Santiago Pérez de Manosalbas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Santiago Pérez de Manosalbas
Santiago Pérez.jpg
Daguerreotype of Manosalbas circa 1870.
10th President of the United States of Colombia
In office
April 1, 1874 – April 1, 1876
Preceded byManuel Murillo Toro
Succeeded byAquileo Parra
Secretary of the Interior and Foreign Affairs
In office
April 1, 1868 – April 1, 1870
PresidentSantos Gutiérrez
Personal details
Born(1830-03-23)March 23, 1830
Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
DiedAugust 5, 1900(1900-08-05) (aged 70)
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Resting placeCentral Cemetery of Bogotá
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Tadea Triana Silva
Alma materOur Lady of the Rosary University
OccupationEducator, writer, journalist

Santiago Pérez de Manosalbas[1] was a Colombian educator, lawyer, diplomat, writer, journalist and statesman who was President of the United States of Colombia between 1874 and 1876.[2]

Biographic data[edit]

Pérez was born in Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca, on May 23, 1830, in what was then the Republic of New Granada. Born to a family of farmers, his parents were Felipe Pérez and Rosa Manosalbas.[2] He died while in exile in Paris on August 5, 1900 at the age of 70.[3] He was buried in the Batignolles Cemetery in Paris and there he rested until 1952, when his remains were repatriated and buried in the Central Cemetery of Bogotá.

Early life[edit]

The Pérez de Manosalbas was not a family of means, and Santiago and his brother Felipe Pérez went to the local public school in Zipaquirá, but they excelled beyond their teachers’ expectations. When the Director of Public Instruction Lorenzo María Lleras went to Zipaquirá to visit the school, he was impressed by Santiago and Felipe’s talent and potential. Lleras decided to help them and took them with him to Our Lady of the Rosary University, where he was the rector. He later took them to the “Colegio del Espíritu Santo”, a higher education school, which Lleras had founded. There, Pérez studied jurisprudence and on May 23, 1830, he received his Law degree, although he never professed this occupation, as he was a man of letters and politics.[2]

Private life[edit]

Pérez was married to Tadea Triana Silva; together they had four children, Santiago, Paulina, Eduardo and Amelia. Amelia married Clímaco Calderón, future President of Colombia. Eduardo became a diplomat. Santiago followed in his fathers footsteps, becoming a writer, politician, diplomat, and journalist.

Career as an educator[edit]

Pérez started his true calling as an educator working as a teacher in Spanish and Spanish literature while studying law in the Colegio del Espíritu Santo. In 1857 together with his brother Felipe, they established the Colegio Pérez Hermanos, a learning institution that taught such people as the linguist Rufino José Cuervo.

During the second administration of president Manuel Murillo Toro he was appointed Director of Public Instruction while also working as rector of the National University of Colombia.[2] In his prominent role as Director of Public Instruction he fomented education and the construction of new schools.

Comisión Corográfica[edit]

In 1852 Pérez joined the Comisión Corográfica, a state funded expedition led by Agustin Codazzi whose goal was to map out the entire country and collect information on its inhabitants. Pérez worked as secretary of the expedition, replacing Manuel Ancízar, who had fallen ill along the trip. His mission was to record events, places, descriptions, statistics, and other valuable information of the places they went to. During his time in the commission, he traveled to Neiva, Mariquita, Chocó, Casanare, Bogotá, and the territory of the Caquetá. He published his studies in the newspaper El Neo-Granadino, and wrote a memoir on the expedition entitled Apuntes de un viajero por Antioquia y el sur de la Nueva Granada.

Political career[edit]

Pérez was elected MP and assisted to congress in several legislatures.[2] In 1869, between June 23–30, he acted as interim president during the government of General Santos Gutiérrez.[4] He also served as Secretary of the Interior and Foreign Affairs between 1868 and 1870. Later, he was appointed ambassador to the United States.[2]

The Presidency[edit]

Oil painting of Santiago Pérez as President.

Pérez, being an educator more than a politician, is why education was his highest priority. He strengthened training facilities for teachers, ordered the construction of various primary schools, and consolidated the National University of Colombia. As president he, and members of his staff assisted the graduation ceremonies of young professionals to show support from the government. He promoted the expansion of the national railways system, including the construction of the "Ferrocarril del Norte" and the acquisition of the "Ferrocarril de Bolívar".[4]

During his administration the civil war of 1875-76 broke out.[5]


Pérez started out early on in his life to write.[6]

Selected works[edit]

  • Vivo o muerto, novel in verse.
  • Leonor, legend.
  • El manual del ciudadano, an instruction pamphlet on how to be a good citizen.[7]
  • Jacobo Molai, a drama in five acts based on the life of Jacques de Molay.[8]
  • El castillo de Berkley, a historic drama in five acts composed in verse, based around the Berkley Castle.[9]
  • Economía política y estadística, a recompilation of Pérez’ works as a teacher of economy, published in 2002 by the Universidad Externado de Colombia.[10]

Philology and linguistics[edit]

As a literate, he wrote the Compendio de gramática castellana por un granadino, which became a required book for the instruction of the Spanish language in Colombia[11]

For all his knowledge of the grammar and essence of the Castilian language, Pérez was elected member of the Academia Colombiana de la Lengua (Colombian Academy of the Language) as one of its original founders, along as other prominent members as Miguel Antonio Caro, and his former student Rufino José Cuervo among others.

  • Gramática filosófica del Idioma Español
  • Compendio de gramática castellana por un granadino [12]
  • Gramática abreviada de don Andres Bello, written in 1881 in commemoration of the centenary of the great Venezuelan philologist Andrés Bello.


  • Apuntes de un viaje por el sur de la Nueva Granada, memoir form his expedition in the Comisión Corográfica[13]
  • Memoria del secretario de lo Interior y Relaciones Exteriores al Congreso nacional de 1869[14]


  • Jacobo Molai, an adaptation of his book of the same name. It debuted on November 15, 1851 in the Colegio Espíritu Santo and directed by his mentor Lorenzo María Lleras.
  • El castillo de Berkley, inspired by his book, debuted on October 13, 1853 in the Maldonado Theater in Bogotá.
  • Nemequene, drama inspired by the Muisca ruler Nemequene, 3rd zipa of Bacatá.



Pérez served as collaborator for the newspapers, El Neo-Granadino (1851), El Tiempo (1856), El Mensajero (1866), El Relator (1893), La Defensa and La América (1880). He published various articles on different topics including politics, literature and economy.


  1. ^ Santiago Pérez de Manosalbas is the correct name, his second last name has some variants, other forms include: Manosalva, Manosalvas, and the omission of the “de”.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 97; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  3. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 100; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  4. ^ a b Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 98; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  5. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 99; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  6. ^ Ortega Ricaurte, Carmen (2004). La producción intelectual de los rosaristas, 1800-1899: : 1800-1899: catálogo bibliográfico (in Spanish). Bogotá: Centro Editorial Universidad del Rosario. pp. 173–177. ISBN 958-8225-12-4. OCLC 61366520. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
  7. ^ Pérez, Santiago. El manual del ciudadano (in Spanish). Bogotá: Banco de la República de Colombia. OCLC 2288941.
  8. ^ Pérez, Santiago (1851). Jacobo Molai, drama original en cinco actos (in Spanish). Bogotá: El Neo-Granadino. OCLC 33151544.
  9. ^ Pérez, Santiago (1856). El castillo de Berkley. Drama histórico en cinco actos en verso (in Spanish). Bogotá. OCLC 55427532.
  10. ^ Publicaciones de la Universidad Externado de Colombia
  11. ^ Bogotá. "ORDENANZA 14 DE 1863". Alcaldia de Bogotá. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
  12. ^ Pérez, Santiago (1858). Compendio de gramática castellana por un granadino (in Spanish). Bogotá: El Neo-Granadino.
  13. ^ Pérez, Santiago (1853). Apuntes de un viaje por el sur de la Nueva Granada (in Spanish). Retrieved 2007-11-03.
  14. ^ Biblioteca Nacional de la República de Colombia, Bogotá, 1869, Sala 1, Nº 13.929, pieza 2.