Carlos Holguín Mallarino

Carlos Holguín Mallarino (11 June 1832 – 19 October 1894) was a Colombian lawyer, journalist, and politician, who became President of Colombia between 1888 and 1892, acting in the absence of President Rafael Núñez.[1]

Carlos Holguín Mallarino
Carlos Holguín Mallarino oleo.jpg
Oil painting by Ricardo Moros Urbina.
President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1888 – 7 August 1892
Preceded byRafael Núñez Moledo
Succeeded byMiguel Antonio Caro
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia
In office
4 June 1887 – 7 August 1888
PresidentRafael Núñez Moledo
Preceded byFelipe Angulo Bustillo
Succeeded byAntonio Roldán Betancourt
In office
PresidentAquileo Parra Gómez
Preceded byCarlos Nicolás Rodríguez
Succeeded byEustorgio Salgar Moreno
Magistrate of the Supreme Court
In office
Personal details
Born(1832-06-11)11 June 1832
Nóvita, Chocó, Republic of New Granada
Died19 October 1894(1894-10-19) (aged 62)
Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Political partyConservative
Other political
National Party
Spouse(s)Margarita Caro Tovar
RelationsManuel María Mallarino (uncle)
Jorge Holguín (brother)
Miguel Antonio Caro (brother-in-law)
Alma materColegio San Bartolomé
Military service
AllegianceConservative Party
Battles/warsColombian Civil War (1860–1862)
Colombian Civil War of 1876

Biographic dataEdit

Carlos Holguín Mallarino was born on 11 July 1832, in the town of Nóvita, Chocó when the region was still part of the department (state) of Cauca. He died in Bogotá on 19 October 1894 while he was serving in Congress as senator.[1] Carlos Holguín Mallarino was part of the prominent Holguín, Mallarino and Caro Families. Both his uncle Manuel María Mallarino and his brother, Jorge Holguín, were Presidents of Colombia, as was his brother-in-law Miguel Antonio Caro, who succeeded him in office.[1][2]

Early lifeEdit

Holguín completed his first years of education in the city of Cali, Valle. He then traveled to Bogotá, where he studied jurisprudence and obtained a degree in law at the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé before his 20th birthday. His adoptive grandfather, an Englishman called Paterson Saunders, had taught him Latin, Greek, English, French and Italian. Holguín later became a great[peacock term] orator, debater, and writer. He was also a renowned journalist and professor of literature and history.[1]

Military careerEdit

Holguín enlisted in the army and participated in several military actions like the uprising against President José María Melo, the war against Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, and the conservative revolt against Aquileo Parra in 1875.[1]

Political careerEdit

After Holguín graduated, he entered the civil service and held a few bureaucratic jobs with the central government. At 23, he was elected as state senator representing the district of buenaventura and thereafter as President of the Cauca State Senate. Later he was elected several times to National Congress, representing the States of Antioquia, Cundinamarca, Tolima and Bolívar. Holguín was appointed also to several ministerial positions such as Minister of Foreign Relations, Interior and War.[1]

In 1881, while in Rome, Holguín was commissioned by President Rafael Núñez to establish diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Spain. By that time, Colombia was the only Latin American nation that did not have diplomatic relations with Spain. Thus, Holguín was appointed as Special Envoy and plenipotentiary Ambassador of Colombia to the Kingdom of Spain. As head of the diplomatic mission, he arrives in Madrid on 9 January 1881, where he was greeted by the King of Spain, Alfonso XII. For the first time, full diplomatic relations were established between the two nations.[3]

Upon his return to Colombia, on November 1887, Holguín was appointed Minister of Foreign Relations by President Eliseo Payán. Later, President Rafael Núñez appointed him Minister of War.[4]


Carlos Holguín became President of Colombia upon his election by Congress as Presidential Designate, the first time in 1888 and the second time in 1890. Thus, he ruled as president between 1888 and 1892, to complete the six years presidential term of President Rafael Núñez.[1]

During his presidency, Holguín devoted time, energy and resources to the betterment of the nation’s infrastructure, such as the improvement, restoration and development of main highways, railways, shipyards, sea ports, the waterways of the Atrato, Cauca, Magdalena and Nechí rivers, and the electric and telephone grids. He also created and established the “Policia Nacional” (national police).[4]

Holguín was very much disliked and heavily criticized by the opposition party, the liberals, and Congress made it very difficult for him to govern. In his last address to Congress, before he handed over the presidency to Miguel Antonio Caro, he said, "In the four years that I have governed, not a single shot has been fired, not a single drop of blood has been spilled and not a single tear has been shed. I leave the country in peace and I did not incur in further debt."[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Gobernantes Colombianos, Ignacio Arismendi Posada, Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición, Page 131, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983
  2. ^ Gobernantes Colombianos, Ignacio Arismendi Posada, Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición, Page 217, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983
  3. ^ Gobernantes Colombianos, Ignacio Arismendi Posada, Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición, Page 132, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983
  4. ^ a b Gobernantes Colombianos, Ignacio Arismendi Posada, Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición, Page 133, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983
  5. ^ Gobernantes Colombianos, Ignacio Arismendi Posada, Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición, Page 134, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983

External linksEdit

  • "Relación cronológica de Ministros" (in Spanish). Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2006-08-07. Archived from the original on 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  • Holguín Holguín, Carlos; Tomás Holguín Mora; Paula Torres Holguín (2005). "Camargo como Presidente de la República". Escritos, 1912-1998 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Bogotá: Centro Editorial Universidad del Rosario. pp. 292–293. ISBN 958-8225-48-5. OCLC 68811847. Retrieved 2008-12-13.