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Colombian Civil War (18601862)

The Colombian Civil War of May 8 1860 to November 1862 was an internal conflict between the newly formed conservative Grenadine Confederation and a more liberal rebel force from the newly succeeded region of Cauca, composed of dissatisfied politicians commanded by General Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera, its former president. The Grenadine Confederation, created a few years earlier in 1858 by Mariano Ospina Rodriguez, was defeated in the capital Bogota, with Mosquera deposing the newly elected president Bartolome Calvo on July 18 1861. Forming a provisional government, with himself as president, Mosquera continued to pursue the conservative forces until their final defeat in 1862. The resulting formation of the new United States of Colombia would have significant cultural and economic consequences for Colombia.The Federalists Country Studies article retrieved on April 16 2007


The Granadine Confederation was formed in 1858 out of the Republic of the New Granada, however during the last few years of the previous Republic, there had been call for more autonomy from various member states of Colombia, such as Azuero, Chiriqui, Panama and Veraguas. In order to satisfy the member states and avoid a repeat of past mistakes that had led to Venezuela and Ecuador leaving the previous union, during the formation of the Granadine Confederation the central government created a number of sovereign states from the different regions of Colombia.

The Province of Antioquia became the Sovereign State of Antioquia, Law of the Creation of the State of Antioquia retrieved on April 13 2007 and the Sovereign State of Santander, which included the provinces of Socorro and Pamplona, was created May 13, 1857. Law of the Creation of the State of Santander retrieved on April 13 2007 The Sovereign State of Bolivar, which included the Province of Cartagena, the Sovereign State of Boyaca, which included the provinces of Tunja, Tundama, Casanare, and the cantons of Chiquinquira and Velez. The Sovereign State of Cauca, which included the provinces of Buenaventura, Choco, Pasto and Popayan and the region of Caqueta. The Sovereign State of Cundinamarca, which included the province of Mariquita, Bogota, Neiva Provinces of The Sovereign State of Cundinamarca retrieved on April 13 2007, Sovereign State of Tolima, and finally the Sovereign State of Magdalena, which included the provinces of El Banco, Padilla, Santa Marta, Tenerife and Valledupar.

Thus, by the time of the formation of the Granadine Confederation, Colombia consisted of a number of sovereign states, governed by the Congress of Colombia as the office of vice presidency was abolished. Despite the creation of these states, the government under Mariano Ospina Rodriguez became centralist, contrary to the wishes of the States who wanted more power and autonomy, thus increasing the levels of friction between the two levels of government.

On April 8 1859 the congress of the Granadine Confederation awarded to the president the power to remove the governors of the member states, and on May 10 1859 it created a second law that allowed the president direct control of the resources and government's of the member states through the creation of a number of administrative departments. Among many angered by these laws was respected and popular politician, leader of the Granada Liberal Party, Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera, who denounced the laws as unconstitutional and rallied Liberal support. On May 8 1860, newly appointed Supreme Director of War Mosquera declared the Sovereign State of Cauca a separate nation from the Granadine Confederation and civil war broke out.

Response of the Granadine Confederation

In the years prior to the outbreak of civil war, the central government under Mariano Ospina Rodriguez had attempted to thwart growing Liberal movements by supporting counter-insurrections in the member states. Most notable of these was Eustorgio Salgar and the State of Santander in 1859. Salgar and politician Aquileo Parra were both captured by the army of the centralised government after Santander sided against the centralised government on the outbreak of the civil war, however the unrest continued to spread to other regions of the country, including Bolivar and Antioquia, which extended down to the River Chinchina near Manizales. Four Isolated Regions retrieved on April 13 2007 Salgar, who would later go on to become president of Colombia, was released in 1861.

Progress of the war

On August 28 1860 the rebel army marched on Manizales and united with various leaders from the other sovereign states that supported Mosquera. On August 29 an agreement was formed that would result in Mosquera and his forces retiring to Cauca and disbanding, with Mosquera being granted the position of President of the Granadine Confederacy in return. Ospina, however, declines to ratify the proposed agreement and the liberal forces resumed the war. Following a successful invasion of the region of Antioquia by the rebel army, the capital Bogota fell to them on July 18 1861. Mariano Ospina Rodriguez, his brother Pastor, Bartolome Calvo and his cabinet were taken prisoner.

The following day, Mosquera ordered the execution of a number of politicians and officials from the Confederacy, including Placido Morales, Andres Aguilar and Ambrosio Hernandez. Following the collapse of the Confederacy government and the assumption of power by Mosquera, a number of renegade generals in command of the remaining Confederate forces continued to resist, including Julio Arboleda in the Cauca, General Braulio Henao in Antioquia and General Leonardo Canal in Santander, however with the assassination of the first on November 12, 1862, the defeat of Henao at the battle of Santa Barbara, and the capitulation of Canal in Pasto, Narino, resistance to Mosquera's new government was relatively short lived, and on May 8 1863 the United States of Colombia was officially created from the Rionegro Convention.MOSQUERA, Tomas Cipriano de, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2006

Consequences of the war

Aside from the fall of the Granadine Confederation and the formation of the United States of Colombia, which would itself eventually fall during a civil war which saw the founding of the modern day Republic of Colombia in 1886, Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera's assumption of power in 1861 also had a profound social and economic impact on Colombia. Fearing the strength of Mosquera's power, other political leaders in Colombia worked to avoid a repeat of what Mosquera had done with the conservative government, by strengthening a federal government based on a laissez-faire policy, in which the regional and local autonomy were protected and there was no National Army, with new rules and powers given to the nine Sovereign States and their Presidents. Political Constitution for the United States of Colombia retrieved on April 13 2007

The new government also clashed with the positions of the church when, to help rejuvenate an economy ravaged by civil war, was put under secular control with its lands being sold to industrialists and developers. The government confiscated the property of religious communities and organizations such as schools, hospitals, monasteries, churches, land, houses and other properties that could be sold.

External links

University of Antioquia: Antioquia during the 1860 Civil War

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Colombian Civil War (18601862)

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