Despite his own premature death, along with his childless brothers Juan
José and Luis, José Miguel Carrera’s wish that his name live on was fulfilled.
Shortly before his execution in Mendoza, Mercedes Fontecilla had given
birth to their fifth child, the only boy, whom they named after his father.
Following in his father’s footsteps, José Miguel Carrera Fontecilla threw
himself into the turbulent politics of opposition to President Manuel Montt,
participating in civil wars in 1851 and 1859 for which he was exiled twice to
Peru. He would not return to Chile a second time, having died of an illness
contracted in Lima in 1860. Though he had not yet reached the age of forty,
he had already fathered eight children with his wife, Emilia Pinto Benavente,
the niece of former president Francisco Antonio Pinto. In 1864, with the end
of Montt’s administration and the return of more conciliatory politics, Pinto
Benavente received a special pension, equal to that for a widow of a briga-
dier general, “in honor of the eminent ser vices provided to the fatherland
by the Generals don José Miguel, don Ignacio, and don Juan José, and the
Coronel don Luis
Carrera.”1
Although they named their first son (the sec-
ond child) José Miguel, it would be his younger brother Ignacio José Carrera
Pinto (named after his great- grandfather) who earned greater renown in his
generation. His glory and premature death came not from domestic conflict
but during his ser vice as an army captain in the War of the Pacific, Chile’s
second war against Peru and Bolivia from 1879 to 1883.
Javiera Carrera had seven children from her two marriages. None went on
to the po litical prominence of their cousins, but their marriages picked up
the tradition of reinforcing kin ties among the elite.2 Interestingly, conser-
vative politician José Antonio Alemparte Vial, related on his mother’s side
to both Presidents Prieto and Bulnes, married first Luisa Carrera Fontecilla
and, after her death, her cousin Emilia de la Lastra, Javiera’s granddaughter
conclusion
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