Ismael Montes

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Ismael Montes Gamboa (1861 - 1933) was a Bolivian general and political figure. He served as the President of Bolivia between 1904 and 1909 and again between 1913 and 1917.

Born into an affluent land-owning family from the rural department of La Paz in 1861, Montes fought valiantly in the War of the Pacific against Chile and then studied law. Rejoining the active service for the 1899 Civil War, he commanded a number of Liberal/Federalist forces and was appointed Minister of War in the administration of José Manuel Pando. Possessed of an adventurous temperament, he also saw action in the 1903 Acre War against Brazil. Earlier, he had become Pando's hand-picked successor. After he won the 1904 Presidential election, his first term in office was successful. Under the leadership of the Liberal party, the government made large-scale investments in infrastructure projects vital for Bolivia's growing economy, such as in roads and railways which integrated the urban centers of this mountainous country.

More controversially, it fell to Montes to sign the peace treaty with Chile, which had been pending since the War of the Pacific almost 25 years earlier. As a result, Bolivia officially recognized the loss of its entire maritime cost in exchange for a few meaningless concessions and a sum of money. The deal he cut with Chile was unfavorable, but Bolivia had decisively lost the war. Chile was firmly in control of the previously Bolivian territories. Montes felt that his country had...
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