paula Santander's administration while sponsoring initiatives for material improvements.

Mosquera's political importance began in 1839, when he became minister of war and, from 1840 to 1842, playedam a jor part in the War of the Supremes. His military reputation secured, he won the presidency in 1845. His term was marked by fiscal, political, and educational reforms and infrastructural advances. Mosquera lived in New York (1851–1854); when his business failed, he returned to Colombia and helped defeat General José María Melo. After being elected senator (1855–1857), Mosquera espoused federalism and founded Cauca State, of which he became governor in 1858. He also organized Bolívar State. By 1860, now a Liberal, he led a revolution against the regimeofMariano Ospina Rodríguez and captured Bogotá in July 1861. Mosquera decreed a harsh program of anticlerical measures, culminating in the abolition of mortmain. The Rionegro Convention of 1863 elected him president once again. He defeated an Ecuadoran army (6 December 1863) at Cuaspud, Nariño.

After a diplomatic mission to Europe (1864–1865), Mosquera was again elected president. His authoritarianism and grandiose military schemes clashed with the Liberal-dominated Congress. Mosquera dissolved it and, a month later, was overthrown by a coup (23 May 1867). He spent 1868–1870 in Peruvian exile. Cauca again elected him governor in 1871, and he served as senator from Cauca in 1876–1877. He died at Coconuco, his estate, about thirty miles from Popayán.

See alsoWar of the Supremes .


Ignacio Arizmendi Posada, Presidentes de Colombia, 1810–1990 (1989), pp. 79-83.

J. León Helguera, Mosquera, 1827 a 1842: Un ensayo sobre sus actuaciones políticas … (1972).

J. León Helguera, "General Mosquera as President," in South Eastern Latin Americanist 25 (June 1981): 1-14.

J. León Helguera, "General Mosquera and Cartagena, 1817–1875," in South Eastern Latin Americanist 33 (December 1989): 1-15.

John W. Kitchens, "General Mosquera's Mission to Chile and Peru," in The Americas 9 (October 1972): 151-172.

Additional Bibliography

Castrillón Arboleda, Diego. Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera. Bogotá: Planeta, 1994.

Lofstrom, William Lee. La vida íntima de Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, 1798–1830. Bogotá: Banco de la República, 1996.

                                        J. LeÓn Helguera

About this article

Mosquera, Tomás Cipriano de (1798–1878)

Updated About content Print Article