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Roberto Ibarra Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-911-BC

Scope and Content

This collection consists of photos, book and newspaper publications, and family, political, and business documents relating to the Ibarra family and Venezuela. The collection documents the personal, social, and political life of the Ibarra family and its associates in 18th, 19th and 20th century South America.

The collection documents not only the Ibarra’s family history and their social and political accomplishments, but also provides document resources to study Venezuelan history. The bulk of the material in this collection relates primarily to Ibarra family history and genealogy including many photos of family members and Ibarra residences long with documents and charts. Much of the correspondence in the collection relates to personal, family and business matters including letters, documents and poems written by women in the family reflecting the issues of women in post-colonial times. Correspondence, newspapers, and book publications also document the political careers and pay tribute to the elite social status of the Ibarra family. The collection also contains material related to Simon Bolivar and other leaders in Venezuela and other South American countries.

The collection is organized into three series:

Photos series includes 19th and early 20th century photos related to Ibarra family members and associates, Venezuelan landscapes and buildings, and family trips to Europe and ancestral sites in Spain. In addition it contains a folder of copy prints of images of Simon Bolivar.

Documents series is arranged into family, political and business subseries and includes correspondence, official edicts, certificates, charts, receipts, contracts, and official papers. Documents are arranged by date.

Publications series includes published biographies and short historical manuscripts on Venezuelan history and heraldry, the Ibarra family, and Simon Bolivar. Also included are Venezuelan newspapers, magazine articles, and broadsides. Arrangement is by date of publication.


  • 1573-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1800-1890


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biography / History

The Ibarra (also spelled “Ybarra") family is recognized as one of the elite “first families" of Venezuela during the Spanish Colonial and Independence periods. This branch of the family arrived in the early 1600’s from their Basque homeland in Ojacastro, Spain. They were granted land and eventually established one of the largest haciendas in Venezuela raising cacao for export and later sugarcane for manufacturing rum on the hacienda, which was known as “Hacienda Trapiche" or simply “Trapiche" for its iconic tower-like chimney used for tuning sugarcane into molasses. During the 18th century, family member, Monsignor Francisco Ibarra, became the first creole Bishop, and eventually Archbishop of Caracas.

With the first stirrings of independence from Spain in South America, many males of the family (i.e. Diego, Vicente, Alejandro, Andres, etc.) became military leaders in the campaigns against the Spanish forces. After independence had been won, they continued to engage in the struggle to maintain social and political stability, eventually gaining appointments as high ranking government officials. (Vicente Ibarra became Minister of Interior & Mines). General Diego Ibarra y Rodríguez del Toro (1798-1852) was a childhood playmate and close relative of Simón Bolívar Palacios, leader of the independence movement in Venezuela (which included the modern nations of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and parts of Peru), General Diego Ibarra was asked by Bolívar to be his first and foremost aide-de-camp (Primer Edecán). General Ibarra sheltered Bolívar in the Ibarra hacienda at various times throughout the struggle for independence. During one of those visits to the hacienda, Bolívar established guidelines for the first public university in Venezuela, the Universidad Central de Venezuela. General Ibarra was honored as one of the heroes of the revolution both before and after his death. His remains were placed in the Pantheon of Heroes in Caracas near those of General Simón Bolívar.

In the 1940’s, the Ibarra hacienda (or Casona Ibarra as it was called) was purchased by the federal government from General Ibarra’s grandson, Antonio Ibarra Elizondo. The legislature declared it a national monument in 1961. Though it was destined to become a living museum of colonial family life and a memorial to the struggle for independence, it was instead absorbed into the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) to be used as offices for faculty, and now record storage. A complex plan for restoration was recently completed, however, due to lack of funds; Casona Ibarra is in deteriorating condition today.

In 1996, Venezuelan historian, and former UCV administrator, Dr. Ildefonso Leal, published a history of La Casona de la Hacienda Ibarra: Origen de la Ciudad Universitaria, which frames the backdrop and context for the collection of Ibarra family documents. In December 1999, Diego Ibarra y Palacios, the great-grandson of General Diego Ibarra, passed away, and the historical family documents were recovered among his effects by his son, Dr. Robert Antonio Ibarra. With approval of family members, Dr. Ibarra took possession of the collection and transported it to the U.S.

Source: “The Ibarra Family Documents Catalog," Aug. 2, 2012, Roberto A. Ibarra, Roland Rodríguez, Alena Johnson. UNM Center for Southwest Research accession file.


3 boxes (2.83 cu. ft.) plus 3 oversize folders


This collection consists of photos, book and newspaper publications, and family, political, and business documents relating to the Ibarra family and Venezuela. The collection documents the personal, social, and political life of the Ibarra family and its associates in 18th, 19th and 20th century South America.
Finding aid of the Roberto Ibarra Family Papers, 1573-2010
© 2013
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Language of description
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Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131