Sumapaz, Republic of

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Sumapaz, Republic of

Republic of Sumapaz, Colombian peasant squatter colony located in portions of Cundinamarca, Tolima, Huila, Caquetá, and Meta departments. The site of numerous peasant-landlord conflicts since 1870, Sumapaz developed peasant leaders in Erasmo Valencia and Juan de la Cruz Varela in the 1920s and 1930s. Autonomous in many ways, the squatters' colony represented some 6,000 peasants. Liberal governments' efforts to mediate agrarian conflicts there in the later 1930s and early 1940s failed. After 1948, officially sponsored violence by the Conservative regimes of Mariano Ospina Pérez and Laureano Gómez Castro triggered the creation of the Communist-led Republic of Sumapaz in the later 1940s. The region was the site of three military campaigns (1948–1953, 1954–1957, 1958–1965) that, together with counterviolence, left its agricultural base in ruins. They also ended (by 1958) the Sumapaz Republic. With coffee growing partly replaced by cattle, the population has been beggared and dispersed.

See alsoViolencia, La .


Catherine Le Grand, Frontier Expansion and Peasant Protest in Colombia, 1830–1936 (1986), pp. 110ff.

Elsy Marulanda, Colonización y conflicto: Las lecciones del Sumapaz (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Ortiz Bernal, José Afranio. El mundo campesino en Colombia, siglo XX: Historia agraria y rebelión social. Ibagué: Fondo Mixto para la Promoción de la Cultura y las Artes del Tolima, 1999.

                                      J. LeÓn Helguera