Saravia, Aparicio (1856–1904)

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Saravia, Aparicio (1856–1904)

Aparicio Saravia (b. 1856; d. 1 September 1904), leader of the last of Uruguay's many uprisings of mounted insurgents. Born near Santa Clara de Olimar in northern Uruguay, the son of a Brazilian-born landowner, Saravia was not a member of the country's traditional ruling groups. Most Brazilian-born landowning families in northern Uruguay maintained social and political contacts in Brazil, which explains the Saravias' involvement in the Brazilian civil war of 1893–1895. Aparicio's oldest brother, Gumercindo Saravia, rose to the rank of general during the fighting, and Aparicio won fame leading the charges of his brother's horsemen. At Gumercindo's death in 1894, Aparicio inherited his army. Meanwhile, the Blancos (National Party) of Uruguay had begun to reorganize after many years of proscription. When Saravia returned from the Brazilian war with the rank of general, many young Blancos saw in him the leader they awaited. An "armed demonstration" led by Saravia in 1896 galvanized Blancos all over the country to rebel in 1897, and Saravia was acclaimed the party's new caudillo. Unable to subdue them, the government made some power-sharing concessions to the Blancos, and Saravia emerged from the war a symbol of Blanco unity and pride. Within a few years, the Colorado government tried to withdraw the concessions, and Saravia mobilized the Blanco militia again in 1903 and 1904. Though bloodier and on a larger scale, this second period of fighting might have resulted in another standoff if not for Saravia's death in Masoller.

See alsoCaudillismo, Caudillo; Uruguay, Political Parties: Blanco Party.


Enrique Mena Segarra, Aparicio Saravia: Las últimas patriadas (1981).

Additional Bibliography

Chasteen, John Charles. Heroes on Horseback: A Life and Times of the Last Gaucho Caudillos. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995.

Pelúas, Daniel. El ocaso del caudillo. Montevideo: Arca, 2004.

                                     John Charles Chasteen