The Bridge of San Luis Rey
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Manuel Cayetano de Amat y Junient, Viceroy of Per from 1761 to 1766, was born in Barcelona in 1700. As Viceroy in Per he met a famous actress named Micaela Villegas Hurtado, called Miquita. They began an open and long-lasting affair and a man believed to be their child, Manuel d'Amat y Villegas, signed the Declaration of Peruvian Independence on 28 July 1820.

The Viceroys pet name for Micaelo was Perichola. No one is certain of the origin of the name but according to legend, the Viceroy, during one of their many quarrels, called her perra-chola (literally half-breed bitch) which, in his Catalan accent (which resembles French) sounded like perrichola.

The affair ended when the Viceroy returned to Spain. La Perichola entered the convent of the Carmelite nuns in Lima, where she died on 16 May 1819. The life of Micaela Villegas has been the subject of several works including the opera La Perichole by Jacques Offenbach and the film Le carrosse dor (The Golden Carriage) de J. Renoir.


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