Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com advises that these 19th Century
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CARRERA, Rafael, president of Guatemala, born in the City of Guatemala in 1814; died 14 April, 1865. He was of Indian and Negro parentage, and became a drummer-boy and herder in 1829, when Morazan was president of Guatemala. Subsequently he retired to the small town of Metaguas-cuintla, where he married a woman of singularly energetic character, his constant companion throughout his public career. Early in January, 1838, the City of Guatemala revolted against the president, and appointed a provisional government; and on the 14th of the same month the City was attacked by troops from Sacatepequez and Mita. Carrera commanded 6,000 Indian mountaineers, and, after resisting four days, the garrison surrendered. Carrera's men indulged in many acts of vandalism, and their leader only succeeded m restraining them after they had murdered the vice-president of the republic, Joss Gregorio Salazar, and other citizens. Carrera was sent to Nita, a neighboring district of the interior, in an official capacity, but not till General Salazar had defeated him at Villanueva, 11 September, 1838. In the follow-lug year, 13 April, Carrera, being favored by the so called aristocrats and the clerical party, again occupied the capital and reinstated Rivera Paz as ruler of the nation. Carrera remained as general-in-chief of the army, defeated General Agustin Guz-man at Los Altos in February, 1840, reincorporated the towns of this state with that of Guatemala, again took the same City from Morazan, who had entered it with 1.300 Salvadorians on 18 March, went to Quezaltenango, and shot its aldermen because the City had recognized Morazan. Carrera was elected to the presidency, 21 March, 1847, and at once began a policy that put an end to the federation of the Central American republics. Late in 1847 another revolution broke out at Los Altos, but was quelled by Carrera, who with a large army routed the insurgents at Patzfin, in July, 1848. He tendered his resignation in the following August, and went to Mexico, where he resided for a year, President Paredes having appointed him major general. The republics of Honduras and Salvador declared war on Guatemala, and sent against it 4,000 men under Vasconcelos, president of Salvador, in December, 1850; but Carrera, with only 1,500 men, defeated the invaders at "La Ara-da," Chiquimula, 2 February, 1851. A few months later, 22 October, he was re-elected president, and, having won several victories against the Hondurans, he was elected once more, this time president for life, 21 October, 1854. In 1861 he intervened in the contest that had arisen between the ecclesiastical authorities of Honduras and President Guar-diold, and in the following year opposed a plan for a confederation of the Central American nations. Having declared war on San Salvador in 1863, he took its capital, 26 October, and shot Trungaray and other prominent persons. Guatemala enjoyed peace for the rest of his life. He was regarded as the enemy of order, progress, and civilization. His government was absolute. When first elected to the presidency he could not read or write, but subsequently learned to write his name.
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