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María Isabel Riquelme de la Barrera Meza

Other names/titles:
Gender: F
Ethnic origin: White

Biographical details

The mother of Bernardo O'Higgins, Rosa Rodríguez Riquelme, and Nieves Puga y Riquelme, she was born in Chile in 1759. She died in Lima in 1839, where she was in exile with her son. (Knaster, 15,16)

She was a member of a leading Creole family who traced their lineage to the conquistadores. Ambrosio O'Higgins, 40 years older than her, was the father of her first child, Bernardo. Shortly after his birth in Chillán on 20 August 1778, she married and had a daughter, Rosa, before being widowed in 1782. (Clissold, 33)

She and her daughter Rosita were sent to Chillán as hostages in October 1813. (Clissold, 108)

She and her daughter Rosa accompanied O'Higgins to Buenos Aires, around 1814 as they feared he would take revenge on the Carreras for Mackenna's death. They made a living by sewing, making cigarettes, and selling food. In 1815 they all moved to Mendoza. (Clissold, 137, 139)

Life Events

Born 1759
Other 1813She was kept as a hostage in Chillán in November 1813.
Other 1814She went into exile in Buenos Aires around this time.
Other 1815She moved to Mendoza.
Died 1839She died in exile in Lima.


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

Clissold, Stephen, (1968), Bernardo O'Higgins and the Independence of Chile


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