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Velasco, José Miguel de (1795–1859)

Velasco, José Miguel de (1795–1859)

José Miguel de Velasco (b. 29 September 1795; d. 13 October 1859), president of Bolivia (1829, 1839–1841, 1848). Velasco was born in Sucre. In 1815 he joined the royalist army. After five years of service and promotion to lieutenant colonel, Velasco defected to the Republican cause. He fought under José de San Martín, Simón Bolívar, and Antonio José de Sucre Alcalá, and participated at the battle of Ayacucho in 1824. After Sucre departed Bolivia in 1828, the new congress elected Andrés de Santa Cruz president and Velasco vice president. While Santa Cruz was absent from Bolivia, uprisings by other caudillos led to Velasco's ascension to the presidency in January 1829. Six months later, at the request of Congress, Velasco relinquished the presidency to Santa Cruz. During the latter period of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, Velasco took advantage of the growing unpopularity of Santa Cruz, whose meddling in Peru had become very expensive for Bolivia. Velasco deposed Santa Cruz in 1839, but he in turn was overthrown by another ambitious general, José Ballivián, in 1841. Velasco returned to the presidency in 1848 after the populace of Bolivia became disenchanted with Ballivián. Lacking any coherent program and without widespread support in the army, Velasco was overthrown by Manuel Isidoro Belzú later the same year.

See alsoBelzu, Manuel Isidoro; Santa Cruz, Andrés de.


Julio Díaz Arguedas, Los generales de Bolivia (rasgos biográficos) 1825–1925 (1929), pp. 63-66.

Moisés Ascarrunz, De siglo a siglo, hombres celebres de Bolivia (1920), pp. 77-79.

Additional Bibliography

Peralta Ruiz, Víctor, and Marta Irurozqui. Por la concordia, la fusión y el unitarismo: Estado y caudillismo en Bolivia, 1825–1880. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2000.

                                 Erwin P. Grieshaber

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