Chronography of Chile

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Demography of Chile


See below for Easter Island / Rapa Nui


13 October 2010, 33 Chilean miners wererescued, having spent 69 days underground at San Jose mine.


Pinochet escapes trial

10 December 2006, General Pinochet, former dictator of Chile (born 1915) died.

2004, Divorce was legalised in Chile.

8/2004, Chile�s Supreme Court decided, by a vote of 9 to 8, that Pinochet (biorn 1915) could stand trial. However he was now suffering from mild dementia, and doctors would have to certify that he was fit for trial.

2 March 2000, Former dictator Augusto Pinochet returned to Chile from the UK. On the grounds of his poor health., the UK had refused to extradite him to face a European Court on charges of torture and abuse of human rights.

1/2000, In Britain, a medical team deemed Pinochet too ill to stand trial. This permitted his return to Chile.

16 October 1998, British police placed Augusto Pinochet under house arrest during his medical treatment in Britain. Spain wanted to charge him with crimes of murder and torture.

10 March 1998, Former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, stepped down as Chief of the Armed Forces and became Senator for life. This granted him legal immunity from any atrocities committed under his rule of Chile. On 16 October 1998, on a visit to London he was arrested when Spain wanted to charge him, but he was released on grounds of ill-health on 18 February 2000.


11 December 1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, leader of the Coalition for Democracy, was elected President of Chile.


Pinochet regime 1973-90

11 March 1990. In Chilean democratic elections, 71-year-old Patricio Alwyn soundly beat Pinochet�s nominee, Hernan Buchi.

14 December 1989, Chile held its first free elections in 16 years. The winner was the Christian Democrat, Patricio Alwyn.

5 October 1988, The Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was defeated in a plebiscite meant to reinforce his rule. 55% voted against him.

1985, Inequality had grown markedly in Chile. The richest 20% had enjoyed a 30% real rise in income since 1970, but the poorest 40% had seen a 50% drop over this period.

6 November 1984. Chile�s president Pinochet re-imposed a state of emergency.

12 August 1983, 17 people were killed in Santiago, Chile, in protests against General Pinochet.

14 June 1983, Protests in Santiago, Chile, against the rule of General Pinochet.

11 March 1981, Chilean President Augusto Pinochet was sworn in for an 8-year term as President.

11 September 1980, A referendum in Chile approved an eight-year extension of Pinochet�s military government.

12 March 1977, In Chile, political parties were banned and censorship was tightened.

21 September 1976, The former Chilean Ambassador to the US, Orlando Letelier, was killed by a car bomb explosion in Washington DC. He had been an outspoken critic of President Pinochet.

12/1/1974, The military Government of Chile began pre-publication censorship of all newspapers and magazines.

14 September 1973, Most Chileans supported the coup by Pinochet, believing he had saved the country from a Left-wing coup. Pinochet began a savage repression of Allende�s supporters. Many were executed without trial, or simply �disappeared�. Congress was dismissed and strict Press control began. This repression was to continue for the next fifteen years.

11 September 1973. A military junta took control in Chile after President Salvador Allende, elected leader of a left-wing government, was deposed. He committed suicide as his palace was bombarded by planes and tanks. The coup was mounted by General Augusto Pinochet, and backed by the USA. Pinochet had made a show of loyalty towards Allende right up till the moment it was clear the military coup was going to succeed.

This was the prelude to a savage repression in Chile in which at least 3,000 civilians were killed, and tens of thousands tortured or exiled. A majority of Chileans had probably favoured the overthrow of Allende, but did not support the repression that followed. Allende had attempted to run a Socialist government but with parliamentary democracy; however there was widespread unrest from business interests, and a major lorry drivers strike in 1972-3, backed by the CIA.Coups swiftly followed in Uruguay and Argentina, where 30,000 were killed by the dictatorship.

Due to Pinochet�s rule, and that of Mexico�s Carlos Salinas and Peru�s Alberto Fujimori, many Latin Americans in 2003 associate free-market economics with authoritarian rule. Augusto Pinochet ruled for 17 years. His free-market reforms led to rapid economic growth for Chile, but at great cost to human life and rights.

22 August 1973, The Chilean Interior Minister, General Carlos Prats, warned Allende that a coup was now inevitable. Prats resigned, and reassured Allende that his replacement, General Pinochet, was loyal to him. However Prats also warned Allende that the momentum for a coup by the Army was now so strong that any officer who tried to resist it would be powerless.

25 November 1915, General Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator who overthrew Allende in 1973, was born.


Allende administration 1970-73

26 July 1973, A truckers strike began in Chile, backed by the CIA. After 2 months the strike was estimated to have cost the Chilean economy some US$ 100 million, and inflation reached 320%. The Chamber of Deputies called on the Chilean Army to stage a coup to overthrow Allende, and unlike in 1970 (see 17 September 1970) the Army generals were happy to comply, fearing a Left-wing coup. The Deputies hoped that after the coup the Army would retire and civilian rule resume.

1972, Chile�s economy imploded, as the balance of payments deficit rose to US$ 298 million, inflation reached 163%, and real wages fell by 7%. Allende�s Leftist policies had not helped, but there had also been a major fall in the world price of copper, Chile�s main export earner. Allende was forced to consider food rationing as agricultural imports rose 84% to US$ 400 million. Chile began printing money to cover the deficit. The USSR was also reluctant to bail out a President who had made such a mess of his own economy. With the middle class destroyed by Allende, the country was polarised into his keen supporters and strong opposers, and with both sides amassing arms stockpiles, even civil war seemed possible. Nixon was happy.

11/1971, Chile suspended foreign loan repayments, unable to make them. The first year of Allende�s rule had appeared to be economically successful. Chilean unemployment had fallen to 3.8%, industrial production was up 6.3% on the previous 12 months, agricultural productivity was up 5.3%, and real wages were 27% higher. Now, however, the wealthy were resentful that they had paid for this success, whilst the Left believed there was no limit to their gains. In fact the economic gains were illusory, brought about by a one-off windfall from nationalising foreign assets in Chile. By end-1971 shortages began appearing in Chilean shops. Housewives protested in what became nown as the �March of the Empty Pots�. US President Nixon cut foreign aid to Chile at this time, as did other Western powers.

3 November 1970. Allende became President of Chile, winning by a narrow margin. He nationalised much of the Chilean economy, recognised the Castro regime in Cuba, and was regarded as a danger by the USA..

22 September 1970, In Chile, Viaux�s operatives severely injured Schneider (see 17 September 1970); he died three days later. However no coup resulted from this assassination, and Vaux�s supporters melted away. To the great relief of Nixon, no US connection was uncovered by the Chileans. Allende was duly elected President by Congress, with 153 votes for him and just 42 against or abstaining.

17 September 1970, The CIA began investigating ways to stop Allende becoming President of Chile (see 4 September 1970). The Chilean military were unhappy with the prospect of Allende as leader. A Chilean General, Roberto Viaux, ambitious but recently dismissed from service, was willing to assassinate Allende, but the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Army, General Rene Schneider, was too principled and would not interfere with the democratic process, even if it had produced Allende as winner. The danger was that the coup would fail, the connection to the CIA would be exposed, and the US would suffer a setback comparable to the failed Bay of Pigs adventure in Cuba, a failed 12961 attempt to oust Fidel Castro. The US administration was coming around to playing the long game, living with the Allende administration until 1976 when the next elections were due and he would no longer be President. See 22 September 1970.

4 September 1970, Salvador Allende, Communist, was elected President of Chile. In the 1964 Chilean elections the Right wing Christian Democrat, Eduardo Frei, had won 56% of the vote, against Allende�s 39.4%. However Frei had raised unfulfilled expectations regarding the alleviation of serious underdevelopment in Chile; he had also lost support by taxing the rich, Chilean debt and inflation had worsened as Frei overborrowed, Yet he still had sufficient support to win in 1970, but under Chilean law he could not run for a second term, so the Right chose the uncharismatic Radomiro Tomic as candidate. The US administration and CIA did not believe Allende would win and spent only a small amount � US$ 400,000 � on influencing the Chilean electorate. President Nixon did not want to be seen to overtly intervene in the election. A US company, ITT, with interests in Chile, offered the CIA US$ 1 million to stop Allende but this was turned down. Allende actually won with 36.3% of the vote, a smaller share than he got in 1964, because a third candidate split the opposition vote. The US administration now decided they had until 24 October 1970, 7 weeks, until the Chilean Congress conformed the Presidency, to stop Chile going Communist. Nixon feared that with Communists in both Chile and Cuba, South America would become a �Red sandwich�.

26 July 1908, Salvadore Allende, President of Chile 1970-3, was born.


3 November 1964, Eduardo Montalva was inaugurated for a 6-year term as the 29th President of Chile.

28/1/1946, A 60-day �State of Siege� was proclaimed by the Chilean Government after riots in Santiago between police and demonstrating Union members, in which 4 had died.

13/5/1945, Rioting outside a Catholic church in Santiago, Chile which was holding a mass in memory of Benito Mussolini. Several people were injured and four arrests were made.

1943, Chile sided with the USA during World War Two.

7 March 1937, Parliamentary elections were held in Chile. The Liberal Party won a slim majority in the Senate and tied with the Conservative Party in the Chamber of Deputies.

1932, A coup installed the 100-day Socialist Republic of Carlos Davila.

27 July 1931, Juan Esteban Montero became President of Chile.

1929, Chile lost some territory in the north to Peru during a brief war.

5 September 1924, In Chile, a military junta took power.

1920, President Arturo Alessandri,or �The Lion� was elected. He introduced social and labour reforms, but some of his policies were blocked by the legislature, and he resigned in 1924. However he was recalled in 1925 with army support; a new Constitution bolstered his powers.

21 December 1907, In Iquique, Chile, some 3000 striking workers and their families were massacred by the Chilean army on government orders.

17 September 1906, Senor Pedro Montt, President-elect, took up office in Chile.

16 August 1906. Severe earthquake killed 3,000 in Valparaiso, Chile. 100,000 were left homeless.

20 October 1904, Bolivia and Chile signed a peace treaty ending the War of the Pacific. This recognised Chile�s possession of the Pacific coast it had taken, and provided for a railway link for Bolivia from La Paz to Arica (formerly, Peru) on the coast.

1902, Chile extended its sovereignty southwards into Patagonia, and onto the island of Tierra del Fuego, shared with Argentina.

Chilean Civil War

18 September 1891, Chilean President Jose Balmaceda (born in Santiago, 1839) committed suicide following the outbreak of the Chilean Civil War.

28 August 1891, Congressional forces now reached La Placilla, south east of Valparaiso, where battle was engaged with Balmacedist forces under Barbosa. The Balmcedist Army was decimated with 941 killed (including Barbosa himself) and 2,402 wounded; the Congressionalists lost over 1800 men. Valparaiso was occupied this day by the Congressionals, and Santiago taken by them soon after. Fighting in Chile now ceased.

24 August 1891, Congressional forces, marching south towards Valparaiso after their victory at Concon (21/8), came up against strong Balmacedist defences at Vina del Mar, held by General Barbosa. However the Congressionalist Army now marched inland and around Vina del Mar, see 28 August 1891.

21 August 1891, Balmaceda acted quickly in response to the attack on Quinteros and attacked Congressional troops at Concon on the Aconagua River. Congressional troops stormed across the river, losing 1000 killed and wounded. The Balmacedists lost 1600 killed and wounded. However the Congressionalists captured 36 Balmacedist guns, and took 1500 Balmacedist prisoners, most of who then switched sides and joined the Congressionalists, more than making up their losses.

20 August 1891, Quinteros, north of Valparaiso, was successfully occupied by Congressional forces in a surprise attack from the sea. Valparaiso itself was not far out of range of Congressional artillery now.

23 April 1891, In the Chilean Civil war, the Balmacedists had now acquired naval torpedo ships previously constructed in Europe. This day these torpederas sank the Congressional ship Blanco Encalada in Caldera Bay, severely weakening their naval forces. The Congressionalists only hope of victory now lay, not in a systematic conquest of Chile as a whole, but in a drastic strike at Balmaceda in the capital Valparaiso itself. See 20 August 1891.

7 March 1891, Battle of Pozo Almonte, Chilean Civil War; Congressional forces under Del Canto had superior numbers, and the Balmacedists were defeated. Robles himself was killed. Balmacedist forces in northern Chile now began to give up the conflict.

28 August 1891, Fighting near Valpariaso, Chile.

17 February 1891, Robles fell back along the railway, called up reinforcements from Iquque, and defeated the Congressional forces at Haura.

16 February 1891, In the Chilean Civil War, Iqique fell to Congressional forces.

15 February 1891, Balmacedist forces under Eulojio Robles (who had been expecting reinforcements from Tacna that never came) was defeated at San Francisco.

26/1/1891, Congress forces retook the Chilean town of Pisagua. By now some army personnel, along with munitions supplies, had been gained by Congressional forces.

1/1/1891, The Chilean Civil War broke out. It was caused by a dispute between the Chilean President and the National Congress Representatives, leading to the President, Jose Manuel Balmaceda, attempting to govern and collect taxes on his own authority. The Chilean Army was loyal to Balmaceda, but the navy sided with Congress, First opening shots of the civil war were on 16/1/1891, when Congress forces aboard the Blanco fired on Valparaiso.

1886, The Presidency of Jose Manuel Balmaceda began.

23 July 1881, Argentina and Chile agreed in a treaty that their mutual border should be �The line of highest peaks which divides the waters�. However subsequent exploration revealed that faster flowing westwards streams had, by headwaters erosion, established a watershed many miles east of the line of highest peaks of the Andes. The two countries asked Queen Victoria of Britain to arbitrate a border, which was done at the Court of Arbitration in 1902, by best available mapping. Subsequently, improved mapping rendered that border ambiguous, and in 1965 the British Government was again asked to arbitrate. On 9 December 1966 the British Government set a new border, which was marked on the ground in early 1967.

20 September 1880, Manuel Montt, Chilean statesman, died (born 5 September 1809).


The Pacific War. Chile invades part of Peru, and deprives Bolivia of its cosastline

4 April 1884. By the Treaty of Valparaiso, Bolivia granted Chile the right to control Antofagasta, including the Atacama Desert.

22 October 1883, The Chilean occupation of Lima, Peru, ended, see 17/1/1881.

18/1/1881, Callao, Peru, surrendered to Chilean forces.

17/1/1881, A Chilean army occupied Peru, see 22 October 1883.

15/1/1881, Battle of Miraflores. Despite strong Peruvian defence, the Chileans prevailed, destroying most of the Peruvian Army.

13/1/1881, Chilean forces under Baquedano attached the defences of Lima at Chorillos; Chilean victory.

18 November 1880, Chilean forces disembarked at Baquedano, to march on Lima.

26/5/1880, Battle of Tacna; Chilean victory over Peru.

17 December 1879. Chilean troops took Lima, Peru.

See also Peru for more history.

8 October 1879, The Peruvian Navy was effectively destroyed in fighting with Chile.

23 March 1879, The Pacific War between Chile and Bolivia, Peru. Bolivia had seized the assets of the Chilean Nitrate Company at Antofagusta, then in the Bolivian province of Atacama.On this day Chilean militia marched into Bolivian territory.Bolivia had declared war on 1 March 1879 but Peru did not declare war until 5 April 1879; this delay enabled Chile to occupy all Bolivia�s ports, and from there to attack Peru.

5 April 1879, Chile formally declared war on Bolivia and Peru.

14 February 1879. The Chilean army under Colonel Emilio Sotomayor Baeza occupied the Bolivian Pacific port of Antofagasta, and on 1 March 1879 Bolivia declared war against Chile. Chile also occupied part of the Peruvian Pacific coast. On 11 December 1883 a peace treaty between Chile and Bolivia was signed whereby Bolivia agreed to the occupation of its seacoast by Chile


3 November 1877, Carlos Ibanez del \Campo, Chilean statesman, was born.

31 March 1866, A Spanish fleet under Admiral Casto Mendez Nunez bombarded the port of Valparaiso, Chile. Peru allied with Chile.


Indigenous far-South American peoples.

16 February 2022, Cristina Calderon, last full-blooded member of the Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuego, died aged 93. The Yaghans had numbered around 3,000 in 1850, but just 100 by 1928, when Cristina Calderon was born. In 2022 there were some 50 Yaghans, mainly living a settled life in Bahia Mejillones, the Bay of Mussels, where they eked a living gathering mussels, but none were full blooded Yaghan.

1862, The short-lived Mapuche �Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia� was jointly supressed by Chile and Argentina. The Mapuche tribes of southern South America had made a treaty with the Spanish in 1641 establishing their territory as south of the Bobio River in what is now Chile. For some decades the area south of the Bobio was barely touched by European settlers. When Chile began to colonise the area, a French lawyer, Orelie-Antoine de Tounens, attempted, in 1861 to save the Mapuche lands by establishing himself as �king� of the area. Under international law at the time, annexing a people ruled by a Christian European monarch would have been illegan. However in 1862 Chile arrested de Tounens for sedition, only reprieving him from execution becayse he was deemed insane. De Tounens, banished from Chile, retiunred to France where he died in poverty in 1878, never succeeding in his aim of returning to the Mapuche territory. Chilean and Argentine colonisation of the Maouche lands resulted in a decline in Mapuche numbers of 90%. In 2017 an estimated 1.5 million Mapuche lived in Chile and a further 0.2 million resided in Argentine territory. Their fight for a homeland continues with attacks on farms, suppressed by military raids and heavy law enforcement.


1849,The city of Puntas Arenas (Sand Point) was founded, as a penal colony,

1846, The Chilean Government invited people from Germany to migrate there, to establish agriculture.

1836, Chile began a war with Peru. Chile won, but Portales was assassinated. The war ended in 1839.

1829, Brief civil war in Chile, between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Then a Conservative Alliance, led by Diego Portales, took power.


Chilean independence from Spain.

24 October 1842, Bernardo O�Higgins, fighter for Chilean independence, died in Peru (born 20 August 1778 in Chillan).

4 September 1821, Jose Miguel Carrera, leader in the Chilean fight for independence from Spain, died (born 15 October 1785).

1818, Bernard O�Higgins, former Viceroy of Chile and now known as �The Liberator�, became autocratic leader of Chile. He established a strong Presidency of a centralised State.

1818, The Battle of Maipu finally secured Chilean independence.

5 April 1818, Chile achieved independence from Spanish rule, after a revolutionary war led by Bernard O�Higgins.

12 February 1818. Chile proclaimed independence from Spain after a revolution led by San Martin and Bernard O�Higgins.

12 February 1817, Battle of Chacabuco; Chile asserted independence from Spain.

5 September 1809, Manuel Montt, Chilean statesman, was born (died 20 September 1880).

15 October 1785, Jose Miguel Carrera, leader in the Chilean fight for independence from Spain, was born (died 4 September 1821).

20 August 1778, Bernardo O�Higgins, fighter for Chilean independence, was born in Chillan (died 24 October 1842 in Peru).

15 October 1775, Miguel Carrera, fighter for Chilean independence, was born (died 4 September 1821).


1557, Lautaro, leader of the Auracanian Amerindians, who fiercely resisted the Spanish, was killed by them.

1557, Valdivia was killed by the Araucanian Amerindians.

1550, The city of Conception was founded by Pedro de Valdivia.

12 February 1541, The Spaniards founded Santiago, Chile.

1540, A Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Valdivia first crossed the Andes into what is now Chile.


Easter Island / Rapa Nui

9 September 1888, Easter Island / Rapa Nui in the Pacific was annexed by Chile.

1867, Tuberculosis epidemic on Easter Island. Only around 200 survivors were left. Culturally, the knowledge of the island�s script was now lost because there were no priests (the tangata rongorongo) left who had been the only ones who could read it.

December 1862, Peruvian slave traders raided Easter Island, taking possibly half the population.

5 April 1722, Dutch admiral Jakob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island. By 1900 the indigenous population of Easter Island had been reduced, by slave trading and novel European diseases, to just 111. A few centuries earlier the indigenous population of Easter island had been about 7,000. However even before the first European arrivals, over-population and environmental degradation had set in, producing warfare and population decline.

1550, The population of Easter Island had grown to a peak of around 7,000, on just 150 square miles. The island was originally heavily forested but trees were cut down to clear agricultural land, and to provide timber for houses, fuel for heating and cooking, and to make the rollers on which the hiuge statues were moved. By around 1600 the timber ran out. The large statues could no longer be moved and many were abandoned in the quarries where they were cut. Houses could no longer be built and people had to live in caves or reed huts. Canoes could not be built for long sea voyages, trapping the population on the island. Deforestation caused soil erosion and declining fertility. Chickens became valuable assets and had to be protected from raiders. By 1700 the population had fallen to around 3,000. Slavery, warfare, and even cannibalism, became more common.

500 CE, First human settlement on Easter Island.


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