Diego Portales

Portales, Diego (dyāˈgō pôrtäˈlās) [key], 1793–1837, Chilean statesman. Founder of constitutional order and of the conservative regime in Chile, he was general minister (1830–31) and minister of war and marine (1831–32, 1835–37). The brilliantly conceived, highly centralistic constitution of 1833 was largely his work. Refusing the presidency, but ruling in fact, he reorganized the army, the treasury, the internal administration, commerce, and industry. His one aim was to bring order out of the bloody chaos that followed independence, but the parliamentarian became the autocrat; his strict measures aroused bitter opposition and he was assassinated by mutinous soldiers.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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