a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


La Violencia

Years: 1948-1958
Battle deaths: 29,800 [1]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2014-08-25 14:20:05
La Violencia (literally "The Violence", in Spanish) is a term that refers to an era of civil conflict in various areas of the Colombian countryside between supporters of the Colombian Liberal Party and the Colombian Conservative Party, a conflict which took place roughly from 1948 to 1958 (exact dates vary).

During La Violencia, several members of the Colombian Liberal Party and of the Colombian Communist Party organized self-defense groups and guerrilla units, which fought both against those of the Colombian Conservative Party and amongst each other throughout the countryside. The main violent groups were composed of peasants. Some of these were Los Pájaros (the birds) and Los Chusmeros (the mobs). Los Chulavitas were formed mainly of ex-police.

The conflict was especially cruel and violent. Due to the scarcity of guns, killings were frequently carried out with machetes and other crude implements. Torture and rape were common. Groups developed unique and horrific forms of corpse desecration as their signatures.


Notes on fatalities

[1] Battle deaths: Correlates of War, Intra-State War Data v4.1 #731. This intrastate war was not recorded in Prio for unclear reasons, perhaps because it was mainly a civil war between non-state actors.

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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