Please note: Spanish Translation is coming soon
There is rampant speculation that Manuel Amat y Leon is either the son or the grandson of the Virrey Amat. The foremost sources of confusion are:
1) The Virrey’s name was Manuel Amat;
2) The Virrey had a scandalous love affair with the actress Micaela Villegas (“La Perricholi”), who claimed to bear his son, also named Manuel Amat
3) Manuel Amat y Leon’s father, identified in his marriage certificate, is named Manuel Amat
4) The absence of a birth or baptism certificate for Manuel Amat y Leon
5) The absence of a marriage certificate of Manuel Amat y Leon’s parents
6) The natural inclination of family members to want to believe to be descended from the Catalan nobility.
The difficulty is that the available records are inadequate, and therefore an exact answer is elusive. However that being said, some of the confusion can be cleared up:
1. Manuel Amat y Leon is not the son of Virrey Amat and Micaela Villegas
The romance between the Virrey Amat and Micaela Villegas is said to have begun in 1766, when Michaela was 18 years old. Virrey Amat left Peru, and thus any relationship with Micaela, in 1776. But Manuel Amat y Leon was born in Lima in 1778 (sometimes 1780), several years after the Virrey Amat’s departure to Spain. Additionally, Manuel Amat y Leon identifies his mother as Josefa Leon, not Micaela Villegas, in his marriage certificate.
2. Manuel Amat y Leon is not the son of Virrey Amat and Josefa Leon
In addition to the same problem as above, that the Virrey Amat left Peru several years before Manuel Amat y Leon’s birth, there is his marriage certificate. Although it does identify “Manuel Amat” and “Josefa Leon” as his parents, the title given to Manuel Amat in the document is “General” – certainly an odd, if not wholly inappropriate description for the Virrey Amat.
3. Manuel Amat y Leon is not the son of Manuel Amat y Villegas
In her last will and testament, Micaela Villegas identifies her son’s name as Manuel Amat y Villegas. His birth year is attributed to 1769, making him only 9 years old when Manuel Amat y Leon was supposedly born in 1778. Even if one took an earlier date of 1766 (when Micaela Villegas was 18), that would only make him 12 years old, making it still improbable that he is the father. Also of note is that her last will and testament identifies some of her son’s children, but no mention of Manuel Amat y Leon.
4. There were others named “Manuel Amat” in Lima in the late 18th century
Curious is that a genealogical search shows that there were others named Manuel Amat who could be the father of Manuel Amat y Leon. The records show for example:
April 15, 1769 – baptism of Martina Josepha Amat, daughter of Manuel Amat and Francisca de Leon, in San Marcelo, Lima.
So where does this leave us? More research is needed!
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