Posted By Robert. Stephenson


Dr Cheyne was based in bogota at the time Robert Stephenson was working for the Colombian Mining Association and  he advised RS on a number of occassions in 1825.  Cheyne was born, 24 August 1798, in Edinburgh and was admitted into the Society of Medicine in Edinburgh and titled a doctor of medicine and surgery, 14 April 1820.

In 1824, he relocated to the Atlantic coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia. He remained there for some time studying tropical diseases, acquiring fame for his expertise before moving to Bogota.

On page 322 of a book called the Four Seasons of Manuela, written by Victor W. Von Hagen, published by Dent in 1952, there is a short reference to a Dr. Richard Ninian Cheyne. It describes an incident in near Bogotá in 1829 involving the doctor, described as ‘a handsome Scotsman’, as he attends a lady called Manuela, who has fallen from a horse and who was romantically connected to Simon Bolivar.

Simon Bolivar, the General, who gave independence to 5 countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela ) from Spain and later became president, had a murder attempt and Dr. Cheyne was called to assist him, becoming his personal doctor.

Simon Bolivar gave Dr. Cheyne a golden sword with precious stones which was called The Birnania Sword. It is now on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was donated by Amelia Branson Cheyne, his granddaughter.

Dr. Cheyne was also the personal doctor of General Santander, second in importance in Colombian history.

In 1831 he was formally accepted into the Colombian Medical Society.

Ninian Richard Cheyne married Paula Fajardo Barona in 1837, in Popayan, Cauca, Colombia. She was a member of one of the most important and affluent families in Popayan and went on to have children.

In 1847 the Colombian Congress gave Dr Cheyne a life pension of sixteen thousand reales per year, in recognition of his dedication and work.

Ninian Richard Cheyne died 16 March 1872 in Bogota.

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