Rafael Nunez


Many have been the characters who have passed through power in Colombia and one of the most important was undoubtedly Rafael Núñez . A president who came to power to carry out a series of important changes related to society and politics that the country was going through during that time.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 09/28/1825
  • Where he was born: Cartagena, Colombia
  • When he died: 09/18/1894
  • Where he died: Cartagena, Colombia

Who was Rafael Núñez?

Rafael Núñez is considered as the most important independent liberal leader of the 19th century who managed to give an important turn to the politics of Colombia, who came to power to establish a series of new and innovative projects that developed and improved the state of the nation .

  • What did
  • Biography of Rafael Núñez
  • Presidency
  • Death
  • Studies
  • Ideology
  • Personality
  • Achievements of Rafael Núñez
  • Physical characteristics
  • Parents
  • Relations
  • Sons
  • Importance of Rafael Núñez
  • Acknowledgments to Rafael Núñez
  • Plays
  • Phrases
  • Presence in popular culture

What did

Rafael Núñez was a Colombian leader who fought to end the United States government in Colombia and who declared the Constitution of Colombia in 1886 . He stood out among all heads of state for being able to give the nation greater political solidity , a better social environment and a better financial state . He managed to give his country a period of peace while he was president, improved the administration of the government and stimulated the development of the industry. He managed to go from being a liberal conservative figure to have a court doing their country into a republic federated , centralized andunitary , a model that has been preserved to this day.

Biography of Rafael Núñez

He was born on September 28, 1825. He was a very sickly child and this made him stay home where he dedicated himself to reading and learning new things. In his adolescence, Rafael Núñez wanted to participate in the Los Supremos civil war and his great initiative and desire to learn led him to found the newspaper La Democracia , a radical liberal media outlet that specialized in the field of politics.

He participated in the revolutionary side against his hometown and after the war decided to start his studies at the university where he managed to graduate as a lawyer. He founded in the newspaper called La Democracia, a newspaper that looked for a way to promote the election of José María Obando as president. He was appointed as governor of Cartagena and that was how his political career began.

He also worked as Minister of Finance and lived for a few years in New York where he was writing for various newspapers. He was appointed consul for Colombia in the United States and he was also consul in Liverpool.


Once he became president, Rafael Núñez increased his popularity significantly, so much so that in fact he was reelected four times. During his presidency, he managed to dissolve the dependence that the State of his country had on private banks, thus creating the first National Bank of the nation. He created a series of educational regulations in which he prohibited the participation of students while calming the radical bloc that was looking for how to make conflicts. His term as president fought to change the liberal bureaucracy that existed at the time for a conservative one . It modified political life , the economy and thesociety of Colombia with the creation of the Constitution in 1886.

For him, religion was important and for this reason he sought a way to establish an agreement with the Holy See, imposing the importance of religious beliefs as an element that could produce the union of its inhabitants.


Rafael Núñez began to feel ill before September 21, 1892 , at which time he had to symbolically take office as president of the nation, leaving Miguel Antonio Caro , who was vice president, in office. He spent a long time on his wife’s farm in Cartagena until she died on September 18, 1894 , due to a stroke. His remains are located in the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes , in Cartagena de Indias.


He studied when he was young at the University of Cartagena where he graduated from high school. He dedicated himself to studying law at the University of Magdalena and Isthmus and graduated in 1844.


His ideology focused both on religion as the basis of the state and on the search for aspects that could help Colombia to get ahead.


Historians and political connoisseurs mention that Rafael Núñez’s personality was never well centered, since he developed at a time when there was a series of ideological and political contradictions that caused confusion.

Achievements of Rafael Núñez

Rafael Núñez managed to considerably expand the railway network in his country, introduced a submarine cable that helped considerably improve communications in the country with the rest of the world. He succeeded in reforming the political constitution , improved navigation on several important rivers, and founded the National Bank .

He also founded the National Academy of Music , began to use paper money and established a concordat with the Holy See that is still in force today. He also formed the Military College . He established the Catholic religion as the state religion and some individual rights were restricted, reinstated the death penalty and limited voting .

He was a man who also managed to make an important contribution to literature , mainly prose and verse , his writings helped other countries to develop the written press and also protected the political currents of the time.

Physical characteristics

To date there is no exact description of its physical characteristics.


Rafael Núñez’s parents were Dolores Modelo García and Francisco Núñez García , who served as a colonel.


Rafael Núñez married Dolores Gallego on February 25, 1851, with whom he had two children. He separated some time after his wife to marry Soledad Román again on July 14, 1877.


Together with Dolores Gallego Martínez he had three children named Rafael , Dolores and Ricardo .

Importance of Rafael Núñez

He is considered one of the most important presidents of Colombia, his thought left a series of traces in the country that still remain. He saved the borders of his country and was always at the service of his country. He managed to consolidate a political group that helped the Conservatives to come to power. Together with the traditional movement, it managed to establish a politics and ideology of union , displacing the radicals who held power.

Acknowledgments to Rafael Núñez

The 28th of September of each year has been established to celebrate his memory. A museum was established on his farm called “El Cabrero” where some of his personal belongings and some letters written by him are displayed. A statue was built in his honor in 1922 by Francisco Antonio Caro, in the National Capitol of Colombia . The international airport located in Cartagena has been named after him since 1986. There are also tickets where his portrait was placed and these were printed until 1995.


Some of the most important works of Rafael Núñez are the following:

  • Poetry
  • Political reform in Colombia
  • Social criticism essays
  • Federation
  • The rebellion: war news
  • Poetry and critical articles
  • Articles of social criticism


Among the main phrases of Rafael Núñez the following are mentioned:

  • The development of morality is the conclusive synthesis of progress in all its forms.
  • I do not know if life in the abyss is definitely a juice of nectar and gall.
  • Everything that is not charity in religion does not have an effective and permanent moral force.

Presence in popular culture

Although no films were made in its name, Colombia has been concerned that its inhabitants and especially its new inhabitants know in detail the development and works that Rafael Núñez brought to the country and for this reason, it is part of the history that it is taught in the field of education.

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