Domingo Faustino Sarmiento

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (February 15, 1811 – September 11, 1888) was an Argentine activist, intellectual, writer, statesman and the seventh President of Argentina. His writing spanned a wide range of genres and topics, from journalism to autobiography, to political philosophy and history. He was a member of a group of intellectuals, known as the Generation of 1837, who had a great influence on 19th-century Argentina. He was particularly concerned with educational issues and was also an important influence on the region's literature.

Domingo F. Sarmiento
Sarmiento in 1874
President of Argentina
In office
October 12, 1868  October 11, 1874
Vice PresidentAdolfo Alsina
Preceded byBartolomé Mitre
Succeeded byNicolás Avellaneda
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship
In office
September 6, 1879  October 9, 1879
PresidentNicolás Avellaneda
Preceded byManuel Montes de Oca
Succeeded byLucas González
Minister of the Interior
In office
August 29, 1879  October 9, 1879
PresidentNicolás Avellaneda
Preceded byBernardo de Irigoyen
Succeeded byBenjamín Zorrilla
Governor of San Juan
In office
January 3, 1862  April 9, 1864
Preceded byFrancisco Díaz
Succeeded bySantiago Lloveras
Personal details
BornFebruary 15, 1811
San Juan, Argentina
DiedSeptember 11, 1888(1888-09-11) (aged 77)
Asunción, Paraguay
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Benita Martínez Pastoriza
(m. 1847–1857); separated
Domestic partnerAurelia Vélez Sársfield
(1857–1888); his death
ChildrenAna Faustina[lower-alpha 1]
Domingo Fidel[lower-alpha 2]
Military service
Allegiance Argentina
Branch/service Argentine Army
Years of service1834–1863
Rank Divisional General
Domingo Faustino Sarmiento

Sarmiento grew up in a poor but politically active family that paved the way for many of his future accomplishments. Between 1843 and 1850 he was frequently in exile, and wrote in both Chile and in Argentina. His greatest literary achievement was Facundo, a critique of Juan Manuel de Rosas, that Sarmiento wrote while working for the newspaper El Progreso during his exile in Chile. The book brought him far more than just literary recognition; he expended his efforts and energy on the war against dictatorships, specifically that of Rosas, and contrasted enlightened Europe—a world where, in his eyes, democracy, social services, and intelligent thought were valued—with the barbarism of the gaucho and especially the caudillo, the ruthless strongmen of nineteenth-century Argentina.

While president of Argentina from 1868 to 1874, Sarmiento championed intelligent thought—including education for children and women—and democracy for Latin America. He also took advantage of the opportunity to modernize and develop train systems, a postal system, and a comprehensive education system. He spent many years in ministerial roles on the federal and state levels where he travelled abroad and examined other education systems.

Sarmiento died in Asunción, Paraguay, at the age of 77 from a heart attack. He was buried in Buenos Aires. Today, he is respected as a political innovator and writer. Miguel de Unamuno considered him among the greatest writers of Castilian prose.[4]