Autumn of Nations 1989

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Pedro Aguirre Cerda
Timeline: Central World

Pedro Aguirre Cerda

25th Bandera Presidente de Chile President of Chile
December 23, 1936 – November 25, 1941

Predecessor Arturo Alessandri Palma
Successor Jerónimo Méndez (as vice-president)
Juan Antonio Ríos
Born February 6, 1879(1879-02-06)
Flag of Chile Pocuro, Chile
Died November 25, 1941(1941-11-25) (aged 62)
Flag of Chile Santiago, Chile
Spouse Juana Aguirre
Political Party Radical Party
Profession Lawyer, Teacher, Politician

Pedro Aguirre Cerda (February 6, 1879 – November 25, 1941) was a Chilean political figure. Member of the Radical Party, he was chosen as the Popular Front's candidate for the 1936 presidential election, and was triumphally elected. He governed Chile until his death in 1941. Pedro Aguirre Cerda was of Basque descent.


He was born in Pocuro, a small village near the city of Los Andes, in Chile. The seventh of a total of eleven children of Juan Bautista Aguirre and Clarisa Cerda. His father, a farmer, died when he was eight years old in 1887. His mother had to run the farm and raise him and all his brothers alone.

He finished his university studies in Santiago, at the Pedagogic Institute and became a teacher of Spanish in 1900. In 1904 he became a lawyer. He married his cousin Juana Rosa Aguirre Luco, with whom he had no children. In 1910, thanks to a government scholarship he studied administrative and financial law at La Sorbonne, plus political economy and social legislation at the College de France. He returned to Chile in 1914 and took a position as a teacher at the National Institute. He also became president of the National Society of Teachers.

He was a very distinguished teacher, attorney, deputy and senator. He was also the first dean of the new school of economy of the Universidad de Chile. As a member of the Radical Party, he was minister of Public Instruction and of the Interior during the administrations of Juan Luis Sanfuentes and Arturo Alessandri.