Died At Age: 74
Also Known As: Joaquin Eufrasio Guzman, Guzman
Born in: Cartago
Famous as: Former President of El Salvador
Spouse/Ex-: Paula Saldos
children: Adelaida, David Joaquín Guzmán, Enriqueta, Marcelina
Died on: 1875
place of death: San Miguel, El Salvador
Joaquin Eufrasio Guzman served as the President of El Salvador in 1845-1846. Brought up by a conservative Catholic family, Joaquin Eufrasio Guzman became committed to preserving the honor and integrity of his culture and people. After his father re-located the family to El Salvador, Joaquin felt drawn to the honor and tradition of the army, and enlisted in the military as soon as he was able. As Spain relinquished its hold on its former colonies, wars flared up between countries over border disputes. When one of Guzman's colleagues succeeded to the presidency, Guzman was rewarded by a promotion to a high rank in the army. A change in military alliances led to a brief war with Nicaragua. As the president left to fend off the invasion, Guzman's forces were prepared and stepped in to install Guzman as the new head of state. He later fended off an invasion by forces loyal to the former president but then Guzman decided to step down from office. After resigning the presidency, Guzman spent a decade in public service. When the rising star of the revitalized Salvadoran military seized the presidency a decade later, the new leader appointed Guzman to be his vice president. But after the illness of the new president, Guzman became acting head of state for a short period before gracefully retiring from public life.
Childhood & Early Life
Very little is known about Guzman's childhood. Diocese records show that Guzman was born in the mountain town of Cartago in Costa Rica in 1801.
Unable to find work, Guzman's father relocated the family to El Salvador when Joaquin was 11 years old.
When Joaquin was of legal age, he enlisted in the military and quickly began to rise through the ranks.
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Guzman served largely without distinction until a war against Nicaragua had disastrous consequences.
A war that had seen El Salvador united with Honduras against Nicaragua had fractured and a force from Honduras invaded El Salvador.
As El Salvador split into two camps, the Federals and the Centralists, Guzman backed the right horse and was promoted when the Federalist general Francisco Malespin claimed the Presidency in 1844.
When Malespin led an army north to fight off the Honduran invasion in 1845, Joaquin Guzman stepped forth and declared himself President of El Salvador.
Guzman's troops in the capital of San Miguel quickly routed the remainder of Malespin's forces.
Guzman's presidency was immediately recognized by neighboring Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua, but critically not by Honduras.
A few months later, Malespin rallied a group of forces in Honduras but the invasion was easily repelled by Guzman's troops. Malespin was killed in the fighting, leaving Guzman with an uncontested claim to the presidency.
While in office, Guzman negotiated the Treaty of Sensitin that ended the war with Honduras.
For his work on the treaty, Guzman was later promoted to Lieutenant General and named "Benefactor of the Homeland", one of the highest honors in El Salvador.
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A few months later after signing the treaty, Guzman resigned as president and returned to his post in the military.
Guzman then began a quiet political career as a member of the parliament, the council of state and his local prefecture.
In 1858, the young president of El Salvador, Miguel Santin del Castillo, an army officer, appointed the elderly Joaquin Guzman as his vice president and adviser. A short while later, a mysterious illness incapacitated President Santin del Castillo, leaving Guzman as acting president of the country for a brief period. After his brief return to the top post, Guzman retired to focus on his family.
Joaquin Guzman stepped forward from the ranks of the professional military to lead his country during several different periods of crises and war.
Awards & Achievements
Assumed the presidency of El Salvador on two separate occasions.
In 1846 Guzman was named "Benefactor of the Homeland" for his work on the Treaty of Sensitin.
Guzman was awarded as a "Hero of the Nation" four times.
Personal Life & Legacy
Joaquin Guzman was married to Paula Saldos. Guzman fathered four children, son David Joaquin and daughters Adelaida, Enriqueta and Marcelina.
Guzman passed away after a long and distinguished career in 1875 but after his death became better known for being the father of David Joaquin Guzman, one of El Salvador's greatest scientists.
Joaquin Guzman is also honored in El Salvador for his close working relationship with his son-in-law, General Gerardo Barrios.
Although no precise amount has ever been determined to measure General Joaquin Guzman's net worth, it is a well-known historical fact that much of his wealth came from his high status amongst the landed gentry.
A 130 years old park is named after him in San Miguel, El Salvador.
In 2012, the city of San Miguel installed a high-tech LED illumination system in Joaquin Eufrasio Guzman Park.
Guzman used a loophole in the law to justify his coup d'etat against Malespin.
Guzman's daughter Adelaida married Gerardo Barrios, the man who preceded Guzman and Malespin in office as President of El Salvador. Gerardo Barrios was killed during fighting with Malespin's forces.
Guzman's son David was one of the first doctors in the country to vaccinate patients against smallpox.
As a tribute to his father, Guzman's son David founded an anthropology museum in Nicaragua.