Biography

José Luis Álvaro Alvino Fernández Madrid (February 19, 1789 – June 28, 1830) was a Neogranadine statesman, physician, scientist and writer, who was President of the interim triumvirate of the United Provinces of New Granada in 1814, and President of the United Provinces of the New Granada in 1816. After the Spanish retook New Granada, he was barred from the country and was exiled in Havana, where he continued his scientific studies and worked as a doctor. He was later pardoned and allowed to come back to Colombia, and was appointed ambassador to France and to the United Kingdom where he died in 1830.

Fernández was born in Cartagena de Indias, Bolívar, on February 19, 1789. Son of a wealthy aristocratic family of the New World, his father Pedro Fernández de Madrid y Rodríguez de Rivas, was born in Guatemala and held important positions in the Viceroyalty of the New Granada as a subdelegate intendant of the Spanish Army. His paternal grandfather, Don Luis Fernández Madrid was a knight of the Order of Calatrava and a member of the Council to the King of Spain, and in the New World, served as oidor, or head judge, of the audiencias of Guatemala, and Mexico City. His mother was Doña Gabriela Fernández de Castro, daughter of Don Diego Fernández de Castro' who served as governor, captain general, and president of the Audiencia of Guatemala.

He began his studies in Cartagena de Indias, but his father was named Superintendent of the Royal Spanish Mint, and so the family moved to Santa Fe de Bogotá, where he continued his studies in the Our Lady of the Rosary University, in Bogotá. He initially graduated from his studies in humanities and canon law, but he went back to finish his doctorate in Medicine, graduating on February 16, 1809 all before the age of 20.

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