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Antonio Nariño (Enrique Sotomayor)

Other names/titles:
Gender: M
Ethnic origin: White

Biographical details

Lawyer and writer born in Santafé, Bogotá, on 9 April 1765. He edited the political newspaper La Bagatela. He created a public school for women in New Granada after Independence. (Sánchez López, 501.)

He used the term Stepmother Patria (Madrastra Patria) as opposed to the Mother Patria (Madre Patria), when referring to Spain. (Earle, 131.)

He was alcalde of Bogotá in 1789. He was the first who dared to speak of liberty in front of the Spaniards and this later earned him the title of “Precursor de la Independencia”. Ardila describes his life as plagued by tragic destiny, earning him the name “El Edipo” He was a man of serious intellectual discipline, of a revolutionary unquiet, and great daring. By a cruel twist, almost all his undertakings were failures, he never achieved the glory of definitive triumph. He translated the Rights of Man in 1794 from French into Spanish and was charged with being a traitor and imprisoned in Cadiz, Spain. He founded La Bagatela and Los Toros de Fucha that was established to counter General Santander’s newspaper El Patriota. His most important work is listed as his political speech, “Defensa ante el Senado”. (Ardila, 15-16)

His literary circle is connected with the Theatre of Independence that emerged around 1792. Members of his family performed sketches at his house. He supported the national theatre after independence. (Arciniegas, 687, 690.)

He opposed the absolutism of Carlos III and IV, and discussed this at his tertulias. This led to his arrest and imprisonment on 29 August 1794. Forero claims he was held in the Cartagena fort. He returned to Bogotá on 8 December 1810. (Forero, 25-29; 118-132)

He married Magdalena Ortega, who may have been involved in the Colegio de Enseñanza. (Knaster, 484.)

He read Feijóo. (Rodríguez, 37) His work reveals evidence of enlightenment ideas. (Griffin, 248)

A liberal republican, he became president of Bolívar's Cúcuta Congress in 1821. (Lynch, xix)

In 1794 he was sentenced to 10 years labour in Africa and ordered never to return to America for translating and publishing The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of trying to establish the Philadelphia Constitution. But he escaped in Cadiz and returned to New Granada via Paris and London. All his copies of Los derechos del hombre were burned. (Liss, 270, Lynch, ed., 278, Rojas, xxvii)

His ideas are said to have echoed Rousseau. (Nariño, 278)

He was a mason. (Racine, 538)

An account of his capture in Caracas is reported in Gaceta de Caracas, 18 de dic de 1811, pp.2-3.

Monsalve gives his date of birth as 12 March 1760. His parents were Vicente Nariño and Catalina Alvarez. He translated The Rights of Man into Spanish. This led to his banishment to Africa for 10 years, and imprisonment. José Antonio Ricaurte defended him and for this Ricaurte was imprisoned in Cartagena (and died there). Nariño returned in disguise arriving in Bogotá on 13 June 1797. His wife was away visiting a sick relative so he hid at his sister Dolores's house for over three weeks. He then went to Magdalena Cabrera's house whose spies helped him to avoid recapture. (Monsalve, 14-16)

He attended the pro-independence meetings at Camilo Torres's home. (Monsalve, 36)

He died at Villa de Leiva, Boyacá, on 13 December 1823.

He was part of the González Manrique, Alvarez, Ricaurte, París, Pardo, Nariño clan. (Monsalve, 139)

He used the pseudonym Enrique Sotomayor.

Life Events

Born 1760An alternative birth date is 12 March 1760.
Born 1765He was born in Santafé on 9 April 1765.
Other 1789He was alcalde of Bogotá in 1789.
Other 1794He translated The Rights of Man, was arrested on 29 August 1794 and imprisoned in Cadiz.
Died 1797He returned to Bogotá ion 13 June 1797.
Other 1810He returned to Bogotá after being released from prison on 8 December 1810.
Died 1823He died at Villa de Leiva, Boyacá, on 13 December 1823.


Sánchez López, Luis María, (1985), Diccionario de escritores colombianos

Dore, Elizabeth, and Molyneux, Maxine, (2000), Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America

Ardila A, Hector M., (1984), Hombres y letras de Colombia

Arciniegas, Germán, (1988), Manuel de literatura colombiana

Knaster, Meri, (1977), Women in Spanish America: An Annotated Bibliography from Pre-Conquest to Contemporary Times

Forero, Manuel José, (1970), Grandes heroinas de Colombia, Doña Magdalena Ortega de Nariño, La Precursora

Rodríguez O., Jaime E., (1998), The Independence of Spanish America

Lynch, John, (1986), The Spanish American Revolutions 1808-1826

Lynch, John, (1994), Latin American Revolutions

Lynch, John, (1994), Latin American Revolutions

Lynch, John, (1994), Latin American Revolutions

Werner, Michael S., (1997), Encyclopedia of Mexico

Pérez Vila, Manuel, (1983), Gaceta de Caracas

Monsalve, José D, (1926), Mujeres de la independencia


There is no writing by this subject in the database.


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