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Francisca Javiera Eudoxia Carrera Verdugo de Díaz Valdés

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

Biographical details

She was born in 1781, into a rich, white Chilean family. She married Manuel de la Lastra in 1796. They had two children. He died in 1800. She then married Perdo Díaz de Valdés, a "caballero español, asesor letrado y Oidor honorario". They had five children. She was an active participant in her brother José Miguel's government. In 1812, she proposed education for women. (Vergara Quiroz, xxv, xxx)

She and her sister-in-law, Ana Cotapos dominated the women's tertulias. When aged 25, Carrera was one of the consejos and one of the arms of the freedom conspiracy. Grez explains, "su salón fue el verdadero hogar de la revolución". The people with ideas met there. These tertulias were part club and part asamblea. A Chilean flag, a symbol of the republic, was designed: "Fue confeccionada por manos femeninas y según todas probabiliades la idea fue exclusiva de doña Javiera Carrera." The flag design was "tres listas, azul, blanca y amarilla". This flag appeared on several public buildings the following day. Grez claims that she twice married men who were her inferiors both in talent and character. (Grez, 55-56; Weeks, 177-178.)

Grez quotes a description of her: "Parecía una reina destronada." He quotes a letter written by her to José Miguel, written in September 1817: "Si hubiera sido un poquito egoísta no estuviera envuelta en ruinas que nadie puede liberarme." (Grez, 55-56; Weeks, 177-178)

She rode beside her brothers José Miguel, Juan José and Luis Carrera into battle for independence. José Miguel was made Supreme Chilean commander in 1811. On 16 July 1817, the republican flag was declared the symbol of a secular state. The army was dispersed and a new nationality was declared. The Carreras became governors and aimed to rejuvenate the old colonial society, giving life to the salons. They organised a dance that took place on 18 September 1811 to celebrate the first anniversary of the first National Junta. It took place in the Palacio de la Moneda and was led by Javiera Carrera. She wore on her head "una guirnalda de perlas y diamantes, de la cual perdía una corona trastornada". Josefa Aldunate was dressed as "Libertad" and Mercedes Fuentecilla as Aurora ("La aurora de la nueva patria"). Luis and José Miguel Carrera "llevaban una corona de oro bordada en sus sombreros, sobre lo cual caía con violencia una espalda que debía partirla". Royalists began to murmur that the Carreras were giving themselves royal airs. A banner proclaimed: "1810 - Ultimo año del despotismo" to which was added "Y el principio de lo mismo." (Grez, 60-62.)

She was separated from José Miguel in 1813, Javiera left her husband and children in Santiago and in October 1814, after the defeat at Rancagua, went into exile in Mendoza and Buenos Aires. From there she, along with other exiles, wrote letters giving testimony to her patriotism and personal suffering. Her letters show the great risks confronting women who took an active role in the violent political lives of their nations. (Guiñazú, 37-38, Vergara Quiroz, xxv) She is listed among the exiles in Cuyo. (Guerrero Lira, 297-299)

She returned from exile in 1824. (Knaster, 502.) She returned in 1823 during Ramon Freire's government. (Vergara Quiroz, xxv.)

Thomas Sutcliffe met her around 1832 and described her as follows: "I also visited Doña Zabiera Carrera, at San Miguel; she was accompanied by her daughter, Doña Domitilla, and sons, Don Santos and Don Pedro Valdes; the latter is a lieutenant in the U.S. navy, on furlough. This lady may be classed amongst the heroines of South America; having played a conspicuous part; she has consequently suffered much from the persecutions of her enemies, and the untimely end of her unfortunate brothers, Don Jose Miguel, Don Juan Jose, and Don Luis Carrera. Her faithful friend El Doctor Tollo resided with her; and as he condoled with her in her troubles, and accompanied her on her emigrations, he may some day publish her history." (Sutcliffe, 317)

Back in Chile, she settled on the hacienda San Miguel where she cultivated the friendships of Andres Bello, José Joaquín de Mora, and Manuel José Gandarillas. (Vergara Quiroz, 230.) She lived to the age of 80. She decreed that her remains lie in the Convent of San Francisco. (Archivo Nacional de Chile, Fondo Varios, Vol. 237, pieza 4524, 21 de agosto de 1862.) Today they are in the Cathedral.

Vergara Quiroz describes her as an impulsive, proud woman and her husband, Díaz de Valdés as "paciente". (Vergara Quiroz, xxv.)

Virginia García Lyon wrote the story of Carrera, Cotapos and Fontecilla, in "Tres mujeres en la historia de Chile", Boletín de la Academia Chilena de la Historia, Santiago, 15:39:49-68. (Knaster, 502)

She was christened Francisca Javiera, Eudoxia Rudecinda Carmen de los Dolores.

One of the places she lived in exile was Villa de Luján.

In his biography of José Miguel Carrera, Iriarte blames Javiera Carrera for his downfall. Iriarte describes her as a "mujer fuerte y varonil y de un alma templada á un grado tal vez demasiado alta para su sexo, bien que una dama cumplidad y de un corazon noble y generoso, fueron duda las causas eficientes de los desaciertos y estravios de Carrera y sus hermanos". (Iriarte, 13)

Weeks describes her as "possessing a queenly beauty to which the most indomitable captains of the revolution succumbed, she had an exalted spirit which all the tremendous sufferings through which she was destined to endure could never quench. She possessed talent and education that were exceptional in a woman of her time bravery, and a spirit of sacrifice and perseverence worthy of a conqueror." She claims that her brothers, although brave, were romantic and gentle characters who were often pushed into action by Javiera. (Weeks, 177)

According to Moreno Martín, she married Manuel José de la Lastra y Sota (b.7 Aug 1771, d.12 Sept 1803) on 2 May 1796 in Santiago Cathedral. Their son, Manuel Joaquín de la Lastra Carrera was baptised on 16 June 1797. His padrinos were Juan Manuel Cruz, a nombre en virtud de poder del señor Don Demetrio O'Higgins y Doña María Candelaria de la Sota. Their daughter María de los Dolores de la Lastra was baptised on 14 September 1798.

On 25 December 1800, Pedro Díaz de Valdés's uncle, the Archbishop of Barcelona, wrote to Díaz de Valdes congratulating him on his "enlace" with Javiera Carrera. (Pedro Díaz de Valdes had written to his uncle on 17 July 1799 telling him this news.) He advised Pedro Díaz to look after Javiera Carrera's children as if they were his own. At 4 p.m. on 11 July 1801, Pío Díaz de Valdés, son of Javiera Carrera and Pedro Díaz was baptised in Santiago Cathedral. He is described as the legitimate son of Pedro Díaz and Javiera Carrera. Pedro María de los Dolores was baptised on 26 September 1810. He is described as the legitimate son "y de legitímo matrimonio" of Pedro Díaz, Teniente Asesor letrado de la Gobernación del Reino de Chile, y Auditor de Guerra, and of Javiera Carrera. (Moreno Martín, 29, 34, 41, 44, 236.)

She was confined to la Guardia de Luján to curb her political activities, and then in 1819 to San José de Flores, and into a Buenos Aires convent. She fled to Montevideo in 1820 where she heard of José Miguel Carrera's execution (1821). The news made her seriously ill. She returned to Chile in 1824 after her brothers were vindicated. She returned to her childhood home, the hacienda San Miguel in San Francisco del Monte, where she died on 20 August 1862. (Sosa de Newton, 131)

On 21 May 1819, when confined in the Guardia de Luxan, she petitioned the government to allow her to go to that city (Luxan?) to recover from illness. Her name is given as Carreras. (Ravignani, 427)

She appears in William Miller's memoirs, as the "Anna Boleyn of Chile".

In later life she was friends with José Victor Eyzaguirre, Andrés Bello, José Joaquín de Mora and Manuel Gandarillas. (Vergara Quiroz, 230)

A street in Temuco, Chile, bears her name.

Clissard describes her as "of imperious character, even more fanatically attached to the cult of the family than her brothers. She had done her utmost to arouse José Miguel's ambitions as a means of saving him from the consequences of his youthful escapades, and her domineering, vengeful nature found satisfaction into goading him on to ever wilder pretensions. (Clissard, 93) He continues that she was "a woman as intelligent and restless as her brother, but also more fanatical and vindictive". (Clissard, 123)

In 1817, she became "the heart and soul of the Carrerist faction" in Argentina. Plans were made at her Buenos Aires house (opposite the church of Santa Domingo) for Juan José and Luis to return to Chile, to capture San Martín and O'Higgins and to make them resign. If they refused, or this failed, they would instigate a guerrilla war in Chile. A Chilean army would then take Peru. José Miguel would become commander in chief. When José Miguel heard of this plot he was horrified and warned Javiera that Juan José and Luis would not be able to complete their assigned roles. The plot was discovered and Juan José and Luis were captured on their way to the Chilean border and imprisoned in Mendoza. Javiera and José Miguel begged for their release. The brothers tried to escape, and to execute the governor of Mendoza, but this failed and Bernardo Monteagudo ordered their executions. Four hours after their execution, orders arrived from San Martín stating that they should not be shot. José Miguel went into hiding. Javiera's house continued to be a centre of intrigue and she was arrested in 1819. (Clissold, 165-172)

Life Events

Born 1781She was born on 1 March 1781.
Married 1796She married Manuel de la Lastra on 2 May 1796.
Other 1800Her first husband, Manuel de la Lastra died.
Other 1814She left her husband and children to follow her brothers into exile in Mendoza and Buenos Aires.
Other 1819She was confined by the Guardia de Luxan in May 1819.
Other 1819Her brothers Juan José and Luis were executed on 8 April 1819.
Other 1820She fled to Montevideo from a Buenos Aires convent and stayed until 1823.
Other 1821Her brother, José Miguel, was executed on 4 September 1821.
Other 1823She returned to Chile from exile.
Died 1862


Sutcliffe, Thomas, (1841), Sixteen Years in Chile and Peru, From 1822 to 1839

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romero de Valle, Emilia, (1948), Mujeres de América

Iriarte, Tomás, (1863), Biografia del Brigadier General D. José Miguel Carrera (dos veces Primer Magistrado de la República de Chile)

Moreno Martín, Armando, (1992), Archivo del General José Miguel Carrera

Weeks, Elsie, (1940), Great Chilean Women

Sosa de Newton, Lily, (1986), Diccionario biográfico de mujeres argentinas

Ravignani, Emilio, (1937), Asambleas Constituyentes Argentinas 1813-1898

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

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


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