Domingo Faustino Sarmiento: history and curiosities of the "Master of America"

Figure of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento he awoke voices for and against during his long life, since in his time as a teacher, journalist, miner or president of the nation, he left a trail of circumstances and historical episodes that marked him in eternity, and that despite the opinions , the “Master of America” what’s his name, it will never go unnoticed.

The history of Sarmiento began on February 15, 1811 when he was born in the city of San Juan, and from a very young age he embraced learning as something special and that marked him for his whole life.

Foundation of a school

In fact, he founded his first school in the San Luis town of San Francisco of the Moment (at that time) as a young man (14 years old) with his uncle (the friar Jose de Oro) but his teaching condition did not last long at that time, as another passion quickly approached him: the militia. He served as an ensign in the federal army but differences with his superiors made him “alter course” and go over to the unitary side, in the army led by General José María Paz.

However, the federals won the battles on their territory and had to emigrate for the first time to Chile, where he started teaching, he met a woman (María Jesús del Canto) and with her he had his only biological daughter in 1832: Ana Faustina Sarmiento.

Domingo Sarmiento with his mother, Paula Albarracín.

After years of exile, he returned to his province, founded the Literary Society and was one of the prominent writers of the famous “Generation of 37” next to Juan Bautista Alberdi and Esteban Echeverria, among others.

His other love: journalism

The love that the San Juan hero always had for letters, he also had in another field that he was passionate about: the journalism. In 1839, while living in the province of San Juan, he founded the local newspaper The Zonda and three years later, he did the same in Chile by creating the Diario The Progresor, in addition to being a faithful writer for another great of that nation: The Mercury.

Already at the end of his story, Sarmiento decides to found what would be his last newspaper, he created The Censor (1885), which dealt with important issues in the city of Buenos Aires and the country.

“Civilización y barbarie”, one of his many books.

It should also be noted that the San Juan has written several books, such as “Facundo or Civilization and barbarism”, “Life of Dominguito”, “Memories of the province”, “Of popular education” and “Travel in Africa, Europe and America”, among other literary works.

But his thoughts and writings went against the interests of the then governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas, so once again the hero from San Juan emigrated to Chile, where he worked in the area of ​​Education and the Chilean president Manuel Montt Torres placeholder image gave him the task of studying the apprenticeship system in the United States and Europe.

Domingo Sarmiento had a military period.

On his return to Chile in 1848, he married Benita Martínez Pastoriza and adopted her son as his own, Domingo Fidel (Dominguito) but in 1851 he joined the Great Army of General Justo José de Urquiza to be able to beat the feds.

To become the first president of our country, Sarmiento had to retrace a path in politics with various positions, from the simplest to the most important.

Foray into politics

In 1855, received the position of councilor of Buenos Aires, that he enjoyed it for a period of two years, when he became a national senator.

Already in 1860 he was appointed as Minister of Government by Bartolomé Miter (who in 1862 was president of the nation), and two years later, he became the governor of the province of San Juan.

Sarmiento was president of the nation between 1868 and 1874.

After completing his two years in power, he returned to the diplomatic career and was appointed as Minister Plenipotentiary in the United States, until in 1868 he fulfilled his dream: occupy the chair of Bernardino Rivadavia.

Its main decisions include the founding of the National Military College, the Naval School, the ports of San Pedro and Zárate, the Cordoba Observatory and the start of construction of the city’s zoo.

National Military College.

In addition, after learning the education system that was used in the United States and Europe, during his presidency he decided to bring a group of teachers (it is said that there were about 65) of American origin to teach in our country, this made the quality in the educational model will notably improve and be one of the best on the continent by the end of the 19th century.

In the area of ​​communications, thousands of kilometers of roads were built throughout the country to connect the cities of the interior with that of Buenos Aires, but also with each other and in this way promote trade and other activities. At this point it must be added that the first telegraphic line connection with Europe was inaugurated.

Yellow fever left thousands of deaths in Buenos Aires.

The first national census was also carried out in 1869, which yielded the result of almost two million inhabitants in our country. However, Sarmiento faced two events that marked his presidency and hit him closely, on the one hand, the end of the Paraguayan War that left the balance of 18 thousand dead soldiers (among them his adopted son Dominguito) and the economic loss left by the conflict. On the other hand, the arrival of the yellow fever in 1871, that in the city of Buenos Aires alone, 14 thousand people were killed, something that forced the construction of what is now the Chacarita Cemetery.

At the end of his term as president of the nation, the health of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento began to slowly deteriorate and after some years serving various functions in other governments, he was awaited by retirement from politics. exile to Paraguay and later his death.

Other positions in politics

Between 1875 and 1879, the teacher served as a senator for the province of San Juan, and already with Nicolas Avellaneda As the first national president (in the period between 1874 to 1880), he was appointed as Minister of the Interior. Later and with the arrival of another Argentine president to power, Julio Argentino Roca, arrived his last position in the world of politics, when he was nominated as Superintendent of Schools of the National Council of Education, he also participated in the drafting and subsequent approval of the Law 1420 of Common Education.

Already by 1887 and with a poor state of health (he suffered from deafness, heart and bronchial failure), Sarmiento decided to move with his daughter Faustina and his grandchildren to the Paraguayan city of Asunción, according to his personal doctor. it was a better climate for his deteriorating health, and it might benefit him.

Death and eternal rest

The September 11, 1888At the age of 77, he suffered a heart attack and died with his loved ones in the Paraguayan capital. A few months after his death, Sarmiento was honored with all the honors in the nation “guaraní” and in ours, due to the work in the field of education and the creation of schools.

The remains of the San Juan hero were taken to the Recoleta Cemetery, where they rest with other great members of Argentine history, in fact, in its pantheon you can see hundreds of plaques that commemorate it as the “Master of America”.

Sarmiento’s grave is in the Recoleta Cemetery.

As a tribute to the figure of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, in 1943 during the First Inter-American Conference on Education, which took place in Panama, it was established as the Pan American Teacher’s Day to September 11, in commemoration of the death of the San Juan hero and the 100th anniversary of the publication of his book “My defense”.

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento: curiosities

As a character in our history, Sarmiento has had several attractive, positive and other controversial edges to this day, but what cannot be denied is that it encompassed various moments of the 19th century, which also left some interesting anecdotes to tell.

For example, while he was in Chile he worked as a miner, contracted typhoid fever leaving him in serious condition and on the verge of death, However, he was able to recover from the disease, quit mining, and returned to Argentina.

Sarmiento worked as a miner in Chile.

In 1870, when he was already serving as president of the nation, Sarmiento decided to visit General Justo José de Urquiza in the San José Palace, which the Unitarian had in the province of Entre Ríos (a few kilometers from the town of Concepción del Uruguay).

The particular thing is that there was hardly any talk of national politics, but that the first president was interested in knowing how it was that the house of the military had hot water, service that did not yet exist in the province of Buenos Aires.

He suffered an attack in 1873 that he did not know about.

In 1846, on a tour of the “old continent”, traveled to France to visit the general Jose from San Martin, as a Chilean diplomat to speak about the situation in the American continent.

Sarmiento suffered an attempt to end his life, although due to his deafness he never found out. In 1873, they shot him with a pistol (blunderbuss) but being so loaded, It exploded in the hand of one of the attackers.


Leave a Comment