Chronography of Chile
below for Easter Island
Chilean miners were� rescued, having
spent 69 days underground at San Jose mine.
10/12/2006, 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.
2/3/2000, 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
1/2000, In Britain, a medical team deemed Pinochet too ill
to stand trial. This permitted his return to Chile.
police placed Augusto Pinochet under house
arrest during his medical treatment in Britain. Spain wanted to charge him with crimes
of murder and torture.
10/3/1998, 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 16/10/1998, on a visit to London he was arrested when Spain wanted to
charge him, but he was released on grounds of ill-health on 18/2/2000.
11/12/1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle,
leader of the Coalition for Democracy, was elected President of Chile.
11/3/1990. �In Chilean
democratic elections, 71-year-old Patricio Alwyn
soundly beat Pinochet�s nominee, Hernan Buchi.
held its first free elections in 16 years. The winner was the Christian
The Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was
defeated in a plebiscite meant to reinforce his rule. 55% voted against him.
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.
Chile�s president Pinochet
re-imposed a state of emergency.
12/8/1983, 17 people
were killed in Santiago, Chile, in protests against General Pinochet.
in Santiago, Chile, against the rule of General Pinochet.
11/3/1981, Chilean President Augusto Pinochet was sworn
in for an 8-year term as President.
11/9/1980, A referendum in Chile approved an
eight-year extension of Pinochet�s military government.
12/3/1977, In Chile, political parties were banned and
censorship was tightened.
21/9/1976, 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.
14/9/1973, 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.
11/9/1973. A military junta took control in Chile
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.
22/8/1973, The Chilean Interior
Carlos Prats, warned Allende that a coup was now inevitable.
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.
25/11/1915, General Augusto
Pinochet, Chilean dictator who overthrew Allende in 1973, was born.
26/7/1973, 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 17/9/1970)
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.
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.
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.
Allende became President of Chile, winning
by a narrow margin. He nationalised much of the Chilean economy, recognised the
regime in Cuba, and was regarded as a danger by the USA..
22/9/1970, In Chile, Viaux�s
operatives severely injured Schneider (see 17/9/1970); 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.
17/9/1970, The CIA began
investigating ways to stop Allende becoming President of
Chile (see 4/9/1970). 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 22/9/1970.
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 24/10/1970, 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�.
Allende, President of Chile 1970-3, was born.
3/11/1964, Eduardo Montalva was inaugurated for a 6-year
term as the 29th President of Chile.
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
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.
A coup installed the 100-day Socialist Republic of Carlos Davila.
Chile lost some territory in the north to Peru during a brief war.
5/9/1924, In Chile, a military junta
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.
17/9/1906, Senor Pedro Montt, President-elect, took up
office in Chile.
16/8/1906. Severe earthquake killed 3,000 in Valparaiso,
Chile. 100,000 were left homeless.
1902, Chile extended its
sovereignty southwards into Patagonia, and onto the island of Tierra del Fuego,
shared with Argentina.
18/9/1891, Chilean President Jose Balmaceda (born in
Santiago, 1839) committed suicide following the outbreak of the Chilean Civil
28/8/1891, 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.
24/8/1891, 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
21/8/1891, 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.
20/8/1891, 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.
23/4/1891, 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 20/8/1891.
7/3/1891, 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.
near Valpariaso, Chile.
17/2/1891, Robles fell back along the railway, called up
reinforcements from Iquque, and defeated the Congressional forces at Haura.
16/2/1891, In the Chilean Civil War, Iqique fell to
15/2/1891, 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
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 watershead 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 Courth 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 9/12/1966 the
British Government set a new border, which was marked on the ground in early
20/9/1880, Manuel Montt, Chilean statesman, died (born
The Pacific War. Chile invades part of Peru, and
deprives Bolivia of its cosastline
4/4/1884. By the Treaty of Valparaiso, Bolivia granted Chile the right to control
Antofagasta, including the Atacama Desert.
22/10/1883, The Chilean occupation of Lima, Peru, ended, see 17/1/1881.
Peru, surrendered to Chilean forces.
Chilean army occupied Peru, see 22/10/1883.
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.
forces disembarked at Baquedano, to march on Lima.
of Tacna; Chilean victory over Peru.
17/12/1879. Chilean troops took Lima, Peru.
See also Peru for more history.
8/10/1879, The Peruvian Navy was effectively destroyed
in fighting with Chile.
23/3/1879, 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 1/3/1879 but Peru did not declare war until
5/4/1879; this delay enabled Chile to occupy all Bolivia�s ports, and from
there to attack Peru.
5/4/1879, Chile formally declared war on Bolivia and
Chilean army under Colonel Emilio Sotomayor Baeza occupied the Bolivian Pacific
port of Antofagasta, and on 1/3/1879 Bolivia declared war against Chile.
Chile also occupied part of the Peruvian Pacific coast. On 11/12/1883 a peace
treaty between Chile and Bolivia was signed whereby Bolivia agreed to the
occupation of its seacoast by Chile
3/11/1877, Carlos Ibanez del \Campo, Chilean statesman,
31/3/1866, A Spanish fleet under Admiral Casto Mendez Nunez
bombarded the port of Valparaiso,
Chile. Peru allied with Chile.
far-South American peoples.
16/2/2022, 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
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
1836, Chile began a war with
Peru. Chile won, but Portales was assassinated. The war ended in
1829, Brief civil war in Chile,
between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Then a Conservative Alliance, led
Portales, took power.
Chilean independence from Spain.
4/9/1821, Jose Miguel Carrera, leader in
the Chilean fight for independence from Spain, died (born 15/10/1785).
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.
achieved independence from Spanish rule, after a revolutionary war led by Bernard O�Higgins.
12/2/1818. Chile proclaimed independence from Spain after a
revolution led by San Martin and Bernard O�Higgins.
of Chacabuco; Chile asserted independence from Spain.
5/9/1809, Manuel Montt, Chilean statesman, was born
15/10/1785, Jose Miguel Carrera, leader in
the Chilean fight for independence from Spain, was born (died 4/9/1821).
15/10/1775, Miguel Carrera, fighter for Chilean
independence, was born (died 4/9/1821).
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.
12/2/1541, The Spaniards
founded Santiago, Chile.
1540, A Spanish expedition led by Pedro de
Valdivia first crossed the Andes into what is now Chile.
9/9/1888, Easter Island / Rapa Nui in the Pacific was
annexed by Chile
5/4/1722, 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
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