Granadine Confederation

Last updated
Granadine Confederation

Confederación Granadina
Motto: Libertad y Orden
(Spanish: Liberty and Order)
Granadine Confederation (orthographic projection).svg
Location of the Granadine Confederation
Capital Santafé de Bogotá
Roman Catholic
Government Federal republic
Mariano Ospina Rodríguez
Bartolomé Calvo
Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera
May 22 1858
 Constitutional reform
  Civil War
 Rionegro Convention
May 8 1863
Currency Peso
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of New Granada.svg Republic of the New Granada
United States of Colombia Flag of Colombia.svg
Today part ofFlag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Flag of Panama.svg  Panama

The Granadine Confederation (Spanish : Confederación Granadina) was a short-lived federal republic established in 1858 as a result of a constitutional change replacing the Republic of New Granada. It consisted of the present-day nations of Colombia and Panama and parts of northwestern Brazil. In turn, the Granadine Confederation was replaced by the United States of Colombia after another constitutional change in 1863.

Spanish, or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 480 million native speakers in Spain, the Americas and a small part of Africa. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. At its core, the literal meaning of the word republic when used to reference a form of government means: "a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader rather than by a king or queen".

Republic of New Granada former republic in South America and Central America between 1831–1858

The Republic of New Granada was a centralist unitary republic consisting primarily of present-day Colombia and Panama with smaller portions of today's Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil. It was created after the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830, with the secession of Ecuador and Venezuela. In November 1831, with the adoption a new constitution, the country was officially renamed New Grenada, but had no official currency, iconography, coat of arms or flag upon establishment. Older flags of Gran Colombia were confirmed as provisional by the National Convention of 17 December 1831. It is not clear which flag was chosen: Restrepo believes that it was the flag with the two cornucopias of Gran Colombia. While new flags were being discussed, some proposals were issued. On 9 May 1834, the national flag was adopted and was used until 26 November 1861, with the Gran Colombian colors in Veles' arrangement. The merchant ensign had the eight-pointed star in white.



The short but complicated life of the Granadine Confederation was marked by rivalry between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, which ended in a Civil War (1860–1862). It also was a period of hostility against the Roman Catholic Church, and of divided regionalism.

Colombian Conservative Party traditional political party in Colombia

The Colombian Conservative Party is a conservative political party in Colombia. The party was formally established in 1849 by Mariano Ospina Rodríguez and José Eusebio Caro.

Colombian Liberal Party political party

The Colombian Liberal Party is a social democratic and social liberal political party in Colombia. It was founded as a classical liberal party but later developed a more social-democratic tradition, joining the Socialist International in 1999.

Colombian Civil War (1860–1862) 1860-1862 civil war in the Grenadine confederation.         B Alex tapias el makia

The Colombian Civil War began on May 8, 1860, and lasted until November 1862. It was an internal conflict between the newly formed conservative Granadine Confederation and a more liberal rebel force from the newly seceded region of Cauca, composed of dissatisfied politicians commanded by General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, its former president. The Granadine Confederation, created a few years earlier in 1858 by Mariano Ospina Rodríguez, was defeated in the capital Bogotá, with Mosquera deposing the newly elected president Bartolomé Calvo on July 18, 1861. Forming a provisional government, with himself as president, Mosquera continued to pursue the conservative forces until their final defeat in 1862. The resulting formation of the new United States of Colombia would have significant cultural and economic consequences for Colombia.

The Granadine Confederation was established by the Constitution of 1853, considered pro-federalist or centro-federalist because it gave more autonomy to the provinces, which multiplied to 35 provinces during the administration of Manuel María Mallarino (1855–1857), each with its own provincial constitution. [1]

Federalism political concept

Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government with regional governments in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. Federalism can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.

A centralized government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject. In a national context, centralization occurs in the transfer of power to a typically sovereign nation state. Menes, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the early dynastic period, is credited by classical tradition with having united Upper and Lower Egypt, and as the founder of the first dynasty, became the first ruler to institute a centralized government.

Manuel María Mallarino Vice President of Colombia

Manuel María Mallarino Ibargüen was the 8th Vice President of New Granada, and as such served as Acting President from 1855 to 1857.


Granadine Confederation during 1858. Colombia in 1858.svg
Granadine Confederation during 1858.

After the disestablishment of Gran Colombia, the centralized government of the Republic of New Granada which was ratified by the constitution of 1843, was soon challenged by the independentist feelings of the different regions; particularly the provinces of Azuero, Chiriquí, Panamá, and Veraguas, which were demanding autonomous status. The Constitution of 1853 permitted this so that on February 27, 1855, the State of Panamá could be created within the Republic of New Granada.

Gran Colombia Former republic

Gran Colombia is the name historians use to refer to the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. The state included the territories of present-day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela, and parts of northern Peru, western Guyana and northwestern Brazil. The term Gran Colombia is used historiographically to distinguish it from the current Republic of Colombia, which is also the official name of the former state.

Chiriquí Province Province of Panama

Chiriquí is a province of Panama located on the western coast; it is the second most-developed province in the country, after the Panamá Province. Its capital is the city of David. It has a total area of 6,490.9 km², with a population of 462,056 as of the year 2019. The province of Chiriquí is bordered to the north by the provinces Bocas del Toro and Ngobe-Buglé, to the west by Costa Rica, to the east by the province of Veraguas, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean, specifically the Gulf of Chiriquí.

Panamá Province Province of Panama

Panamá is a province of Panama. It is the location of the national capital Panama City, which also serves as its provincial capital. The governor of the province is Rafael Pino Pinto, appointed by President Varela and sworn in on 4 July 2014.

Soon others followed, regionalism was too strong, and in order to prevent a division like the one Greater Colombia had, with Venezuela and Ecuador quitting the union, congress allowed the creation of other sovereign states:

Venezuela Republic in northern South America

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south, Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. The Venezuelan government maintains a claim against Guyana to Guayana Esequiba, an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, Venezuela exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, and 99,889 km2 of continental shelf. This marine area borders those of 13 states. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas. The country has extremely high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species. There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.

Ecuador Republic in South America

Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, which is also its largest city.

Socorro Province

Socorro Province was one of the provinces of Gran Colombia. It belonged to the Boyacá Department which was created in 1824.

Pamplona Province

Pamplona Province was one of the provinces of Gran Colombia. It belonged to the Boyacá Department which was created in 1824.

The Law of June 15, 1857 created the other states that would later form parts of the Confederation Granadine:

The nation was formed by the union of these Sovereign States which were confederated in perpetuity to form a Sovereign Nation, free and independent with the name “Confederation Granadine".

During 1858 the new constituency, with its majority of conservatives, convened and signed the Constitution for the Confederation Granadine of 1858, [5] confirming Bogotá as its Federal Capital.

On July 12, 1861, after fighting the constitutional government of the president Mariano Ospina Rodríguez, the general Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera created the Sovereign State of Tolima, created out of the State of Cundinamarca. This was confirmed and legalized by the rest of the states of the Colombian Union, by means of Article 41 of the Pact of the Union on September 20, 1861, reaffirming the legality of the institutionalism of Tolima. [6]

Constitution of 1858

By the conservative mandate of Mariano Ospina Rodríguez, Congress passed and approved a new Constitution for the country on May 22, 1858. [7] By this constitution, the country was named officially as the Confederation Granadine and conformed by eight sovereign states.

More power and representation was given to the provinces, as each state could have its own legislature and elect its own president.

The vice presidency was abolished and replaced with a dignitary named by the Congress.

The president and senators could be elected to serve a period of four years and the Representatives of the House for two.

The Constitution also listed the powers and obligations of the states and of the central government, and gave parameters to creating new laws and amending the constitution. It included the basic freedoms, and rights of the people. The constitution was important as it signaled the official beginning of the confederacy and set legal parameters.

Civil war

President of the Granadine Confederation Mariano Ospina Rodriguez Mariano Ospina Rodriguez.jpg
President of the Granadine Confederation Mariano Ospina Rodríguez

Even though the Constitution of 1858 had legalized federalism, the politics of the president Mariano Ospina Rodríguez favored centralism. This conservativism clashed with the wishes of the states which wanted more power and autonomy.

This caused some leaders to consider the administrative base of the federation as a notion to underestimate the authority of the states, and led the national government to view the independent aspirations of the states as a threat to the overall nation.

The political tension came to its pinnacle in 1859 when Congress passed two controversial laws. On April 8, 1859, Congress passed a law giving the President the right to remove the duly appointed governors of the states and appoint one of his choosing. With this law, the president secured the power of the Conservative Party.

On May 10, 1859, another law was passed, this one giving the president the power to create administrative departments in states so to control their resources and how would they be used.

These laws angered many liberal leaders, specially general Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, an ex-president of New Granada, and a powerful and influential politician in the country. He denounced these laws as unconstitutional and made contact with other liberal leaders in other states, who gave him their support to revolt against the president, even though not all agreed with his ideas, they supported him and accepted to allow him to become Supreme Director of War, because they saw no other way to get back their autonomy than to revolt against the government.

By a decree of May 8, 1860, Mosquera broke relations with the national government, declared himself Supreme Director of War, and declared a separated state, the Sovereign State of Cauca. From that moment the country entered a civil war.

In retaliation, the government of Ospina Rodríguez endorsed insurrections against the liberal governments in some states, the first of these armed conflicts being in Santander, against the government of Eustorgio Salgar during 1859; the Confederacy Granadine declared war on the state of Santander, and sent its army to subdue Eustogio Salgar, who was captured along with other important figures, including Aquileo Parra.

Civil war then spread to other states, including Bolívar, Antioquía, Magdalena and Cauca. In an unexpected act, Mosquera captured Bogotá on June 18, 1861, declared himself president of the provisional government, and arrested Ospina Rodríguez, his brother Pastor Ospina, and Bartolomé Calvo, the newly elected president of the confederacy.

The war ended in 1862 when the last leaders of the conservative opposition died or gave up.



According to the constitution of 1858, the limits of the territory of the Granadine Confederation were to be the same as those of 1810, that divided the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada from the Captaincy General of Venezuela, the Captaincy General of Guatemala, and the Portuguese possessions in Brazil. In the west, the limits would be those marked provisionally by the treaty with the government of Ecuador on July 9, 1856, and all treaties with that republic.


The Granadine Confederation covered a vast region, sharply divided by its geography. The country was divided by the three cordilleras of the Andes mountains, the Magdalena River which was the main artery of navigation in the country, and the Isthmus of Panama which was isolated in its own region. The jungles in the south only added to the confusion. The unclear borders were never definitively marked, and the terrain secluded its residents, mostly natives, from the rest of the country.

Four isolated regions divided the country; the Oriental Region included Cundinamarca, Tolima, Boyacá and Santander; the Cauca Region, which included Chocó and extended to Marmato; the Region of Antioquía, that extended down to the River Chinchiná near Manizales; and the Atlantic Region. [8]

Each of these regions behaved like a separate country without relations to the others. This isolation and lack of roads was a severe restraint on the economy, as its already distant nuclei were too far from each other for trade to grow and investment to take place.


During the brief life of the Confederacy Granadine, the Roman Catholic Church was a constant target for the government. Although its population was still very Roman Catholic, and religion formed an essential part of life, the government approved a number of laws directed at controlling the clergy and church property during this time.

During the first presidency of general Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera during 1849, Mosquera adopted a radical position with the church, approving laws confiscating religious property and subjecting the clergy to government rules. He banished the Society of Jesus from the Republic of New Granada, expelled the Archbishop of Bogotá. The closure of convents and monasteries drove nuns into poverty, although many were taken into homes by citizens. All of this drew direct criticism from the Vatican, even causing Pope Pius IX to condemn the government of Colombia for its actions.

After the creation of the Confederation Granadine, during the government of Mariano Ospina Rodríguez, the Jesuits were once again welcomed into the country and religious tensions eased.

This brief period of religious calm ended when Mosquera, who assumed the presidency a second time, continued with his anticlerical attitude driving once again the Jesuits out of the Confederacy giving them only seventy-two hours to leave the country or risk imprisonment, as he blamed them of endorsing the insurgency. [9] He passed a couple of anticlerical laws. One of these was the Tuition of Cults, a law that prohibited religious officials to exercise their functions without authorization from the government, thus requiring special licenses to preach. [10] Through another law, he confiscated the property of religious communities and organizations such as schools, hospitals, monasteries, churches, land, houses and other properties that could be sold. Those organizations that opposed were banned and abolished.

These laws were not approved as a direct attack on the Church, but what was pretended was to improve the situation of the national treasury which was depleted because of the Civil War currently being waged. The Church assets were sold to the best buyer, improving industry and investment while putting money in the hands of the state. However the laws provided little assistance to the farmers who finished up owning little of the land as Mosquera intended, with his slogan of “Land for those who work it”.

Political Constitution for the United States of Colombia. 1863. Rionegro Constitution.jpg
Political Constitution for the United States of Colombia. 1863.

Rionegro Convention

The Granadine Confederation ended on 8 May 1863, with the signing of the Constitution of 1863 by the Rionegro Convention, which officially changed the name of the country to the United States of Colombia, consisting of nine sovereign states, and where new rules and powers were given to the states and presidents. The Liberals had come to fear the great power of Mosquera, and they drafted the new constitution to limit his power. The Radical Liberals defended a federal government based on a laissez-faire policy, in which regional and local autonomy were protected, where there was no national army, a society with basic rights and freedoms, based on education and open market values, with no intervention by the church. [11]

See also


  1. Federalism in the 9 sovereign states
  2. "Law of the Creation of the State of Antioquía". Cervantes Virtual.
  3. Law of the Creation of the State of Santander
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2011-01-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Provinces of The Sovereign State of Cundinamarca
  5. Constitution for the Granadine Confederation of 1858
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-02-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Tolima, Creation and Institutional Growth
  7. Constitution of 1858
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2009-01-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Four Isolated Regions
  9. Jesuitas | documentos | Encuentros con la Palabra
  10. :: Presidencia de la República de Colombia ::
  11. Political Constitution for the United States of Colombia

Coordinates: 4°39′N74°03′W / 4.650°N 74.050°W / 4.650; -74.050

Related Research Articles

Departments of Colombia department, group of municipalities, in Colombia

Colombia is a unitary republic made up of thirty-two departments and a Capital District. Each department has a governor (gobernador) and a Department Assembly, elected by popular vote for a four-year period. The governor cannot be re-elected in consecutive periods. Departments are country subdivisions and are granted a certain degree of autonomy.

Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera Colombian general and political figure

Tomás Cipriano Ignacio María de Mosquera-Figueroa y Arboleda-Salazar was a Colombian general and political figure. He was president of Colombia four times. The first time was as president of Republic of New Granada from 1845 to 1849. During the Colombian Civil War of 1860–1862 he led liberal forces in a civil war against conservative factions. After the liberals won, a new, federalist constitution was implemented, which established a two-year presidency, and the nation renamed the United States of Colombia. Mosquera served twice as president of the new government. From 1861 to 1862 he served in a non-elected, interim manner, while the constitution was written. From 1862 to 1864 he served in an elected manner. He had a fourth term from 1866 to 1867. Due to the liberal reforms carried out under his leadership, he is considered one of the most important persons in Colombian history of the 19th century.

United States of Colombia former country

The United States of Colombia was the name adopted in 1861 by the Rionegro Constitution for the Granadine Confederation, after years of civil war. Colombia became a federal state itself composed of nine "sovereign states.” It comprised the present-day nations of Colombia and Panama and parts of northwestern Brazil. After several more years of intermittent civil wars, it was replaced by the more centralist Republic of Colombia in 1886, predecessor to modern Colombia.

Foolish Fatherland

The period between 1810 and 1816 in the Viceroyalty of New Granada was marked by such intense conflicts over the nature of the new government or governments that it became known as la Patria Boba. Constant fighting between federalists and centralists gave rise to a prolonged period of instability. Similar developments can be seen at the same time in the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. Each province, and even some cities, set up its own autonomous junta, which declared themselves sovereign from each other.

United Provinces of New Granada

The United Provinces of New Granada was a country in South America from 1811 to 1816, a period known in Colombian history as the Patria Boba. It was formed from areas of the New Kingdom of Granada, roughly corresponding to the territory of modern-day Colombia. The government was a federation with a parliamentary system, consisting of a weak executive and strong congress. The country was reconquered by Spain in 1816.

Eustorgio Salgar President of Colombia

Eustorgio Salgar Moreno Salazar (1831–1885) was a lawyer, Colombian general and political figure, who was president of the United States of Colombia from 1870 until 1872. Elected at age 39, he was the youngest President of Colombia.

Constitutional history of Colombia aspect of history

The constitutional history of Colombia is the process of formation and evolution of the different constitutions that Colombia has had since its formation.

Aquileo Parra Ex President of Colombia

José Bonifacio Aquileo Elias Parra y Gómez de la Vega was a Colombian soldier, businessman and political figure. He was the President of Colombia between 1876 and 1878.

Miss Colombia 2006 beauty pageant edition

Miss Colombia 2006, the 72nd Miss Colombia pageant, was held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on November 12, 2006, after three weeks of events. The winner of the pageant was Eileen Roca Torralvo, Miss Cesar.

Postage stamps and postal history of Colombia

Colombia is a country in north-western South America. Colombia is bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. With a population of over 45 million people, Colombia has the second largest population in South America, after Brazil. The capital is Bogotá.

Antioquia State

Antioquia State was one of the states of Colombia. Today the area of the former state makes up most of modern day Antioquia Department, Colombia.

Bolívar State, Colombia human settlement in Colombia

Bolívar State was one of the states of Colombia. Today the area of the former state makes up most of modern-day Bolívar Department, Sucre Department, Córdoba Department and Atlántico Department in northern Colombia.

Cauca State

Cauca State was one of the states of Colombia.

Santander State

Santander State was one of the states of Colombia. Today the area of the former state makes up most of modern day areas of the Santander Department and Norte de Santander Department in northeastern Colombia.

States of Colombia Wikimedia list article

States of Colombia existed from February 27, 1855, in the Republic of New Granada and the Granadine Confederation, where they were called "federal states". In the United States of Colombia they were called "sovereign states".

Tolima State

Tolima State was one of the states of Colombia.