Parra, Aquileo (1825–1900)

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Parra, Aquileo (1825–1900)

Aquileo Parra (b. 12 May 1825; d. 4 December 1900), president of Colombia (1876–1878). Born in Barichara, Santander, to a family of modest means, in the 1840s Parra pioneered the jungle route between Vélez and Mompós, slowly accumulating a modest fortune. A reluctant defender of the Radical Liberal regime in Santander, Parra was imprisoned after the Liberal defeat at Oratorio in 1860. In 1874 he was elected president of Santander. In the 1875 elections for the national presidency, Parra represented the establishment Liberal bloc known derisively as the Radical Olympus, and his victory was widely ascribed to fraud. His administration, weakened by budget disputes and renewed conflict with the church, was soon faced with a Conservative rebellion. Despite suppressing the rebellion, Parra left office discredited. In the 1890s Parra attempted to strengthen the vanquished Liberals' organization, hoping to limit the appeal of more bellicose Liberals such as Rafael Uribe Uribe. The outbreak of the War of the Thousand Days in October 1899 represented the failure of this effort; Parra died shortly thereafter. His informative Memorias (1912) confirm Parra's ideological place somewhat to the right of his contemporary Salvador Camacho Roldán, but to the left of many other figures of the "Olympus."

See alsoColombia: Since Independence; Colombia, Political Parties: Radical Olympus; War of the Thousand Days.


Helen Delpar, Red Against Blue: The Liberal Party in Colombian Politics, 1863–1899 (1981).

James William Park, Rafael Nuñez and the Politics of Colombian Regionalism, 1863–1886 (1985).

Ignacio Arizmendi Posada, Presidentes de Colombia, 1810–1990 (1990), pp. 147-150.

Additional Bibliography

Rivadeneira Vargas, Antonio José. Aquileo Parra y la ideología radical. Bogotá: Editorial Planeta Colombiana, 2001.

                                     Richard J. Stoller