Bernardo O’Higgins, (born probably Aug. 20, 1776/78, Chillán, Chile, Viceroyalty of Peru—died October 1842, Peru), South American revolutionary leader and first Chilean head of state (“supreme director,” 1817–23), who commanded the military forces that won independence from Spain.
Bernardo O’Higgins was born in Chillán, a town in southern Chile, then a colony of Spain. As noted in his Certificate of Baptism, he was the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O’Higgins, a Spanish officer of Irish origin who became governor of Chile and later viceroy of Peru; his mother was Isabel Riquelme, a prominent lady of Chillán.
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