A 1902 Argentinan Ireneo Portela Centenary Medal
A 1902 Argentinan Ireneo Portela Centenary Medal - Bronze, illustrating the bust of Portela surrounded by the inscription "CENTENARIO DEL DR. IRENEO PORTELA" (Centenary of Dr.Ireneo Portela) and "1802 - 15 DE JULIO - 1902" (1802 - 15 July - 1902) on the obverse, while the reverse is inscribed "MEDICO, CIRUJANO, PROFESOR, LEGISLADOR, MINISTRO. COMO MEDICO, SU FIGURA SE DESTACA COMBATIENDO LA EPIDEMIA DE ESCARLATINA DE 1836; COMO CIUDADANO Y HOMBRE PUBLICO, LUCHANDO POR LA LIBERTAD DE SU PATRIA." (Physician, Surgeon, Teacher, Legislator, Minister. Centennial of the Birth of Dr. Ireneo Portela. As a Doctor, You Fought the Scarlet Fever Epidemic of 1836, As A Citizen and Public Man, You Fought for the Freedom of Your Country), engraver marked "J. GOTTUZZO", 52.5 mm, light contact, near extremely fine. Footnote: Ireneo Portela (July 15, 1802 - August 24, 1861) was an Argentinian physician and politician. He studied medicine at the University of Buenos Aires, graduating at the age 22. The following year he received a grant from the Argentine government to continue his studies in Paris, where he met Estevan Echeverria, who influenced much of his political ideology. He returned in 1830 and four years later was elected to the Legislature, being re-elected in 1836 and attended the session in which he was awarded the "Sum of government" to Juan Manuel de Rosas, one of the few who voted against this provision. During the epidemic of scarlet fever in 1836, he served with other doctors and professionals, which gave him great prestige among the medical community. During this period he married Isabel Martinez, who was widowed after a short time and with whom he had a daughter, Johanna Portela. In 1839, Portela went into exile in Montevideo, Uruguay, where four years later he married Amelia Alvarez Montevideo, daughter of Dr. Julian Alvarez, with whom he had nine children. During this period, he continued practicing medicine and also kept in touch with General Juan Lavalle and other important opponents of Rosas. Portela had a great deal of trust in Lavalle, who appointed him as a delegate, to sign an agreement with Bouchet-Martigny, Consul of France.During the Anglo-French Blockade of the River Plate, he prepared to disembark from the French warship, along with Juan Bautista Alberdi, in Buenos Aires.Being defeated by the French, Portela had fled to Brazil where he lived until the overthrow of Rosas, in 1852. When he returned, supported by his medical degree, he was elected. Portela had become an important and popular political figure in Buenos Aires. He was also appointed Chairman of the Board of Health, and as such served the city for the site of Buenos Aires in 1853. In July 1853, when a bullet struck Bartolome Mitre in the head during the siege conducted by Hilario Lagos, Dr. Portela was consulted and indicated that Mitre needed to be operated upon quickly, in less than an hour, or die. Following the advice of the respected doctor, Hilary of Almeyra operated on the future Argentine president. In 1854, he was appointed Minister of Government, but later resigned. Six years later he served as a member of the Constitutional Convention that passed several new reforms to the Constitution of Argentina, 1853. The following year he was elected senator for the province. As a physician, he was one of the most important figures of nineteenth-century Argentina and as a politician, was highly appreciated by the people of Buenos Aires. He died in 1861 at the age of 59.