Ospina, Pedro Nel (1858–1927)

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Ospina, Pedro Nel (1858–1927)

Pedro Nel Ospina (b. 18 September 1858; d. 1 July 1927), Conservative Party leader and president of Colombia (1922–1926). Ospina was born in Bogotá's presidential palace, the son of President Mariano Ospina Rodríguez. He spent much of his childhood in Guatemala and received a degree in mining engineering from the University of California. Settling in Antioquia, Ospina joined his brothers in managing the family businesses, which were concentrated in coffee but also included mining. Elected to Congress in 1892, he allied himself with the Historical wing of the Conservative Party. He distinguished himself as a Conservative commander during the War of the Thousand Days and was named minister of war in 1901 by Vice President José Manuel Marroquín, who had seized power from President Manuel A. Sanclemente. Ospina's participation in an abortive plot to restore Sanclemente led to his banishment. While in exile, he studied cotton cultivation and textile manufacturing in Mexico, the United States, and Europe. He was later a founder of the country's first modern textile factory, established near Medellín in 1906.

In the presidential race of 1922 Ospina defeated Liberal Benjamín Herrera. The most important achievement of his administration was the adoption of banking and fiscal reforms recommended by Edwin W. Kemmerer, who spent six months in Colombia in 1923. The reforms included establishment of a central bank, the Banco de la República; modernization of the budgeting process; and the creation of the office of national comptroller. Ospina was the father of the economic historian Luis Ospina Vásquez (1905–1977).

See alsoBanco de la República (Colombia); Colombia, Political Parties: Conservative Party; Textile Industry: Modern Textiles; War of the Thousand Days.


Emilio Robledo, La vida del General Pedro Nel Ospina (1959).

Jorge Sánchez Camacho, El General Ospina (1960).

Paul W. Drake, The Money Doctor in the Andes: The Kemmerer Missions, 1923–1933 (1989), esp. pp. 30-60.

Additional Bibliography

Mejía de López, Angela. Algunos aspectos de la administración: Pedro Nel Ospina, 1922–1926. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1978.

Murray, Pamela. "Engineering Development: Colombia's National School of Mines, 1887–1930." Hispanic American Historical Review 74:1 (February, 1994): 63-82.

Tirado Mejía, Alvarado. Nueva Historia de Colombia. Bogotá: Planeta, 1989.

                                        Helen Delpar