Tomás Frías

Tomás Frías Ametller (21 December 1804 – 10 May 1884) was a Bolivian lawyer and politician who served as the 17th president of Bolivia twice nonconsecutively from 1872 to 1873 and from 1874 to 1876.

Tomás Frías
Tomás Frías Ametller - Cropped.jpg
17th President of Bolivia
In office
14 February 1874 – 4 May 1876
Acting: 31 January 1874 – 14 February 1874
Preceded byAdolfo Ballivián
Succeeded byHilarión Daza (provisional)
In office
28 November 1872 – 9 May 1873
Preceded byAgustín Morales[a]
Succeeded byAdolfo Ballivián
Minister of Finance
In office
22 June 1871 – 12 September 1871
PresidentAgustín Morales
Preceded byManuel de la Lastra
Succeeded byCasimiro Corral (acting)
In office
9 December 1857 – 10 November 1858
PresidentJosé María Linares
Preceded byMiguel María de Aguirre
Succeeded byHimself
In office
23 December 1847 – 2 January 1848
PresidentEusebio Guilarte
Preceded byMiguel María de Aguirre
Succeeded byAndrés María Torrico (acting)
In office
19 March 1844 – 17 August 1844
PresidentJosé Ballivián
Preceded byManuel Molina
Succeeded byMiguel María de Aguirre
In office
18 October 1841 – 27 December 1841
PresidentJosé Ballivián
Preceded byMiguel María de Aguirre
Succeeded byHilarión Fernandez
Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs
In office
10 November 1858 – 14 January 1861
PresidentJosé María Linares
Preceded byHimself
Succeeded byJuan José Ibargüen
Minister of the Interior
In office
25 November 1847 – 23 December 1847
PresidentJosé Ballivián
Preceded byPedro José de Guerra
Succeeded byBasilio Cuéllar
Minister of Public Instruction
and Foreign Affairs
In office
28 November 1844 – 23 December 1847
PresidentJosé Ballivián
Preceded byManuel de la Cruz Méndez
Succeeded byDomingo Delgadillo
Minister of Public Instruction
In office
16 November 1839 – 16 November 1840
PresidentJosé Miguel de Velasco
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byManuel Sánchez de Velasco
Personal details
Tomás Frías Ametller

(1804-12-21)21 December 1804
Potosí, Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata (now Bolivia)
Died10 May 1884(1884-05-10) (aged 79)
Florence, Kingdom of Italy
Spouse(s)Raimunda Ballivián Guerra
Parent(s)José María Frías
Alejandra Ametller
EducationUniversity of Saint Francis Xavier


Tomás Frías was born to a wealthy land-owning family in Potosí. Born 21 December 1804 Potosí, Bolivia

Political careerEdit

Frías was Minister of Foreign Relations of President José Ballivián (1841-1847) and a steadfast supporter of civilian rule and the primacy of laws. He was named President by Congress upon the death of dictator Agustín Morales in November 1872. His task was to call free elections as soon as possible. He did so, and in May 1873 transferred power to the winning candidate, Adolfo Ballivián, the son of the former President and war hero, José Ballivián. Unfortunately, Adolfo Ballivián soon fell ill with cancer and died in February 1874, after only nine months in office. At that point, Tomás Frías became President again by virtue of his being head of the Council of State, in accordance to the Constitution then in effect. As Ballivián's legal successor, his term in office was projected to run until 1877.

In 1874, the elderly president signed with Chile a treaty that freed all Chilean citizens and companies from any taxes for the exploitation of Bolivian resources in the Pacific coast. A reciprocal agreement liberated Bolivian concerns of similar taxes in Chile, but in reality the Chilean investment in the Bolivian Litoral was extensive while Bolivia's economic presence in Chile was negligible. For this reason, it is considered to be an agreement contrary to Bolivian interests. Its annulment by the successor government proved to be the touchstone of the disastrous War of the Pacific.

Despite the almost universal respect for the Frías government, this was still the era of the caudillos, and of military adventurism in politics. The president was overthrown in an 1876 coup led by General Hilarión Daza, and soon left the country.

Death and legacyEdit

He died in Florence, Italy, in 1884. Tomás Frías Province and Tomás Frías Autonomous University are named after him.



  1. ^ It is agreed by legal records and scholarly sources that Agustín Morales died on 27 November and Tomás Frías assumed office on 28 November. However, some texts in the list of presidents of Bolivia include Juan de Dios Bosque as acting president from the night of the 27th to the 28th. Why some sources include Bosque and others omit him is unclear, though it is possibly due to the fact that executive power was transferred to him automatically and not through any formal processes.[1]


  1. ^ "Provincia Larecaja: Obispo Juan de Dios Bosque". El Diario. 2016-04-26. Archived from the original on 2021-10-07. Retrieved 2021-10-25.