Balta, José (hōsāˈ bälˈtä) [key], 1816–72, president of Peru (1868–72). In 1865 he helped Mariano I. Prado to seize the presidency and served in his government, but in 1867 Balta led in overthrowing the dictatorship. As president, he reestablished constitutional rule and undertook vast schemes for internal improvement. He granted a monopoly of guano export to a French company and obtained large loans in Europe, yet the lavish expenditures of his administration plunged Peru deep in debt. Balta was deposed and shot. He was succeeded by Manuel Pardo.
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