Known as a revolutionary who freed Chile from Spanish control, Bernardo O’ Higgins went down in history as a hero of the Chilean people.
This military commander fought in the Chilean War Of Independence in 1818, and then he went on to become the first fully autonomous head of the Chilean state.
The son of a colonial Spanish officer who was born and raised in County Sligo, Ireland, O’Higgin’s mother was of Chilean decent.
The Irish Roots Of Bernardo O’Higgins
Bernardo’s father, Ambrose O’Higgins, was born to his parents, Charles and Margaret O’Higgins, in Ireland’s pastoral County Sligo. Ambrose’s grandfather, Sean Duff O’Higgins, was once Lord of Ballinary, and even married into the regal House of O’Conor clan, who once inhabited Ballintubber Castle.
In fact, the O’Higgins family were once prominent landowners in several Irish counties, including their native Sligo. However, when Oliver Cromwell began his campaign to oust Catholics and deport them to County Sligo, the family lost much of their land and decided to make a move to County Meath.
At this time, the family’s reduced fortunes led Ambrose to work as a common laborer. Since he was Catholic and Irish, he was eligible to live in Spanish America, and he chose to voyage to this colony in the late 18th century.
He began as a trader in Spain, but quickly seized new opportunities in nearby Argentina. In time, he began to work as an engineer, and, on the advice of a friend, he sought out a permanent home in neighboring Chile. By the end of his career, he’d risen to become a military governor in this country.
His relationship with Bernardo’s mother, Isabel Riquelme, began during his time in Chile. She was a wealthy member of a respected Chilean family – one that held considerable power and influence.
Despite her high place in society, her relationship with Ambrose did not lead to a legal marriage. Although Ambrose paid for Bernardo’s schooling and willed him certain of his possessions and holdings, he was never officially recognized as the governor’s offspring.
Chile Still Honors The Legacy Of O’Higgins
In Chile, there are a total of seven administrative areas – one of them is dubbed “The O’Higgins Region” after Bernardo O’Higgins.
Within the O’Higgins Region, there are various provinces – examples include Cardenal Caro and Cachapoal. The capital city of the region is Rancagua – it is a truly beautiful and historical city that continues to celebrate the legacy of Bernardo O’Higgins.
When Bernardo O’Higgins was a general fighting for Chilean independence in the early 19th century, he drilled his army in Rancagua. Today, tourists from all over the world flock to Rancagua’s museums and other historical attractions.
O’Higgins brought his “fighting Irish” spirit to another country, and died a legend. Today, this famous Irish descendent remains an important part of South American history and culture…
Honor Your Irish Spirit With Beautiful, Handmade Jewelry
The spirit of the O’Higgins family lives on in Chile…and in County Sligo! If you’re also of Irish heritage, why not show the world your pride by wearing a stunning, handcrafted Trinity Knot pendant?
This Celtic symbol illustrates the Holy Trinity – its three segments symbolize the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This symbol dates back to the middle ages, when Irish monks created works of art to honor God. From the monasteries of the Emerald Isle, many stunning art treasures were born…and beautiful, ornate Celtic symbols came into being…
Today, Irish artisans respect the old traditions by using the Trinity Knot in affordable silver jewelry designs. This special pendant is inlaid with green marble, which adds richness and dimension to the piece. Each pendant is handmade in Ireland itself, and stamped at the Assay Office of Dublin Castle.