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Ambrosio O'Higgins

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O'HIGGINS, Ambrosio, Marquis de Osorno, viceroy of Peru, born in Summer Hill, Ireland, about 1720; died in Lima, Peru, 18 March, 1801. Very little is known about his youth, but it is believed that he was the son of laboring people. According to Jose A. Lavalle, he was sent to Cadiz to his uncle, a Jesuit, and destined for an ecclesiastic career. Having very little inclination for service in the church, he went to South America and for some time was an itinerant trader in Venezuela, New Granada, and Peru, but, being persecuted by the Inquisition, he went to Chile as an engineer.

 

 He proposed to open easy communication between Chile and Mendoza by a way over the Andes, and, his proposition being accepted, he was employed to superintend the works about 1760. In 1770 the president of Chile appointed him captain of a column of cavalry to resist the attacks of the Araucanian Indians, whom he defeated, founding the fort of San Carlos in the south of the province of Arauco, which is still in existence. He gained the good-will of the Indians by his humanity and benevolence, and recovered the territory that had been taken from the Spaniards.

 

In consequence of his services he was appointed, on 7 September, 1777, by the viceroy Amat, a colonel in the army. He soon rose to be brigadier, and the viceroy Croix appointed him Intendant of Concepción in 1786. He founded the city of San Ambrosio de Ballenar, in 1789 was promoted major-general, and soon afterward became president of Chile. In 1792 he built the city of Osorno, which had been destroyed by the Indians, and was created a marquis. He was made lieutenant-general in 1794, and in the next year became viceroy of Peru. On 16 May, 1796, he delivered the presidency of Chile to Rezabal y Ugarte, and arrived at Callao in June, receiving the government in Lima on 24 July.

 

When war was declared between England and Spain in 1797, O'Higgins took active measures for the defense of the coast, strengthening the fortifications of Callao and constructing a fort in Pisco. He projected and constructed a new carriage-road from Lima to Callao, and his principal attention during his short administration was directed to the improvement of means of communication. He died suddenly after a short illness. O'Higgins is the only example of a man sprung from the laboring class that obtained the rank of viceroy.

 

--His son, Bernardo O’Higgins, president of Chile, born in Chilean in 1780; died in Lima in 1846, was educated in his native city, and in Cadiz and England. At the time of the declaration of independence, 18 September, 1810, he was prefect in the island of Laja, where he organized two regiments, one formed almost entirely of his own dependents. When General Pareja landed in San Vicente with a royalist expedition, 26 March, 1813, O'Higgins joined the dictator Jose Miguel Carrera in Concepción. Near the river Roble they were defeated by General Elorriaga, 17 October, 1813, O'Higgins saving the army from total rout.

 

After this battle the junta of Santiago deposed Carrera from the general command of the army and appointed O'Higgins in his place. He had gained some successes when he received orders from the junta at Santiago to negotiate with the enemy, and on 3 May the treaty of Lircay was signed. On 23 July, Carrera, by a military revolution, recovered the government, but O'Higgins did not recognize him, and on 26 August they had an encounter, in which Carrera remained in possession of the field, when they heard of the landing of the expedition of General Mariano Osorio and made peace, O'Higgins asking for the command of the vanguard, he occupied Rancagua, and they agreed that Carrera should attack the enemy in the rear, but, after sustaining several assaults, O'Higgins saw Carrera retreat on 1 October, and, notwithstanding a heroic defense, had to cut his way through the enemy's lines on 2 October, his force of 1,900 being reduced to 300.

 

O'Higgins then went to Buenos Aires, where he resided till the Argentine government appointed him commander of the second division of the expedition that left Mendoza, 21 January, 1817. It met the enemy in Chacabuco on 12 February, gaining the battle mainly by the courage of O'Higgins. The Spaniards abandoned Santiago, and on 16 February O'Higgins was appointed director of Chile. After a siege of four months he stormed Talcahuano, but he was defeated by General Ordoriez on 6 December, 1817. On 18 January, 1818, the second expedition under Osorio landed in Talcahuano, and O'Higgins retired to the north, joining San Martin. On 19 March they were surprised at Cancha Rayada and defeated, notwithstanding O'Higgins's desperate resistance.

 

On 23 March O'Higgins arrived in Santiago, where, resuming his authority, he prepared for the defense of the country, and on 4 April the independent army totally defeated the Spaniards at Maipo. In August, 1818, a convoy was on its way from Spain to the aid of Osorio, but O'Higgins organized a naval force under Manuel Blanco Encalada (q. v.) and ended the naval power of Spain in the Pacific.

 

After the establishment of independence, O'Higgins completed the formation of a navy under Cochrane. During his government, O'Higgins, under the title of supreme director, did much for the advancement of his country, but his minister, Rodriguez Aldea, by his continual intrigues, caused a revolution in the southern provinces in December, 1822, under Ramon Freire. He dismissed Aldea on 7 January, 1823, but the discontent continued, and on 28 January he was forced to resign. Believing that his absence would contribute toward healing dissensions, he left shortly afterward for Peru, where he passed the rest of his life on the estate of Montalvan, which he bought in the valley of Cañete. His remains were transported to Santiago in January, 1869, by order of the government, and in 1872 an equestrian statue of him was erected in the public walk of Las Delicias.

 

 

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, by John Looby Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM

O'HIGGINS, Ambrosio, Marquis de Osorno, viceroy of Peru, born in Summer Hill, Ireland, about 1720" died in Lima, Peru, 18 March, 1801. Very little is known about his youth, but it is believed that he was the son of laboring people. According to Jose A. Lavalle, he was sent to Cadiz to his uncle, a Jesuit, and destined for an ecclesiastic career. Having very little inclination for the church, he went to South America and for some time was an itinerant trader in Venezuela, New Granada, and Peru, but, being persecuted by the Inquisition, he went to Chili as an engineer. He proposed to open easy communication between Chili and Mendoza by a way over the Andes, and, his proposition being accepted, he was employed to superintend the works about 1760. In 1770 the president of Chili appointed him captain of a column of cavalry to resist the attacks of the Araucanian Indians, whom he defeated, founding the fort of San Carlos in the south of the province of Arauco, which is still in existence. He gained the good-will of the Indians by his humanity and benevolence, and recovered the territory that had been taken from the Spaniards. In consequence of his services he was appointed, on 7 September, 1777, by the viceroy Amat, a colonel in the army. He soon rose to be brigadier, and the viceroy "Croix appointed him intendant of Concepcion in 1786. He founded the city of San Ambrosio de Ballenar, in 1789 was promoted major-general, and soon afterward became president of Chili. In 1792 he built the city of Osorno, which had been destroyed by the Indians, and was created a marquis. He was made lieutenant-general in 1794, and in the next year became viceroy of Peru. On 16 May, 1796, he delivered the presidency of Chili to Rezabal y Ugarte, and arrived at Callao in June, receiving the government in Lima on 24 July. When war was declared between England and Spain in 1797, O'Higgins took active measures for the defence of the coast, strengthening the fortifications of Callao and constructing a fort in Pisco. He projected and constructed a new carriage-road from Lima to Callao, and his principal attention during his short administration was directed to the improvement of means of communication. He died suddenly after a short illness. O'Higgins is the only example of a man sprung from the laboring class that obtained the rank of viceroy.--His son, Bernardo, president of Chili, born in Chillan in 1780; died in Lima in 1846, was educated in his native city, and in Cadiz and England. At the time of the declaration of independence, 18 September, 1810, he was prefect in the island of Laja, where he organized two regiments, one formed almost entirely of his own dependents. When General Pareja landed in San Vicente with a royalist expedition, 26 March, 1813, O'Higgins joined the dictator Jose Miguel Carrera in Concepcion. Near the river Roble they were defeated by General Elorriaga, 17 October, 1813, O'Higgins saving the army from total rout. After this battle the junta of Santiago deposed Carrera from the general command of the army and appointed O'Higgins in his place. He had gained some successes when he received orders from the junta at Santiago to negotiate with the enemy, and on 3 May the treaty of Lircay was signed. On 23 July, Carrera, by a military revolution, recovered the government, but O'Higgins did not recognize him, and on 26 August they had an encounter, in which Carrera remained in possession of the field, when they heard of the landing of the expedition of General Mariano Osorio and made peace, O'Higgins asking for the command of the vanguard, he occupied Rancagua, and they agreed that Carrera should attack the enemy in the t ear, but, after sustaining several assaults, O'Higgins saw Carrera retreat on 1 October, and, notwithstanding a heroic defence, had to cut his way through the enemy's lines on 2 October, his force of 1,900 being reduced to 300. O'Higgins then went to Buenos Ayres, where he resided till the Argentine government appointed him commander of the second division of the expedition that left Mendoza, 21 January, 1817. It met the enemy in Chacabuco on 12 February, gaining the battle mainly by the courage of O'Higgins. The Spaniards abandoned Santiago, and on 16 February O'Higgins was appointed director of Chili. After a siege of four months he stormed Talcahuano, but he was defeated by General Ordoriez on 6 December, 1817. On 18 January, 1818, the second expedition under Osorio landed in Talcahuano, and O'Higgins retired to the north, joining San Martin. On 19 March they were surprised at Cancha Rayada and defeated, notwithstanding O'Higgins's desperate resistance. On 23 March O'Higgins arrived in Santiago, where, resuming his authority, he prepared for the defence of the country, and on 4 April the independent army totally defeated the Spaniards at Maipo. In August, 1818, a convoy was on its way from Spain to the aid of Osorio, but O'Higgins organized a naval force tinder Manuel Blanco Encalada (q. v.) and ended the naval power of Spain in the Pacific. After the establishment of independence, O'Higgins, completed the formation of a navy under Cochrane. During his government, O'Higgins, under the title of supreme director, did much for the advancement of his country, but his minister, Rodriguez Aldea, by his continual intrigues, caused a revolution in the southern provinces in December, 1822, under Ramon Freire. He dismissed Aldea on 7 January, 1823, but the discontent continued, and on 28 January he was forced to resign. Believing that his absence would contribute toward healing" dissensions, he left shortly afterward for Peru, where he passed the rest of his life on the estate of Montalvan, which he bought in the valley of Catiete. His remains were transported to Santiago in January, 1869, by order of the government, and in 1872 an equestrian statue of him was erected in the public walk of Las Delicias.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM

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