Olañeta y Güemes, José Joaquín Casimiro (1795–1860)

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Olañeta y Güemes, José Joaquín Casimiro (1795–1860)

José Joaquín Casimiro Olañeta y Güemes (b. 3 March 1795; d. August 1860), Bolivian politician, who is often considered the real father of the country. Olañeta was the key figure in the creation of independent Bolivia and the most influential politician in the new nation's first decades. Born in Chuquisaca (now Sucre) into the small colonial elite of Upper Peru, he studied in Córdoba, Argentina, and at the University of San Francisco Xavier, where he received a degree in law. He became the secretary of the fierce royalist general Pedro Antonio de Olañeta, his uncle, whom he adroitly manipulated. In 1824, when it became apparent that the Spanish cause was doomed, he deserted and encouraged Antonio José de Sucre and Simón Bolívar to establish an independent Bolivia. Later he conspired against Sucre's Bolivarian government.

Never wanting to be president, Olañeta preferred to exercise power by Machiavellian means. During seven presidencies he held a variety of government posts in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as that of diplomat. His shifty behavior earned him the sobriquet of Dos Caras (Two-Faced).

See alsoBolivia: Bolivia Since 1825 .


Charles W. Arnade, The Emergence of the Republic of Bolivia (1957).

Additional Bibliography

Ortiz de Zevallos, Paz-Soldán. Negociación Ferreyros-Olañeta; Arequipa, 28 de septiembre de 1830–13 de febrero de 1831. Lima, Perú: Ministerio de relaciones exteriores del Perú, 1958.

                                   Charles W. Arnade