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José Miguel Carrera

José Miguel Carrera Verdugo (15 October 1785 - 4 September 1821) was a Chilean general, considered one of the founders of Chile. Carrera ruled Chile during the period of the Patria Vieja, but after the Spanish Reconquista he lived in exile and died in Mendoza, executed by command of José de San Martín.

José Miguel belonged to the Carrera family; he was the son of Ignacio de la Carrera, and brother to Juan José Carrera, Luis Carrera and Javiera Carrera.

Table of contents
1 Early years
2 The Patria Vieja
3 Argentina and the United States
4 Legacy
5 See also
6 External links

Early years

Born in Santiago, Carrera made his first studies in the Colegio Carolino, the best school in the country. During these years, he became friend of Manuel Rodríguez, classmate and neighbour.

After school he was sent to Spain by his parents. There he joined the Spanish Army in 1808. He fought well against the Napoleonic forces, receiving the rank of Sargento Mayor and receiving the command of the Húsares de Galicia regiment.

In Spain he also made contact with the American independence movement and joined the Logia Lautaro.

The Patria Vieja

As he knew about the Junta de Gobierno, he went back to Chile and get involved in politics. As the Carreras were one of the three major political forces, he became part of the goverment. On 15 November 1811 the Carrera made a coup d'état and José Miguel became the sole ruler of Chile (his brothers were military commanders). Because Carrera had a personal and Chilean-national point of view about Chilean undependence, he came into conflict with the Logia Lautaro.

During his goverment, and influenced by Joel Roberts Poinsett, first United States envoy to Chile, he made several development actions. Carrera created the first Chilean Constitution, promoted the press and made the Chilean flag and Armor's Shield.

As the Spanish Army and Navy invaded the South of Chile, he became Commander in Chief of the patriotic forces and left the goverment. He had a successful campaign, expelling the Spaniards from the city of Concepción.

Suddenly, he left the Army and took the goverment of Chile. Bernardo O'Higgins didn't recognise him and fought against the Carrerian army and Talca. During this chaos, the Spanish army took Concepción again and advanced to Santiago. Re-united Chilean forces settled in Rancagua, where they were defeated by general Mariano Osorio in the Disaster of Rancagua, (1-2 October 1814).

Argentina and the United States

With the defeat of Chilean forces, many patriots ran away to Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza was governed by José de San Martín. As San Martín was member of the Lautaro Lodge, he welcomed O'Higgins and his allies. José Miguel and his brothers travelled to Buenos Aires, where lived César Alvear, a friend since the war against Napoleon in Spain.

While Alvear was in government, Carrera had a good situation in Buenos Aires. But Alvear fell, and the power was taken by Lautaro lodge members. So Carrera sailed to the United States, and with the help of Poinsett but no money he got five ships and tripulation(?) for the Chilean indendence enterprise.

Howewer, as he arrived to Buenos Aires the Argentinian goverment confiscated the little fleet and put Carrera in prison. In the meanwhile, San Martin and O'Higgins organised an army in Mendoza (mostly with Chileans in exile ), crossed the Andes and defeated the Spaniards in the battle of Chacabuco on 12 February 1817.

When Carrera was set free, he went to Montevideo and founded a newspaper, which wrote against the Argentinian goverment. During this time, his two brothers were executed in Mendoza by San Martín orders.

After that, he joined the Argentinian federalist leaders and fougt against the unitarian goverment. Carrera and the federalist forces defeated the goverment and entered Buenos Aires; on 23 February 1820, they signed the Treaty of El Pilar, the document that established the Argentinian federal system.

With the Treaty, Carrera also got troops. With these, he travelled west to Chile. However, he was taken prisoner and accused of Alucinate with the Federal system. After a trial he was executed at Mendoza in September 1821.


Carrera is today considered one of the Padres de la Patria (Father of the Nation). His partidaries claim that his figure is not enough recongised, in comparation with O'Higgins.

In the Patagonian Region there is the General Carrera lake. Also, one of his legacies, the oldest high school in Chile, has also his name: Instituto Nacional José Miguel Carrera.

His grandson Ignacio Carrera Pinto died during the battle of La Concepción, in the War of the Pacific.

See also

External links