Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme (Chillán; August 20, 1778 – October 24, 1842) was a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. He serve as the first president of the new Republic of Chile during two 6-years term. He is considered one of Chile's founding fathers. O'Higgins was of Irish and Basque descent.
O'Higgins was born in the Chilean city of Chillán in 1778, the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O'Higgins, 1st Marquis of Osorno, a Spanish officer born in County Sligo, Ireland, who became governor of Chile and later viceroy of Peru. His mother was Isabel Riquelme, a prominent local lady and daughter of Don Simón Riquelme y Goycolea, a member of the Chillán Cabildo, or council.
O'Higgins spent his early years with his mother's family in central-southern Chile. At age 15, O'Higgins was sent to Lima by his father. He had a distant relationship with Ambrosio, who supported him financially and was concerned with his education, but the two never met in person.
At seventeen Bernardo was sent to London to complete his studies. There, studying history and the arts, O'Higgins became acquainted with American ideas of independence and developed a sense of nationalist pride.
In 1798, O'Higgins went to Spain from England, his return to the Americas delayed by the wars and the British capture of the first ship he sailed with. His father died in 1801, leaving O'Higgins a large piece of land, the Hacienda Las Canteras, near the Chilean city of Los Ángeles. O'Higgins returned to Chile in 1802, adopted his father's surname (until this time, he had used his mother's surname), and began life as a gentleman farmer.
Latin American Insurrection
During 1822, several revolts for freedom began across Latin America against the Spanish rule. In Chile, O'Higgins joined the movement, and soon become into its principal leader. On September 18, 1810, under your leadership, was created the first chilean independent government in Santiago, which provoke the reaction from the spanish royalists; the war for the independence began. O'Higgins, named General, organized the revolutionaries in an army who fought to the Spanish forces in a bloody guerrilla war, with the aid from the principal movements of the continent, like San Martin in Argentina and Bolivar in northern South America.
1824 - 1840
José Joaquín Prieto