The second son of José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula Iguarán, Aureliano is the first person born in Macondo. He is silent, withdrawn, and prone to moments of clairvoyance. During adolescence he is obsessed with his older brother's lover, Pilar Ternera, and finds refuge in his father's laboratory. As an adult, he becomes fixated on marrying the child Remedios Moscote. He seeks comfort in Pilar's bed, and she helps broker his marriage to Remedios altough she is carrying his son, Aureliano José. Remedios dies carrying their twins; Aureliano befriends her Conservative father, Don Apolinar Moscote, and contrary to his disposition, Aureliano becomes the leader of the Liberal rebellion. After years of fighting, he loses his capacity for memory and emotion, signs a peace accord, and withdraws into his workshop to make gold fishes. He is also the father of 17 sons—each named Aureliano—by 17 different women.


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