Jose Antonio Paez, a Venezuelan soldier, born near Acarigua, province of Barinas, June 13, 1790, died in New York, May 6, 1873. At the age of 18 he became overseer of a cattle estate. In 1810 he joined the patriots, collected a band of daring Haneros, and soon became the terror of the Spanish commanders. In 1815 he defeated the royal troops under Lopez at Mata de la Miel, and in 1816 at Montecal. Soon afterward he was made commander of the revolutionary forces, with the rank of brigadier general, and again defeated Lopez, taking the city of Achaguas, recovering the province of Apure and a part of Barinas in Venezuela, and Casanare in New Granada. In 1817 he defeated the royal army under La Torre, and soon afterward he acknowledged the authority of Bolivar, with whom thenceforth he acted in concert. In 1819 he became general of division, and was successful in several encounters with the Spanish general Morillo. The victory of Paez at Carabobo in 1821 secured the independence of Columbia, and his capture of Puerto Cabello in 1823 removed the last trace of Spanish authority there. On the formation of the new government he represented Venezuela in the senate, acting with the federative party.
In 1826, in the execution of an order requiring the enlistment of all citizens between the ages of 16 and 50, Paez gave so much offence that the house of representatives resolved to impeach him. Refusing to obey the summons, he put himself at the head of the military and of the party opposed to the constitution, and a revolt followed, which continued till Bolivar returned and recognized Paez as the commander in Venezuela. In 1829 Venezuela was declared independent, and in 1830 Paez was elected president. Subsequently he suppressed two insurrections under Monagas, was presented by congress with a golden sword, and was honored with the title of " illustrious citizen." In 1839 he was again elected president, and in 1846 was succeeded by Monagas. In 1848, when Monagas endeavored to usurp the supreme authority, Paez took command of the revolutionary army, but was captured and imprisoned. Released finally by congress, but exiled, he went in May, 1850, to New York, where he remained till December, 1858, when, the Monagas party having been overthrown, he returned by special invitation to Venezuela. In 1860 he was accredited as minister to the United States, but resigned in 1861. On his return he was invested with supreme authority to quell disturbances in Venezuela; but failing in his efforts, he again went to New York in 1864. He afterward lived for some time in the Argentine Republic and in Peru, receiving large pensions in both countries. - See Autobi-ografte del General Jose Antonio Paez (vol. i., 8vo, New York, 1867), and "Public Life of J. A. Paez," by his son Ramon Paez (New York, 1854). The latter has also published "Wild Scenes in South America" (12mo, 1862), enlarged as " Travels and Adventures in South and Central America" (1868), and Ambas Américas: Contrastes (1872).