Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MELGAREJO, Mariano (mel-gah-ray'-ho), Bolivian soldier, born in Cochabamba, 18 April, 1818; died in Lima, Peru, 23 November, 1871. With only a limited education he entered the military service in early life, and by his courage in the different revolutionary movements soon rose in rank. He was the chief adviser of General Acha in the victory that the latter won on 16 September, 1862, over the revolutionary chief Perez, for which service he was promoted general. But in 1864 he headed a revolutionary movement against President Acha, was proclaimed president on 28 December of that year, and totally defeated Acha in February, 1865, near Potosi, obliging him to abandon the country. The ex-president, General Belzu, took advantage of Melgarejo's absence to return to the country, and by a bold movement took possession of the capital and government palace" but Melgarejo returned with only a handful of followers and entered the palace, and, the guard not daring to resist him, he killed Belzu with his own hands, 27 March, 1865, and declared himself dictator. On 24 January, 1866, he defeated another revolutionary movement on the plain of Viacha, and on 10 February of the same year entered the defensive alliance that Peru and Chili had formed against Spain. But his tyranny soon became unbearable, and there were insurrections on all sides. In November, 1870, he marched with his forces to quell a formidable rising in Potosi, and during his absence the capital rose against him, proclaimed Morales president, and declared Melgarejo deposed. After subduing Potosi he marched against La Paz, and as he had with him the flower of the army, and the capital was nearly destitute of military forces, the provisional government called to their aid the Indians, who surrounded and harassed Melgarejo, and, assisted by a few troops from La Paz, totally defeated him near that city on 15 January, 1871. He barely escaped with his life, and took refuge in Peru. He resided for some time in Chili and Peru, in both of which republics he was given the rank of general for his assistance during the war with Spain, and he finally settled in the city of Lima, where he was killed by the brother of his mistress.
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