Fruto Chamorro

Fruto Chamorro

Fruto Chamorro Pérez (October 20 1804 March 12 1855) was the first President of Nicaragua 1854–1855.

Born in the city of Guatemala in 1804 to Josefa Pérez, he was initially known as Fruto Pérez. His father, Pedro José Chamorro Argüello, had come to Guatemala from Nicaragua for graduate studies. Fruto grew up in Guatemala and attended school there. His father returned to Nicaragua after completing his studies and married Josefa Margarita Alfaro Monterroso in 1814. They had six children, but Fruto was subsequently considered a member of this family, based on strategic needs related to administration of the family resources, for which the administrator was expected to be at least 25 years of age. He was acknowledged by his father shortly before the latter's death in 1824, and his stepmother insisted he use the name Fruto Chamorro Pérez.

The death of his father forced Fruto to leave his studies and go to Nicaragua to assume responsibility for the family and to manage the abundant inheritance of his father. His half brothers and sisters, Pedro Joaquín, Dionisio, Carmen, Mercedes and Fernando grew under his guardianship.

Fruto's father was one of the founders of the Conservative Party of Nicaragua, centered on the city of Granada. He was committed to the Conservative cause and became an activist of the Party. In 1836, he became a representative in the State Assembly. From 1839 to 1842, he was a Senator of the State of Nicaragua.

In 1842, an attempt was made to reestablish a union of Central American states as the Central American Confederation, in accord with the "Pact of Chinandega". It was to include El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In 1843, Fruto Chamorro was appointed Supreme Director of the Confederation junta, and he took up residence in San Miguel, El Salvador. However, Guatemala withdrew, and Fruto was instrumental in preventing a war over the decision. The nascent Confederation collapsed in 1844.

In 1845, Fruto Chamorro was appointed Prefect and Military Governor of the Department of Granada, and Minister of the Treasury. In November 1851, during the administration of Supreme Director Laureano Pineda, he became Commander-in-chief of the Army.

Fruto Chamorro himself became Supreme Director of Nicaragua on April 1, 1853. Almost immediately and with support of the conservative oligarchy, he transferred the government headquarters to Granada, the Conservative stronghold. He then convened a Constituent Assembly on January 20, 1854, to promulgate a new Constitution during the absence of the majority of the western (Liberal Party) representatives, virtually expelled from the country by the government's move to Granada. In March, Fruto Chamorro relinquished his title as Supreme Director and with acquiescence of the Assembly, named himself President of Nicaragua.

The Liberals saw this as a restoration to power of the provincial oligarchy, continuation of a feudal economic system, and the diminished possibility of an alliance of all Central American reactionary forces as well.

They initiated a civil war by establishing their own government in León in May 1854, with the support of the governments of Honduras and El Salvador. A force under the command of General Máximo Jerez was sent to besiege Granada. In preparation for the siege, President Chamorro placed himself at the headquarters of the Army and left executive authority with his deputy, José María Estrada. His defenses for Granada were successful and subsequent attacks failed to take the city.

A victim of dysentery, Fruto Chamorro died at his hacienda outside Granada on March 12, 1855. A few months later, the city was taken in a surprise attack by the filibuster William Walker.


* [ Nicaragua America Central, Presidents]
* "Genealogia Familia Chamorro", por El Dr. Emilio Alvarez Lejarza (1951), Talleres Tipograficos y Litograficos de la Editorial Catolica, S. A. Managua, Nic.-C. A.
* "Recorrido Historico de las Principales Figuras de la Familia Chamorro", Emilio Alvarez Lejarza, Revista Consevadora del Pensamiento Centroamericano, Vol. XIX - No. 91 (Abril, 1968)

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