Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ZALDIVAR, Rafael, Central American statesman, born about 1830. He studied law, taking part also in polities, and when in 1876 the government of Andres Valle was defeated by the Guatemalan army under General Rufino Barrios, the Salvador junta de notables assembled in accordance with the capitulation of 25 April, and nominated Zaldivar as provisional president, and in May he was elected constitutionally, His administration was enlightened and progressive" he fostered the planting of cacoa, rubber-trees, and the maguey or American agave for the fibre industry, and founded an agricultural college and a model experimental farm. In 1883 he was re-elected, in the next year made an extended trip through the United States, England, France, and Spain, and on his return held an interview in September, 1884, with the presidents of Guatemala and Honduras regarding the proposed /talon of the five Central American republics. When Barrios suddenly issued, on 18 February, 1885, his famous decree proclaiming himself provisional chief of the restored Central American union, Zaldivar seemed to accept the idea enthusiastically, and nearly forced President Bogran, of Honduras, to subscribe to it, but when he saw the opposition in his own country and the formal protest of the governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, he opened negotiations with Mexico, and finally con-eluded a secret treaty with Costa Rica and Nicaragua, in the mean time arming apparently to assist Barrios. Finally, when the latter prepared to join the Salvador army, Zaldivar threw aside the mask and on 9 March telegraphed Barrios, declaring against him, and advanced his army of nearly 10,000 men, under General Monterosa, toward the frontier. After the indecisive fight of Chalchualpa on 30 March, Monterosa retreated to San Lorenzo, after Barrios's death the Guatemalan congress proposed an armistice, and on 14 April peace was concluded. On the 21st of that month Zaldivar proposed to the provisional president of Guatemala, Barillas, a Central American union, with a congress of delegates from the five republics to meet on 15 May at Santa Rosa ; but the proposal was not accepted, and he delivered the executive to General Figueroa, and in May sailed for France, where he has since lived.
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