Click on each character's name below to learn more.
One of the gypsies who returns periodically to Macondo, bringing scientific marvels (such as magnets, magnifying glasses, and alchemy) and befriending the Buendía clan. Generations of Buendías try to decipher his prophecies and talk to him in the workroom José Arcadio builds on the back of the house, long after he is dead.
José is the patriarch of the Buendía clan, married to his cousin Úrsula Iguarán and the father of José Arcadio (II), Colonel Aureliano Buendía, and Amaranta. José Arcadio Buendía leads several friends across the mountains after killing Prudencio Aguilar in an honor duel. He is a natural leader in Macondo, offer planting advice and laying out the village until he is driven mad by his solitary and obsessive pursuit of knowledge. He spends many years tied to the chestnut tree in the yard, speaking Latin, cared for alternately by members of his family and the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar.
The enterprising and spirited matriarch of the Buendía clan, Úrsula lives to be somewhere between 115 and 122 years old. She is the wife and cousin of José Arcadio Buendía and the mother of José Arcadio (II), Colonel Aureliano Buendía, and Amaranta. In her prime, she keeps the house open to visitors, supports the family by selling candy animals and ends her son José Arcadio's tyrannical rule over the town during the Civil War. In her old age, she goes blind, battles periods of lucidity and becomes the plaything of her great-great granddaughter Amaranta Úrsula and great-great-great grandson Aureliano (II).
The youngest daughter of Don Apolinar Moscote; also the self-appointed mayor of Macondo, Remedios marries Colonel Aureliano Buendía just as she enters puberty. She is a happy and loving child who revitalizes the Buendía household for a short time. But Remedios dies suddenly while pregnant with twins. Her daguerreotype is kept in the family living room and becomes a relic.
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 He is silent, withdrawn, and prone to moments of clairvoyance.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.
Part of the original expedition José Arcadio Buendía led to found Macondo, Pilar comes to the Buendía house to do chores. She is foul-mouthed, provocative and has a talent for reading cards. Although she is almost a decade older than José Arcadio (II), she takes his virginity and bares him a son, José Arcadio (III), also known as Arcadio, whom Úrsula raises. Pilar also sleeps with Aureliano to quell his passion for the child Remedios. Later she ends up brokering their marriage even though she is pregnant with Aureliano's son, Aureliano José. Amaranta, the child's aunt, raises him in the Buendía household. Pilar becomes a local whore and successful madam, often sought out by members of the Buendía family to read their fortunes and perform services, although none of her descendants realize she is related to them. She lives to be 145 years old.
The first son of Úrsula Iguarán and José Arcadio Buendía, he is eight years older than his brother Aureliano. He inherits his father's amazing strength and his impulsive drive. After running off with the gypsies, José Arcadio returns larger than life, tattooed and savage. The family has a hard time welcoming him into their fold and Úrsula ostracizes him when he marries his adopted sister Rebeca. He is the father with Pilar Ternera of the unknowing Arcadio (José Arcadio III), and brother to Colonel Aureliano Buendía and Amaranta.
Rebeca arrives mysteriously at the Buendía house with a note claiming she is Úrsula's second cousin. The Indian servants eventually discover she is living off of dirt and whitewash. Although she infects the town with an insomnia that causes memory loss, Rebeca warms her way into the Buendía clan calling José Arcadio grandpa, Úrsula mother, Aureliano uncle, Amaranta sister and little Arcadio (José Arcadio III) brother. She seems to orphan herself again from society after her husband José Arcadio (II) is murdered.
The daughter of Úrsula Iguarán and José Arcadio Buendía, Amaranta dies an embittered and lonely virgin. She bears deep jealousy and hatred for her adopted sister Rebeca whom she believes stole Pietro Crespi from her. However, when Pietro Crespi finally falls in love with her, she rejects him and he kills himself. As penance, she gives herself a bad burn on the hand and wears a black bandage over it for the rest of her life. When she is much older, she falls in love with Colonel Gerineldo Márquez but they never marry. She raises her nephew Aureliano José and they develop an unconsummated incestuous passion for each other. Amaranta is the sister of Colonel Aureliano Buendía and José Arcadio (II).
Over the course of the civil war, Colonel Aureliano Buendía fathers 17 sons by 17 different women. They are all brought at one time or another to the Buendía house and baptized with the first name Aureliano. They are distinguished by indelible Ash Wednesday crosses on their foreheads. They reappear in Macondo throughout the novel; Aureliano Triste sets up the ice factory his grandfather José Arcadio dreamed of and gets his half-brothers to repair their aunt Rebeca's dilapidated house. After the war, Conservatives relentlessly hunt them down and murder them. Aureliano Amador survives the longest, but is gunned down in front of the Buendía house because Aureliano (II) and José Arcadio (IV) fail to recognize him as one of their great uncles.
The son of Colonel Aureliano Buendía and Pilar Ternera, Aureliano José becomes obsessed with his aunt, Amaranta, and joins his father's army when she ends the affair. He deserts the army convinced he can marry her, but she rejects him. Mistaken as one of Colonel Aureliano's sons, Conservative soldiers murder him at an uprising.
The son of José Arcadio (II) and Pilar Ternera, Arcadio is roughly the same age as his aunt Amaranta. A seemingly a gentle boy, he becomes schoolmaster of the town. When his uncle Colonel Aureliano Buendía places him in charge of Macondo during the uprising, Arcadio becomes a ridiculous dictator obsessed with order that only his grandmother Úrsula can stop. Arcadio tries unsuccessfully to force Pilar Ternera (his mother) to sleep with him and instead marries Santa Sofía de la Piedad. He is the father of Remedios the Beauty, and the twins Aureliano Segundo and José Arcadio Segundo. He is executed when the Conservatives retake the village.
When Arcadio (José Arcadio III) tries to sleep with Pilar Ternera (the mother he never knew), Pilar pays Santa Sofía de la Piedad to sleep with him instead. She marries Arcadio and bears him three children: Remedios the Beauty, and twin boys Aureliano Segundo and José Arcadio Segundo. After her husband's death, she quietly joins Úrsula in seeing to the needs of the family. Colonel Aureliano asks her to destroy all his love poems; José Arcadio Segundo makes her promise to slit his throat when he dies to ensure he's not buried alive. When she grows old and tired, she simply walks out of the house, never to be heard from again.
The gentle effeminate Italian musician is at the center of Amaranta and Rebeca's rivalry. When Rebeca abruptly chooses to marry her manly, adopted brother José Arcadio (II), Pietro's turns to Amaranta at last. The virginal Amaranta leads Pietro on only to reject him and Pietro commits suicide.
The comrade-in-arms of Colonel Aureliano Buendía. Colonel Gerineldo is the first to become tired of the civil war. He falls in love with Amaranta, who spurns him, but stays in close contact with the family. He later takes José Arcadio Segundo to see his first execution. He is also the great-great grandfather of Gabriel Márquez who befriends Aureliano (II).
The daughter of Santa Sofía de la Piedad and Arcadio (José Arcadio III), Remedios the Beauty's beauty drives men to their deaths. She remains innocent and childlike; her mother feeds and cleans her well into her twenties. One day, she ascends to heaven in her sister-in-law Fernanda del Carpio's sheets. She is the older sister of the twins José Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo.
The wife of Aureliano Segundo and the mother of Renata Remedios (Meme), José Arcadio (IV) and Amaranta Úrsula. Although she comes from a poor and dying town, Fernanda del Carpio was raised to be a queen with a rigid, moral code of ethics that repeatedly conflicts with the wild Buendía family spirit. Her husband splits his time between her and his concubine, Petra Cotes. When Meme becomes pregnant, Fernanda has her cloistered and locks the child, Aureliano (II), in the workshop and refuses to acknowledge him as her grandson. Fernanda del Carpio stands to inherit the house when Úrsula dies.
The son of Arcadio (José Arcadio III) and Santa Sofía de la Piedad, Aureliano Segundo may have been switched at birth with his twin brother, José Arcadio Segundo. He falls in love with Petra Cotes and remains with her until his death although he is married to the cold beauty Fernanda del Carpio. They have three children: Meme, José Arcadio (IV) and Amaranta Úrsula. Despite an early interest in solitary study—characteristic of his great-uncle, Colonel Aureliano Buendía—as Aureliano Segundo grows he begins to show all the characteristics of the family's José Arcadios. He is immense, boisterous, impulsive and hedonistic.
She enters the novel as the mistress of José Arcadio Segundo, who Aureliano Segundo soon steals. Petra Cotes and Aureliano Segundo's love affair seems to inspire animals to procreate and they become extremely rich. Although she is his mistress and has to endure long periods of neglect and poverty caused by the flood, she stays committed to Aureliano Segundo. Their passionate love affair becomes tender in the second half of their lives and they look upon Fernanda del Carpio as the daughter they never had.
The son of Arcadio (José Arcadio III) and Santa Sofía de la Piedad, José Arcadio Segundo may have been switched at birth with his twin brother, Aureliano Segundo. Appalled when he witnesses an execution at an early age, José Arcadio Segundo becomes thin, bony, solitary, and increasingly scholarly, like his great-uncle Colonel Aureliano Buendía. Much to his great-grandmother's chagrin, he raises roosters for cockfighting at (his grandmother) Pilar Ternera's house. He finds purpose in leading the strikers against the Banana Company and is the lone survivor of the massacre. When he finds that nobody believes the massacre occurred, he secludes himself in Melquíades' old study, trying to decipher the old prophecies and preserving the memory of the massacre.
The eldest child of Aureliano Segundo and Fernanda del Carpio, his great-great-grandmother Úrsula decides that José Arcadio (IV) is supposed to become the Pope, but he in fact slides into dissolution and solitude. While in Italy, he lies to his mother about his success in the seminary. He returns when she dies to carry out her wishes and strikes an uneasy relationship with his nephew Aureliano (II). José Arcadio (IV) leads a life of debauchery with local adolescents who eventually murder him and steal his money.
The eldest daughter of Fernanda del Carpio and Aureliano Segundo, Meme's real name is Renata Remedios. She manipulates her mother to appear studious and complacent, but she is a modern spirit who loves being social like her father. She hides her secret love affair with the mechanic Mauricio Babilonia. When her mother finds out about their rendezvous at bath time, she posts a guard in the yard; the guard shoots and paralyzes Mauricio. Without Aureliano Segundo's consent, Meme is imprisoned in a convent where she spends the rest of her life, never speaking again. The product of her affair with Mauricio Babilonia is Aureliano (II).
An apprentice mechanic in the banana company garage, he is the proud, bold lover of Meme. Where ever he goes, he is surrounded by a cloud of yellow butterflies. Fernanda del Carpio disapproves of their affair, and she sets up a guard who shoots Mauricio Babilonia when he attempts to climb into the house for a tryst with Meme. As a result, Mauricio lives the rest of his life completely paralyzed. He fathers Meme's child, Aureliano (II).
Friend of Aureliano (II), lover of Nigromanta and fiancé of Mercedes who runs the pharmacy, he is also the great-grandson of Colonel Aureliano Buendía's commrade, Colonel Gerineldo Márquez.
The illegitimate son of Renata Remedios (Meme) and Mauricio Babilonia, Aureliano (II) is concealed by his grandmother, Fernanda del Carpio from the family and the town. Once his only playmate, his aunt Amaranta Úrsula, leaves, Aureliano (II) educates himself in the laboratory with Melquíades' guidance. As his grandmother Fernanda grows old, he acclimates himself gradually into town. When Amaranta Úrsula returns and he finds himself falling in love with her, he takes a lover, Nigromanta. He and Amaranta Úrsula begin a love affair under her husband Gaston's nose. All the while, Aureliano (II) is consumed with translating Melquíades' parchments. With his aunt, Amaranta Úrsula, he fathers the last in the Buendía line, the baby Aureliano (III).
The youngest daughter of Aureliano Segundo and Fernanda del Carpio, she is roughly the same age as Aureliano (II), whom she doesn't know is her nephew. Though they are playmates as children, Fernanda sends her daughter to school in Brussels when she is 11 years old, while her grandson Aureliano (II) is hidden from the family and the town. Amaranta Úrsula returns from her trip to Europe with a Belgian husband, Gaston. She wants to revitalize Macondo and the Buendía household, but it is too late: Both are headed for inevitable ruin. She falls in love with Aureliano (II)—still not knowing how they are related—and gives birth to his child. Amaranta dies in childbirth.
The Belgian husband of Amaranta Úrsula, Gaston is loving and cultured but feels isolated in the now-desolate Macondo. He travels to Belgium to start an airmail company, and, when he hears of the relationship between his wife and Aureliano (II), he never returns.
The result of an incestuous relationship, he is born with the tail of a pig, fulfilling his great-great-great-great-grandmother Úrsula Iguarán's hereditary fear. Although his mother Amaranta Úrsula originally wants to name him Rodrigo, her nephew/his father Aureliano (II) names him after Colonel Aureliano. He was born strong and willful like the José Arcadios, with the open and clairvoyant eyes of the Aurelianos and predisposed to rejuvenate the line again because he is the only child in a century conceived out of love. However, Little Aureliano (III) fulfills another prophecy and is the last in the Buendía line.