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When Colombia Bled

Written by James David Henderson

Publication Year: 2010

This book focuses on the Colombian Violencia, the undeclared civil war between the Liberal and Conservative parties that raged from the late 1940s to early 1960s. It presents the information as a narrative history.


There is also an array of appendixes, maps, and photographs.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

I wish to thank the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Grambling State University Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities for their support during the preparation of this study. Personnel of the National Library of Colombia and the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango ...

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pp. 1-26

On the fourth of June 1949, the registrar of voters of Santa Isabel, Tolima, picked up a pistol and fired a bullet through his brain. The news caused a ripple of interest in the village, and for several days people mused on his untimely passing. A newspaper in the nearby town ...

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1. Gran Tolima

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pp. 27-48

Late in the pre-Columbian era, Carib Indians fought their way up the Magdalena River Valley pushing aside lesser indigenous peoples and claiming the land for themselves.1 Accustomed to the steamy Caribbean and Atlantic lowlands, the ferocious Caribs looked with satisfaction, and perhaps even wonder, ...

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2. At the Threshold of a New Age

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pp. 49-72

Two men sat together in the chill of a cloudy Bogota afternoon chatting of Colombia and the world. One of them was Anibal Galindo, now in his sixties, urbane and widely traveled, translator of Milton's Paradise Lost, wise in the ways of his country after a lifetime of service "to party and nation," ...

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3. The Invisible State

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pp. 73-95

The years of Liberal rule in Colombia were critical ones for the people of Tolima. During those sixteen years, they lived a dual existence, caught up in their own local affairs yet swept along by national and international processes over which they could exercise little or no control. ...

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4. Preface to the Violencia

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pp. 96-126

The population of Tolima in 1946 was young, vigorous, and largely rural. Fifty-five percent of the department's 656,000 people were less than fifteen years of age, and 70 to 80 percent of them lived in rural areas. Yet, the population density was an uncrowded twenty-eight persons per square kilometer.1 ...

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5. The Violencia

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pp. 127-152

Governor and Lieutenant Colonel Hernando Herrera watched over Tolima as best he could through 1948. His job was difficult and frustrating given the range of problems he faced. Once martial law was lifted not long after the nueve de abril, municipal governing bodies resumed their meetings. ...

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6. Libano

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pp. 153-181

Libano was a product of the human flood that rolled southward from Antioquia early in the nineteenth century.1 Not contained by the rich lands lying between Antioquia Vieja and the Cauca River Valley, the wave of paisa settlement broke through the high passes of the Central Cordillera ...

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7. Tolima's Tragedy Deepens

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pp. 181-202

Thirty-one-year-old Hector Echeverri Cordenas sat at his desk late on the evening of July 11, 1953. His staff had gone home hours before, leaving him at work on the next day's editorial for Tribuna. The streets of Ibagua grew quiet as time passed, and now only muted noises from outside disturbed his solitude. ...

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8. More Than a Political Solution

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pp. 203-229

May 1958 was a month of contrasts in Tolima. It began on a note of optimism, even euphoria, when 73 percent of eligible voters registered a near two-thirds majority in favor of Frente Nacional candidate Alberto Ueras Camargo.1 The orderly contest heralded a return to civilian government on August 7, ...

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9. Aftermath

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pp. 230-241

During the years immediately following the Violencia, it seemed as though tolimenses wanted to confound the casual visitor to their department. A traveler on its busy east-west highway noted with satisfaction the well-tended fields of cotton and sugarcane that stretched out on either side. ...

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10. The Violencia and Tolima: An Assessment

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pp. 242-252

This volume was based on two premises. The first is simply that the Colombian Violencia was too complex and long-lived to be treated in its entirety in a single monograph. For this reason, a regional approach was employed to simplify its amorphousness. The second, more involved, premise is that most previous scholars have, ...


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pp. 253-282


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pp. 283-323


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pp. 324-326


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pp. 327-340


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pp. 341-352

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383954
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817356194

Publication Year: 2010