Obando, José María (1795–1861)

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Obando, José María (1795–1861)

José María Obando (b. 8 August 1795; d. 29 April 1861), acting president (23 November 1831–10 March 1832) and president of Colombia (1853–1854). The illegitimate son of a member of an elite Popayán family, Obando was adopted by members of the Pasto gentry but educated in Popayán. He was a royalist guerrilla officer (1819–1822) in the Pasto-Popayán region, forming networks of personal friendship through his charismatic personality. In 1822, he joined the patriots as a lieutenant colonel and eventually emerged as the caudillo of southern Colombia. Obando led populist rebellions in 1828, 1831, and 1840–1842 (the latter the War of the Supremes), then fled into exile in Peru and Chile (1842–1849). General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera attempted, unsuccessfully, to extradite him. Obando, a hero to Colombia's Liberals, was elected president in 1853. Caught between their doctrinaire agenda and his own populist sympathies, and hamstrung by the Constitution of 1853, his presidency foundered. When, in April 1854, General José María Melo rebelled, Obando remained passive. He was removed from office by the Senate on 4 April 1855 and returned to Popayán. He joined his former enemy, Mosquera, in the revolution of 1859–1861. He died in an ambush near Bogotá.

See alsoColombia: From the Conquest Through Independence; Colombia: Since Independence; Melo, José María.


Horacio Rodríguez Plata, José María Obando íntimo (1958).

Antonio José Lemos Guzmán, Obando: De cruz verde a cruzverde, 1795–1861 (1959).

J. León Helguera, "José María Obando," in Encyclopedia of Latin America, edited by Helen Delpar (1974).

Francisco U. Zuluaga R., José María Obando (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Sant Roz, José. El Jackson granadino, José María Obando: Recuento político-religioso del asesinato de Sucre. Mérida: Kariña Editores, 2000.

                                       J. LeÓn Helguera