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Chile History Timeline

Chronological events in the history of Chile.


14,000 BC – Nomadic tribes arrive from the north to the area that today comprises Chile.

8,000-1,000 – Tribes become semisedentary and the Chinchorro become the dominant civilization in the area. They experiment with seeds and plants and discover agriculture. Along the coast and rivers inhabitants learn to build tools to gather fish and seashells.

200 AD – Inhabitants become sedentary and the Mapuche emerge as a distinctive tribe.

1475The Incas invade the north of Chile, their expansion was halted by the Mapuche in the Battle of the Maule.

1520 – Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan sails along the coast of Chile and around the stormy waters of the Southern tip of the continent named after him. Magellan is the first European to sight Chile.

1535 – After the conquest of Peru the Spanish crown sends Diego de Almagro to explore southern territories.

1539 – Francisco Pizarro authorizes Pedro de Valdivia to lead the conquest of Chile.

1540 – Pedro de Valdivia takes possession of Chile and the territory becomes the General Captaincy of Chile under the Vicerolyalty of Peru.

1541 – Pedro de Valdivia is appointed governor of Chile. Valdivia establishes the city of Santiago which later became the capital of Chile.

1553 to 1557 – The Mapuche keeps resisting the Spanish invaders in several pockets of resistance. Lautaro, a Mapuche chief led the attack which killed Valdivia. Lautaro was eventually killed and the Mapuche fled south.

1559 – The first part of the Araucana is published. La Araucana is an epic poem about the Spanish conquest written by Alonso de Ercilla y Zuñiga. It is one of the most important works of the Spanish Golde Age and part of Chile’s cultural heritage.

1807 – Spain loses its economic and political power.  France, led by Napoleon Bonaparte conquers Spain.

1810 – Chile declares its independence from Spain.

1814 – Spanish troops reconquer Chile in the Battle of Racagua. Reform minded  Bernardo O’Higgins flee the country and fights for independence from abroad.

1817 – O’Higgins joins Jose de San Martin and defeat the Spanish in the Battle of Chacabuco.

1818 – San Martin defeats the last large Spanish resistance at the Battle of Maipu. Chile officially issues a declaration of independence which was recognized by Spain in 1840. A provisional constitution is issued.

1822 – O’Higgins attempt to devise the first permanent Chilean constitution fails as his dictatorial behavior sets off reactions against him resulting in his leaving office.

1823 – Conservatives and liberals emerge as the two main political parties in Chile.

1823-1829 – Period of chaos and instability followed O’Higgins departure.

1833 – Although never president Diego Portales leads the government behind the scenes. He implements a new government and a new constitution.

1831-1841 – Joaquin Prieto serves as president for two terms.

1950s – The presidency of Manuel Montt is challenged by Mapuche rebellions in the south of the country.

1861 – A series of military campaigns to capture the southern territories controlled by the Mapuches which ended in 1883 with the Pacification of the Araucania.

1881 – Chile signs a treaty with Argentina confirming sovereignty over the strait of Magellan.

1879-1883 – Chile goes into war with Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific. Chile was victorious expanding its territory to the north almost by one third.

1886 – Jose Manuel Balmaceda is elected president.  He violates the constitution and establishes a dictatorship. Congress deposes Balmaceda.

1920 – Arturo Alessandri  is elected president.

1925 – The new government of Alessandri drafts a new constitution. Voting rights are extended to men over eighteen.

1932 – Alessandri  is elected for another term. Social progressive reforms undertaken in Chile.

1945 – Gabriela Mistral is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature becoming the first South American writer to win the prize.

1949 – Women are granted the right to vote.

1964 – Eduardo Frei who leads the Christian Democrats win the presidency.

1970 – Salvador Allende is elected president. His economic and social reforms gets strong opposition.

1971 –  Pablo Neruda wins the Nobel Prize in Literature becoming the second Chilean writer to win the prize.

1973 – A military coup lead by General Augusto Pinochet overthrows the government of Allende.  The new government abolished civil liberties and dissolved the national congress. Political opponents were persecuted or killed, many fled the county. Chileans witnessed a large-scale repression.

1990 – Augusto Pinochet steps down

1990 – 1994 – Transition period, Patricio Aylwin serves as president.

1998 – Augusto Pinochet is arrested in England but he is eventually released on medical grounds.

2002 – Chile signs an association agreement with the European Union.

2003 – Chile finalizes a free trade agreement with the United States.

2004 – Chile signs a free trade agreement with South Korea. Chile becomes the last nation in the Western hemisphere to legalize divorce.

2006 – Chileans elected their first female president, Michelle Bachelet of the Socialist Party.

2010 – Sebastian Piñera from the center –right was elected president.


See also:

Peru History Timeline

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