Chile History

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Republic of Chile República de Chile (Spanish) Chile Wüdalmapu (Mapudungun) Chili Suyu (Aymara) Chili Ripuwlika (Quechua) Repūvirika o Tire (Rapa Nui) Flag of Chile Flag {{{coat_alt}}} Coat of arms Motto: Por la razón o la fuerza (English: "By Right or Might") [1] Anthem: National Anthem of Chile MENU0:00 CHL orthographic (+all claims).svg Capital and largest city Santiagoa 33°26′S 70°40′W National language Spanish Ethnic groups (2012[2]) 64% White 30% Mestizo 5.7% Amerindian 0.1% Other 0.2% Unspecified Demonym Chilean Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic • President Sebastián Piñera • Senate President Carlos Montes Cisternas • President of the Chamber of Deputies Maya Fernández Legislature National Congress • Upper house Senate • Lower house Chamber of Deputies Independence from Spain • Government Junta September 18, 1810 • Declared February 12, 1818 • Recognized April 25, 1844 • Current constitution September 11, 1980 Area • Total 756,096.3[3] km2 (291,930.4 sq mi) (37th) • Water (%) 1.07b Population • 2017 census 17,574,003[4] (64th) • Density 24/km2 (62.2/sq mi) (198th) GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate • Total $481 billion[5] (42nd) • Per capita $25,891[5] (53rd) GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate • Total $300 billion[5] (38th) • Per capita $16,143[5] (41st) Gini (2015) Positive decrease 47.7[6] high HDI (2017) Steady 0.843[7] very high · 44th Currency Peso (CLP) Time zone UTC−3 and −5 (CLT and EASTc) Driving side right Calling code +56 ISO 3166 code CL Internet TLD .cl Legislature is based in Valparaíso. Includes Easter Island and Isla Sala y Gómez; does not include 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of territory claimed in Antarctica.

History[edit | edit source]

Chile is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania.

The arid Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.

Spain conquered and colonized the region in the mid-16th century, replacing Inca rule in the north and centre, but failing to conquer the independent Mapuche who inhabited what is now south-central Chile. After declaring its independence from Spain in 1818, Chile emerged in the 1830s as a relatively stable authoritarian republic. In the 19th century, Chile saw significant economic and territorial growth, ending Mapuche resistance in the 1880s and gaining its current northern territory in the War of the Pacific (1879–83) after defeating Peru and Bolivia. In the 1960s and 1970s, the country experienced severe left-right political polarization and turmoil.

The modern sovereign state of Chile is among South America's most economically and socially stable and prosperous nations, with a high-income economy and high living standards. It leads Latin American nations in rankings of human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, state of peace, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. It also ranks high regionally in sustainability of the state, and democratic development. Currently it also has the lowest homicide rate in South America.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1520 - Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to sight Chilean shores
1536 - Chile was claimed as part of the Spanish Empire
1540 - Pedro de Valdivia led a group of men into Chile. He founded Santiago in 1541
1561–1810 Chile was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru
1593 - The first Jesuits arrived in Chile. They were an important element in Chilean education and culture until they were expelled from Chile in 1767
1810–1814 - 1817–1818 Chile obtained independence from Spain
1823–1839 The Federation of Central America was formed, headquartered in Guatemala. Each of the new republics left the federation by 1839
1870–1920 Millions of immigrants from Europe and Asia settled in Latin America, including Chile, and influenced local culture and ethnic composition
1879–1883 Chile waged the War of the Pacific against Bolivia and Peru. Chile gained the mineral-rich Atacama Desert region and occupied Lima for a few years. Bolivia lost access to the Pacific Ocean
1883 - The Mapuche Indians were subdued
1925 - A new constitution reestablished presidential rule, separation of church and state, and embodied social justice codes
The Family History Library has some published histories for Chile. You can find histories in the FamilySearch Catalog under one of the following:




The following are only a few of the many historical sources that are available for Chile. Some may be found in major research libraries.

  • Encina, Francisco Antonio. Historia de Chile (History of Chile.) Santiago, Chile: Editorial Nacimiento, 1955. (FHL book 983 H2em v.1–20.)
  • Encina, Francisco Antonio. Resumen de la "Historia de Chile" (Summary of the "History of Chile"). Santiago, Chile: Empresa Editora Zig-Zag, 1968–1970. (FHL book 983 H2en v.1–4.)
  • Elliot, G. F. Scott. Chile: Its History and Development, Natural Features, Products, Commerce and Present Conditions. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1907. (FHL book 983 H2e.)
  • Herring, Hubert. A History of Latin America from the Beginning to the Present. 2 ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962. (FHL book 980 H2h.)
  • James, Herman Geriach. The Republics of Latin America. Rev. ed. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1923. (FHL book 980 H2j.)

Online Histories[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of early settlers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating the ancestor. A local history may also give clues for finding other records to search.

Published histories of towns and provinces often contain histories of families. Some province and town histories include separate sections or volumes containing biographical information.

In addition, you should study local histories for the background information they can provide about your family’s lifestyle, community, and environment.

For some localities there may be more than one history; carefully search for available histories of your ancestor’s locality.

The Family History Library does not have many local histories for Chile. Local histories are often available at major public and university libraries and archives.

Calendar Changes[edit | edit source]

The Gregorian calendar, the calendar in common use today, is a correction of the Julian calendar, which had been used since A.D. 46. Leap years had been miscalculated in the Julian calendar. By 1582, the calendar was 10 days behind the solar year.

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII issued a papal bull, modifying the calendar to correct the problem. He declared that the day following the fourth of October in 1582 would become the fifteenth of October. Other adjustments were made in the calendar to prevent future leap year miscalculations.

Spain adopted the new system in 1582, and the Spanish territories in the New World rapidly followed Spain’s example.

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Chile Cemetery Records - FamilySearch Historical Records