Biography of José Gregorio Monagas (1795-1858)

Military and Venezuelan politician, born in Aragua de Barcelona on May 4, 1795 and died in Maracaibo on July 15, 1858. He/She was the fourth son of Francisco José Monagas Hernández cattleman and perfect María Burgos Villasana and brother of José Tadeo Monagas.

At the beginning of the Guerra of the Latin American independence it enlisted as a private in the pro-independence forces, following in the footsteps of his brother José Tadeo. The first major campaign in which he/she participated was that of Guyana, between 1811 and 1812, and after the failure of the same is put under the orders of the general Santiago Mariñoin combating this way in the West of the country. Under the direct orders of Manuel Piar, it fought against the realistic general Lorenzo Fernández de La Hoz and Domingo de Monteverde, which managed to defeat.

On September 11, 1813 he/she fought under the command of his brother at the battle of Cachipo, where he/she beat José Tomás Boves. After this match he/she took part in the campaign of the Center, distinguishing itself in the battles of Bocachica, the Arao and the first of Carabobo; these battles earned him promotion to captain. From here he/she took part in a series of disastrous battles for the independence, who lost all the eastern part of the country.

Defeated the second Republic, the Monagas brothers organized resistance using guerilla warfare. José Gregorio was put under the command of his brother and together they fought along 1815 in San Diego de Cabrutica, in Peñas Negras and El Palmar. Thus, the two brothers became the leaders of the independence in the Barcelona region. By this time, José Gregorio was promoted to Colonel.

In 1816 joined the army of Mac Gregor and defeated Francisco Tomás Morales at El Juncal (September 27, 1816). In this action, José Gregorio earned the nickname first Lance of the East. He/She then took part in the campaign of liberation of Guiana, which was completed in 1817. The following year he/she took part in the campaign of the Centre, led by Simón Bolívar; During this campaign, Monagas acted as an officer of cavalry, due to his great qualities as a rider. In 1818 began a series of defeats of the Republican troops, cavalry instructing José Gregorio was defeated in Maracay and later in Semen.

In 1820 the Monagas brothers fought back together and achieved the liberation of his native province. At the end of the war in the East, José Gregorio was named in 1822, military commander of the capital of the province of Barcelona. The following year, José Gregorio got married with Benita Marrero and, after her death, with her sister, Clara Marrero; These marriages were a total of eleven children.

In 1824, now with the rank of brigadier general, José Gregorio came to aid of Bolivar to Peru, which crossed the isthmus of Panama. In Peru he/she participated in the siege of El Callao, even the brigadier José Ramón Rodil surrendered in 1826. With this action he/she ended his military career in the war of independence.

José Gregorio was a fervent advocate of the Gran Colombia. Therefore, in 1831, when occurred the separation of Venezuela, José Gregorio confronted the President José Antonio Páez; finally reached an agreement with this, that avoided bloodshed. In 1835 was one of the defenders of the so-called revolution of the reforms for which returned to take up arms against the forces of President Páez, who defeated him the next year.

In 1844 the new President Carlos Soublette appointed José Gregorio Comandante de Armas de Barcelona. The 1846 elections occurred during a confrontation between the two brothers Monagas, since José Tadeo presented to the elections by the conservative party, while José Gregorio defended the position of the Liberals; the elections were won by José Tadeo. In 1848, when the former President Páez took up arms against José Tadeo, José Gregorio came in defense of his brother; named by the second Chief of the armed forces and Commander-in-Chief of the East, he/she earned victory over insurgents.

On 22 March 1849 he/she was promoted to general of division. In 1851, with the help of his brother, he/she was elected President of the Republic; He/She served until 1855. The most momentous step taken by his Government was the abolition of slavery on March 24, 1854. On April 10, 1855 the Congress made him General in Chief of the army. That same year he/she supported the presidential candidacy of his brother, who was victorious in the elections. On January 20, 1855 the relay between the two brothers was and José Gregorio withdrew from political life.

To the fall of the regime of José Tadeo in March 1858, José Gregorio was arrested and imprisoned in the castle of Puerto Cabello and later of San Carlos, where sick. In the transfer to Maracaibo, to be seen from their evil, he/she died. His remains were subsequently buried in the national pantheon.