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23 August 2012

Seek out Bernardo O'Higgins

Richmond-on-Thames isn't somewhere you would associate with a Chilean freedom fighter, but then again Bernardo O'Higgins wasn't a particularly ordinary man. Part of the Irish aristocratic O'Higgins family, he was born in the Chilean city of Chillán, and came to London to study in his teens, living in Richmond at 2 The Vineyard, where he is still remembered by a blue plaque.

The son of Ambrosio O'Higgins, an Irish-born Spanish officer who went on to become governor of Chile and viceroy of Peru, Bernardo was a key figure in the fight against the Spanish Government, and after Chile became independent, he became the country's first Head of State in 1818. A statue of Bernardo stands in O'Higgins Square, on the Surrey side of Richmond Bridge.

For more on the man, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardo_O'Higgins

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