Henríquez, Camilo (1769–1825)

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Henríquez, Camilo (1769–1825)

Camilo Henríquez (b. 20 July 1769; d. 16 May 1825), Chilean patriot, revolutionary, and propagandist, "the father of Chilean journalism." Henríquez was born in Valdivia, but in 1784 he was sent for his education to Lima, where he lived for the next quarter century, entering a minor religious order in 1787. He was three times investigated by the Inquisition because of his interest in prohibited books, such as those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), Guillaume-Thomas-François de Raynal (1713–1796), and Louis-Sébastien Mercier (1740–1814).

Henríquez returned to his native Chile at the end of 1810 and threw himself into politics with enthusiasm. When the patriot government acquired its first printing press (from the United States), he was given the task of editing the first Chilean newspaper, La Aurora de Chile (13 February 1812 to 1 April 1813). The prospectus he issued prior to the first issue made a resonant claim: "After the sad and intolerable silence of three centuries—centuries of infamy and lamentation!—the voice of reason and truth will be heard amongst us." The newspaper contained many articles by its editor. On 6 April 1813 La Aurora was replaced by a second newspaper, El Monitor Araucano, which ran until the eve of the battle of Rancagua (1-2 October 1814) and the downfall of patriot Chile. Henríquez used these newssheets to spread his own revolutionary ideas. Between 1814 and 1822 he lived in exile in Buenos Aires, once again publishing newspapers for a time. In 1822 he returned to Chile at the invitation of Bernardo O'Higgins and played a minor role in public affairs for what remained of his life.

Henríquez's place as a publicist of patriot and revolutionary ideas during the Patria Vieja in Chile was unrivaled. His writing is always clear and direct. A brief flirtation with monarchism during his Argentine exile was no more than a temporary aberration from his liberal, democratic, and republican ideas.

See alsoJournalism; Rancagua, Battle of.


Raúl Silva Castro, ed., Escritos políticos de Camilo Henríquez (1960), Simon Collier, Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence, 1808–1833 (1967), chap. 3.

Additional Bibliography

Wood, James Alderfer. "Building a Society of Equals: The Popular Republican Movement in Santiago de Chile, 1818–1851." Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000.

                                        Simon Collier

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Henríquez, Camilo (1769–1825)

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