Rafael Carrera, president of Guatemala, born in the city of Guatemala in 1814, of mixed Indian and negro blood, died April 14, 1865. In 1829, when Morazan was president of the federal government, Carrera became a drummer boy. Subsequently he retired to the village of Metaquascuintla, where he married a woman of singularly energetic character, his constant companion throughout his subsequent career. In 1837 he placed himself at the head of a band of insurgent mountaineers, and in February, 1838, occupied the city of Guatemala with 6,000 Indians, whom he succeeded in restraining; from pillage and massacre. Some accommodation among the conflicting parties now followed, and Carrera was sent to Meta, a neighboring district of the interior, in an official capacity. On April 13, 1839, he again occupied the capital, which he subsequently held. Ruling at first as general-in-chief, he was elected, March 21, 1847, to the presidency of Guatemala. Early in 1851, with only 1,500 men, he defeated the combined forces of San Salvador and Honduras. He was reelected Oct. 19, 1851, as president for life.
In 18G1 he intervened with success in the contest which had arisen between the ecclesiastical authorities in Honduras and President Guardiola. In 1862 he opposed the plan for a confederation of the Central American republics, and the project failed. In 1863 he declared war against San Salvador, took possession of the capital, and expelled President Barrios. In the early part of his career he was regarded as the enemy of order and civilization, but he subsequently proved a mild and conservative ruler. His government was absolute. When first elected to the presidency he was unable to read or write, but he afterward in some measure repaired the deficiencies of his education.