Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme (August 20, 1778 - October 24, 1842), was a South American independence leader who, together with José de San Martín, freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–23), O'Higgins was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state. He is considered one of Chile's founding fathers. Bernardo O'Higgins was of Irish and Basque descent.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Role in Chilean independence movement
* 3 O'Higgins as Supreme Director
* 4 Peruvian independence and O'Higgins' final years
* 5 Legacy
* 6 Additional information
o 6.1 See also
o 6.2 References
o 6.3 Bibliography
o 6.4 External links
 Early life
Ambrosio O'Higgins, Bernardo's father, whom he never met in person.
O'Higgins was born in the Chilean city of Chillán in 1778, the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O'Higgins, Marquis of Osorno, a Spanish officer born in County Sligo in Ireland, who became governor of Chile and later viceroy of Peru. His mother was Isabel Riquelme, a prominent local lady - the daughter of Don Simón Riquelme y Goycolea, a member of the Chillán Cabildo, or council.
O'Higgins spent his early years with his mother's family in central-southern Chile, and later he lived with the Albano family in Talca, who were his father's commercial partners. Aged 15, Bernardo was then sent to Lima by his father. Bernardo had a distant relationship with Ambrosio, who supported him financially and was concerned with his education, but the two never met in person. It is unclear why his father did not marry Isabel. High-ranking Spanish government officials in America were forbidden to marry locals, but at the time of Bernardo's birth Ambrosio O'Higgins was only a junior military officer. It has been suggested that Isabel's family would not have seen the match...