Rómulo Gallegos

Last updated

Rómulo Gallegos
Romulo Gallegos 1940s.jpg
48th President of Venezuela
In office
17 February 1948 24 November 1948
Preceded by Rómulo Betancourt
Succeeded by Carlos Delgado Chalbaud
Senator for life
In office
23 January 1961 5 April 1969
Personal details
Born(1884-08-02)2 August 1884
Caracas, Venezuela
Died5 April 1969(1969-04-05) (aged 84)
Caracas, Venezuela
Political party Acción Democrática
Spouse(s)Teotiste Arocha Egui (1888-1950)
Signature Gallegos firma.jpg

Rómulo Ángel del Monte Carmelo Gallegos Freire (2 August 1884 5 April 1969) [1] [2] [3] was a Venezuelan novelist and politician. For a period of some nine months during 1948, he was the first cleanly elected president in his country's history.[ citation needed ]


Early life and writings

Rómulo Gallegos was born in Caracas to Rómulo Gallegos Osío and Rita Freire Guruceaga, into a family of humble origin. He began his work as a schoolteacher, writer, classical music enthusiast, and journalist in 1903. His novel Doña Bárbara was first published in 1929, and it was because of the book's criticisms of the regime of longtime dictator Juan Vicente Gómez that he was forced to flee the country. He took refuge in Spain, where he continued to write: his acclaimed novels Cantaclaro (1934) and Canaima (1935) date from this period. He returned to Venezuela in 1936 and was appointed Minister of Public Education.

Political career

In 1937 he was elected to Congress and, in 194041, served as Mayor of Caracas. In 1945, Rómulo Gallegos was involved in the coup d'état that brought Rómulo Betancourt and the "Revolutionary Government Junta" to power, in the period known as El Trienio Adeco. In the 1947 general election he ran for the presidency of the republic as the Acción Democrática candidate and won in what is generally believed to be the country's first honest election.[ citation needed ] He took over 74 percent of the vote, still a record for a free election in Venezuela. He took office in February 15, and was noted for raising the state's tax revenue for oil profits increase from 43% to 50%, a tax scheme known as "fifty / fifty" and which was subsequently replicated in several producing countries as Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, army officers Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, Marcos Pérez Jiménez and Luis Felipe Llovera Páez, threw him out of power November in the 1948 Venezuelan coup d'état. He took refuge first in Cuba and then in Mexico. Gallegos returned to his country after the fall of the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958. While he was named a senator for life, he no longer took an active role in politics.

Gallegos was awarded the National Literature Prize (1958, for La doncella), and elected to the Venezuelan Academy of the Language (the correspondent agency in Venezuela of the Spanish Royal Academy). [4]

From 1960 to 1963, he was a Commissioner of the newly created Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (created by OAS in Washington on 18 August 1959), and he was also its first President (1960) a position he held until 1963.


Cabinet of Rómulo Gallegos [5]
Internal RelationsEligio Anzola AnzolaFebruary - November, 1948
External relationships Andrés Eloy Blanco
Treasury Manuel Pérez Guerrero
Defense Carlos Delgado Chalbaud
Development Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo
Public WorksEdgar Pardo Stolk
Education Luis Beltrán Prieto Figueroa
Jobs Raúl Leoni
Communications Leonardo Ruiz Pineda
Agriculture & LivestockRicardo Montilla
Health & Social Care Edmundo Fernández
Office Gonzalo Barrios


He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1960, largely due to the efforts of Miguel Otero Silva, and gained widespread support in Latin America, [6] but ultimately lost out to Saint-John Perse. The Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize was created in his honor on 6 August 1964 by a presidential decree, enacted by Venezuelan president Raúl Leoni. The declared purpose of the prize is to "perpetuate and honor the work of the eminent novelist and also to stimulate the creative activity of Spanish language writers." It is awarded by the government of Venezuela, through the offices of the Rómulo Gallegos Center for Latin American Studies (Celarg). The first prize was given in 1967. It was awarded every five years until 1987, when it became a biannual award. The award includes a cash prize of €100,000 making it among the richest literary prizes in the world.

Personal life and death

Gallegos was married to Teotiste Arocha Egui,[ citation needed ] who served as First Lady of Venezuela in 1948.[ citation needed ] Rómulo Gallegos Freire died in Caracas on 5 April 1969.

Published works

Venezuelan Presidential election 1947
Rómulo Gallegos871,752
Rafael Caldera 262,204
Gustavo Machado 36,587

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Rómulo Betancourt President of Venezuela

Rómulo Ernesto Betancourt Bello, known as "The Father of Venezuelan Democracy", was the 47th and 54th President of Venezuela, serving from 1945 to 1948 and again from 1959 to 1964, as well as leader of Acción Democrática, Venezuela's dominant political party in the 20th century.

Rómulo Gallegos Prize award

The Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize was created on 6 August 1964 by a presidential decree enacted by Venezuelan president Raúl Leoni, in honor of the Venezuelan politician and President Rómulo Gallegos, the author of Doña Bárbara.

Democratic Action (Venezuela) Venezuelan political party

Democratic Action is a Venezuelan social democratic political party established in 1941.

Arturo Uslar Pietri Venezuelan writer, politician, diplomat and journalist

Arturo Uslar Pietri was a Venezuelan intellectual, historian, writer, television producer and politician.

Apure River river in Venezuela

The Apure River is a river of southwestern Venezuela, formed by the confluence of the Sarare and Uribante near Guasdualito, in Venezuela, at 7°15′N70°40′W, and flowing across the llanos into the Orinoco. It provides significant transportation in the area.

Central University of Venezuela Venezuelan public university

The Central University of Venezuela is a public university of Venezuela located in Caracas. It is widely held to be the highest ranking institution in the country, and it also ranks 18th in Latin America. Founded in 1721, it is the oldest university in Venezuela and one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.

Venezuelan literature can be traced to pre-Hispanic times with the myths and oral literature that formed the cosmogonic view of the world that indigenous people had. Some of these stories are still known in Venezuela. Like many Latin American countries, the Spanish conquerors have had the greatest effect on both the culture and the literature. The first written documents by the Spanish colonizers are considered to be the origin of Venezuela's written literature. This has included chronicles, letters, acts, etc.

Míster Peligro, or Señor Peligro, is the name of a character in the novel Doña Bárbara, written by Venezuelan novelist and former president Rómulo Gallegos. Both Spanish and English forms of the name appear in the novel.

<i>Doña Bárbara</i> book written by Rómulo Gallegos

Doña Bárbara is a novel by Venezuelan author Rómulo Gallegos, first published in 1929. It was described in 1974 as "possibly the most widely known Latin American novel".

Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo Minister of Development of Venezuela

Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, was a prominent Venezuelan diplomat, politician and lawyer primarily responsible for the inception and creation of OPEC.

Luis Miquilena Venezuelan politician

Luis Manuel Miquilena Hernández was a Venezuelan politician. He was involved in politics in the 1940s, and again after the 1958 restoration of democracy, but retired from politics in 1964 until the early 1990s, pursuing a career in business. He was then an early supporter of Hugo Chávez' post-1992 political career, and was the Venezuelan Minister of Interior and Justice from 2001 to 2002, when he resigned.

Guillermo Morón Venezuelan historian

Guillermo Morón Montero, is a Venezuelan writer and historian. Guillermo Morón has won awards including the Municipal Prize of Literature (1987), and the National Prize for Literature (1990).

Eugenio Montejo Venezuelan writer

Eugenio Montejo was a Venezuelan poet and essay writer, founder of the literary magazine Azar and co-founder of Revista Poesía, a poetry magazine published by the University of Carabobo.

Parque del Este

Parque del Este, officially Generalissimo Francisco de Miranda Park, in honor of the Venezuelan national hero, is a public recreation park located in the Sucre Municipality of Metropolitan Caracas in Venezuela. Opened in 1961, it is one of the most important of the city, with an area of 82 hectares. The park was designed by Roberto Burle Marx and associates Fernando Tabora and John Stoddart.

Camilo Pino Venezuelan writer

Camilo Pino La Corte is a Venezuelan novelist. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1970, the son of historian Elias Pino Iturrieta.

<i>Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias</i> poem written by Juan de Castellanos

Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias is an epic poem written in the late sixteenth century by Juan de Castellanos.

Marina Baura is a former Venezuelan telenovela actress.

Javier Vásconez is an Ecuadorian novelist, short story writer, and editor.

Sonia Chocrón is a Venezuelan poet, novelist, screenwriter and playwright of Sephardic origin. She is related to the Venezuelan dramatist Isaac Chocrón.


  1. Fundación Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos Rómulo Gallegos
  2. Profile of Rómulo Gallegos
  3. Geni.com
  4. Real Academia Española / Academia Venezolana de la Lengua Archived 30 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Gaceta Oficial de Venezuela, período 1948.
  6. Jeannine Hyde (1960), "Rómulo Gallegos and the Nobel Prize in 1960", Hispania, Vol. 43, No. 2 (May, 1960), pp. 241-242

  • DUNHAM, LOWELL. 1990: "Cartas familiares de Rómulo Gallegos". Cuadernos Lagoven. Lagoven, S.A. Caracas - Venezuela.
  • MORON, GUILLERMO. 1979: "Los presidentes de Venezuela 18111979". Meneven, S.A. Caracas - Venezuela.
  • ROMERO MARTÍNEZ, VINICIO. 1987: "Mis mejores amigos". Editorial Larense. Caracas - Venezuela.
  • SUBERO, EFRAÍN. 1984: "Aproximación sociologica a la obra de Rómulo Gallegos homenaje en el centenario de su nacimiento".Cuadernos Lagoven. Lagoven, S.A. Caracas - Venezuela.

Political offices
Preceded by
Rómulo Betancourt
President of Venezuela
Succeeded by
Carlos Delgado Chalbaud