Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country on the southwest coast of South America between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Chile borders Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and the Strait of Drake. In addition to the mainland area, Chile includes some Pacific islands, and the country has a territorial claim of 1.25 million km² of Antarctica ; however, these requirements are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
Spain conquered and settled Chile in the middle of the 16th century, thereby taking over power from the Inca Empire.
According to aristmarketing, Chile probably got its name from the Native American word ‘Tchilli’, which meant ‘snow’ or ‘very cold’. The Spanish conquerors heard the word from the Incas, and the survivors of Diego de Almagro’s first Spanish expedition made it known.
Chile has more active volcanoes than any other country except Indonesia. Chile has about 500 active volcanoes, 60 of which have been erupting within the last 450 years.
The highest mountain in Chile is Nevado Ojos del Salado, is also the highest active volcano in the world with its 6839 meters. It is also the second highest mountain in the western and southern hemisphere.
The Andes Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, stretching along the entire length of Chile, with mountains covering 80% of the country.
The driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert, is located in northern Chile. Chileans call it El Norte Grande. The similarities between the planet Mars and the arid South American desert are so great that it is often used by scientists as a simulation of Mars.
13,000 BCE – Stone tools from Monte Verde (near Puerto Montt ), show that people lived there around this time, or further back in time, pre-Clovis. The site was discovered in 1975 when a veterinary student was shown a strange “koben” by local farmers who had found it at the eroded Chinchihuapi Creek.
12,000 BCE – Evidence found in 2008 shows that a small group of people settled in Monte Verde. The first evidence was found in a peat bog in 1977.
9200 BCE – Northern South America was inhabited by the Clovis culture, which is thought to have migrated from East Asia via the Bering Strait and down through North America. Pga. the low water level in the world’s oceans, Beringsstrædet was landlocked at the time.
2500 BCE – Agriculture begins in northern Chile.
400-600 – People from Polynesiasailed to Easter Island, and settled there.
1502 – The 11th Sapa Inca, Huyana Capac reaches the Itata River.
1513 – Ñuñez de Balboa is the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean and declare it Spanish territory.
1520 – Ferdinand Magellan passes through the Strait of Magellan, becoming the first European to describe Patagonia, and set foot in Chile. He died at the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521, dated Lapu, who with his sword struck Magellan in the knees.
1532 – Francisco Pizarro arrives in Peru from Panama. He begins the conquest of the Inca Empire. When the Spaniards attacked Atahualpa’s forces on the square in Cajamarca, the Incas were met for the first time with firearms and cavalry. The 150 or so Spaniards killed the 8,000 Incas and captured Atahualpa. The execution of Atahualpa by garrison on August 29, 1933, marked the end of the Inca Empire. Pizarro had two children with Atahualpa’s sister.
1534-1535 – Diego de Almagro explored northern Chile, and ruled the city of Cusco for a period (1535-1538). However, he was killed on July 8, 1538, during a major battle between the former conquistadors, in which Francisco Pizarro triumphed.
1536 – The indigenous people of central and southern Chile, the Mapuchs, succeed in resisting the Spanish invasion of the country.
1540 – Pedro de Valdivia begins Spanish conquest, founding several cities, including Santiago de Chile (1541), Concepción (1550) and Valdivia (1552). Valdivia was killed during the Arautan revolt under Lautaro’s leadership, on December 25, 1553, near Cañete. Read more here.
1544 – Chile’s second oldest city, La Serena, is founded by Pedro de Valdivia. It was located roughly midway between Santiago and Lima in Peru and was originally used as a resting place for Spanish troops en route between these two cities. The city has been burnt down several times by indigenous peoples and pirates, just as in 1730 it was largely razed to the ground by an earthquake.
1546 – Rebellion of Michimalonco, leader of the Mapuchs: Santiago destroyed. Lautaro is captured by the Spaniards. He becomes Valdivia’s personal servant, where he witnessed atrocities committed by the Spanish against the captured Mapuche warriors. However, he stayed until he had decided that he had learned enough from the Spanish. The first time he fled was in 1550, the second time was more permanent in 1552.
1546-1883 – The year 1546 marked the beginning of a 300-year-long conflict (the Arauco War ) between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche Indians, who fought mainly in Araucanía.
1553 – Valdivia is killed during the Arautan revolt under Lautaro’s leadership, December 25, 1553 near Cañete.
1557 – Battle of Mataquito is fought between Spanish forces and Mapuche, led by Lautaro on 29 April. Lautaro was killed in an ambush by the Spanish. Today, he is honored by the living Mapuchenians for his opposition to foreign conquest, slavery, and cruelty.
1558 – Lautaro’s successor, Caupolicán, suffers a grim fate when he is captured by the Spaniards in his Cañete camp. They executed him by spitting, forcing him to sit on a pole while his wife was forced to watch. He is remembered as a hero in the Araukan resistance to the Spanish conquest.
1564 – Concepción is besieged by the Mapuche Indians. It fails.
1565 – A Court of Appeal, Real Audiencia, is established in Concepción. It is abolished in 1575.
1567 – The Spaniards declare Chiloé their archipelago. Castro is being built on the main island and will be the southernmost European settlement at this time. The capital is today the 3rd oldest city that still exists.
1574 – A Spanish explorer, Captain Juan Fernández, discovers on his way from Callao, Peru to Valparaíso, Chile, an archipelago named after him.
1575 – A devastating earthquake shakes Valdivia on the Riñihue Lake dam.
1578 – Francis Drake attacks the coast of Chile during his voyage around the world; La Serena and Valparaíso plunder.
1583 – Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa founds the settlement of Rey Don Felipe in the Strait of Magellan. In 1587 the settlement lies in ruins.
1600 – On February 19, the Huaynaputina volcano explodes, destroying the cities of Arequipa and Moquegua, Peru. It was an environmental disaster that became South America’s greatest in historical time. The eruption continued in March, with earthquakes destroying the socio-economic structure of southern Peru, Chile and Bolivia. Thousands of people were killed. The explosion had an impact on the climate around the northern hemisphere, where 1601 was the coldest year in six centuries, leading to famine in Russia, which killed at least 2 million people. Russians.
1700 – The population of Chile is about 100,000.
1704-1709 – The story of Robinson Crusoe is inspired by the Scottish helmsman Alexander Selkirk, who ran aground on Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe) and was alone for over four years in the Juan Fernández archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The author of the fictional Robinson Crusoe is the Englishman Daniel Defoe, who published the novel in 1719. Selkirk died of yellow fever in 1721 and had a sailor’s funeral at sea off the west coast of Africa. In 1966, the island about which Selkirk had resided was officially called Robinson Crusoe Island, while the westernmost of the Juan Fernández Islands was called Alejandro Selkirk island, though he probably never set foot there.
1722 – The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen “rediscovered” an island in the South Pacific in the Chilean region of Valparaíso, which was christened Easter Island when it was discovered on Easter Day, April 5th. The island is famous for its many prehistoric stone statues, called moai, which can be seen along the coastlines. The statues were erected by the Polynesians who discovered and populated the island 1,200-1,500 years ago. The population today is around 3,000.
1730 – An earthquake in Valparaíso kills at least 3,000 people on July 8.
1800 – The population of Chile reaches approx. 500,000.
1810-1821 – The Chilean War of Independence was a war between Chile and the Spanish Empire. Read more here.
1817 – Spain is defeated by the Andean Army, led by Jose de San Martin and Bernardo O’Higgins.
1818 – On February 12, the text of Chile’s Declaration of Independence is approved by the supreme dictator, Bernardo O’Higgins.
1826 – Manuel Blanco Encalada was Chile’s first of the many temporary presidents from 9 July to 9 September.
1868 – An earthquake near the city of Arica, once part of Peru, raged on August 13. Several tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean that could be measured in Hawaii, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
1879-1884 – Chile increases its territory after defeating Peru and Bolivia in the Nitrogen War. The result of the war was that Chile conquered the department of Tarapacá in Peru and the province of Litoral in Bolivia. The latter made Bolivia a landlocked state.
1927-1931 – General Carlos Ibanez del Campo seizes power and establishes his dictatorship. He became president again from 1952-1958. He died in Santiago on April 28, 1960, aged 82 years. He left no intellectual legacy to Chilean politics.
1939 – A magnitude 8.3 earthquake kills about 30,000 people on January 24. So far, it is the deadliest earthquake in the country’s history.
1945 – Chile, along with Peru, Paraguay and Ecuador join the United Nations.
1960 – On May 22, the strongest earthquake to date occurred in Valdivia, which was between 9.4–9.6 on the Momentmagnitude scale. About 3,000 lost their lives. Read more here.
1964-70 – Eduardo Frei Montalva becomes president of the country. Montalva died after surgery on January 22, 1983; officially of blood poisoning. His death was the subject of many years of discussion and accusations, including it has been argued that Augusto Pinochet’s security service DINA was behind it. After mustard gas was found in his body after an autopsy performed by a team of researchers from Belgium, the family demanded a new investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death. In December 2009, a court indicted six people, including two doctors, for poisoning in Montalva.
1973-1990 – Augusto Pinochet comes to power through a bloody coup that ousted incumbent President Salvador Allende, who chose to commit suicide on September 11, 1973. Read more here.
After Pinochet’s takeover, a left-wing oppression began, leading to some 3,000 dead and missing people. He has previously been charged with crimes against humanity and countless torture and murder cases, and in 2006 was stripped of his immunity by the Chilean Supreme Court.
1990-1994 – Patricio Aylwin wins the presidential election; General Pinochet remained commander-in-chief of the army until 1998, after which he was appointed senator for life. Aylwin died on April 19, 2016, at the age of 97.
1994-2000 – Eduardo Frei, son of Montalva, is elected president.
2000-2006 – Ricardo Lagos becomes the country’s president. He is probably best known for reopening the side door of the presidential palace Palacio de La Moneda, which had been closed since the military coup in 1973, where Allende’s body had been carried out during fighting in the palace. Lagos placed great emphasis on this action, symbolizing that now Chile had walked through the door to freedom and democracy.
2005 – 45 young soldiers die in a blizzard in the Andes in their search for 24 fellow soldiers during a training march. Meanwhile, 112 soldiers who survived the storm, including seven women, were flown by helicopter to Los Angeles, 644 km south of the capital, Santiago, from the mountain where they had sought refuge.
2006 – Michelle Bachelet is elected as Chile’s first female president to 2010. She was re-elected on March 11, 2014. Bachelet has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most influential women in the world.
Augusto Pinochet died of heart problems at a military hospital on December 10, and received a military funeral the next day. President Michelle Bachalet, whose father had been assassinated by Pinochet’s military junta, outright denied the right-wing demands for a statesman’s funeral.
2008 – Peru sues Chile through the International Court of Justice over the maritime conflict. Read more here.
FILM: Sequences for the latest James Bond film “ Quantum of Solace ” were shot at Antofagasta, Cobija, Paranel Observatory and other locations in the Atacama Desert over 12 days. A local politician, Carlos Lopez, interrupted the filming in the small town of Baquedano, to protest “the excessive presence of police due to the filming and the use of Chilean land to represent neighboring Bolivia.” Read more here.
The Chaitén volcano erupted after 9,000 years of hibernation on May 2, forcing hundreds of people to flee the city of the same name. Read more here.
2010 – Another powerful earthquake (8.8 Mw) in the country on February 27 triggered a tsunami that swept along the coasts of South America and the Chilean and French islands in the nearby Pacific Ocean. It has since (as of March 16) been confirmed that there were at least 800 dead, of which 350 alone in the fishing town of Constitución. The earthquake was the strongest in the world since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, and the strongest in Chile since 1960.
Sebastián Piñera won the presidential election over Frei and resigned on March 11, 2014.
The mining accident in the Atacama Desert, about 80 km from Copiapó, on 5 August set a world record for time in confinement in a mine when it collapsed, and 33 miners were trapped approx. 700 meters underground. They were rescued again on October 13, 69 days later.
2015 FILM: A feature film was made about the mine accident in 2010, with Antonio Banderas in the lead role. It was mainly recorded in Copiapó, Santiago and Nemocón, Colombia (the mines). It premiered in Chile on August 6th. It received mixed or average reviews, and did not live up to expectations in the end. Watch the trailer here.