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Rafael Carrera and the Emergence of the Republic of Guatemala, 1821�1871

Ralph Lee Woodward Jr.

Publication Year: 1993

Rafael Carrera (1814-1865) ruled Guatemala from about 1839 until his death. Among Central America's many political strongmen, he is unrivaled in the length of his domination and the depth of his popularity. This 'life and times' biography explains the political, social, economic, and cultural circumstances that preceded and then facilitated Carrera's ascendancy and shows how Carrera in turn fomented changes that persisted long after his death and far beyond the borders of Guatemala.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix

List of Tables

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xvii

THE HISTORY OF LATIN AMERICA is endowed abundantly with great men—caudillos—who have led their nations to greater achievement or ruin, or simply thrived on the Latin passion for charisma and bold leadership to build powerful political machines...

Part One: Liberals and Conservatives

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pp. 1-168

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1. The Colonial Burden

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pp. 3-18

SPANISH RULE OF CENTRAL AMERICA, which lasted for three centuries (1524-1821), ended with a whimper. There were no bloody wars for independence as in Mexico or South America, and after a year and a half as part of Agustin de Iturbide's...

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2. Conservatives and Liberals, 1821–1837

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pp. 19-55

THE POLITICAL TURMOIL that would characterize Central America for a half-century following independence began almost immediately after the declaration of independence from Spain. Despite glowing promises of prosperity and progress...

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3. The Carrera Revolt

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pp. 56-83

RAFAEL CARRERA CAME into the world in the poor, Candelaria barrio of New Guatemala, probably on 24 October 1814, the son of Simon Carrera and Juana Turcios. There is a slight disagreement over the exact date of his birth, for although his baptismal...

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4. Morazán

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pp. 84-101

As EARLY AS 9 FEBRUARY 1838 the Valenzuela government had cautioned Morazan not to march into Guatemala, fearing that he would upset the recent understanding with Carrera, who had returned to Mita in peace.1 Morazan had heeded this...

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5. Consolidation

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pp. 102-122

THE PRINCIPAL BENEFICIARIES of Carrera's revolt were the aristocratic, conservative elite of Guatemala City. Galvez's decree of 26 July 1838 had allowed those exiled in 1829 to return to Guatemala, and many of them had gained positions...

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6. The Caudillo

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pp. 123-147

The preceding statement by Jacques Lambert has particular relevance for Central America in the 18405, a decade that was neither peaceful nor orderly, despite the promises of the conservative governments that won power following the collapse of the United Provinces...

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7. Morazan Again

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pp. 148-168

WHATEVER CHANCES THE LIBERALS HAD of recouping their political fortunes in collaboration with Rafael Carrera suddenly evaporated with the return to Central America of Francisco Morazan. Following his defeat by Carrera in 1840, Morazan had gone...

Part Two: The Conservative Citadel

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pp. 169-348

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8. The Republic of Guatemala

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pp. 171-189

GUATEMALA CITY, although still relatively new in the 1840s, was generally in need of modernizing. Muddy streets, partially constructed private and public buildings, and deplorable sanitary conditions characterized its appearance.1 The center of the city appeared...

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9. The Revolution of 1848

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pp. 190-228

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A GUATEMALAN REPUBLIC brought with it new problems for Rafael Carrera. Until 1847 he had been remarkably effective in playing off conservative against liberal elite interests while maintaining his army and considerable..

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10. Arada

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pp. 229-246

CONSOLIDATING HIS POWER AT HOME also involved Carrera in affairs beyond the borders of Guatemala, for a genuine fear of his liberal opponents throughout the isthmus continued to preoccupy him. The relative strength and stability...

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11. The Conservative Citadel

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pp. 247-263

THE RETURN OF CARRERA in 1849 ushered in a new era in Guatemalan history. The 1840$ had been tumultuous, with shifting allegiances and much political intrigue. It was a decade of transition from liberal to conservative domination of the country...

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12. Presidente Vitalicio

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pp. 264-281

CARRERA'S GREAT VICTORY at San Jose la Arada gave the Guatemalan conservatives the security and peace to complete their consolidation of power.1 The conservatives could now finally hope to enact a constitution to their liking. Philosophical...

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13. Nicaragua

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pp. 282-298

BEFORE CARRERA HAD CONCLUDED his intervention in Honduran affairs, a new, more serious crisis had come to Central America, the filibusters from the United States. The conservative-liberal struggle combined with the Anglo-American rivalry...

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14. The Pax Carrera

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pp. 299-314

THE DEFEAT OF THE FILIBUSTERS in Nicaragua ushered in several years of relative stability and peace in Central America, in which Rafael Carrera was the most powerful caudillo on the isthmus. The conservatives enjoyed their most secure tenure in the nineteenth...

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15. El Salvador

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pp. 315-330

THE CONSERVATIVES IN CENTRAL AMERICA could not forever hold out against liberal resurgence. The moderate Rafael Mora had fallen already to a coup in 1859, an act that the Guatemalan government deplored as "an illegal and inexcusable...

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16. The Transition to Liberalism

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pp. 331-348

GUATEMALA CITY CELEBRATED Carrera's fiftieth birthday with especially great zest in October 1864. The caudillo was still hardy, although he suffered stomach upset and pain. As usual, he spent much of the Guatemalan summer of 1864-65 in the warm...

Part Three: Socioeconomic Change in Carrera's Guatemala

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17. Infrastructure Development in Conservative Guatemala

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pp. 351-370

THE THREE CENTURIES OF SPANISH RULE (1524-1821) represent a long transition from feudalism to capitalism, which was by no means complete by the end of that period. Although the sixteenth-century Habsburgs had encouraged mining...

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18. Production for Consumption and Export

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pp. 371-394

THE LIBERALS HAD PINNED THEIR HOPES for the transformation of Central America into a prosperous and modern republic on the rapid increase of exports of tropical agricultural commodities. As early as February 1824, the Guatemalan state government...

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19. Currency and Government Finance

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pp. 395-417

RESTORATION OF PEACE AND STABILITY, combined with rising prices in Britain during the early 1850$, contributed to a sense of prosperity among Guatemalan merchants and undoubtedly whetted their appetite for further expansion of exports. The shift among conservative landholders...

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20. Conservative Social Policy

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pp. 418-434

As WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, during the Carrera years the social development and control of the population fell largely to institutions outside the government bureaucracy. This chapter is not a comprehensive social history of the period...

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21. Education and Culture

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pp. 435-455

GOVERNMENT POLICY TOWARD EDUCATION AND CULTURE offers one of the clearest areas of difference between liberal and conservative philosophy in nineteenth-century Guatemala. Spanish policy had largely left education to the church, and conservatives...

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22. Conclusions

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pp. 456-470

No SINGLE INDIVIDUAL dominated the first half century of Guatemalan national independence more than Rafael Carrera. Although uneducated, his native intelligence and personal energy enabled him to overcome the intrigues of the "enlightened" Creole elite and enforce...

Appendix. Principal Commercial Houses During the Decade 1860–1870: Their Proprietors and Activities

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pp. 471-473


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pp. 475-587


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pp. 589-613


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pp. 615-630

E-ISBN-13: 9780820343600
E-ISBN-10: 082031448X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820314488

Page Count: 648
Publication Year: 1993