Person - García de Polavieja del Castillo, Camilo (1838-1914)

García de Polavieja del Castillo, Camilo (1838-1914)




Preferred form:

García de Polavieja del Castillo, Camilo (1838-1914)Other forms

Dates of existence/Biographical dates:

Madrid (España)  1838-07-13 - Madrid (España)  1914-01-05


Spanish Militar and politician. Descendant from an affluent family native to Asturias and established in Mexico, he lost his parents before age 20 and found himself impoverished. Because he was unable to enter the Staff College and pursue his studies, he enlisted as a soldier on 1858 and was statutorily appointed officer and sergeant of the Navarra Infantry regiment. Having participated in the War of Africa and excelled in several battles, he got a promotion for his behavior in the battle of Wad-Ras, where he was wounded. In 1863, he was granted the position of second lieutenant and transferred to Cuba, whence he returned with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1873. In the role of Martinez Campos’ assistant, he took part in civil strives in Valencia, as well as in Catalonia and in the North at a later date. It was in the battlefield where he gained all of his ranks and positions, including that of Brigadier in 1876. In October of the same year, he moved to Cuba and tamed the insurrection in Las Villas. Thereafter, he went on to command the third brigade of the oriental department, focusing on the relentless prosecution of Antonio Maceo. He also prosecuted the insurrected forces of Limbano Sánchez and secured the surrender of the said leader, hence why he was promoted to field marshal and appointed General Commander and civil governor of the province of Puerto Príncipe. In 1879, he moved to the province of Santiago de Cuba, where he took action to offset the former outbursts of an insurrectional movement and successfully limited the insurrection in Holguín and Cuba. It did not take long for the rebellion to spark off at the insurgent front, headed by such prestigious people as the Maceo brothers, Guillermo Moncada, Quintín Banderas, Lacret, among others. Back in the Peninsula, he joined the Supreme Council of War and Navy in 1882 and shortly after he was conferred the leadership of the Capitanía General de Andalucía (General Capitancy of Andalusia). In July 1890, he was appointed governor and Captain General of Cuba. As soon as he landed in Cuba, he wisely and energetically approached and hindered a mass resurrection planned by Maceo in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba. In October of the same year, he hindered Carrillo’s failed resurrection in Santa Clara and then devoted himself to the preservation of peace, the promotion of wealth in the island and the prosecution of banditry. The latter had certain politic implication and was left extremely fractured by the end of his office in 1892. Having performed several functions in the Peninsula, including that of commander of the military of the Queen Regent, he was appointed Governor and Captain General of Philippines in December 1896, as well as Senior General of the army that operated across those islands. The war operations in Philippines shifted when Polavieja arrived. As opposed to their strictly defensive attitude, the detachments took an active part in an ongoing prosecution by assuming the form of mobile columns in the provinces of Bataán, Pampanga, and advancing towards the area of lagoons (Nueva Ecija in the South, Bulacán, Manila, Laguna and Batangas). The preparation for the re-conquest of the rebel territory of Cavite began. Nevertheless, at that time Polavieja was ill and the execution’s plan to defeat the uprising went awry. Although the province of Cavite was set free of enemies, they were able to form strong resistance nuclei inside the province, which triggered bloody fights aimed at eradicating the enemies. His political activities were subject of discussion due to Rizal’s shooting. Shortly after his resignation for medical reasons, he was awarded the Cross of Saint Ferdinand. He was appointed Minister of War in 1899, commander of the military of his Majesty in 1903, commander of the Central General Staff in 1904 and president of the Supreme Council of War and Navy in 1906. In 1910, he was promoted to Captain General.

Guerra hispano-estadounidense, 1898

Date of the event: 1898



El archivo del General Polavieja se custodia en el Archivo General de Indias de Sevilla. En 1954 María de los Ángeles García de Polavieja Castrillo, hija de General, ofreció al Archivo General de Indias la documentación de su padre pues esa era la voluntad paterna. El General Polavieja estuvo realizando en el Archivo sevillano un estudio historiográfico referido a Hernán Cortés y publicó la obra: "Copias de documentos existentes en el Archivo de Indias y en su Palacio de Castilleja de la Cuesta, sobre la conquista de México" en 1899 en Sevilla.


Gobernadores civiles (1833-1997) between 1876 and 1879

Cabinet officers in 1899


A. López Serrano . El general Polavieja y su actividad política y militar. Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa. 2001.

Portal de Archivos Españoles

Related Authorities

Consejo Supremo de Guerra y Marina (España)  ( He/She works for )

Associative relations :

Ministerio de la Guerra (España)  ( He/She works for )

Temporary relationships :

Maceo Grajales, Antonio (1845-1896)  - Contemporary (He/She is contemporary with)

Martínez de Campos, Arsenio (1831-1900)  - Contemporary (He/She is contemporary with)

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Fichero de Autoridades:

Biblioteca Nacional de España