Pedro Aguirre Cerda
Presidents of Chile
University of Chile alumni
Chileans of Basque descent
Members of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile
Chilean deputies Forum
Pedro Abelino Aguirre Cerda was a Chilean political figure. A member of the Radical Party, he was chosen as the Popular Front's candidate for the 1938 presidential election, and was triumphally elected. He governed Chile until his death in 1941. Pedro Aguirre Cerda was of Basque descent.
He was born in Pocuro, a small village near the city of Los Andes, in Chile. The seventh of a total of eleven children of Juan Bautista Aguirre and Clarisa Cerda. His father, a farmer, died when he was eight years old in 1887. His mother had to run the farm and raise him and all his brothers alone.
Pedro Aguirre Cerda was elected and assumed as president on December 25, 1938 under the slogan "Gobernar es educar" (to govern is to educate.) As a teacher, his priority in government was education. As such, he promoted the development of the technical-industrial schools as a means to promote the formation of technicians for the nascent industrialization of the country. He also created thousands of new regular schools and the growth of the university system to cover the whole of the country.
TIME article on the political scene during President Aguirre's first year in power
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