Bernarda Ruiz de Rodriguez

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Bernarda Ruiz de Rodriguez (c.1804 – 1880)[1] was a native Californio who may have had a hand in brokering the Treaty of Cahuenga between American Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont and Mexican General Andrés Pico on January 13, 1847 at Campo de Cahuenga in what is now Universal City, Los Angeles, California.

Ruiz was born in Santa Barbara, California, United States,[1] the daughter of a sergeant and an heiress.[2] When the Mexican–American War broke out, many of her sons joined the fighting. Lt. Col. John C. Frémont, along with a band of 400 men, took over Santa Barbara and made their base a hotel near Ruiz's home, from which they were planning an attack on Los Angeles. The tale goes that, knowing that the Americans were likely to win, Ruiz requested, and was granted, a 10-minute audience with Fremont. The 10 minutes became several hours, while she laid out a plan for "a 'generous peace' that would include Pico's pardon, release of prisoners, equal rights for all Californians, respect of property rights, and the opportunity for Mexican citizens to peaceably return to Mexico if they wanted".[3]

After convincing Fremont, Ruiz met with Mexican General Andrés Pico, who arranged to draft the Treaty of Cahuenga almost entirely from Ruiz's suggestions. This informal treaty was influential in the drafting of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which formally ended the Mexican–American War and ceded the Southwest to the United States.[citation needed]

The story of Bernarda Ruiz is based largely on two short paragraphs and a footnote in Fremont's memoirs, first published in 1887.[4] Many aspects of the story cannot be verified in primary source materials.[5]


  1. ^ a b "RUIZ, BERNARDA (1802–1880)" (PDF). Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Woman Helped Bring a Peaceful End to Mexican-American War". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  3. ^ Hadley Meares. "In a State of Peace and Tranquility: Campo de Cahuenga and the Birth of American California". Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. ^ Fremont, John C. (1887). Memoirs of My Life and Times. Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Co.,. ISBN 9780815411642.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. ^ Boba, Eleanor. "Campo de Cahuenga: Overlooked Landmark". Photo Friends of the Los Angeles Public Library. Retrieved 14 March 2019.

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