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Biographies: F‑H

This webpage reproduces part of
History of Chile

Luis Galdames

translated and edited by Isaac Joslin Cox
Russell & Russell
New York 1964

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Biographies: M

 p481  Biographical Notes
(continued: I‑L)

Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (1877‑1960)a was born in Chillán, educated at the liceo of Linares and at the Military School which he entered in 1896, and became a lieutenant in 1900. In 1903 he was permitted to help organize the army of Salvador. He returned to Chile in 1909 as captain and served in various military posts as cavalry officer. In 1922 he represented Chile at the Brazilian centennial. As major he took a minor part in the revolution of 1924, but assumed leadership in that of the following January. As a result of this revolution, he became minister of war and continued in that position after the return of  p482 Alessandri and in the government of Barros Borgoño and of Emiliano Figueroa. Under the latter he became minister of the interior and directed the policy of the administration without relinquishing his control of the army. When President Figueroa resigned, Ibáñez became vice president and as such in 1927 dictated measures for his own election as president. His administration was severely autocratic. He imprisoned or exiled many of his prominent opponents, after the fashion of dictatorships already established in Spain and Italy, but his acts were generally directed, as he himself claims, in the best interests of the under-privileged classes. While conditions continued prosperous, he was successful in maintaining order and in furthering the educational and material progress of the country. He curtailed the powers of congress, changed the municipal organizations, and repressed the activities of political factions. The depression of 1929 undermined his government and led to his overthrow and exile in 1931. His fall was due in part to his own unwillingness to shed blood in maintaining his authority. During his exile he lived the greater part of the time in Argentina, but in 1932 he made one abortive attempt to return and later was permitted to do so for a time. He was a fascist candidate for president in 1933 but was arrested and then threw his strength to Aguirre Cerda (q.v.). He compares his aim in government to that of Balmaceda and avers that like that executive he was a sacrifice to the resentment of the Chilean aristocracy. — FIII, 499‑512; EVI (App.), 142.

Miguel Iglesias (1822‑1901) pursued a law course and subsequently managed his family estates until 1861, when he was elected a member of the Peruvian congress. During the War of the Pacific he distinguished himself both in the field and in the ministry of war. He kept up resistance against Chilean army after the fall of Lima and was elected president in 1883. He ended the war and began the process of recovery, but in 1885 a revolt forced him to leave Peru and he continued to live in Spain until his death. — EXXVIII, 938.

José Miguel Infante (1778‑1844) was born in Santiago. At the University of San Felipe he studied law and received his degree in 1806. He was the first to recommend the convocation of a congress elected by popular vote. He presided over the new junta de gobierno called in 1813. In that year he was sent to replace General Pinto in Buenos Aires and, on his return to Chile in 1818, he was appointed minister of finance by O'Higgins. He joined the insurrection against his chief and after the latter's forced resignation was the most important member of the junta de gobierno. In 1823 General Freire called upon Infante to organize the senate which was created at that time. One of his measures was the abolition of slavery on July 24, 1823. He  p483 favored a federal republic patterned after the United States of North America (see p230). In 1831 he retired from public life. — EXXVIII, 1400; FIII, 527‑530. See also Domingo Santa María, Vida de Don José Miguel Infante (Santiago, 1902).

Antonio José de Irisarri (1786‑1868) was born in Guatemala and trained both in his native land and in Europe. As executor of his father's extensive business, he visited Mexico and Peru and in 1809 came to Chile, where he married and speedily became enmeshed in the revolutionary movement. In addition to his literary activity he held such posts as commander of the civil guard, supreme director of state, and minister of the interior and of foreign relations, and served on important missions to American and European countries. He founded newspapers in Santiago, Curaçao, London, and New York and wrote a definite account of the assassination of Sucre. At the time of his death he was minister of Guatemala and El Salvador in the United States. See Antonio Batres Jauregui, Irisarri (Guatemala, 1896); also Miguel Luis Amunátegui, Camilo Henríquez, Vol. I, chap. xii; Sotomayor Valdés, Historia de Chile, Vol. II, chap. xxvi; Anales de la Universidad de Chile, CXVII (Santiago, 1911), 129, et seq.

Ramón Angel Jara (1852‑1917) first studied for the law, then prepared himself for an ecclesiastical career. As a student, and after his ordination, he acquired a wide reputation throughout Chile and in neighboring countries as a notable orator before becoming bishop of Ancud in 1896. He became chaplain to President Balmaceda and associated his name with the founding of important charitable and educational institutions, including the Catholic University of Santiago. In 1910 he was transferred to the diocese of La Serena where he continued until his death. — FIII. 560.

Jorge Juan y Santacilla (1713‑1773) was a native of Alicante, Spain. After studying at Salamanca and taking part in extensive military campaigns against the Moors, he was sent to America in 1734, along with Antonio de Ulloa, and spent the next eleven years in the combined task of making astronomical observations, attempting to protect the west coast ports of South America against British expeditions (see p94), and noting infractions of the royal ordinances. The literary results of this voyage will be mentioned under Ulloa. On his return to Spain he spent the remainder of his life in scientific work and routine naval tasks, varied by a brief but successful diplomatic mission to Morocco. He was the author of numerous technical naval treatises. — EXXVIII, 3028.

Emilio Körner (1846‑1920) was born in Saxony, obtained his bachelor's degree in 1866, and in the same year took part in the campaign  p484 against Austria. In 1885 he was professor of tactics and military history in the School of Artillery and Engineers of Berlin with the rank of captain, when he came to Chile under contract as instructor in the Military School at Santiago. He founded the Academy of War for higher military courses, participated in the revolution of 1891, and continued in the military service as major general and later chief of staff, retiring in 1910. To his persistence was due the adoption in 1900 of a law for obligatory military service. He died in Germany, but his remains were brought to Santiago in 1924. — FIII, 602‑603.

Juan Ladrillero (ca. 1550) is identified by some writers with Juan Fernández Ladrillero, a native of Moguer in Huelva and a resident of Colima in New Spain. He espoused the royal cause against the rebellious Gonzalo Pizarro and came to Chile with Hurta de Mendoza, who sent him to explore the Strait of Magellan. He held an encomienda of Indians in the province of Viacha, Peru. His widow is represented as a resident of La Paz in 1582. There is scant mention of his fortunate achievement in contemporary chronicles, but the Spanish historian, Juan B. Muñoz, published the documents in question near the close of the eighteenth century. These reports were used by Miguel Luis Amunátegui in his Cuestión de limites entre Chile i la república arjentina (3 vols. Santiago, 1879‑80), I, 388‑456. — BII, 200, n. 8, 206, n. 13; M, p443.

Pedro Lagos Marchant (1832‑1884) was born in Chillán some three years before its destruction by an earthquake left his family homeless and destitute. His early education, therefore, was on a farm, supplemented by private instruction and by a course in the Military School. Because of absence from Santiago he escaped the uprising of his regiment in 1851 when Colonel Pedro Urriola lost his life (see p288). He supported the government during the disturbances that occurred under President Montt and in the following decade rendered a good account of himself in the wars with the Araucanians. Absent from the army for a time, he was recalled in 1875 and in the War of the Pacific gained reputation and promotion in the campaign of Tacna-Arica and before Lima. After the taking of this city, he was made brigadier and later military commander of Santiago. He died three years later in Concepción. — FIII, 620‑622.

Jean François Galaup de la Pérouse (1741‑1788?) was a French naval officer who won a brilliant record in the war ending in 1783. On August 1, 1785, he left Brest on his famous voyage, doubled Cape Horn without the loss of a man, and entered Concepción Bay on February 28, 1786. Although cordially received by the local authorities in accordance with royal orders from Spain, O'Higgins, who was then in  p485 charge of the intendencia, would not permit the French naturalists accompanying La Pérouse to visit a volcano in the interior. The expedition spent a month in the vicinity and its members recorded many interesting observations of contemporary life. The vessel of the expedition was wrecked in 1788, near the New Hebrides, with the loss of all on board. The reports and maps casually sent home beforehand were incorporated in four sumptuous volumes, issued at Paris in 1797. — BVII, 129‑132.

Juan Gregorio las Heras (1780‑1866) was born in Buenos Aires and served in the campaigns against the English before that city in 1806‑1807. He came to Chile in 1813 took part in the battle of El Membrillar (see p180). He joined San Martín in 1816, was present at Chacabuco, and from 1824 to 1826 occupied the posts of governor and captain-general at Buenos Aires. He then resigned and retired to Chile, where he continued to live until his death. — EXXXIX, 920. See also Pilling, The Emancipation of South America, pp102, et seq.

José Victorino Lastarria Santander (1817‑1888) was born at Rancagua, in a family of reduced fortune but already distinguished for its literary and commercial activities. Educated in the College of Mora (p250)º and the National Institute, and later under the tutelage of Bello, he received his degree as attorney at law in 1839 and early began to teach, preparing his own textbooks. He also wrote for the newspapers, especially for those opposed to the conservative government, for his temperament made him a fighter both in the forum and the press. His career in congress was long, active, and honorable, but he rarely filled ministerial posts or associated closely with contemporary executives. From the beginning he gained recognition as lawyer and jurisconsult. His Elementos de derecho público constitucional appeared in 1844, based in considerable measure on the Cours de droit naturel of Henri Ahrens (Brussels, 1837), and long served as a text for Chilean youth. This was followed by several constitutional and political studies, influenced by the positive philosophy of the time. For a brief period in 1863 he filled the post of minister to Peru, and in the following year the same post in Brazil. He was a member of literary and scientific societies in Chile and abroad. In addition to his numerous textbooks, his constitutional studies, and his journalistic ventures, Lastarria won a secure place as "master" in the academic world, as orator in parliament, as philosophical historian, as critic and littérateur, and as raconteur of Chilean folk tales. His Obras completas in thirteen volumes appeared under the editorship of Alejandro Fuenzalida Grandón, who also published in two volumes Lastarria i su tiempo. — FIII, 653‑655. For a brief critique of his life in mid-activity, see Justo y Domingo  p486 Arteaga Alemparte, Los constituyentes chilenos de 1870, pp26‑50. See also Joaquín Rodríguez Bravo, Don José Victorino Lastarria; and Coester, op. cit., p200.

General Francisco de la Lastra (1777‑1852) was a member of one of the most distinguished families of Chile. After studying in Spain and serving in the Spanish navy, in 1811, he embraced the cause of independence in Chile, where he organized the naval and military forces. In 1814 he was appointed supreme director of the state and took part in the Treaty of Lircay. After Rancagua he was imprisoned on the island of Juan Fernández. Returning after Chacabuco he was made colonel and given command of the forces of Valparaiso. He served in a number of important military and naval offices and was appointed minister of war and marine. After some years in retirement, he reëntered politics in 1839 and in 1841 was appointed minister of the cámara of appeals relating to military matters. — EXXIX, 954; BIX, 436, et seq.; FIII, 657‑660.

Juan José Latorre Benevente (1846‑1912), born in Santiago, was the son of the Bolivian minister to Chile. After preliminary studies in the private schools of Valparaiso, he entered the Naval School and in 1861 began his career in the navy. He participated in the war with Spain and carried on hydrographic work in the southern part of the country. In the War of the Pacific, after participating in preliminary engagements, he gave a significant demonstration of modern naval methods in the sea fight at Point Angamos (see p330). His bravery and skill in that encounter gained recognition abroad, particularly in France. He was in that country on a special mission when the Civil War of 1891 broke out. Because he remained faithful to the existing government, he tarried abroad for three years as an exile, after the fall of Balmaceda. On his return he served as senator, counselor of state, and cabinet officer. — FIII, 663‑666.

Lautaro (b. ca. 1535) was captured by Valdivia when fifteen years old. From his captors he learned much that enabled him to lead his people successfully, when he returned to them in 1553. Ercilla (see p84) devotes a number of cantos to him and his name later (see p207) became synonymous with Chilean independence. — BII, 101‑102; Rev. chil. de hist. y geog., LXXI (Jan.‑April, 1932), 70, 117.

Ventura Lavalle Gonzálezº was the son of a prominent officeholder in Buenos Aires and brother of the prominent Argentinian general, but was naturalized in Chile. In addition to the incident mentioned in the text, Lavalle, as minister to Peru in 1842, helped to make peace between that country and Bolivia after the battle of Ingavi. — FIII, 670. See also Sotomayor Valdés, Historia de Chile, II, 173.

 p487  Valentín Letelier Madariaga (1852‑1919) was born in Linares and educated in the liceo of Tacna and in the National Institute. He obtained his degree of advocate in 1875. While taking his law course, he conducted classes in history in private schools and published a monograph on O'Higgins. He began teaching in 1877 at Copiapó and along with his teaching published numerous articles on philosophical and pedagogical subjects. In 1878 he returned to Santiago in a subordinate judicial post and in the following year became deputy and later secretary of the Chilean legation in Berlin. While there he published Chile en 1883 which did much to attract emigration to his native land. After returning to Santiago in 1885, he compiled and edited Cuerpos legislativos desde 1811 hasta 1845, a work of twenty-five volumes containing the proceedings of congress for those years. He opposed Balmaceda and on the triumph of the revolutionists became professor of administrative law in the university and was also fiscal of the tribunal of accounts. He contributed sociological and philosophical articles to periodicals and later was elected rector of the university. He served as president of the Pan-American Scientific Congress in 1909. — FIV, 40.

Jacob l'Hermite (d. 1624) was a Dutch navigator who went to the Dutch East Indies in 1605 and prepared a memoir on the commerce of those regions, returning to Holland in 1623. In the following year he was placed in command of a large squadron which was ordered to attack the Spanish colonies in the Pacific but he died June 2, 1624, after an unsuccessful attack on Callao. An account of his voyages was published in Amsterdam in 1843. — EXXVII, 1213; BIV, 188. See also René Augustin Constantin de Renneville (ed.), Recueil de voyages qui ont servi ຠl'establissement de la compagnie des Indes orientales (5 vols. Amsterdam, 1702‑1706), Vol. V.

Eusebio Lillo Robles (1826‑1910) early abandoned his studies to take up a literary and revolutionary career. His first poetic work appeared in 1844 and his output of verse continued steadily throughout his life. He edited opposition journals during conservative control and took an active part in the outbreaks of the fifties — a part that forced him into exile for some years. He refused a chair in the University of Chile in 1870 but organized and directed for some years the Banco de Bolivia in La Paz. For a brief time in 1886 he was in the cabinet of Balmaceda, and after the latter's death acted as his literary executor. He is known as a poet of elegant and correct form. — EXXX, 731; FIV, 51‑54; Coester, op. cit., p210.

Pedro Lira Rencoret (1846‑1912), born in Santiago, early showed remarkable talent for painting. Nevertheless, in keeping with his father's wishes, he received a solid course at the National Institute and  p488 later at the university, where he obtained his law degree in 1869. Thereafter he devoted himself to his art. From 1872 to 1882 he resided in Paris, where he studied under Delaunay and Lepage. His own work shows the results of their training, results which he capitalized in annual exhibits at Paris and which won for him immediate recognition as artist and instructor when he returned to his native Chile. Here, in the course of three decades, he greatly increased the artistic output of the country, organized its productive groups, published a Diccionario artístico and gained recognition in neighboring countries. His work as a portrait painter was distinctly notable. — FIV, 75‑76.

Francisco López de Zúñiga (1599‑1656), of illustrious family, entered upon a military career at the age of seventeen, and became a captain after a campaign in Flanders. In 1635 he returned to Spain and was appointed governor of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Alto Peru; but, before he could reach his post he was followed the governorship of Chile and took over the office at Concepción on May 1, 1639. He sought in accordance with his instructions to introduce the alcabala into Chile; but, this innovation arousing much animosity, he shortly petitioned that the tax be abolished. Instead, it was considerably reduced. He advised a vigorous campaign against the Araucanians and took the field himself in January, 1640, with seventeen hundred men. Aided by the Jesuits, he began negotiations for a peace which resulted in the Pact of Quillín on January 9, 1641, by which the complete independence of the natives was recognized. It was not a real pacification and the governor was obliged to take the field once more in January, 1643, with all the troops he could raise, including some from Buenos Aires. He rescued a number of prisoners held by the Indians and took some captives and considerable booty. The Dutch under Brouwer (q.v.) invaded Chile in May, 1643, but after his death returned to Brazil. To prevent another invasion, the governor strengthened the fortifications at Valdivia. On May 8, 1646, he relinquished his post and after a favorable residencia lived for ten years in Peru. While returning to the Peninsula in 1656 he and his family perished during an attack on his vessel by the English. He left a good record as governor. From his father he inherited the title of Marqués de Baides. — M, pp477‑478; EXXXI, 161; BIV, 349‑408.

Vicente Fidel López (1815‑1903) was born in Buenos Aires. Fleeing from the tyranny of Rosas, he remained in Chile from 1847 to 1852, when he returned to his native country and in 1874 became rector of the national university. He was novelist and littérateur and his most important work is Historia de la república argentina, su orígen, su  p489 revolución y su desarrollo político. — EXXXI, 122; FIV, 112; and Coester, op. cit., pp121, 161.

Fernando de Luque (d. 1532) was of Andalusian birth. He came to Darien with Pedrarias in 1514 and later resided in Panama, where he was associated with Pizarro and Almagro as capitalist of the Peruvian triumvirate. He was to contribute or borrow the costs of the expedition, computed at 30,000 pesos, while the others achieved the conquest. Under a new agreement made in 1529, after Pizarro had gained his direct grant from the king, Luque was to be bishop of Túmbez and protector of the Indians of Peru, but he died before entering upon his charge. His death removed the peacemaker of the triumvirate and thus opened the way to the tragic quarrels that arose between the two survivors. — Mendiburu, op. cit., V, 100‑103.

Patricio Lynch Zaldívar (1826‑1886) was born in Santiago, educated in the Military School, and in 1838 entered the marines. After taking part in the war against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, he entered the British service and participated in Chinese campaigns. In 1847 he returned to Chile and performed routine duties in the army and the marine. In the war against Peru and Bolivia he conducted a memorable naval expedition along the northern coast of Peru, for which he was severely censured by neutral nations; and later he served brilliantly in the battles before Lima and acted as military governor of Lima until 1884. In that same year he was appointed minister to Spain and died at Tenerife on his return homeward. — FIV, 130‑132. EXXXI, 952, gives slightly different data. See also Hancock's History of Chile, p305.

Thayer's Note:

a The year of his death is filled in here from the photoillustrated biographical sketch in Icarito, the Chilean school encyclopedia.

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