Jose Manuel Balmaceda (Died)

On this date in 1891, Jose Manuel Balmaceda, president of the Republic of Chile, died at the end of a civil war. He was born circa 1838 (one source reports 1840), and was educated at the Jesuit Seminary in Santiago. Rejecting Roman Catholicism, Balmaceda founded the anti-clerical Reform Club in 1868. He became part of the Chilean congress in the 1870s, and led the anti-clerical Liberals. In 1882, as Minister of the Interior during the presidency of Domingo Santa Maria, Balmaceda used his powers to oppose Church strangleholds on the law, passing a divorce law and other reforms. Balmaceda was president from 1886 to 1890. His rule, which became increasingly autocratic during a constitutional conflict, brought on a civil war. He committed suicide at the Argentine embassy. D. 1891.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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