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Colombia, Thousand Days' War, 1899–1902

Andrés Otálvaro H.

Subject History » Political History
Study of History » Comparative History

Place South America » Colombia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899, 1900-1999

Key-Topics civil war, inequality, rebellion, revolution, war

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00377.x


Throughout the nineteenth century, liberal and conservative forces battled for power in Colombia, waging a number of civil wars in a struggle for control of the political institutions and territorial dominion. Between 1899 and 1902 they engaged in an especially cruel and prolonged conflict which would go down in history as the “Thousand Days' War.” In 1886 President Rafael Nuñez implemented a well-known and systematic nationwide project called “The Regeneration,” which benefited the conservatives and was accompanied by the issuing of a new constitution. Conservatism took control of the state, its financial resources, the electoral mechanisms, and the most coveted rural areas. In response to the centralist vision of the conservatives, the liberals were ready to fight for their own political project, “The Restoration,” and a geopolitical restructuring of the Colombian territory based on the principles of a federal system. Fiscal deficit, politically corrupted monopolies, and a socioeconomic crisis coincided in 1898 with a dramatic slump in the price of coffee, which was Colombia's main export commodity at that time. In 1898 liberalism was divided into two fronts. The first comprised the “pacifists” who wanted to achieve a peaceful agreement with the government. They proposed legal solutions in the search for constitutional reform, rearrangement of the electoral system, and a more ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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