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Más allá de la retórica de la reacción. Análisis económico de la desamortización en Colombia, 1861-1888


  • Roberto Luis Jaramillo

    (Universidad Nacional, Sede Medellin)

  • Adolfo Meisel Roca

    (Banco de la Republica en Cartagena)


This article studies the disentailment of mortmain in Colombia. Most of this land was held by the Catholic Church, which derived considerable economic and political power from its ownership. The Radical faction of the Liberal Party, which governed the country between 1863 and 1876, promoted numerous reforms directed at eliminating the institutions that had survived the years of Spanish colonial rule, and were an obstacle to the advance of the economy. A substantial portion of all the properties of the Church were thus expropriated. This process was culminated with the signing of a treaty –“Concordato”– between the Colombian government and Holy See. The treaty recognized in favor of the Church “the value of disentailed loans and property”. Colombian historiography has given little attention to the process of disentailment, as a result of the influence of the Conservative historiography, which portrayed it as a failure. This mistaken appreciation can only be corrected through research in primary sources. In this paper we have used primary sources that had not been discussed in the most influential works on Colombian economic history of the 19th century and conclude that it was the main economic reform of that period, since it represented at least 16% of the GDP of 1860 and was a very profitable operation for the government.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Luis Jaramillo & Adolfo Meisel Roca, 2009. "Más allá de la retórica de la reacción. Análisis económico de la desamortización en Colombia, 1861-1888," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 11(20), pages 45-81, January-J.
  • Handle: RePEc:rei:ecoins:v:11:y:2009:i:20:p:45-81

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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economic History > Regional Economic History > Latin American Economic History > Economic History of Colombia


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    Cited by:

    1. Uribe-Castro, Mateo, 2019. "Expropriation of church wealth and political conflict in 19th century Colombia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-1.
    2. Fazio Vargas, Antonella & Sánchez Torres, Fabio, 2010. "The educational effects of 19th century disentailment of Catholic Church land in Colombia," Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 441-467, December.
    3. Meisel-Roca, Adolfo & Ramírez-Giraldo, María Teresa (ed.), 2016. "Memorias de Hacienda y del Tesoro y de la Nueva Granada y Colombia, siglo XIX," Books, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, number 2016-04, December.
    4. Salomón Kalmanovitz & Edwin López Rivera, 2019. "Las cuentas del federalismo colombiano," Books, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas, number 134, June.
    5. Salomón Kalmanovitz, 2008. "Consecuencias económicas de la independencia en Colombia," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 10(19), pages 207-233, July-Dece.
    6. Edna Carolina Sastoque Ramírez, 2018. "El papel de los banqueros en la construcción de estado y soberanía monetaria en Colombia (1880-1931)," Books, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Facultad de Economía, number 78, June.
    7. Óscar Fresneda Bautista, 2017. "Modo de desarrollo, estructura de clases sociales y desigualdad durante el siglo XIX en Colombia," Books, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Facultad de Economía, edition 1, number 77, June.
    8. Otero Cortés, Andrea & Sánchez Jabba, Andrés (ed.), 2014. "Educación y desarrollo regional en Colombia," Books, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, number 2014a-07, December.

    More about this item


    disentailment; economic historiography;

    JEL classification:

    • N26 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General


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