Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Early Years (1785-1810)
Manuel Rodríguez Erdoíza, Chilean lawyer and guerrilla, was born on 27 February 1785 and was the son of Don Carlos Rodríguez de Herrera y Zeballos, a customs officer of Peruvian nationality, and María Loreto de Erdoíza y Aguirre who was a young Chilean aristocrat.
Rodríguez entered the esteemed Carolino College where he was a classmate of José Miguel Carrera. He went on to study law en the Royal University of San Felipe, and subsequently became a lawyer in 1807.
The Patria Vieja (1810-1814)
In May 1811, he was named attorney for Santiago. His attitude towards the independance cause was very moderate up until the arrival from Spain of his old friend, José Miguel Carrera who was passionately revolutionary.
In the latter part of 1811, Rodríquez was subsequently elected as parlimentary representative for Talca on 4 September, named Secretary of War on 15 November and on 2 December was conscripted into the army with the rank of Captain.
In 1813, the friendship between Rodríguez and Carrera (who by this time had seized control of the Chilean government) had begun to cool. Rodríguez and his brothers were detained and charged for conspiracy against Carrera. They were condemed to one year's exile on Juan Fernández island, however Rodríguez was able to procure a document that impeded the completion of this sentence.
Carrera and Rodríguez renewed their friendship in 1814. The government junta presided by Carrera was replaced by a new one led by Colonel Francisco de la Lastra , which Rodríguez critized profusely in the newspaper "Monitor Araucano". When the Carrera brothers were removed from command, José Miguel was concealed by Rodríguez. On subsequently recovering control of the government, Carrera formed a new junta in which Rodríguez was made Secretary.
However, Spanish forces led by General Mariano Osorio advanced from the south towards Santiago. After the Disaster of Rancagua, the Spanish took back control of Chile and Rodríguez, along with many other patriots, fled to Mendoza, Argentina.
The Reconquest (1814-1817)
San Martín saw in Rodríguez the ideal spy since he was very shrewd and skilled for this position and furthermore, his humble origins allowed him to easily pass for a commoner. He began creating disguises and communications systems -- often carrying out his duties disguised as a monk, humble farmer, street merchant, domestic servant or even as a woman.
He was the most-wanted man during the rule of the Spanish Governor of Chile, Casimiro Marco del Pont . His assaults on Melipilla and San Fernando were an important part of San Martín's strategy to divert attention away from the "Liberating Army" that entered Chile and triumphed at the Battle of Chacabuco.
Patria Nueva and the Death of Manuel Rodríguez (1817-1818)
After the victory at Chacabuco, the Chilean commander Bernardo O'Higgins ordered the arrest of Rodríguez who managed to escape capture and was hidden until San Martín was able to intervine on his behalf and conferred on him the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the surprise attack by the Spanish forces at Cancha Rayada, Rodríguez was instrumental in maintaining calm in Santiago false rumors were circulating of the death of O'Higgins.
Rodríguez was killed on 26 May 1818, in Til-Til by soldiers of the "Cazadores de los Andes" battalion commanded by Antonio Navarro. He was initially buried under the altar of a chapel in Til-Til until his remains were moved to the General Cementary of Santiago.
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