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Bartolomé Mitre (1821-1906)

Biographical Information

Bartolomé Mitre was born in Buenos Aires in 1821. His father, Ambrosio Mitre, was a military commander in the independence movement with a strong literary background and interests. In the wake of the Brazilian attack on Argentina in 1827, Ambrosio sent his son to the ranch of Gervasio Rosas, brother of Juan Manuel Rosas, to continue his education in literary, military, and economic matters. Rosas returned the boy to his father claiming he wouldn't amount to much.

Because of their opposition to the regime of Juan Manuel Rosas, the Mitre family emigrated to Montevideo where Bartolomé was educated in the military academy. As an officer in the artillery, he participated in the defense of Montevideo against Rosas' forces, 1839-1840. This was followed by a period of travel through Bolivia, Peru, and Chile, engaging in political and military activity and finally editing two newspapers in Chile where he befriended Domingo Faustino Sarmiento.

Mitre returned to Buenos Aires in 1852 following the downfall of Rosas and became active in the city's political life, opening a newspaper, Los Debates and serving in the parliament. When Buenos Aires elected to secede from the Argentine confederation, Mitre served in the independent government and was a commander in its army. Following Buenos Aires' military defeat and return to the confederation in 1859, Mitre was elected governor and worked to reform the national constitution. He was elected president of Argentina in 1862.

As president, Mitre oversaw the location of Buenos Aires as capital of the confederation, thereby consolidating the process of national unification. He was also briefly the allied commander of armies in the war of the triple alliance of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil against Paraguay. Mitre retired from the presidency in 1868 without formally naming a successor and was succeeded by Sarmiento.

After leaving the presidency, Mitre founded another newspaper, La Nación, and continued to serve in the role of statesman. In this capacity he helped to adjudicate the final drawing of borders between Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. Mitre actively returned to the writing of history, an occupation he had practiced sporadically alongside his political and military careers and undertook a translation into Spanish of the Divine Comedy of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. He died in Buenos Aires in 1906.

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Description of Archival Collection (MSH/SCH 1504-01)

The archive contains three letters from Mitre to Osvaldo Magnasco in 1894 discussing his translation of Dante and a proof copy of Angel Battistessa's translation of Dante with Mitre's manuscript corrections in the margins. There is also a letter, dated 1891 to several recipients, an album of postcards of Mitre, and the funeral oration of Manuel Quintana for Mitre.

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