Vicuña Mackenna, Benjamin [key], 1831–86, Chilean historian and journalist. A vigorous opponent of the conservative government of Manuel Montt, he was sentenced to death for his part in the revolution of 1851–52, but escaped and spent some years in exile. He returned to Chile in 1856 and remained active in politics, running unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1875. He visited Mexico, the United States, and Europe and became a collector of manuscripts on early Chilean history. His historical works, based on immense knowledge and scholarship, number more than 100 volumes and include biographies of Antonio José de Sucre, Bernardo O'Higgins, and Diego Portales and a detailed chronicle of the War of the Pacific.
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