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Oncenio, the common term for Augusto B. Leguía's dictatorial second administration as president of Peru (1919–1930). During this period, considered by some "the birth of modern Peru," there was a decline in the power of the traditional elite, rapid social change, a major increase in the size and scope of government, and subtle but effective political repression. Leguía initially enjoyed broad support from artisans, the middle class, and reformist intellectuals. In return, his handpicked Congress wrote a comparatively progressive constitution (1920), legally recognized Peru's indigenous communities, and legislated benefits for white-collar employees. Public works were Leguía's obsession: new streets, sewers, public buildings, and residential suburbs were built in Lima, and rural infrastructure was expanded through the controversial use of forced Indian labor. These programs were financed by heavy borrowing and direct foreign investment, though some of the money, critics argued, lined the pockets of Leguía's friends. Over time, moderate reformers became disillusioned with the regime and radical opponents were emboldened—both the populist APRA movement of Víctor Haya De La Torre and the Socialist Party of José Carlos Mariátegui were founded during the oncenio. Ultimately, the Great Depression put an end to Leguía's free-spending policies, and sparked his overthrow by Luis Sánchez Cerro.

See alsoPeru, Political Parties: Peruvian Aprista Party (PAP/APRA) .


Howard Laurence Karno, "Augusto B. Leguía: The Oligarchy and the Modernization of Peru, 1870–1930" (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1970).

Julio Cotler, Clases, estado, y nación en el Perú (1978).

Steve Stein, Populism in Peru: The Emergence of the Masses and the Politics of Social Control (1980), pp. 18-82.

Peter Klarén, "The Origins of Modern Peru, 1880–1930," in The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 5 (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Johnson, Carlos A. Leguía, Fujimori, el miedo y la trafa en el Perú: El trágico derrotero de los gobiernos peruanos. Nueva York: Ediciones Español, Ya!, 2000.

                                          David S. Parker

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