List of Governors of the Province of Cartagena

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The Province of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia was erected in 1533, instantaneously after the conquistador Don Pedro de Heredia set foot on the city, thus fulfilling his part in the contract of conquest made with the King Charles V of Spain.

It changed names and even became independent during the 19th century but essentially conserved its territorial area.

The following is the list of the Governors or Presidents of the Province, or in other cases Republic of Cartagena.

Leaders of the territory when it was an independent nation are also included here.

Province of Cartagena de Indias (1533-1810)[edit]

The province of Cartagena in its initial form lasted between 1533 and 1810, the title of the province's chief executive was Governor. With exceptions in 1539 and 1540, provisional leaders served without that title and during the Viceroyalty the administrative power of the governor diminished due to the presence of the Viceroy in Cartagena de Indias and its election as alternative capital of the New Grenada.

During this time, Cartagena de Indias mayor had some powers (judicial and administrative of other kind) that actually has not, and many of the powers vested in today's mayor were of the Governor, making him besides its military and budgetary authority in the province, a semi-mayor of the capital city, and because of its importance had significant autonomy from Bogotá playing a vital role in the New Grenada balance of powers.

In this list appears the title, name, length of the governorship and notes about the incumbency.

Peninsular War, Revolution and Independence (1810-1820)[edit]

The events of the peninsular war and the convocation of Juntas throughout Spain transformed the traditional order. Although everything remained the same, the instability of this period makes almost impossible to state what was the precise status of the province.

This triumvirate was fragile and was replaced by a "Supreme Junta" where the locals had more power, this could be regarded as a sort of fight between the virtually nonexistent royal power and the city councils.

By this time the chaos dominated the political scene, many reclaimed independence of the viceroyalty, others of the province, others the return of the Ancien regime and others keeping the status quo during this time, being the governor, or whatever the title had the office, was always a short victory of each faction.

In 11 November 1811, the Assembly declared Cartagena de Indias an independent nation, from Spain, and also of any type of control from Bogotá and proceeded to elect his first president. The majority of historians regard this as very important but, in practice, those who voted against independence adhered to the Cádiz Cortes, Napoleon I, Charles IV or even an ethereal absolutism in name of Ferdinand VII of Spain. Again, the office of governor with all the men under its command was in the service of the faction in power, making the province switching from absolutist, to pan-Hispanic liberal, to independent, to absolutist again.

Between 1811 and 1814 the original province annexed through war the neighboring province of Santa Marta, unifying for the first time the eastern Caribbean Coast of South America. This expansion of and consolidation of the Cartagena Republic was short-lived, the pan-Hispanic liberals adhering to the Cádiz Cortes took office again and stopped hostilities against the royalists in Santa Marta but kept the lands gained by the revolutionaries.

  • 86. Don Gabriel Gutierrez de Piñeres (1811–1814) During his period the capital lived one of its darkest periods, full of disorder, anarchy and civil strife in the name of liberty. He finally lost his post due to the disorder that he fomented, the city lived 2 months without government in 1814 and was severely impoverished and damaged. Many pamphlets of enemies of his time described him as a Tropical Robbespierre and that was not far from truth.
  • 87. Don Juan De Dios Amador y Lopez de Lozanarubias (1815-1815) Endured the siege of Pablo Morillo of the royalist faction, that doomed the city to utter destruction and left it almost as a ghost town.
  • 88. Don Juan Elias López-Tagle y de Madariaga, cousin of ex-governor García de Toledo, was delegated by Amador to give up the city keys to Pablo Morillo because he declared himself "morally incapable".

After the city and its province returned to the hands of the absolutist royalists in 1815 the Ancien regime so longed by most of the capital and its inhabitants proved to be anachronous, because the problems created by the revolution and the new times that came with it overturned the old system, and the representatives of the absolutism were just that: representatives, they followed orders, and restoration was harsh without concessions, almost all historians coincide that that was the sign of the failure of the restoration.

The holocaust of Cartagena, the failure of the restoration and the growing radicalism of the second reign of the recently restored Ferdinand VII fed the Spanish Americas with the real desire of independence for the first time, after the dramatic but lets say educational experience of home rule. The campaign of reconquista of Pablo Morillo from Cartagena became harder and harder because popular sentiment began to shift from the first time for full union of the provinces and independence of Spain.

Intendency of the Magdalena River and the Isthmus (1820-1832)[edit]

In August 1820, the Province of Cartagena was finally annexed to Greater Colombia and finally the revolutionary wars ended. In 1821 Cartagena and Santa Marta provinces merged in the Intendency of the Magdalena River and the Isthmus, and were ruled over a Prefect Intendent from Cartagena de Indias.

Province of Cartagena de Indias (1832-1841)[edit]

Republic of the Southern Caribbean (1841-1841)[edit]

Province of Cartagena de Indias (1841-1863)[edit]

Sovereign State of Bolivar (1863-1886)[edit]

Department of Bolivar (1886-today)[edit]