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[HISTORY
COLOMBIA

an office he had practically filled during the three previous years. In 1898 Señor M. A. Sanclemente, a strong Conservative, and supported by the Church party, was elected to the presidency for the period ending in 1904. In October 1899 the Liberals organized another revolutionary outbreak for the purpose of trying to wrest the power from Conservatives, but this attempt had no better success than the movements of 1885 and 1895. In January 1900, however, Vice-President José Marroquin seized upon the government, imprisoned President Sanclemente (who died in prison in March 1902), and another period of disturbance began. The rebels were defeated in May in a desperate battle at Cartagena; and continuous fighting went on about Panama, where British marines had to be landed to protect foreign interests. As the year 1900 advanced, the conflict went on with varying success, but the government troops were generally victorious, and in August Vice-President Marroquin was recognized as the acting head of the executive, with a cabinet under General Calderon. In 1901 the rebellion continued, and severe fighting took place about Colon. Further complications arose in August, when trouble occurred between Colombia and Venezuela. On the one hand, there were grounds for believing that the Clericals and Conservatives in both countries were acting together; and, on the other, it was expected that President Castro of Venezuela would not be sorry to unite his own countrymen, and to divert their attention from internal affairs, by a war against Colombia. The Colombian revolutionary leaders had made use of the Venezuelan frontier as a base of operations, and the result was an invasion of Venezuelan territory by Colombian government troops, an incident which at once caused a diplomatic quarrel. The United States government in September offered its good offices, but President Castro refused them, and the state of affairs became gradually more menacing. Meanwhile both Panama and Colon were seriously threatened by the rebel forces, who in November succeeded in capturing Colon by surprise. The situation was complicated by the fact that the railway traffic on the Isthmus was in danger of interruption, and on the capture of Colon it became necessary for the American, British and French naval authorities to land men for the protection of the railway and of foreign interests.

On the 18th of September the Venezuelans, who had entered Colombia, were totally routed near La Hacha, and after fierce fighting the insurgents at Colon were compelled to surrender on the 29th of November. But the Civil War was not yet ended. For another eight months it was to continue, causing immense damage to property and trade, and the loss of tens of thousands of lives. In many towns and villages the male population was almost entirely destroyed. Not till June 1903 was internal peace finally restored. In the autumn of that same year Colombia, exhausted and half ruined, was to suffer a further severe loss in the secession of Panama.

The abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty in 1901, and the failure of the second French company to construct a canal between Colon and Panama (see Panama Canal) had, after many hesitations, induced the United States government to abandon the Nicaragua route and decide on adopting that of Panama. Negotiations were set on foot with Colombia, and an arrangement—under what was known as the Hay-Herran treaty—was made to the following effect. Colombia agreed (1) to the transfer of the rights, under the concession, of the French company to the United States; (2) to cede, on a hundred years’ lease, a right of way for the canal, and a strip of land 5m. broad on either side of the waterway, and the two ports of Colon and Panama. The United States agreed to pay Colombia (1) £2,000,000 down in cash, and, ten years later, an annual rental of £50,000, and further a share of the price paid to the French company, i.e. £8,000,000, in which Colombia held 50,000 shares. This treaty was signed by the plenipotentiaries and ratified by the United States Senate. The Colombian Congress, however, refused to ratify the treaty on the ground that when the negotiations had taken place the country was in a state of siege, really in the hope of securing a larger money payment. The adjournment took place on the 31st of October. On the 3rd of November a revolution broke out at Panama, and the state seceded from Colombia and declared itself to be an independent republic. This opportune revolution was no doubt fomented by persons interested in the carrying through of the United States scheme for piercing the isthmus, but their task was one that presented no difficulties, for the isthmian population had been in a state of perennial insurrection against the central government for many years. Whoever may have instigated the rising, this much is certain, that American warships prevented the Colombian troops from landing to suppress the revolt. On the 7th of November the United States government formally recognized the independence of the republic of Panama (q.v.). The other powers in succession likewise recognized the new state; the recognition of Great Britain was given on the 26th of December. Colombia thus sacrificed a great opportunity of obtaining, by the ratification of the Hay-Herran treaty, such a pecuniary recompense for the interest in the territory through which the canal was to be constructed as would have gone far to re-establish her ruined financial credit.

In 1904 the troubled term of President Marroquin came to an end, and by the narrowest of majorities General Rafael Reyes was elected in his place. He had been sent as a special envoy to Washington to protest against the recognition of Panama, and to attempt to revive the Hay-Herran treaty, and to secure favourable terms for Colombia in the matter of the canal. He failed to do so, but it was recognized that he had discharged his difficult task with great skill and ability. On his accession to office as president he found the country exhausted and disorganized, more especially in the department of finance, and the congress was on the whole hostile to him. Finding himself hampered in his efforts to reform abuses, the president dissolved the congress, and summoned a national constituent and legislative assembly to meet on the 15th of March 1905, and with its aid proceeded to modify the constitution.

Having personal acquaintance with the success of the rule of President Porfirio Diaz in Mexico, General Reyes determined to set about the regeneration of Colombia by similar methods. His tenure of the presidency was extended to a term of ten years from the 1st of January 1905, and the restriction as to re-election at the end of that term was withdrawn, other alterations being made in the constitution with the effect of placing General Reyes really in the position of a dictator. He soon proved that he had the ability and the integrity of purpose to use his great opportunity for the benefit of his country. His firm and masterful government and wise measures did much to allay the spirit of unrest which had so long been the bane of Colombia, and though an attempt at assassination was made in the spring of 1906, the era of revolution appeared to be over.

The chief foreign treaties entered into by Colombia in the last quarter of the 19th century were:—(1) A treaty with Great Britain, signed on the 27th of October 1888, for the extradition of criminals; (2) a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation with Italy, signed on the 27th of October 1892; (3) two protocols with Italy, signed respectively on the 24th of May and on the 25th of August 1886, in connexion with the affair of the Italian subject Cerruti; (4) a consular convention with Holland, signed on the 20th of July 1881; (5) a treaty of peace and friendship with Spain, signed on the 30th of January 1881; (6) a convention with Spain for the reciprocal protection of intellectual property; (7) a concordat with the Vatican, signed on the 31st of December 1887; (8) an agreement with the Vatican, signed on the 20th of August 1892, in connexion with ecclesiastical jurisdiction; (9) an agreement with the republic of San Salvador, signed on the 24th of December 1880, in regard to the despatch of a delegate to an international congress; (10) a treaty of peace, friendship and commerce with Germany, signed on the 23rd of July 1892; (11) a treaty with the republic of Costa Rica, signed in 1880, for the delimitation of the boundary; (12) the postal convention, signed at Washington, on the 4th of July 1891; (13) a convention with Great Britain, signed on the 31st of July 1896, in connexion with the claim of Messrs Punchard, M‘Taggart, Lowther & Co.; (14) a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation with Peru, signed on the 6th of August