José Fernández Madrid

José Fernández Madrid

Infobox President | name =José Fernández Madrid

order =President of the United Provinces of the New Granada*| term_start =October 5, 1814
term_end =January 21, 1815
predecessor =Camilo Torres Tenorio
successor =Triumvirate
Custodio García Rovira,
Antonio Villavicencio,

Manuel Rodríguez Torices

order2 =President of the United Provinces of the New Granada
term_start2 =March 14, 1816
term_end2 =June 22, 1816
predecessor2 =Camilo Torres Tenorio
successor2 =Liborio Mejía
ambassador_from3 =Colombia
country3 = France
term_start3 =March 25, 1827
term_end3 =November 23, 1827
ambassador_from4 =Colombia
country4 = United Kingdom
term_start4 =November 23, 1827
term_end4 =June 28, 1830
birth_date =February 19, 1789
birth_place =flagicon|ColombiaCartagena de Indias, Bolívar, Colombia
death_date =June 28, 1830
death_place =flagicon|England Barnes, London, England
spouse =María Francisca Domínguez de la Roche
religion =Roman Catholic
footnotes =*Member President of the Triumvirate.

José Luis Álvaro Alvino Fernández Madrid (February 19, 1789 - June 28, 1830) was a Neogranadine statesman, physician, scientist and writer, who was President of the interim Triumvirate of the United Provinces of the New Granada in 1814, and President of the United Provinces of the New Granada in 1816. After the Reconquista, he was barred from the country and was exiled in Havana, where he continued his scientific studies and worked as a doctor. He was later pardoned and allowed to come back to Colombia, and was appointed ambassador to France and to the United Kingdom where he died in 1830.

Early life

José Fernández Madrid was born in Cartagena de Indias, Bolívar on February 19, 1789. Son of a wealthy aristocratic family of the New World, his father Pedro Fernández de Madrid y Rodríguez de Rivas, was born in Guatemala and held important positions in the Viceroyalty of the New Granada as a sub delegate intendant of the Spanish Army. His paternal grandfather, don Luis Fernández Madrid was a knight of the Order of Calatrava and a member of the Council to the King of Spain, and in the New World, served as "Oidor", or head judge, of the Royal Audiencies of Guatemala, and Mexico City. His mother was doña Gabriela Fernández de Castro, daughter of don Diego Fernández de Castro who served as governor, Captain General, and president of the Royal Audiency of Guatemala ["Fernández de Castro, JA. Un presidente neogranadino desterrado en la isla de Cuba. Rev Univ de La Habana 1942;40-42 (enero-junio):7-26"] .

He began his studies in Cartagena de Indias, but his father was named Superintendent of the Royal Spanish Mint, and so the family moved to Santa Fe de Bogotá, where he continued his studies in the Our Lady of the Rosary University, in Bogotá. He initially graduated from his studies in Humanities and Canon Law, but he went back to finish his doctorate in Medicine, graduating on February 16, 1809 all before the age of 20 ["Universidad de La Habana. Archivo Histórico. Exped Est Ant No. 4426 (Dr. José Fernández Madrid)"] .

Early polital life

Amidst the revolutionary events of 1810, José Fernández found himself in Cartagena, where he got his first job as Attorney General for the Province of Cartagena, here he was part of the first revolutionary movements of the city when the Province of Cartagena declared their absolute independence on November 11, 1811. He was later named representative to the Congress of the State of Cartagena de Indias. In 1812 Fernández was commissioned as representative of his province in the Congress of the United Provinces of the New Granada that was convened in Villa de Leyva. He excelled in Congress and was known for his intellect, and speeches, and his literary works gave him great standing image among his colleagues.


On October 5, 1814 the Supreme Junta of the United Provinces decided that the best political solution for the country was to name a Triumvirate instead of a President to govern the country alone ["Osterling, J.P. (1989). Democracy in Colombia: Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. [Rutgers University] ISBN 0887382290"] . Congress elected Custodio García Rovira, Manuel Rodriguez Torices, and Manuel Restrepo to preside over the triumvirate, but since all of them were absent, congress named José María del Castillo y Rada, José Joaquín Camacho and José Fernández Madrid, as interim presidents of the triumvirate. The Interim Triumvirate ruled the country from October 5, 1814. José Fernández Madrid presided over the triumvirate until March 28, 1815 ["Biografia de José Fernández Madrid" [] ] when Custodio García was able to step in power.

Presidency 1816

in 1816, the situation of the country was dire, the Pacificador Pablo Morillo was heading the Recnquista, he had taken the north of the country, the provinces of Santa Marta, and Cartagena had fallen to the Spaniards, independence was being taken away. Many important figures were abandoning the political scene, no one wanted to be in the way of Morillo.

On March 14, 1816, Camilo Torres Tenorio resigned from the presidency, then the Congress of the United Provinces of the New Granada asked Fernández Madrid to be the president of the United Provinces, he at first declined, knowing very well that he was not the right man for the job, and that he could not bring about a solution to the invasion, but upon pressure of his peers, he accepted and assumed the presidency ["CABALLERO, JOSÉ MARÍA, Particularidades de Santafe, Un diario de... en la Patria Boba, Bibliotecade Historia Nacional, Bogotá, Imprenta Nacional, 1902."] .

On May 6, Santa Fe de Bogotá was invaded by the royalists, this event marked Spain's Reconquista of the New Granada.

So with only 27 years of age, and no military experience, Fernández Madrid marched with a handful of the remaining soldiers to the south. On June 22, 1816 Fernández Madrid presented his resignation to the presidency in Popayán to the Permanent Legislative Commission, who accepted it and named general Custodio García Rovira to the post, Liborio Mejía was named vicepresident, and becoming the acting president because Rovira was not present.


On June 30, after the defeat of the battle of Cuchilla del Tambo, the last battle of the Reconquista, Fernández Madrid and his wife are captured and taken prisoners in Chaparral while they were in search of the lands of the Andaquí Indians to seek refuge

Then, captured and facing the real threat of Facin the Judges of War and Purification, who would have sentenced him to death as was the fate of many very important figures during the Reconquista, he plead for forgiveness, mistake he would later regret, he implored a meeting with general Morillo. Because of his family's record of service to the King, and his lack of military action, he was spared his life, and sentenced to exile in Spain along with his wife, María Francisca Domínguez de la Roche, and his brother, coronel Francisco Fernández Madrid; Morillo told him,

::"Whitin three says you will march to the Court. Go learn loyalty from your relatives! Do not think you are fooling me, you are an insurgent and you will be one till death." ["RIVAS, RAIMUNDO, Escritos de don Pedro Fernández Madrid (Publicados con noticias sobre su vida u su época), Bogotá, Editorial Minerva, 1931."]


On June 5, 1820 the first edition of the newspaper "El Argos" came out [ "Union de Periodistas de Cuba. Efemérides."] , it was founded by Fernández Madrid, it ran 34 editions and it had a revolutionary outlook and called for the unification of the peoples of America.

Post presidency

José Fernández Madrid was appointed ambassador to France, he managed to

José Fernández Madrid was named ambassador to the United Kingdom by Simón Bolívar on November 23, 1826 ["Vida de Don Andrés Bello" By Miguel Luís Amunátegui R. [,M1] ] . He was still in Paris at the moment, and the government urged him to move to London as fast as possible, and he was given an annual salary of $12000 (CO) [Ibid] . José Fernández Madrid arrived in London on April 30, 1827 ["Andrés Bello: La pasión por el orden" By Ivan Jakšić [,M1] ]


His son, Pedro Fernández Madrid, who was born in Cuba during his exile, became an important politician and writer, following in the steps of his father, he worked as a congressman and was president of the Congress in 1857 ["Pedro Fernández Madrid" [] ] .

Literary works

*"Poesías" [ "Poesías. Selección"] (1945)

*"Guatimoc ó Guatimocin: Tragedia en cinco actos" ["Guatimoc ó Guatimocin: Tragedia en cinco actos" [] ] (1835)

Merit Badges

The Colombian Armed Forces have honered José Fernández Madrid by instituting the Order to the Military Merit José Fernández Madrid ("Orden del Mérito Militar José Fernández Madrid"), that is awarded to military medical personnel for acts of courage or outstanding service to science or military medicine [ "Armed Forces of Colombia"] [ "Medals of Colomba"] .

The Colombian National Armada also honored Fernández by establishing the Order of the Sanitary Merit José Fernández Madrid ("Orden del Sanitario José Fernández Madrid"), honoring those members of the National Armada that have excelled for their military spirit, discipline, comradery, and work in scientific or medical instruction and investigation [ "Colombian National Armada"] .


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