President of the Republic of Panama. Carlos A. Mendoza Soto received his primary education in Panama but was awarded a grant to study in Bogota, Colombia, where he ultimately earned his Doctorate of Law degree from the National University of Colombia. Returning to Panama, he joined a legal practice and became active in journalism and liberal politics. In 1891, he gained reknown by defending Panamanian patriot Victoriano Lorenzo, tried for the murder of tax collector Pedro Hoyos. He participated in the War of the Thousand Days (1899 - 1902) as military secretary to Belisario Porras. In 1903, he authored the Act of Separation from Colombia, following which he served as Panama's first Minister of Justice. In this capacity, he was a signee of the Republic's first Constitution. He served as Minister of Finance and Second Vice President under President Jose Domingo de Obaldia. First Vice President Jose Augustin Arango having died previously, Mendoza came to office upon the death of de Obaldia. He served as Panama's third president from March 1 until October 1, 1910, the end of his designated tenure as vice president. He was one of the most traveled presidents, visiting all parts of the Republic to surmise the needs of the area. He remained active in politics, law, and journalism in the years following his presidency. At the time of his death, he was serving as both a member of the National Assemby and president of the Civil Code Commission. Politically, Mendoza emphasized the development of culture and secular education, defended minority interests and suffrage, and opposed Constitutional articles allowing U.S. intervention in Panamanian affairs. Privately, he was married to Rita Barsallo, with whom he had one daughter. Additionally, he fathered five children in an extramarital relationship with Ernestina Barsallo. He was a 33rd Degree Mason of the Scottish Rite. Noted as Panama's first African American president, he is purportedly also the first African American president in the Americas.
Bio by: BluGraver