Prado, Mariano Ignacio (1826–1901)

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Prado, Mariano Ignacio (1826–1901)

Mariano Ignacio Prado (b. 1826; d. 1901), a general in the Peruvian military. Early in his career he was exiled for his opposition to the government of José Echenique but jumped ship, swam to freedom, and returned to Peru in 1854 to help overthrow his enemies. As dictator in 1866, he declared war on Spain and stood off a Spanish invasion. Later he oversaw a far-reaching program of constitutional reform aimed at curbing the power of the Roman Catholic church and the army. He halted dissident military rebellions against his rule, but then, in 1868, he decided to retire, leaving the field to the liberals. Eight years later civilians persuaded him to return to politics as the candidate of the Civilista Party. As president he disliked political maneuvering, and his enemies constantly plotted uprisings against him. When the economy deteriorated in the late 1870s, he fueled inflation by printing worthless paper money. At that point Peruvian diplomats feared for Peru's nitrate fields in the south, and the country headed toward war with Chile. In the early stage of the War of the Pacific (1879–1883), he watched as Peru's navy was destroyed by Chile. Losing confidence in his ability to rule, Prado sailed for exile in Europe in 1879.

See alsoPeru: Peru Since Independence; Peru, Political Parties: Civilista Party; War of the Pacific.


William F. Sater, Chile and the War of the Pacific (1986).

Paul Gootenberg, Imagining Development: Economic Ideas in Peru's "Fictitious Prosperity" of Guano, 1840–1880 (1993).

Additional Bibliography

McEvoy, Carmen. La utopía republicana: Ideales y realidades en la formación de la cultura política peruana, 1871–1919. Lima: Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 1997.

                                       Vincent Peloso