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María del Rosario Carmen de las Mercedes Fuentecilla de Carrera

Other names/titles: Fontecilla de Benavente
Gender: F
Ethnic origin: White

Biographical details

The sister in law of Javiera Carrera, born in 1799, she married José Miguel Carrera.

She organised tertulias to promote national sovereignty. (Arambel Guiñazú, 37)

The wife of José Miguel Carrera, she endured hardships in the struggle for independence. (Knaster, 503) Almost immediately after her marriage she went into exile. She lost her fortune, family and social position. She gave birth to her son in the Argentine desert, and raised two children in exile. She was haunted by the assassinations of her brothers-in-law Juan José and Luis. José Miguel went into hiding and they wrote over 200 letters to each other during this separation. Grez describes these letters as reflecting the passion and vehemence that befell one of the illustrious and most unfortunate of Chilenos. José Miguel was captured by the Argentine army during one of the rare visits that Mercedes made to him. (Grez, 75-78.)

She is listed among the exiles in Cuyo. (Guerrero Lira, 297-299)

Her descendents changed their name to Fontecilla. (Grez, 77) Her tomb is inside la Iglesia de Merced, Santiago de Chile.

In 1837 Bernardo O'Higgins wrote to San Martín stating that she had married Diego Benavente. (San Martín, 10, 63)

Sergio Vergara Quiroz reproduces two of her letters to Javiera Carrera. (Vergara Quiroz, 106-110)

Life Events

Born 1799She was born on 18 June 1799.
Other 1821Her husband was executed on 4 September 1821.
Married 1837She married Diego Benavente.


Knaster, Meri, (1977), Women in Spanish America: An Annotated Bibliography from Pre-Conquest to Contemporary Times

Grez, Vicente, (1966), Las mujeres de la independencia

Guerrero Lira, Cristian, (2002), La contrarevolución de la independencia en Chile

Arambel Guinazu, Maria Cristina , Martin, Claire Emilie, (2001), Las mujeres toman la palabra: Escritura feminina del siglo XIX. Volume: 1

Grez, Vicente, (1966), Las mujeres de la independencia

San Martín, Jose de, (1910), Documentos de San Martín

Vergara Quiroz, Sergio, (1987), Cartas de mujeres en Chile, 1630-1885

Davies, Catherine, Brewster, Claire and Owen, Hilary, (2006), South American Independence. Gender, Politics, Text


Letter: Carta

Letter: Carta


Resource id #39 (15)

Resource id #43 (1)

Resource id #47 (186)

Resource id #51 (13)

Resource id #55 (29)

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