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Biographies Unit Biographies

Bernarda Ruiz de Rodríguez 1802-1880
Helped End the Mexican-American War

When people who are fighting want to make peace, they sometimes need a third person to be a “go-between.” Bernarda Ruiz was the “go-between” who helped end the Mexican-American War in California.

Ruiz was a Californio, living in Santa Barbara. She was an educated woman from a wealthy family. Ruiz had sons in the Mexican Army and she worried about the war. She got the chance to help put an end to it.

Early in 1847, General John Frémont reached Santa Barbara on his way to confront the Mexican Army. While there, he was introduced to Ruiz. She advised him to make peace and he listened. She helped with the wording of a peace treaty. She also arranged for Frémont to meet with General Andrés Pico to sign the treaty. On January 13, 1847, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed, bringing an end to fighting in California.

Comprehension Check

What did Ruiz do to help end the war in California?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think people in conflict sometimes need a “go-between” to make peace?