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Biographies: C‑E

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: I‑L

 p471  Biographical Notes
(continued: F‑H)

Elías Fernández Albano (1845‑1910), after studying in the National Institute and the University of Chile, entered upon the practice of law in 1869 and became deputy in 1884. As a politician he was  p472 popular with all factions, was frequently summoned to assist the administration, especially during the frequent cabinet changes of the nineties, and often held important cabinet posts. For some ten years he directed the Caja hipotecaria (Mortgage Bank) and was general adviser of all political factions. His position at the head of the cabinet in 1910 made him the acting president for a few weeks. — FIII, 134.

Rafael Fernández Concha (1832‑1912) received his title as advocate in 1855 and in the following year became professor of canon law. In 1857 he joined the faculty of law and political science and in 1860 was ordained as a priest. He occupied important posts in the archbishop's establishment and gained recognition as an orator and as a writer, especially on ecclesiastical law. He became titular bishop in 1901 and served modestly and simply in many public stations, including that of counselor of state. — FIII, 153, 154.

Ricardo Fernández Montalva (1866‑1899) completed the first years of the law course, but thereafter devoted himself to literature, especially poetry, and to bohemian life. He has been called the Musset of Chile. His first novel appeared in 1895, his first drama in 1888, and a volume of poems in 1897. He contributed to various periodicals but not for money. In 1891 he was named secretary of the Chilean legation in Paris, but lost this place with the fall of Balmaceda and returned to find his ancestral home destroyed and his course of life broken. — FIII, 143.

Tomás de Figueroa Caravaca (1746‑1811) was born in the province of Granada. Obtaining member­ship in the Royal Guard in 1765 before he was twenty and contracting a fortunate marriage, he faced a brilliant military career, but a love intrigue and the consequent duel, in which he killed his opponent, led to his condemnation for murder — a sentence that was commuted to imprisonment in Valdivia. Escaping to Spain from that prison, he secured a pardon in 1773 on condition that he serve in Valdivia in some military capacity. In the Indian wars of that jurisdiction he showed himself a capable but cruel officer, but for more than twenty years he obtained no substantial promotion. He was located at Concepción when the supreme junta was installed in Santiago and immediately swore fidelity to that body. Martínez de Rozas brought him to Santiago and secured for him a commission as colonel. He seemed sincere in his support of the new government but was led to ally himself with the Spanish malcontents who plotted to overthrow it, and thus became the first conspicuous victim of the revolution in Chile. — BVIII, 304‑332; FIII, 172‑174.

Emiliano Figueroa Larraín (1866‑1931) was a descendant of Tomás Figueroa (see p161). Educated in the Colegio of San Ignacio and the National University, he entered upon the profession of law in  p473 1890 and at the same time held a minor office in the intendencia of Santiago. He supported the party that continued Balmaceda's policy, became deputy in 1900, and president of the chamber of deputies five years later. He became minister of justice and public instruction in 1907, returned to the same post in 1909, and in 1910, by virtue of being the minister of the cabinet longest in public service, became acting president during the centennial celebrations. Afterward, as minister to Spain and to Argentina, his courtesy, common sense, and industry made him decidedly popular, and in the latter country he was instrumental in bringing about that understanding between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile known as the "A B C Pact." On a second mission to Argentina in 1924 he secured recognition of the temporary government that succeeded President Alessandri. In 1925, as sole candidate of the leading parties, he was elected president of Chile under the new constitution. Unable to meet the problems of a new era and drawn into a conflict between the executive and supreme court, over which his brother presided, Don Emiliano first sought a leave of absence and then resigned the presidency. In 1928, upon renewal of diplomatic relations with Peru, he served acceptably as ambassador to that country. He died as the result of an automobile accident. — FIII, 175‑178.

Ramón Freire Serrano (1787‑1851) was born in Santiago and entered the Chilean army in 1811. He became captain of dragoons in 1814. After the battle of Rancagua he went to Argentina where he enlisted under the famous corsair Brown who operated in the Pacific. Returning to Argentina in 1816, he joined San Martín on his expedition to Chile and with one hundred men captured Talca. After Chacabuco and Maipú he was appointed intendant of Concepción and military chief of that province. In 1820 he defeated Benavides and his army of two thousand men. In 1823 he declared against O'Higgins and after the latter's loss of power was made supreme director. His career as chief executive is treated in the present text. After the defeat at Lircay he suffered a second exile, broken by one unsuccessful attempt to regain power (see p265). In 1842 he was permitted to return to Chile where he passed the rest of his life in quiet, quite divorced from politics. Superb as a soldier, he was vacillating in political affairs. — EXXIV, 1189; FIII, 205‑212.

Amadeo Francisco Frézier (1682‑1773), a member of a family of English origin, was born at Chambéry, France. After pursuing studies in language, literature, theology, and mathematics, he served five years in the army and later carried on engineering work at St. Malo. His visit to Chile and Peru (1712‑1714) was to engage in general study and to suggest measures for the military defense of these colonies. His Relation  p474 du voyage de la mer du sud (Paris, 1716) contains much industrial and commercial data concerning Chile and affords a suggestive contemporary interpretation of existing conditions. — BV, 525‑528.

Alejandro Fuenzalida Grandón (1865‑ ) was born in Copiapó, studied in the local liceo and the state university, and received his title as advocate in 1889. He began his teaching career as inspector in the National Institute in 1885 and also contributed to the press. In 1894 he became professor of history and geography in the National Institute and in 1900 added to his schedule a course in administrative law at the university. In 1911 he was commissioned to study the system of public instruction in Prussia and to visit various European museums. In 1918 he retired from active teaching. The books mentioned in the text were published between 1899 and 1911. In 1919 he published a historical monograph, El mineral del teniente. — FIII, 234.

Gavino Gaínza (1760?‑1822?) began his military career at the age of fourteen. After service at Oran and before Gibraltar, he came to Havana in 1750 and saw service in Louisiana and before Pensacola. Later, in 1783, he was transferred to Lima where he served with a brief intermission at Guayaquil, until given command of the royalist forces in Chile. During this time he married a sister of Rocafuerte. Here his conduct of operations brought him before a military court, which reproved but freed him. His next important service was in Central America where he figured in the events of 1821‑1822, which brought about independence there. He died in obscurity in Mexico. — EXXV, 403; FIII, 239.

Pedro León Gallo Goyenechea (1830‑1877), native of Copiapó, was educated at the National Institute and entered the national guard at the age of eighteen. His first political articles displayed his versatility and the high quality of his genius. He fought against the insurgents of Santiago in the uprising of April 20, 1851 (see p288)º and upon returning to Copiapó engaged with his brothers in developing the nitrate industry of the north, but without losing his devotion to literature. As regidor of his native city he agitated for a popular assembly to revise the national constitution and ultimately became chief of the revolutionary movement of 1859. His defeat meant a few years of exile in the United States and Europe where his poetry attracted favorable notice. He was enthusiastically received on his return to Chile in 1863 and later elected to congress where his literary skill, both in verse and prose, his eloquence, his consistent liberalism, his marked sympathy, combined with his wealth, gave him a commanding position. His untimely death called forth universal expressions of grief. — EXXV, 616; FIII, 255‑257; Justo and Domingo Arteaga Alemparte, op. cit.,  p475 pp189‑193; Blanco Cuartín, Artículos escogidos, pp611‑617.

Agustín Gamarra (1785‑1840) was born in Cuzco and early entered upon a military career, but left the Spanish army for that of Peru in 1821. He distinguished himself in his early campaigns against Bolivia in 1826, but was later defeated in the war between Peru and Colombia. He contended with Lamar and Obregoso for supremacy in Peru and with the Bolivian, Santa Cruz. After the defeat of the latter, Gamarra became temporary president of Peru, but was killed in the battle of Ingavi in 1840, which determined the final separation of Bolivia from Peru. — EXXV, 627.

Manuel José Gandarillas Guzmán (1790‑1842) was born in Santiago. He studied law, joined the revolutionists, and associated with Camilo Henríquez. He was with the Carreras and, like many of his fellows, spent several years in exile in Argentina. Returning to Chile after the fall of O'Higgins, he served as finance minister and as minister of the interior under Freire, making a good record in each office. He also collaborated in editorial work on El hambriento (see p237), El araucano, and other ephemeral publications of the period, including El philopolita (see p261). His Polémicas políticas gave him considerable fame. He served several terms in congress and for a time was a member of the supreme court, and for five years auditor de guerra. — EXXV, 677; FIII, 270‑271. See also Sotomayor Valdés, Historia de Chile durante los cuarenta años, I, 322, 444.

Francisco García Calderón (1834‑1905) was born at Arequipa. He entered the Peruvian congress for the first time in 1867 and in the following year became minister of the treasury. Assuming the provisional presidency of Peru after the flight of Piérola, in 1881, he tried to secure the aid of the United States against the invaders but was himself arrested by the Chileans and taken to Valparaiso. On his return to Peru he was president of the senate and through his influence secured the passage of many important acts. He is also known as a writer on law subjects. — EX, 652. See also Dennis, Documentary History, pp169, 173, 178, 183, 191, 197; Evans, Diplomatic Relations, pp105‑109.

Francisco Antonio García Carrasco (1743‑1811) was born at Ceuta and entered the army at the age of sixteen. After 1785 he continued his military duties in Buenos Aires and in Montevideo. Coming to Chile in 1796, he gained royal approval and a brigadier's commission through the capture of a North American vessel engaged in contraband trade. While inspecting forts on the frontier, he was summoned to the governor­ship of Chile. Vain and with little education, although represented as a man of agreeable manners; indecisive, while prompt to punish disobedience of royal orders, he hastened the revolution through  p476 his muddling. However, he was by no means so monstrous as often represented. In some respects he resembled the governor of Barrataria as portrayed by Cervantes. — BVIII, 19; FIII, 285‑286.

Juan García del Río (1794‑1856) was born in Cartagena, Colombia. Because of his interest in public law, he early began a political career, during which he was often called upon to assist Bolívar and his associates in the founding of great Colombia. He opposed, but without success, the separation of Venezuela from the republic, but acquiesced in the inevitable step. He collaborated with Bello in the publishing of Repertorio americano. His death occurred in the city of Mexico. — EXXV, 789; Coester, op. cit., p74.

Antonio García Reyes (1817‑1855) was born in Santiago. Because of his brilliant contributions to El araucano, he was given employment in the ministry of the interior. In 1849 he was minister of the treasury for a year. In addition to his legal practice and literary work, he was a member of the faculty and council of the University of Chile, wrote a memoir upon the First National Squadron in 1846, helped edit the code of military law in 1843 and the penal code in 1852, and served as fiscal of the supreme court of justice. He died at Lima while on his way to the United States to assume the post of minister of Chile to that republic. — EXXV, 821; FIII, 290.

Victorino Garrido (d. 1838), a native of Old Castile, came to Chile in 1818 as commissary of the last Spanish reinforcements sent to that country. After being disembarked at Talcahuano, he and numerous other officers, cut off by the capture of the frigate María Isabel (see p210), embraced the cause of the revolution and were given employment by O'Higgins. Garrido steadily advanced in public service and by his intrigues contributed to the success of the conservatives at Lircay. He was an important adviser in public affairs up to his death. — FIII, 310‑311; Sotomayor Valdés, Historia de Chile, II, 170, et seq.

Pedro de la Gasca (1485‑1567) was born in Barco de Avila. After filling important offices in Spain, Charles the Fifth named him president of the audiencia of Lima for the purpose of restoring order in the troubled conquest. La Gasca succeeded in enticing from the rebellious Gonzalo Pizarro most of the latter's troops and then easily subdued and executed the rebel himself. He then reëstablished the audiencia at Lima, reorganized civil administration, and adopted measures to increase the mineral wealth of Peru. After returning to Spain he served as bishop of Sigüenza and of Palencia and died at Valladolid. — EXXV, 976.

Claudio Gay (1800‑1872) was born at Draguignan, France. From  p477 1828 to 1842 he explored a large part of Chile under the commission mentioned in the text. Later in life he performed similar tasks in northern Africa, Asia Minor, and surrounding regions. In 1856 he became a member of the Paris Academy of Sciences. His Historia física y política de Chile (Paris, 1844‑1854) consists of six volumes of history proper, supplemented by two volumes of documents, together with eight volumes devoted to the zoology of the country and eight volumes devoted to its botany, and an atlas. — FIII, 312‑313.

Alonso de Góngora Marmolejo (1524‑1576) was born in Carmona, Spain. For some forty years he shared in the gains and losses of the Araucanian wars, occasionally filling some minor civil office and subject to minor lawsuits, without much personal profit. His chronicle, Historia de Chile desde su descubrimiento hasta el año del 1575 compuesta por el Capitán Alonso de Góngora Marmolejo y seguida de varios documentos, is published in the second volume of "Colección de historiadores de Chile," p. xiii. — BII, 436, n. 47; M, p368.

Gil González de Ávila (15 ?‑ ) was one of the two Dominicans who in 1557 accompanied García Hurtado de Mendoza to Chile and began the foundation of a convent in Santiago. These Dominicans were under the influence of Friar Tomás de San Martín, bishop of Charcas, who evolved the theory that those who received encomiendas because of their services in suppressing the rebellion of Gonzalo Pizarro and who observed the royal regulations respecting the treatment of Indians could conscientiously hold Indians in servitude while the first conquerors could not. The latter, in achieving their conquest, supposedly did not observe any law, "natural, divine, human, canon,º or civil." Barros Arana characterizes this simply as putting theology and the confessional at the service of the king and of the new encomenderos. — BII, 305‑310. The quotation from this paragraph occurs in BII, 307, and is from Góngora Marmolejo, op. cit., p95.

Juan Ignacio González Eyzaguirre (1844‑1918), the fourth archbishop of Santiago, was born in that city and ordained as presbyter in 1867. He served as vice-rector in the seminary of Santiago, rector of the seminary of Valparaiso, and vicar-general of the archbishop of Santiago before he was invested with the last-named office. As a counselor of state and contributor to the secular and religious press, he made a reputation for himself which he greatly increased during his term as archbishop, because of his charitable work and his patronage of religious education. — FIII, 348.

Rodrigo González Marmolejo (1487‑1564) was a native of Constantina, near Seville. After participating in a disastrous campaign against the Indians of Upper Peru, he accompanied Valdivia to Chile,  p478 where he combined the breeding of horses and other practical tasks with his duties as parish priest. Notwithstanding his advanced years, he journeyed to Concepción after it was founded, to inspire the troops there with his own zeal for the conquest. Valdivia, who greatly praised his services, early urged the appointment of his associate as the first bishop of Santiago. When the bishopric of Charcas was created in 1551, Santiago was part of that diocese, and González Marmolejo, who had looked after the property interests of the Church in Chile, was in 1555 made its vicar-general. Two years later, in response to repeated petitions from Valdivia and the local cabildo, he was named suffragan bishop of Santiago, under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Lima, but hostilities between the king and the pope prevented official action until 1563, when the creation of the diocese was duly solemnized. The aged and infirm appointee was unable to participate in the formal installation and died the following year. — BII, 353‑355; M, pp372‑374. See also Errázuriz, Los oríjenes de la iglesia chilena, chaps. x, xiv.

Pedro Antonio González Valenzuela (1863‑1903) was born in the province of Talca. Early an orphan, he was brought up by a clerical uncle. He pursued desultory courses in the liceo of Valparaiso and elsewhere, supporting himself by teaching literature and history in private institutions, and casually attended some law courses in the university. His first verse, presented in the Radical Club, was received with enthusiasm. He fell into an unfortunate love affair which drove him still more rapidly along his Bohemian course. While recognized for his poetic ability during his lifetime, he achieved his greatest fame after death. — FIII, 357.

Andrés Antonio Gorbea (1792‑1852) was a native of Viscaya and noted for the application of mathematics to engineering. He came to Chile in 1826 and taught in the Liceo de Mora, the National Institute, and the Military Academy. He trained a full generation of Chilean mathematical engineers. — EXXVI, 695; FIII, 363.

Manuel Julián Grajales (d. 1855) was still a medical student when, in 1803, he was attached to the commission sent to America to combat smallpox. He came to Chile in 1807 after vaccine had already been introduced into the country. He immediately organized local juntas to assist him in extending the use of it. In each of the cities of Valparaiso and Santiago he personally vaccinated more than eight thousand persons. He returned to Peru in 1808, but in 1813 he was appointed by Viceroy Abascal surgeon of the royalist forces serving in Chile. Captured by the patriots, he was well treated by them because of his former services and his charitable, friendly disposition. He settled in Chile and continued to practice there until 1826, when he returned to  p479 Spain, but the people of Chile never forgot his services. — BVIII, 270‑277.

Antonio Gramusset (1740‑1785) was born in Premelieu, France,​a and arrived in Chile in 1764. Lively and mercurial in temperament, he saw service in the militia and attempted to enter the priesthood before he failed in agriculture. He was experimenting on a hydraulic machine for pumping water from mines when he was arrested in January, 1781, along with Berney (or Vergne) for conspiring against the government. — M, pp379‑380; BVI, 404.

Miguel Grau (1834‑1879) was the son of a Colombian officer who was residing in Piura at the time of Grau's birth. From the age of ten Grau followed the sea and at the age of eighteen he obtained an appointment as midshipman in the Peruvian navy. After taking part in subduing a rebellion in 1858, Grau was in the merchant service for two years. In this practical school he acquired a reputation for ability, resourcefulness, and courage, and, what was more unusual, for his kind disposition. He rejoined the navy in 1860, became captain in 1868, and in 1875, as a deputy in congress, supported the government of Manuel Pardo. He was given command of the Huáscar at the outbreak of the war with Chile and was blown to pieces by a shell from the Cochrane in the battle described in the text. See Markham, History of Peru, pp387‑392.

Marmaduke Grove Vallejo (1878‑1954)​b was born in Copiapó. He began an active life of varied adventure in 1898 as second lieutenant of artillery. From the beginning he was distinguished for his energetic and resolute character. As early as 1910 he began to contribute articles to the press. In 1920 he became subdirector of the Military School where he distinguished himself as a teacher. He defended the revolution of 1924 in the press, although not taking an active part in it, but was associated with Ibáñez in the overturn of 1925. He was then put in charge of aviation and in 1926 was sent to Europe for further study. While in two years later, he was expelled from the service, but was later permitted to return to Chile, only to be banished in 1931 to the island of Pascua,​c because of an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government of Ibáñez, who, in turn, was forced to feel from Chile. Grove, who meanwhile had escaped to France, was permitted to return and once more placed in command of the air forces. This position enabled him to assist in the overthrow of Montero — an event that preceded by only a few weeks his second banishment to Pascua, but he speedily returned to his native land to contest the presidency, in October, 1932, with Alessandri. His activity as prospective candidate of the Workers' party in 1933 led to further ostracism, but on his election as senator from Santiago in 1935, while still absent, he was allowed to take his  p480 seat and to continue his revolutionary activity. Disturbances in 1936 led his enemies to propose another exile for the inquiet but popular revolutionist. He was proposed as the presidential candidate of the extreme left in 1938, but withdrew in favor of Aguirre Cerda (see p399). — FIII, 380; Hoy, November 5, 1936, p21; ibid., November 26, 1936, pp16‑22.

Tomás Guevara Silva (1865‑1935)​d was born in Curicó and educated in the local liceo and in the National Institute. He fought against Peru and on his return began, but did not complete, the study of law. In 1894 he was appointed professor in the liceo of Curicó, at the same time filling the post of alcalde and other local municipal offices. He performed similar services in various centers of southern Chile and in 1913 founded and became rector of the liceo in Santiago which bears Lastarria's name. He has represented Chile abroad in various historical and educational missions. His most important writings are those relating to the Araucanian Indians. In 1927 he retired from active educational work. — FIII, 394.

Camilo Henríquez González (1769‑1825) assumed the pen name Quirino Lemáchez late in life, but within a few years he had become editor in turn of ten different newspapers in Santiago, as well as in Buenos Aires, where he took refuge after the defeat of Rancagua. While in exile, he devoted himself to the study of mathematics and the study and practice of medicine. In 1822 he was recalled to Santiago by O'Higgins, where he devoted himself to newspaper work. He became a member of congress in 1824 but died in the following year. Among his writings are numerous patriotic hymns and two essays — one of the latter in favor of independence in America, and the other in favor of liberty of thought. — FIII, 439‑440. See also Amunátegui Solar, Bosquejo histórico, pp7‑8.

Juan Henríquez (b. 1630) was a native of Lima but was taken as a child to Spain. He studied at Salamanca and at the age of nineteen entered upon a meritorious military career which included campaigns before Bordeaux and Milan and on the Portuguese border. For four years he was a military prisoner — an experience which afforded him time for further scholar­ly reading. Invested in the same year with the Order of the Knights of Santiago and the governor­ship of Chile, his previous career gave promise of an honorable administration. — BV, 122, et seq.; M, pp396‑403.

Sir James Hillyar (1769‑1849) entered the British navy early enough to take part in the American Revolution. During the French wars, he saw fighting with the Channel fleet and in the Mediterranean and in 1810‑1811 helped reduce the Dutch possessions in the East  p481 Indies. He was on his way to destroy the American fur establishments in the north Pacific when he blockaded and finally captured the American frigate Essex, under Commodore David Porter, in the harbor of Valparaiso.​eDict. Nat. Biog., XXVI, 432.

Mateo Arnaldo Hoevel (b. 1773), born in Gothenburg, Sweden, went to the United States at the age of twenty and engaged in trade. He was serving as supercargo of the frigate Grampus when on November 11, 1803, the vessel was seized in Talcahuano and its cargo confiscated. Upon his protest he received an indemnity of some forty-two thousand dollars. In 1811 he became naturalized in Chile, married into a prominent family, and immediately became influential among the revolutionists. The press, together with three printers, was introduced into Chile in November, 1811, along with merchandise consigned to Hoevel. Although designated by Poinsett as vice-consul of the United States, Hoevel suffered exile to Juan Fernández during the Spanish reconquest, along with other Chilean patriots. Shortly after his return, he retired permanently to private life. — FIII, 467.

García Hurtado de Mendoza (1535‑1609), second son of the Marqués de Cañete, was born in Cuenca, Spain. Appointed governor of Chile after the death of Valdivia, he took possession of his post at Coquimbo on April 15, 1557. Of active mind and body, he fought against the Indians with marked success, carried on explorations and founded new settlements. Although condemned to certain penalties in his residencia in 1562, he was pardoned by Philip II. In 1588 he was appointed viceroy of Peru, whence he returned to Spain in 1596. He died in almost complete oblivion. Under his auspices the Jesuit, Bartolomé de Escobar, wrote his Crónica del reino de Chile, and Pedro de Oña wrote his epic poem, El Arauco domado. He is also mentioned in the pages of Ercilla and in the Historia de Chile by Góngora Marmolejo (see p87, n. 1). Other literary productions contain material relating to him, among them a play by Lope de Vega, entitled Arauco domado. — EXXVIII, 756. See also Medina, Historia de la literatura colonial de Chile, II, 199‑215.

Thayer's Notes:

a "Premelieu" is the reading in the text, but that spelling of the name is found online as a placename only in Chilean sources in reference to Gramusset, and it is unknown to any French topographical source available to me, including a complete Répertoire des communes. I very strongly suspect that the place meant is Prémillieu (Ain département); whose mayor in 2008, as it turns out, according to an official French government website that has now curiously disappeared, was a Mr. Daniel Gramusset: presumably a relative.

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b The year of his death is filled in here, and the spelling of his name corrected (our text has "Vallejos"), from the biographical sketch (with photo and bibliography) on the website of the Chilean National Congressional Library.

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c Easter Island.

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d The year of his death is filled in here from a bibliography once provided at Memoria Chilena, which is no longer online.

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e The cruise of the Essex and its final capture in Valparaiso harbor are the subject of Chapter XI of Clark's A Short History of the United States Navy.

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Page updated: 1 Feb 18