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Antonio Jose de Irisarri


Antonio Jose de Irisarri Alonso , was a Guatemalan statesman, journalist and Interim Supreme Director of Chile (1814). He is considered one of the fathers of Chilean journalism together with Fr. Camilo Henriquez.

Irisarri was born in Guatemala City, the son of Juan Bautista de Irisarri and of Maria de la Paz Alonso. He studied in his native city and in Europe, from whence he was recalled back to his home after the death of his father in 1805. In 1809 he visited Chile, and having married Mercedes Trucios y Larrain, an heiress there, took up his residence in that country and joined with enthusiasm the movement for independence in 1810. He had charge of important public offices during the struggle for liberty, including the command of the National guard and the civil and military government of the province of Santiago, and from March 7 to 14, 1814, he was temporarily in charge of the supreme direction of the nation.

In 1818 he was appointed Minister of Government and Foreign Affairs by Bernardo O'Higgins, and in October of the same year he went to Buenos Aires as minister. At the end of 1819 he was sent to Europe to negotiate the recognition of Chilean Independence by England and France (which he was not able to obtain.) While at London he negotiated a loan of 1,000,000 (the first foreign debt of Chile.) He was sent to Central America in 1827 as minister for Chile, and in 1837 as plenipotentiary to Peru and private adviser to Admiral Manuel Blanco during the War of the Confederation. After the Chilean army was forced to sign the Treaty of Paucarpata on November 17, 1837, the scandal was gigantic. Irisarri refused to return to Chile, was tried in absentia for high treason, and sentence to death. Irisarri wisely never returned to Chile.

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