The founder of Macondo and the patriarch of the Buendia family. He marries his cousin, Ursula Iguaran, and they have three healthy children despite the warning that incest leads to children with pig's tails. An introspective, inquisitive man of massive strength and energy, he spends his time engaged in scientific pursuits. He is helped in his efforts by the gypsy Melquiades. When his last experimentan attempt to create a daguerreotype of Godcauses him to lose his senses, the men of the town lash him to a tree. He remains under the tree for years and years, babbling in Latin, and Ursula brings him back into the house shortly before his death.
The matriarch of the Buendia family; she lives so long that she loses track of her age. Practical, energetic, and fiercely devoted to the well-being of her family, she exhibits superhuman will and character. Although she lacks the excesses of her husband, she has the entreprenenial skills to begin a business in candy animals and pastries that keeps the family afloat during hard times. She is also the one who discovers a path from Macondo to the outside world after her husband fails.
The eldest son of Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran. He is a caricature of a "macho." Physically massive, covered with tattoos, and so well-endowed that he can live off the tidings of impressed women, he runs away with the gypsies. He comes back years later after having sailed around the world many times and marries Rebeca. Ursula turns them out of the house, but this does not stop them from living happily and wellJose Arcadio is a good hunter and after he usurps lands, they do not suffer for moneyuntil he is mysteriously killed.
Colonel Aureliano Buendia
The younger son of Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran. As a child he had dreams and portents; he is prophetic until death. He falls in love with Remedios Moscote when she is only nine years old and loses much of his emotion after her death. Introspective, studious, and resolutely solitary, he becomes the country's most notorious rebel after the civil wars start. War has an irrevocable effect on him and he locks himself up in Melquiades' old laboratory, making golden fishes and avoiding the world until his death of old age and grief.
The youngest daughter of Don Apolinar Moscote. She is only nine years old when Aureliano falls in love with her; they marry after she reaches puberty. She was a child for a very long time and after puberty did not shed all of her childish habits. But when she is married, she behaves with grace and responsibility. She endears herself to the Buendia family, especially Ursula. She dies young, due to an internal ailment.
A neighborhood fixture with a special relation to the Buendias. In the beginning of the book, when she is still young, she takes many young men to her bed; as the novel progresses she becomes the enormous matron of a brothel. She reads fortunes and cards that are often correct although few people heed her advice. She is the mother of both Aureliano Jose (by Aureliano) and Arcadio (by Jose Arcadio), although Arcadio never knows that she is his mother. At different points in the book, the Buendias come to her for sexual comfort, guidance, and advice.
The daughter of Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran. She never marries and spends most of her life consumed in personal bitterness towards Rebeca, who first gained the attentions of Pietro Crespi. Amaranta eventually drives Pietro Crespi to suicide and wears a black bandage for the rest of her life in contrition. Lonely all her life, she has relationships with her nephew and great-great-nephew that are tinged with incestuous feelings. She receives a preminition of death many years before and dies perfectly prepared and perfectly at peace.
The son of Colonel Aureliano Buendia and Pilar Ternera. He has an intensely intimate relationship with Amaranta and wishes to marry her. Instead, he joins his father and the rebel forces, only to desert later. He is shot in the back by a government soldier during an uprising.
The son of Jose Arcadio and Pilar Ternera. He is neglected throughout most of his childhood. After Colonel Aureliano Buendia leaves to join the civil war, he rules Macondo as a tyrant, enforcing the most arbitrary rules he can come up with. He tries to force Pilar Ternera to go to bed with him; instead she introduces him to Santa Sofia de la Piedad, who bears him three children. He is killed by a firing squad when the Liberals lose the war.
She shows up at the Buendia household mysteriously when she is eight years old, eating earth and bringing the insomnia plague to Macondo. They raise her as one of their own daughters and she has an intense, love/hate relationship with Amaranta. Rebeca is the more beautiful of the two and garners the attention of Pietro Crespi. They have a perennial engagment, unconsummated for many years, until she meets Jose Arcadio. She marries Jose Arcadio and Ursula turns her out of the house in anger for this disrespectful gesture. After Jose Arcadio's death, she barricades herself in her house and never comes out again.
Santa Sofia de la Piedad
The mother of Jose Arcadio Segundo, Aureliano Segundo, and Remedios the Beauty, and the common-law widow of Arcadio. Strange and solitary. She is a tireless worker for the Buendia household for more than fifty years. Then one day, when it is clear to her that the Buendias are on the path to decline and cannot return, she simply walks out of town and is never seen again.
Jose Arcadio Segundo
The son of Arcadio and Santa Sofia de la Piedad; twin of Aureliano Segundo. The two boys seem to have their names and personalities reversed, as Jose Arcadio Segundo is possessed of the same solitary introspection as Colonel Aureliano Buendia. At first he seems to be wild, working as a cockfighter and then as the foreman of the banana plantation, but he has a change of heart and becomes a union organizer. He is deeply traumatized by the massacre of banana workers and is the only person in town who remembers the event. Before he dies, he passes his knowledge on to Aureliano.
The son of Arcadio and Santa Sofia de la Piedad; twin brother of Jose Arcadio Segundo. Contrary to the family's patterns, he inherits Jose Arcadio's size and reputation for carousing. With his dedicated mistress, Petra Cotes, he gives enormous parties when his fortunes are good, and argues with his haughty wife, Fernanda del Carpio. After the rains, he is poor, but he dedicates the rest of his life to raising enough money in order that his youngest daughter, Amaranta Ursula, can go to school in Europe.
Remedios the Beauty
The daughter of Arcadio and Santa Sofia de la Piedad. She has no personality traits in common with the other Buendias; as such her fate is completely different from everyone else's. Completely lacking in convention and shame, so beautiful that three men die from attempts to gain her love, she is symbolic of a primal state that Macondo has lost. She ascends to heaven one morning, alive, lifted by angels.
Fernanda del Carpio
The wife of Aureliano Segundo; mother of Renata Remedios, Jose Arcadio II and Amaranta Ursula. She is the last descendent of an impoverished royal family line from a gloomy, dying town. Despite the fact that her line was dying and they had no money, her father told her that she was to be a queen and she believes that until her death, making life difficult for the "common" Buendias around her. She clings to inflexible beliefs and a medieval code of ethics. This estranges her from her children and those around her.
Renata Remedios (Meme)
The eldest daughter of Aureliano Segundo and Fernanda del Carpio. Fearful of her mother's wrath, she practices the hated clavichord with great intensity; she is really a modern free spirit who loves parties and social gatherings. She becomes friends with her father, partially out of disdain for Fernanda, and rebels by falling in love with Mauricio Babilonia, a mechanic. When her mother discovers their love affair, she has Mauricio Babilonia shot and sends Meme to a convent, where she lives for the rest of her life without speaking.
A mechanic at the banana plantation. Dignified, handsome, and patient despite his lowly status, he courts Meme Buendia. After Meme is confined to her house, he sneaks in at night to make love to her. One night he is shot by a guard hired by Fernanda; he spends the rest of his life paralyzed with a bullet in his spine.
Jose Arcadio (II)
The son of Aureliano Segundo and Fernanda del Carpio. When he is born, Ursula wishes him to be a priest and, eventually, the Pope. He is sent to the seminary in Rome to continue his theology studies, but instead he becomes dissolute. He returns to Macondo in hope of an inheritance and discovers Ursula's buried fortune. With the money, he turns the house into a debaucherous love den, inviting local boys to share it with him. Four of these boys kill him in the bathtub and steal his money.
The youngest daughter of Aureliano Segundo and Fernanda del Carpio. She is sent to study in Brussels at the age of eleven; she returns to Macondo worldly, sophisticated, and married to a wealthy European named Gaston. She has too much life and vigor for the dying town and, despite her efforts, cannot revitalize it. Left alone with her nephew Aureliano, she and he begin a wild love affair and give birth to the final Buendia, a boy with a pig's tail.
The illegitimate son of Renata Remedios and Mauricio Babilonia. He is treated like a second-class citizen by Fernanda and Jose Arcadio II and neglected throughout most of his childhood. Studious and fiercely solitary, he becomes the repository of Jose Arcadio Segundo's tragic memories and spends most of his life locked in Melquiades' old laboratory, trying to decipher the mysterious parchments. When Amaranta Ursula returns, he falls madly in love with her and they embark on a wild affair, eventually giving birth to the final Buendia.
Amaranta Ursula's European husband. He is so captivated by her that he allows her to lead him by the neck on a silk rope, but he recognizes that Macondo is dead and has little to do there. When she insists on staying, he goes to Europe on business and stays there once he hears of the affair between Amaranta Ursula and Aureliano.
An effeminate Italian pianola expert who courts both Rebeca and Amaranta Buendia in turn. He is devastated by Rebeca's unexpected marriage to Jose Arcadio and then, when Amaranta rejects him, he loses his senses and commits suicide.
Aureliano Segundo's devoted mistress. Their partnership has incredible power; when they have sex their animals proliferate with amazing speed. She is patient and loving with Aureliano Segundo in the face of many humiliations, and smartly entrepreneurial in the face of financial hardships.
At the beginning of the book, he appears as the mysterious leader of the gypsies and a friend of Jose Arcadio Buendia. He has a laboratory at the back of the Buendia household and at the beginning of the book performs scientific tasks there. There are conflicting reports of his death and rebirth; during one of these interludes he gives Jose Arcadio Buendia mysterious parchments and tells him that they can only be deciphered after one hundred years. These parchments engage various members of the Buendia family, especially Aureliano, who finally deciphers them at the end of the book.
Before Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, he killed this man, a cockfighter who insulted him. After Aguilar's death, Jose Arcadio Buendia was filled with grief and remorse, so he packed up and, with some willing young families, moved into the swamp. They became the first people to live in Macondo. Later in his life, Jose Arcadio Buendia and even Ursula are visited by the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar.
Don Apolinar Moscote
An amiable, ineffectual government official with seven daughters, including Remedios Moscote. He is a Conservative and is the first one to introduce Colonel Aureliano Buendia to the corruption and hypocrisy of politics.
Colonel Gerineldo Marquez
Colonel Aureliano Buendia's closest friend. They were loyal compatriots throughout the civil wars and he continues to play an important role in Colonel Aureliano Buendia's life afterwards. He also courts Amaranta, late in both their lives, and though she loves him, she refuses him as well.
General Jose Raquel Moncada
The smart, humane, and well-loved Conservative mayor of Macondo during the period of the civil wars. He is a good friend of Colonel Aureliano Buendia and the Buendia family in general, especially Ursula. When Colonel Aureliano Buendia orders his execution, Ursula recognizes that her son is lost to the world.
One Hundred Years of Solitude Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for One Hundred Years of Solitude is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.