Sagasta, Práxedes Mateo

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Práxedes Mateo Sagasta (präk´sāŧħās mätā´ō sägä´stä), 1825–1903, Spanish statesman. A leader of the Progressive party in the Cortes, he was twice exiled for his opposition to the government of Isabella II. In 1868 he led, with Juan Prim, the revolution that resulted in the queen's deposition. He served as premier (1871–72) under King Amadeus and as cabinet minister under the first Spanish republic but retired after the restoration (1875) of Alfonso XII. In 1880 the Liberal party was founded under his leadership, and Sagasta alternated in power with Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, the conservative leader; he was premier five times (1881–83, 1885–90, 1892–95, 1897–99, 1901–2). In 1897, Sagasta granted autonomy to Cuba, which had been in revolt since 1895, but he was unable to prevent U.S. intervention and the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898. He was generally considered opportunistic, and blamed for the sterility of Spanish politics during the 1880s and 1890s.