Fructuoso Rivera

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Fructuoso Rivera
Fructuoso Rivera.jpg
1st President of Uruguay
In office
November 6, 1830 – October 24, 1834
Preceded by Luis Eduardo Pérez
Succeeded by Carlos Anaya
Personal details
Born (1784-10-17)October 17, 1784
Durazno, Uruguay
Died January 13, 1854(1854-01-13) (aged 69)
Melo, Uruguay
Nationality Uruguayan
Political party Colorado Party
Profession Military

José Fructuoso Rivera y Toscana (October 17, 1784 – January 13, 1854) was a Uruguayan general and patriot who fought for the liberation of Banda Oriental from Brazilian rule, twice served as Uruguay's President and was one of the instigators of the long Uruguayan Civil War. He is also considered to be the founder of the Colorado Party, which ruled Uruguay without interruption from 1865 until 1958. He made a controversial decision to almost completely eliminate the native Charrua people during the 1831 Massacre of Salsipuedes.

Life[edit]

Fructuoso Rivera
Rivera's statue in Montevideo

Rivera was a rancher who joined the army of José Gervasio Artigas in 1810. Eventually he rose to the rank of general. When Banda Oriental was occupied by Portuguese and the defeated Artigas forced into exile in 1820, Rivera stayed in the newly created Cisplatina province.

When in 1825 the Thirty-Three Orientals led by Juan Lavalleja and their Argentine supporters, began their fight against the Empire of Brazil, Rivera joined the Argentinians. It's not clear if he joined voluntarily or was forced to join. He soon became important military commander during the Cisplatine War and participated in the Battle of Rincón and Battle of Sarandí. Due to arguments with other leaders, Rivera left the country for a year and did not participate in the Battle of Ituzaingó in 1827.

After Uruguayan independence was proclaimed in 1828, arguments between Rivera and Lavalleja turned into fighting, and Argentine general José Rondeau became the first provisional Governor. Rivera finally assumed Presidency for a term from November 6, 1830 until October 24, 1834. Rivera then supported General Manuel Oribe as his successor to Presidency. Once again, Rivera become involved in conflict with Lavalleja and also with Oribe. In October 1838 Rivera defeated Oribe and forced him to flee into exile to Buenos Aires. During this conflict the political division between Colorados and Blancos began, as Rivera's supporters wore red armbands, but Oribe's wore white. Later these factions form their political parties. Rivera assumes Presidency for the second time between March 1, 1839 and March 1, 1843.

Oribe, with the support of Buenos Aires strongman Juan Manuel de Rosas, organized a new army and invaded Uruguay, thus starting the Uruguayan Civil War. In December 1842 Oribe defeated Rivera at the Battle of Arroyo Grande and started the Great Siege of Montevideo. Rivera's power was limited to the capital city, while Oribe ruled the rest of the country. In 1847 Rivera was forced to leave for exile in Brazil, where he stayed until 1853.

After President Juan Francisco Giró was overthrown, a ruling triumvirate was created on September 25, 1853 consisting of Venancio Flores, Juan Antonio Lavalleja and Rivera. However, Lavalleja died on October 22, and Rivera died on January 13, 1854 en route to Montevideo, leaving only Flores in power.[1]

Later legacy[edit]

Rivera's legacy in Uruguayan political history, and particularly among the members of the Colorado Party, is one of strong personal leadership. A 'Riverista' tendency (among others, represented by Jorge Pacheco Areco and the Bordaberry family) in the Colorado Party has long existed as a counterpoint to the 'Batllista' and other factions.

See also[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Luis Eduardo Pérez (interim)
President of Uruguay
1830 – 1834
Succeeded by
Carlos Anaya
Preceded by
Gabriel Antonio Pereira (interim)
President of Uruguay
1838 – 1839
Succeeded by
Gabriel Antonio Pereira
Preceded by
Gabriel Antonio Pereira (interim)
President of Uruguay
1839 – 1843
Succeeded by
Joaquín Suárez de Rondelo
Preceded by
Juan Francisco Giró
President of Uruguay
1853 - 1854
Succeeded by
Venancio Flores

References[edit]