'''Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme''' , was a South American independence leader who, together with Jose de San Martin, freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (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.
O'Higgins was back on his estates in Laja, having retired from the army the previous year due to poor health, when news came of the invasion. O'Higgins mobilised his local militia and marched to Concepcion, before moving onto Talca, meeting up with Jose Miguel Carrera who was to take command of the new army. Carrera sent O'Higgins to cut the Spanish off at Linares; O'Higgins' victory there resulted in his promotion to colonel. The unsuccessful Siege of Chillan followed, where O'Higgins produced a brave but unspectacular, performance; Carrera, however, as commander took most of the blame for the defeat, weakening his prestige with the junta back in Santiago. O'Higgins continued to campaign against the royalists, fighting with a reckless courage that would make him famous. Then in October, fighting at the battle of El Roble under Carrera, O'Higgins took effective command at a crucial moment and gave one of his more famous orders:
Despite being injured, O'Higgins went on to pursue the royalist forces from the field. The junta in Santiago reassigned command of the army from Carrera, who had retreated during the battle, to O'Higgins, who then appointed Juan Mackenna commandant-general. Carrera was subsequently captured and imprisoned by the Royalist forces, and in his absence O'Higgins supported in May 1814 the Treaty of Lircay, which promised a halt to the fighting. Once released, however, Carrera violently opposed both O'Higgins' new role and the treaty and overthrew the junta in a coup in July 1814, immediately exiling Juan Mackenna.
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