Bernardino Caballero

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"General Bernardino Caballero" redirects here. For the city, see General Bernardino Caballero, Paraguay.
Bernardino Caballero

Juan Bernardino Caballero de Añasco y Melgarejo (20 May 1839, Ybycuí, Paraguay – 26 February 1912, Asunción)[1] was the President of Paraguay from 1881 until 1886 and founder of the Colorado Party.

A descendant from Spanish nobility, he was the son of Jose Ramón Caballero de Anazco (a descendant from Túpac Huallpa through Inca Garcilaso de la Vega) and his wife Melchora Inés Melgarejo y Genés. Married twice, to María de la Concepción Díaz de Bedoya and to Julia Álvarez, without issue. From the first marriage he had two children, Ramon Caballero de Bedoya, married to Martha Cahen, and had issue, and Melchora Caballero de Bedoya, married to her distant cousin Carlos Francisco Saguier Pereira, and had issue. Outside of his marriages he had a further 90 children, all formally recognized by him, and thus today he has myriad descendants.

Born in Ybycuí, he joined the Paraguayan Army while still young and fought in the Paraguayan War.[2]:75 During the war, he became the assistant of President Francisco Solano López, in Humaitá and remaining loyal, rose through the ranks. He became an increasingly important leader of rearguard actions, eventually becoming a General.

After the death of Juan Bautista Gill in 1877, he helped ensure his friend Cándido Bareiro gained the presidency. Soon after Barreiro's death he organised a coup and took the presidency for himself, during which period he privatised much of the land in Paraguay to raise money.

Caballero rigged the 1886 election to ensure the victory Patricio Escobar, his favoured candidate. In response, his opponents founded the Liberal Party and he then founded the Colorado Party. Out of office, Caballero maintained a large degree of control as he remained commander of the army. His favoured candidates controlled the country until 1894, when Juan Bautista Eguzquiza overthrew Juan Gualberto González. Caballero helped to organise another coup in 1902, putting Juan Antonio Escurra in power, but after Escurra's overthrow by the Argentine Army, the Liberals took power.

The Paraguayan town of General Bernadino Caballero is named after him.


  1. ^ – Birth date
  2. ^ Hooker, T.D., 2008, The Paraguayan War, Nottingham: Foundry Books, ISBN 1901543153

Further reading[edit]

  • Warren, Harris G. (1985). Rebirth of the Paraguayan Republic: The First Colorado Era. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 51–61. ISBN 978-0-8229-3507-0. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Adolfo Saguier
Vice President of Paraguay
Succeeded by
Juan Antonio Jara
Preceded by
Adolfo Saguier
President of Paraguay
Succeeded by
Patricio Escobar