Regalado, Tomás (1861–1906)

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Regalado, Tomás (1861–1906)

Tomás Regalado (b. 7 November 1861; d. 11 July 1906), president of El Salvador (1898–1903). As president of El Salvador, the flamboyant Tomás Regalado withdrew El Salvador from the Republic of Central America, effectively terminating that union. He also involved his country in numerous plots and skirmishes.

Regalado, a native of Santa Ana, seized the presidency in November 1898 after a period of political chaos and economic decline. He reduced the national debt, adjusted the tariff structure to help commercial agriculture, and expanded the railroad and port system. Through strong executive authority he ended the threats of invasion by political exiles and restored domestic peace, often suppressing individual liberties. Regalado opposed President Manuel Estrada Cabrera of Guatemala, leading a military campaign against him in 1899 and aiding Guatemalan exiles throughout his presidency. President José Santos Zelaya of Nicaragua, in turn, supported Regalado's enemies.

Regalado is criticized for favoring the coffee oligarchy, of which he was a member. In 1903, for the first time in twenty-six years, El Salvador inaugurated an elected president. Nevertheless, Regalado exercised strong influence over his successor. General Pedro José Escalón, whom Regalado selected because he could be easily controlled.

In 1906 Regalado encouraged Guatemalan expatriates to organize a military campaign against Manual Estrada Cabrera from Salvadoran territory. Hoping to install his own man as the Guatemalan president, Regalado apparently also provided the rebels with arms and personally led the attack on Guatemala. His death occurred during this invasion, near Yupiltepeque, Guatemala.

See alsoEl Salvador; Guatemala.


J. Lizardo Díaz O., Estrada Cabrera, Barillas y Regalado (1962).

Patricia Antell Andrews, "Tomás Regalado and El Salvador, 1895–1906" (M.A. thesis, Louisiana State Univ., New Orleans, 1971).

Derek N. Kerr, "The Role of the Coffee Industry in the History of El Salvador, 1840–1906" (M.A. thesis, Univ. of Calgary, 1977).

Additional Bibliography

Flores de Escalante, Aída, and Enrique Kuny Mena. Tomás Regalado: El último caudillo de Cuscatlán. San Salvador: Editorial R.H. Dimas, 2004.

                                        Patricia A. Andrews