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Riva Agüero y Osma, José de la (1885–1944)

Riva Agüero y Osma, José de la (1885–1944)

José de la Riva Agüero y Osma (b. 26 February 1885; d. 26 October 1944), Peruvian historian, literary scholar, and politician. Born in Lima, Riva Agüero attended schools in his native city, receiving degrees in literature and law at the University of Lima. In 1907 he advocated military service for Peruvian students, and he himself enlisted when war with Ecuador and Bolivia appeared imminent. He then wrote an article in which he demanded amnesty for all political prisoners, a work for which he himself was imprisoned. Students rallied on his behalf, and he and all other prisoners were released.

Riva Agüero traveled widely in Latin America and Europe and in the process attended historical and literary conferences. In 1915 he returned to political activity and helped establish the National Democratic Party. Later he was elected mayor of Lima. As the young democrat aged, however, his political philosophy became more conservative. Eventually, he concluded that an enlightened elite should lead the nation rather than trust control to the masses, a belief that eventually led him to accept Fascism in the 1930s.

Riva Agüero focused his historical work on the general history of Peru and on the growth of the Inca Empire in the pre-Hispanic period. Historiographically, he advocated careful research and evaluation of sources. He also believed that history could be used to expand patriotism.

See alsoPeru .


William Belmont Parker, Peruvians of Today (1919), pp. 59-63.

Fred Bonner, "José de la Riva Agüero (1885–1944)," in Hispanic American Historical Review 36 (1956): 490-502.

Charles Arnade, "The Historiography of Colonial and Modern Bolivia," in Hispanic American Historical Review 42 (1962):333-384.

Jack Ray Thomas, Biographical Dictionary of Latin American Historians and Historiography (1984), pp. 305-306.

Additional Bibliography

Martínez Riaza, Ascensión. La construcción de la identidad iberoamericana textos históricos. Madrid: Fundación Histórica Tavera: DIGIBIS: Mapfre Mutualidad, 1999.

Sánchez, Luis Alberto. Conservador, no, reaccionario, sí: Notas sobre la vida, obra y proyecciones de don José de la Riva Agüero y Osma, marqués de Montealegre y Aulestia (26/II/1885–25/VI/1944) seguidas de su correspondencia con el autor. Lima: Mosca Azul Editores, 1985.

Vidal Martínez, Leopoldo. José de la Riva Agüero y Osma y José Carlos Mariátegui: Son "generaciones" distintas? Distantes? Hay "generaciones"? Lima: Generali Perú; and Miraflores: Minerva, 1997.

                                               Jack Ray Thomas

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