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Varela, Florencio (1807–1848)

Varela, Florencio (1807–1848)

Florencio Varela (b. 23 February 1807; d. 20 March 1848), Argentine poet and patriot. Brother of the famous neoclassical, civic poet, Juan Cruz Varela, Florencio wrote his first verses at the age of fifteen in celebration of the decisive battle of Ayacucho during the Wars of Independence. Varela studied law at the University of Buenos Aires, graduating in 1827. Following the Argentine revolution of 1828, he fled to Montevideo. In 1830, he published El día de Mayo (May Day), a volume containing five poems dedicated to the Uruguayan people. In exile, Varela became a leader of the Unitarian cause against the dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas. Newspapers supporting Rosas recognized the ardor of Varela's attack, calling him a "savage Unitarian, traitor, and vile slanderer."

In 1841–1842, Varela lived in Río de Janeiro, where he wrote several articles for the Jornal do Comercio defending Uruguay against accusations that it had usurped territory from Brazil. While in Río, Varela became friends with Bernardino Rivadavia, who furnished Varela with documentary material for a book he was preparing on Argentine history. In 1843, the Uruguayan government sent Varela on an official mission to France and England.

Tireless in his efforts to overthrow Rosas and use the press as a vehicle for shaping public opinion, Varela founded in October 1845 the Comercio del Plata, in whose columns he undermined the political and military structure keeping Rosas in power. Varela was also cofounder of a publishing house that brought out works in Spanish translation as well as books by Hispanic-American writers.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America; Varela, Juan Cruz.


Rafael Alberto Arrieta, Historia de la literatura Argentina, vol. 2 (1958), pp. 149-154, and vol. 6 (1960), pp. 31-32.

Leoncio Gianello, Florencio Varela (1948).

Juan Antonio Solari, Florencio Varela, el decano de los jóvenes (1948).

Additional Bibliography

Lynch, John. Argentine Caudillo: Juan Manuel de Rosas. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 2001.

Palermo, Pablo Emilio. "Florencio Varela: Vida y muerte de un argentino en el exilio." Todo Es Historia 441 (April 2004): 6-19.

                                      Myron I. Lichtblau

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