Mariano Enrique Calvo

Mariano Enrique Calvo Cuéllar (18 July 1782 – 29 July 1842) was a Bolivian lawyer and politician who served as the de facto 8th President of Bolivia briefly in 1841. He also served as the 3rd Vice President from 1835 to 1839 during which he also held the powers of acting president while President Andrés de Santa Cruz was in Peru.

Mariano Enrique Calvo
Mariano Enrique Calvo. Anonymous author. c. 1900s, Casa de la Libertad, Sucre.png
Official portrait, Casa de la Libertad, Sucre
8th President of Bolivia
In office
9 July 1841 – 22 September 1841
Preceded bySebastián Ágreda (provisional)
Succeeded byJosé Ballivián (provisional)
3rd Vice President of Bolivia
In office
23 July 1835 – 22 February 1839
PresidentAndrés de Santa Cruz
Preceded byJosé Miguel de Velasco
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Aniceto Arce (1880)
Belisario Salinas (1880)
Minister of Interior and Foreign Affairs
In office
25 January 1833 – 16 August 1835
PresidentAndrés de Santa Cruz
Preceded byCasimiro Olañeta
Succeeded byJosé Ignacio Sanjinés
In office
3 July 1829 – 24 January 1832
PresidentAndrés de Santa Cruz
Preceded byJosé María de Lara (acting)
Succeeded byCasimiro Olañeta
Personal details
Mariano Enrique Calvo Cuéllar

(1782-07-18)18 July 1782
Chuquisaca, Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata (now Bolivia)
Died29 July 1842(1842-07-29) (aged 60)
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Spouse(s)Manuela Dominga Salinas
Parent(s)Juan de Dios Calvo Antequera
Rosa Cuellar
EducationUniversity of Saint Francis Xavier


Educated as a Chuquisaca lawyer, Calvo had been a royalist who was even head of the Cabildo (colonial assembly) in 1818. He later switched sides and, despite spending a number of years in the political wilderness, distinguished himself in the 1830s as a supporter, collaborator, and cabinet member of Andrés de Santa Cruz, rising to the post of Minister of Foreign Relations. He then became Vice-President of the Bolivian portion of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, again under Santa Cruz, who was both President of Bolivia and the Confederation's Supreme Protector in Lima. As such, most of the daily running of affairs in Bolivia fell to the trusted Calvo.

With Sebastián Ágreda's resignation in 1841, Congress was reassembled. The latter desperately wanted to return to established Constitutional norms, and thus agreed to temporarily turn the reins of state to Calvo, as the last Vice-President of Bolivia under Santa Cruz, pending the latter's return. Calvo is thus considered to be the first civilian President of Bolivia. He had difficulty, however, in running the country, with the military divided among pro-Velasco and pro-Santa Cruz camps. In fact, civil war loomed, with part of the country under different military controls, and with a pending Peruvian invasion known to be on its way at the worst of times.

The latter finally materialized (no doubt spurred by the unmistakable appearance of chaos and weakness at the helm in La Paz) in late August 1841. Trusting the fate of the whole country to its military, Calvo could only hope for a miracle. The latter indeed occurred, when General José Ballivián, head of the Bolivian Army, inflicted an astonishing defeat on the invading forces of Peru at the Battle of Ingavi, where the Peruvian President himself, the notorious Agustin Gamarra, was made prisoner and later executed by Ballivián. With the latter the indisputable hero of the moment, Calvo could only acquiesce when Congress named the General Provisional President, once again pending a possible return of Marshall Santa Cruz. Calvo would die only a year later in Cochabamba. He was the first native of the Bolivian capital, La Plata/Chuquisaca (later renamed Sucre) to occupy the Bolivian presidency, and also has the distinction of having been President at the time of the rout of Peruvian forces at Ingavi.