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Urdaneta, Rafael (1788–1845)

Urdaneta, Rafael (1788–1845)

Rafael Urdaneta (b. 24 October 1788; d. 23 August 1845), Venezuelan independence leader and Colombian president. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Rafael Urdaneta studied in Bogotá and at the start of the independence movement joined the patriots of New Granada. He took part in the first civil conflicts (as a federalist) as well as in the struggle against Spain, serving as Bolívar's second in command in the Admirable Campaign (1813). Following the Spanish reconquest of 1815–1816, he was one of those who kept resistance alive in the plains of the Orinoco Basin and later took part in the final liberation of Venezuela.

Urdaneta filled important positions in the government and congress of Gran Colombia. As minister of war in 1828–1829, he was military strongman of Simón Bolívar's final dictatorship. With Bolívar gone, in 1830 he became president-dictator in a last-ditch effort to preserve the power of the Bolivarian party and the unity of Gran Colombia. Forced to step down early in 1831, he returned to Venezuela, where he continued to play a key political role. He was on a diplomatic mission to Spain when he died in Paris.

See alsoWars of Independence, South America .


Carlos Arbeláez Urdaneta, Biografía del General Rafael Urdaneta, último presidente de la Gran Colombia (1945).

Daniel Florencio O'Leary, Bolívar and the War of Independence, edited and translated by Robert F. McNerney, Jr. (1970).

Gerhard Masur, Simón Bolívar (1948; rev. ed. 1969).

Additional Bibliography

Párraga Villamarín, Eloy, and Adolfo Romero Luengo. Venezuela en los años del general Rafael Urdaneta (1788–1845). Maracaibo, Venezuela: Universidad Rafael Urdaneta, Comité Ejecutivo de la Junta Organ-izadora del Bicentenario del Natalicio del General Rafael Urdaneta, 1988.

Pulgar, Juvencio, and Gilberto Mora Muñoz. Urdaneta vuelve a Colombia. Caracas: Congreso de la República, 1994.

Yllarramendy, Rogelio. Homenaje a Urdaneta: Ensayos, artículos e investigación sobre la personalidad y la obra del prócer. Caracas: Gráficas Franco, 2002.

                                 David Bushnell

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