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Javiera Carrera

Francisca Xaviera Eudoxia Rudecinda Carmen de los Dolores de la Carrera y Verdugo , better known as Javiera Carrera, was a member of one of the most aristocratic Chilean families, the Carrera family of Basque origin, who actively participated in the Chilean War of Independence. Together with her brothers Jose Miguel, Juan Jose and Luis, they were some of most important leaders of the early Chilean struggle for independence during the period known as the Patria Vieja ("Old Republic"). She is credited has having sewn the first national flag of Chile and is considered as the "Mother of Chile".

She was born in Santiago, the oldest child of Ignacio de la Carrera y Cuevas and of Francisca de Paula Verdugo Fernandez de Valdivieso y Herrera. From her youth, she was well know because of her beauty and strong character. She married young, on May 2, 1796, with Manuel de la Lastra y de la Sotta, with whom had two children: Manuel and Dolores. He died in 1798. She remarried in 1800 to the Spanish aristocrat, Pedro Diaz de Valdes. They had five children: Pedro, Domitila, Pio, Santos and Ignacio.

After the Spanish Reconquista of 1814, she went into exile, together with her brothers, to Argentina. She lived first in the city of Mendoza, was jailed in Lujan, later was imprisoned in a convent in Buenos Aires by pro-San Martin forces, who were allied with O'Higgins and were enemies of the brothers Carrera. She escaped and took refuge in a Brazilian ship, bound for the city of Montevideo, in Uruguay. There she received the news of the executions of her brothers Juan Jose and Luis in 1818, and of Jose Miguel in 1821. She didn't return to Chile until three years later, in 1824, one year after the resignation and exile of Bernardo O'Higgins, whom she considered responsible for their deaths.

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