Thiel, Bernardo Augusto (1850–1901)

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Thiel, Bernardo Augusto (1850–1901)

Bernardo Augusto Thiel (b. 1 April 1850; d. 9 September 1901), bishop of Costa Rica (1880–1901). Thiel was born in Elberfeld, Germany, and was ordained in Paris in 1874. He became a seminary professor in Costa Rica in 1877. He was named to a politically controversial and vacant bishopric by the anticlerical Liberal president Tomás Guardia Gutiérrez as a moderate candidate but was subsequently expelled, along with the Jesuits, by Liberal authorities in 1884. After his return in 1886, Thiel became involved in electoral politics, and in 1889 founded the Catholic Union Party, which campaigned actively against the Liberal regime in 1894. Thiel also made several doctrinal statements on labor's right to organize and to receive "just salaries" in the face of widespread recession during the crisis in world coffee prices, which reduced real wages by 50 percent from 1870 to 1930. He founded a clerical newspaper, El Mensajero del Clero, in 1897, and was extremely active in national cultural life. His classic work, "Monografía de la Poblacíon de Costa Rica en el Siglo XIX," in Revista de Costa Rica en el siglo XIX (1902), remains a standard source. Thiel died in San José, Costa Rica.

See alsoCosta Rica; Guardia Gutiérrez, Tomás.


Victor Manuel Sanabria Martínez, Bernardo Augusto Thiel (1941).

Octavio Castro Saborío, Bernardo Augusto Thiel en la historia (1959).

Constantino Láscaris Comneno, Desarrollo de las ideas en Costa Rica, 2d ed. (1975).

James Backer, La iglesia y el sindicalismo en Costa Rica, 3d ed. (1978).

Ricardo Blanco Segura, 1884: La iglesia y las reformas liberales (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Zeledón C., Elías. Crónicas de los viajes a guatuso, talamanca del obispo Bernardo Augusto Thiel, 1881–1895. San José, Costa Rica: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 2003.

                                          Lowell Gudmundson