In March 1858, the autocratic Monaga brothers, who had ruled Venezuela since 1848, were overthrown in a revolution engineered by Conservatives and Liberals, who were both vying for power. Promptly civil strife erupted among ambitious caudillos (military leaders) in the provinces, and Venezuela became embroiled in the so-called Federalist Wars mainly pitting Conservatives against Liberals, with the former wanting a centralized government and the latter federalism and democracy. Fighting was fierce, adn the government was in different hands several times until Jose Antonio Paez (1790-1873), a former Venezuelan president, was recalled from exile to form a Conservative ministry (1861). But turmoil persisted as the Liberals fought against the repressive policies of Paez, who governed as a harsh dictator until his supporters were defeated in 1863; he again went into exile. By 1864, the Liberals, led by Generals Juan Falcon (1820-70) and Antonio Guzman Blanco (1829-99), had gained control and promulgated a federalist consititution.