Bartolomé Calvo

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Bartolomé Calvo
Bartolomé Calvo.jpg
2nd President of the Granadine Confederation
In office
1 April 1861 – 18 July 1861
Preceded byMariano Ospina Rodríguez
Succeeded byTomás Cipriano de Mosquera
3rd Governor of Panama
In office
1 October 1856 – 1 June 1858
LieutenantFrancisco Fábregas
Preceded byFrancisco de Fábregas
Succeeded byRamón Gamboa
8th Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Colombia to Ecuador
In office
18 April 1886 – 20 January 1889
PresidentRafael Núñez
Preceded bySergio Camargo
Succeeded byFrancisco de Paula Urrutia Ordóñez
Personal details
Bartolomé Calvo Díaz de Lamadrid

(1815-08-24)24 August 1815
Cartagena de Indias, Bolívar, United Provinces of New Granada
Died2 January 1889(1889-01-02) (aged 73)
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Resting placeCentral Cemetery of Bogotá
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Isidora Martí
Alma materUniversity of Magdalena
OccupationLawyer, Diplomat, Journalist (Typographer, Editor)

Bartolomé Calvo Díaz de Lamadrid (August 24, 1815 – January 2, 1889) was a Colombian lawyer, journalist, and statesman, who became President of the Granadine Confederation, in what is now Colombia, in 1861 in his role as Inspector General, because no elections were held on that year to decide the presidency. He also served as Governor of Panama and Ambassador to Ecuador, and worked in a number of newspapers.

Personal life[edit]

Bartolomé Calvo Díaz de Lamadrid was born on August 24, 1815 in Cartagena de Indias, in what was then the United Provinces of the New Granada. Orphaned at an early age, he spend his youth working in the print shop his father had left him and his brothers. He attended the University of Magdalena where he graduated in Jurisprudence.[1]

He was married to Isidora Martí.[2]

Journalism career[edit]

Calvo inherited the passion for journalism from his father, one of the oldest typographers of Cartagena. After finishing his studies, he worked for the newspapers La Civilización and La República, and then he moved to Panama where he became the publisher and editor of El Correo del Istmo.[3][4]

After that he became editor-in-chief of La Estrella de Panamá, the Spanish language section of the trilingual newspaper The Daily Star & Herald. Calvo’s strong political views, however, did not meet the commercial interests of the newspaper owners, and Calvo refused to compromise his views, which led to the closing of La Estrella and his firing.[5]

Politics in Panama[edit]

When the Vice-Governor Francisco Fábregas took over the State as governor in replacement of Justo Arosemena, he named Bartolomé Calvo as his Secretary of State.[6] By now, racial tensions generated by the United States and the Americans living in Panama were getting very violent, Panamanians were angry that the Americans were taking all the jobs and the Americans discriminated the population. On the morning of April 15, 1856 a riot known as the Watermelon War took place. The results of this were very hard for the administration who was blamed by the United States and had to pay substantial damages.

On August 15, 1856 the elections for Governor of Panama were held. In this ballot, Bartolomé Calvo was a candidate. The elections proved to be complicated, the white factions claimed that Calvo had been elected by a 4000 votes lead, while the black factions claimed that Manuel M. Díaz had been chosen.[7] By September 15, the Legislative Assembly of Panama had not yet declared a winner as required by law as the liberal radicals in the assembly wanted the Vice-Governor, who was on their side, to assume the Governorship, and they were deliberately absent in the legislature so to prevent a quorum to pass the resolution, in the hopes that come the date of inauguration and no candidate was elected, the vice governor would then become acting governor.[6] But by now things were starting to get tense and protest were being held. On September 18, a quorum was finally met, and the Legislative Assembly declared that Calvo had been constitutionally elected for two years.[7]

Bartolomé Calvo took the office as Governor of the State of Panama on October 1, 1856[8] with Francisco Fábregas as his Vice-Governor. Calvo eventually won over many of the opposition with his good governance and honesty. His administration was a moderate but successful one encouraging public education, and improving the finances.[6][7]

In 1858, Calvo was elected Inspector General of Colombia, and he left Panama on May 5 to go to Bogotá, ceding power to the first designate Ramon Gamboa.[8]

Presidency 1861[edit]

In 1861 the country was enduring a Civil War, the country was now the Granadine Confederation, name given by the Constitution of 1858. The president Mariano Ospina Rodríguez was barely able to control the government. That year, Congress was shut down, and Presidential elections were not held. The Presidential term of Ospina was coming to an end, and according to the Constitution of 1858, in the absence of the designates, which were not elected either, the inspector general would take over the presidency.[9] And on April 1, 1861, Bartolomé Calvo Díaz de Lamadrid became President of the Granadine Confederation as inspector general in charge of the Executive Power.[10][11]

Coup and exile[edit]

The forces of General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera invaded Bogotá on July 18, 1861 taking control of government and arresting many prominent figures, including Bartolomé Calvo, Mariano Ospina Rodríguez and his brother Pastor, who were taken prisoners and taken to the Bocachica Castle in Cartagena. From there, Calvo manages to escape to the Antilles on his way to Puerto Rico where he stayed in exile.

In 1867 he moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador where his brother Juan Antonio lived, and with him they establish the first newspaper of the city, Los Andes,[12][13] a politically neutral newspaper that became of great importance at the time.

Elections of 1876[edit]

In 1876 Bartolomé Calvo was nominated as a candidate to the Presidency of Colombia, and returned to his country for the subsequent elections. He ran on the Conservative ballot against Aquileo Parra from the Radical Liberal Movement, and Rafael Núñez from the National Liberal Party. In the voting held by the Senate, no candidate held the absolute majority, and the elections went to a second round, this time in the Chamber where the winner was declared to be Aquileo Parra.[1]

e • d Summary of the 1876 Colombian presidential election results[1][14]
Candidate - Party Votes in Senate Votes in Congress
Aquileo Parra - Radical Liberal 5 48
Bartolomé Calvo - Conservative 2 18
Rafael Núñez - Liberal 2 18
None of the above – (Voto en Blanco) 1 0


In 1884, Calvo was named Plenipotentiary Minister to Ecuador, but could not assume his post, because of the Colombian Civil War of 1885 which halted politics. On April 18, 1886 he arrived in Quito officially taking his post.[1]

In 1888 he was elected senator in the Colombian Congress, but he refused the offer choosing to stay in Ecuador.[15]

Death and legacy[edit]

Bartolomé Calvo Díaz de Lamadrid died in Quito, on January 2, 1889 at the age of 73 leaving behind his wife and no children. On October 10 of that same year, the Congress of Colombia passed a law lamenting the death of the ex-president and setting funds for the repatriation of his remains to be interred in a National Monument in the Central Cemetery of Bogota, and also for the painting of two oil paintings, one which would hang in Congress, the other to be presented to his widow, also the creation of two busts in his likeness to be presented one to the Municipality of Cartagena, and the other to the Panamanian Assembly in honor and recognition of his service to the Nation.[16]

The Library Bartolomé Calvo in Cartagena de Indias was created in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Pérez Pimentel, Rodolfo (1987–2001). "Tomo XIII". Diccionario biográfico del Ecuador (in Spanish). Guayaquil: Litografía e Imp. de la Universidad de Guayaquil. OCLC 17368731. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  2. ^ Revista Credencial Historia (August 1996). "Colombia, Primeras Damas" (in Spanish) (80 ed.). Bogotá: Luís Ángel Arango Library. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  3. ^ Velásquez Toro, Magdala (2004-12-01). "Bartolomé Calvo" (in Spanish). Biblioteca Virtual del Banco de la República. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  4. ^ Carles, Rubén Darío (1959). 220 años del período colonial en Panamá (in Spanish). Panamá: Departamento de Bellas Artes y Publicaciones del Ministerio de Educación. p. 201. OCLC 2636049.
  5. ^ "Información General" (in Spanish). Estrella de Panama. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  6. ^ a b c Sosa, Juan Bautista; Arce, Enrique José (1911). "V". Compendio de historia de Panamá (in Spanish). Panamá: Morales & Rodriquez. OCLC 150613899.
  7. ^ a b c Bancroft, Hubert HoweHowe (1887). History of Central America. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft. pp. 527–528. OCLC 1722798. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  8. ^ a b "Colombia: States 1855-86". Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  9. ^ Congreso de Colombia (1958-03-22), "Article 42, Section V, Chapter IV", Constitución para la Confederación Granadina de 1858 (in Spanish), Bogotá: Fundacion Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, archived from the original on 2013-03-07, retrieved 2007-10-29
  10. ^ "Colombia: Elections and Events 1850-1899". Social Sciences & Humanities Library. Archived from the original on 15 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  11. ^ Colombian Air Force. "Bartolomé Calvo Díaz" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  12. ^ Porras Troconis, Gabriel (1935). América española (in Spanish). Cartagena de Indias: America Española. OCLC 5686521.
  13. ^ Orellana, J. Gonzalo (1930). El Ecuador en cien años de independencia, 1830-1930 (in Spanish). Quito: Escuela tipográfica salesiana. OCLC 2351988.
  14. ^ Political Data Base of the Americas
  15. ^ "Bartolomé Calvo" (in Spanish). Website of the Colombian Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  16. ^ Colombia (1891). "Ley 10a del 10 de Octubre de 1889". Leyes (in Spanish). Bogotá. OCLC 45242090. Retrieved 2007-10-30.