30 Facts About Facundo


Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism is a book written in 1845 by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a writer and journalist who became the second president of Argentina.

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Facundo describes the life of Juan Facundo Quiroga, a caudillo who had terrorized provincial Argentina in the 1820s and 1830s.

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Sarmiento sees Rosas as heir to Facundo: both are caudillos and representatives of a barbarism that derives from the nature of the Argentine countryside.

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However, if Facundo's portrait is linked to the wild nature of the countryside, Rosas is depicted as an opportunist who exploits the situation to perpetuate himself in power.

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Facundo was born into a wealthy family of high social status, but Rosas's strict upbringing had a deep psychological influence on him.

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Facundo's rule, assisted by Juan Facundo Quiroga and Estanislao Lopez, was respected and he was praised for his ability to maintain harmony between Buenos Aires and the rural areas.

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Facundo ruled the country not as he did during his first term as governor, but as a dictator, forcing all citizens to support his Federalist regime.

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In Facundo, Sarmiento is both the narrator and a main character.

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Facundo expresses and analyzes his own opinion and chronicles some historic events.

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Facundo was a member of the Senate after Rosas's fall and president of Argentina for six years .

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Facundo's ideas were based on European civilization; for him, the development of a country was rooted in education.

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Facundo begins with a geographical description of Argentina, from the Andes in the west to the eastern Atlantic coast, where two main river systems converge at the boundary between Argentina and Uruguay.

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Sarmiento describes an incident in which Facundo killed a man, writing that this type of behaviour "marked his passage through the world".

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Facundo's killing of two royalist prisoners after a jailbreak saw him acclaimed as a hero among the gauchos, and on relocating to La Rioja, Facundo was appointed to a leadership position in the Llanos Militia.

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Facundo built his reputation and won his comrades' respect through his fierce battlefield performances, but hated and tried to destroy those who differed from him by being civilized and well-educated.

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Facundo escaped to Buenos Aires and joined the Federalist government of Juan Manuel de Rosas.

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On return to his San Juan home, which Sarmiento says Facundo governed "solely with his terrifying name", he realized that his government lacked support from Rosas.

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Facundo went to Buenos Aires to confront Rosas, who sent him on another political mission.

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However, Facundo cannot be classified as a novel or a specific genre of literature.

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Facundo is not only a critique of Rosas's dictatorship, but a broader investigation into Argentine history and culture, which Sarmiento charts through the rise, controversial rule, and downfall of Juan Facundo Quiroga, an archetypical Argentine caudillo.

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Facundo explores the issue of civilization versus the cruder aspects of a caudillo culture of brutality and absolute power.

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Facundo set forth an oppositional message that promoted a more beneficial alternative for society at large.

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Caudillos like Facundo Quiroga are seen, at the beginning of the book, as the antithesis of education, high culture, and civil stability; barbarism was like a never ending litany of social ills.

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Facundo elevates his own status at the expense of the ruling elite, almost portraying himself as invincible due to the power of writing.

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Facundo's words are presented as a "code" that needs to be "deciphered", and unlike Sarmiento those in power are barbaric and uneducated.

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Translator Kathleen Ross, Facundo is "one of the foundational works of Spanish American literary history".

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Facundo became president of Argentina in 1868 and was finally able to apply his theories to ensure that his nation achieved civilization.

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Gonzalez Echevarria notes that Facundo provided the impetus for other writers to examine dictatorship in Latin America, and contends that it is still read today because Sarmiento created "a voice for modern Latin American authors".

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Gonzalez Echevarria further argues that Juan Facundo Quiroga continues to exist, since he represents "our unresolved struggle between good and evil and our lives' inexorable drive toward death".

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Facundo was first translated in 1868, by Mary Mann, a friend of Sarmiento, with the title Life in the Argentine Republic in the Days of the Tyrants; or, Civilization and Barbarism.

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