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|1897 painting by Martín Tovar y Tovar.|
|5th Minister of National Defense (Venezuela)|
|President||Simón Bolívar y Palacios|
|Preceded by||Carlos Soublette|
|Succeeded by||Carlos Soublette|
|4th President of Gran Colombia|
September 5, 1830 – April 30, 1831
|Preceded by||Joaquin Mosquera|
|Succeeded by||Domingo Caycedo|
|9th Minister of National Defense (Venezuela)|
|President||Jose Antonio Paez (1839 - 1843), Carlos Soublette (1843-1847)|
|Preceded by||Guillermo Smith|
|Succeeded by||Francisco Mejia|
|Born||Rafael José Urdaneta y Faría
24 October 1788
Maracaibo, Captaincy General of Venezuela
|Died||23 August 1845
|Spouse(s)||Dolores Vargas Paris (1822—1845)|
|Children||Rafael Guillermo Urdaneta Vargas
Luciano Urdaneta Vargas
Octaviano Urdaneta Vargas
Adolfo Urdaneta Vargas
Eleázar Urdaneta Vargas
Nephtalí Urdaneta Vargas
Amenodoro Urdaneta Vargas
Susana Urdaneta Vargas
Rosa Margarita Urdaneta Vargas
María Dolores Urdaneta Vargas
Rodolfo Urdaneta Vargas
Urdaneta was born in the province of Maracaibo in the Captaincy General of Venezuela to an elite family of Spanish descent on October 24, 1788. He began his elementary education in Maracaibo and then his secondary education in Caracas. Prior to the independence war he was a student of Latin and philosophy.
In 1845 he was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Venezuela to Spain, but he died in Paris, France, on the 23rd of August of that year due to complications from kidney stones, and before ever reaching Spain.
After the establishment of the First Republic of Venezuela, Urdaneta joined the revolutionary army in the fight against the royalists. In 1821, after years of service to the patriotic cause, he became one of General Simón Bolívar's closest collaborators and was promoted to the rank of General in the Republican Army.
Urdaneta served as Chief of Army Staff and as Minister of War and Navy.
In 1830, the rising animosity between Neogranadines and Venezuelans came to a boiling point. At the time, the Venezuelan battalion Callao, loyal to General Bolívar, was stationed in Bogotá. Another battalion, loyal to General Francisco de Paula Santander, and also stationed in the same city, persuaded the Government to relocate Callao to the city of Tunja. This action provoked an upraise in the civilian population from Venezuela who lived in Bogotá, and triggered a confrontation between both battalions.
The Callao battalion defeated the Neogranadine battalion and President Joaquín Mosquera y Arboleda and Vice President Domingo Caycedo y Sanz de Santamaría fled from the capital. On 5 September 1830, General Urdaneta took control of the presidency under the title of "Provisional Chief of the Government of the Republic of Colombia". It was the hope of General Urdaneta and his allies to persuade Bolívar, who had resigned in May of that year, to return to the capital and once gain take over as president.
When it became clear that Bolívar would not return to the capital, and in an effort to restore peace and order, General Urdaneta ordered Congress to convene on 15 June 1831, in the city of Villa de Leiva.
The Neogranadine Generals expressed their displeasure against General Urdaneta, and military actions erupted throughout the country. Generals José María Obando del Campo and José Hilario López Valdéz took control of the southern states and General José Salvador Córdova Muñoz of the northern states. On 14 April 1831, the advancing armies proclaimed Caycedo as the legitimate head of the executive, and requested General Urdaneta to enter into peace negotiations. General Urdaneta accepted, and met with the Neogranadine generals in the town of Apulo. On 28 April both parties signed the Treaty of Apulo, by which peace was secured and General Urdaneta relinquished power.
- Mis Mejores Amigos - 110 Biografías de Venezolanos Ilustres. Vinicio Romero Martínez. Editorial Larense. Caracas. 1987.