Jorge Chavez, a Peruvian Born In France
The Peruvian couple, Manuel Gaspar Chavez Moreyra, 47, and Maria Rosa Isabel Ramona Dartnell Guisse de Chavez, 37, were born in Lima but emigrated to Paris, France, in 1884 because of the political turmoil and consequences of the Pacific War unleashed by Chile in 1879.
Manuel Gaspar and Maria Rosa lived at No 23 Jouffroy Street, in the city of Paris with their three children. On June 13th, 1887, they were at home, sitting in the living room, having a family conversation when suddenly, Maria Rosa, who was pregnant with her fourth child, felt the first contractions, which signaled the imminent birth. Manuel Gaspar, worriedly called the doctor to attend to his wife and that night, when the clock struck ten, the birth of a healthy baby boy was announced. After much discussion, the proud parents agreed to name their son Jorge Antonio. Thus, Jorge Antonio’s birth was registered on June 16th, 1887, (Birth Certificate Number 2026),recorded by Mr. Jacques Philippe Auguste Goené, the Deputy Major, Officer of the Civil Registry of the seventeenth district of Paris, and witnessed by Emile Althaus, 58 and Jules Coquillard, 47. Later, Jorge Antonio was registered at the Peruvian Consulate in Paris as a Peruvian citizen born abroad.
Manuel Gaspar Chavez Moreyra and Maria Rosa Isabel Ramona Dartnell Guisse de Chavez had six children, five boys and one girl, whose names and dates of birth were the following: Felipe Manuel Jose (1884); Manuel (1885); Juan Valentin (1886); Jorge Antonio (June, 13th 1887); Maria Delfina Josefa (May 21st, 1890) and Pedro Gerardo (July, 1st, 1895). Their maternal grandparents were Mr. Juan Dartnell and Mrs. Mercedes Guisse Valle Riestra de Dartnell, and their maternal great grandparents were Admiral Martin Jorge Guisse and Mrs. Juana Valle Riestra de Guisse.
Jorge had a comfortable childhood. His parents were wealthy which allowed him to attend the best schools in Paris. This went hand in hand with an excellent upbringing, spiritually nurtured by the Catholic guidance he received at home. He started his education at the Lycée Carnot, and completed it at the Lycée Charlemagne, both located in the city of Paris. During his school years and especially from the age of fourteen, he was an outstanding athlete, a responsible and disciplined child, who showed great physical prowess. He was especially good at long distance races. In 1901, he participated in the Interschool Championship of France in the 1500-meter race and became a member of the Lycée Carnot’s Sports Team, where he proved himself a good sportsman. In 1903, he was only 16 and still at school, when his mother passed away at the age of 54. The early loss of the mother figure brought great sorrow to the Chavez family as the youngest children, Maria Delfina Josefa and Pedro Gerardo, were only 12 and 8 years old, respectively.
In 1905, when Jorge Chavez was a student at the Lycée Charlemagne, he won the 1,500-meter race and the 400-meter hurdle race. The following year, in 1906, he was the 1,500-meter race Champion of the French Interschool competition. Although he was dedicated to sports, he did not neglect his academic education. He achieved very good grades at school, proving he had a great intellect. As for his personal traits, he was a very cheerful and pleasant character who made friends easily. His school friends trusted, appreciated and loved him as did all who knew him.
Once his school years were over, he decided to pursue a career in Engineering; thus, he registered at the Ecole d’Electricité et Mécanique Industrielles Violet in Paris. During his graduate years, Chavez combined his education with artistic activities and proved to be a great sketcher, cartoonist and painter. He also enjoyed a busy social life; he attended parties and concerts, enjoyed music and dancing as well as spending time with his friends.
Jorge continued to practice sports, was physically fit and trained to participate in athletic competitions, such as the 400-meter hurdle race and the 1,500-meter races. In 1906, he won the 1,200-meter race in London, representing Royen Club versus the South London Harries and in 1907; he became Champion of the City of Paris in the 400-meter hurdle race. During the same year, he also won the 400-meter hurdle race, representing the French Racing Club. Furthermore, he was a successful member of the French rugby team that played in England. He was a good cyclist and a car enthusiast; he even participated in car racing competitions where he proved to be an expert racer. He was also a fan of target shooting, for which he used a Browning rifle.
In 1908, Jorge was 21 and still a student at the Ecole d’Electricité et Mécanique Industrielles Violet of Paris, when his father died at the age of 68. Manuel Chavez was a wealthy banker, so Jorge and his siblings inherited a large estate, which allowed them to live comfortably. After his father’s death, Jorge’s oldest brother, Felipe Manuel, founded a bank called ‘Chavez Hermanos’ in the city of Lima, with a branch in Paris.
This bank was engaged in business between Peru and France, and was administered by Jorge’s third brother, Juan Valentin. The following, year having finished his education at the Ecole d’Electricité et Mécanique Violet in Paris, Jorge Antonio Chavez Dartnell received his diploma and graduated as an Engineer.
While Jorge Chavez was studying to become an engineer, he had been aware of the progress made in the early years of aviation. The following chapters discuss how Jorge Chavez decided to become an aviator in 1909 after he graduated as an engineer. At the age of 22, he began working in airplane maintenance. In 1910, he studied to become a pilot and obtained his international pilot license, which allowed him to participate in various competitions, where he attained great results. Thus, he joined the ranks of the pioneers in world aviation; he achieved the world altitude record and immediately participated and won the crossing of the Alps competition on September 23rd, 1910. At the time, Jorge Chavez was only 23, he was 5.44 feet tall, weighed 65 kilograms, had an athletic build, he had dark blond hair, blue eyes, and was in very good health. He was single, had no children and lived at No 17 Tourcroy street, in Paris, France.
On June 23rd 1910, when Chavez was 23 he made his final will and testament of which his brother, Juan, was the executor. His estate was to be divided as follows, two-thirds for his maternal grandmother, according to Peruvian law, and a third for his siblings. He stated that should his grandmother pass before him or renounce to her share of the heritance, the total would be shared equally amongst his siblings Felipe, Manuel, Juan, Maria and Gerardo.
After Jorge Chavez’s death on September 27th, 1910, at the age of 23 (24 years old, according to his death certificate), and after completing the heroic feat of the Crossing of the Alps, on September 23rd 1910, his wishes were fulfilled according to his will. Jorge’s maternal grandmother, Mrs. Maria Mercedes Guisse de Dartnell, wife of Juan Dartnell, waived his right to the fortune of his grandson on January 14th, 1911. As a consequence, the whole state of Jorge Chavez was divided in equal parts among his brothers and sister: Juan Valentin, Banker, with domicile in Paris, No 68 Sargento Hoff Street; Manuel, owner, with domicile in Paris, No 21Lomgchamp Street; Felipe Manuel Jose, Peruvian citizen, bank employee, with domicile in Lima, Peru, Calle de Coca No 66, tutor of his sister, Mrs. Maria Delfina Josefa, minor, born in Paris on March 21st, 1890, and of his brother, Pedro Gerardo, minor, born in Paris, France on July, 1st, 1895.
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