Difference between revisions of "Chile"

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(Unidad Popular Marxist Regime (1970-1973))
(20th Century)
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===20th Century===
 
===20th Century===
 
By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose.  
 
By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose.  
Continuing political and economic instability resulted with the rule of the quasidictatorial Gen. Carlos Ibáñez (1924–32).  
+
Continuing political and economic instability resulted with the rule of the quasidictatorial Gen. [[Carlos Ibáñez del Campo]] (1924–32).  
 
In June there was a Coup and between that month and September of 1932 there was an attempt to establish a [[Socialist]] Republic that failed.
 
In June there was a Coup and between that month and September of 1932 there was an attempt to establish a [[Socialist]] Republic that failed.
 
When constitutional rule was restored later that year, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party dominance (1932–52), the state increased its role in the economy.  
 
When constitutional rule was restored later that year, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party dominance (1932–52), the state increased its role in the economy.  
 
In 1940 Chile started to claim officially the [[Chilean Antarctic Territory]].
 
In 1940 Chile started to claim officially the [[Chilean Antarctic Territory]].
  
In 1962 the "right-wing" President Jorge Alessandri started the agrarian reform in a small portion, that expropiated part of big land properties. This reform was deepened by the next two governments.
+
In 1962 the "right-wing" President [[Jorge Alessandri]] started the agrarian reform in a small portion, that expropiated part of big land properties. This reform was deepened by the next two governments.
  
The 1964 presidential election of [[Christian Democrat]] Eduardo Frei Montalva by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty," the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had accomplished many noteworthy objectives, but he had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.  
+
The 1964 presidential election of [[Christian Democrat]] [[Eduardo Frei Montalva]] by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty," the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had accomplished many noteworthy objectives, but he had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.  
  
 
He also made the "Chileanization of the copper" which introduced the State into the copper industry.
 
He also made the "Chileanization of the copper" which introduced the State into the copper industry.

Revision as of 18:49, 2 July 2019

República de Chile
Chile.JPG
Chile1.png
Flag of Chile.png
Arms of Chile.png
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital Santiago
Government Democratic Republic
Language Spanish (official)
President Sebastián Piñera
Area 292,183 sq. mi.
Population 17,574,003 (2017)
GDP per capita $27,058 (2019)
Currency peso
International dialing code +56
Internet top-level domain .cl


Chile is a country on the Pacific coast of South America, which borders Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.

Geography

Petrohué Waterfalls and Osorno Volcano in the background.

The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also 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. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border.

  • Area: 756,945 km2. (302,778 sq. mi.), or nearly twice the size of California.
  • Cities: Capital—Santiago (metropolitan area est. 6.25 million). Other cities: Concepcion-Talcahuano (840,000), Viña del Mar-Valparaiso (800,000), Antofagasta (245,000), Temuco (230,000).
  • Terrain: Desert in north; fertile central valley; volcanoes and lakes toward the south, giving way to rugged and complex coastline; Andes Mountains on the eastern border.
  • Climate: Arid in north, Mediterranean in the central portion, cool and damp in south.

People

Chilean dance.jpg

About 85% of Chile's population lives in urban areas, with 40% living in greater Santiago. Most have Spanish ancestry. A small, yet influential number of Irish and English immigrants came to Chile during the colonial period. German immigration began in 1848 and lasted for 90 years; the southern provinces of Valdivia, Llanquihue, and Osorno show a strong German influence. Other significant immigrant groups are Italian, Croatian, Basque, and Palestinian. About 800,000 Native Americans, mostly of the Mapuche tribe, reside in the south-central area. The Aymara and Diaguita groups can be found mainly in Chile's northern desert valleys.

  • Population (2019): 17.5 million.
  • Annual population growth rate: 0.881%.
  • Ethnic groups: Spanish-Native-American (mestizo), European, Native-American.
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 15.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.1%, other Christian 1%, other 4.6%, none 8.3%.
  • Language: Spanish.
  • Education: Years compulsory—12. Attendance—3 million. Adult literacy rate—96%.
  • Health: Infant mortality rate—8.9/1,000. Life expectancy—71 yrs. for men, 78 for women.
  • Work force (6.94 million); employed 6.45 million: Community, social and individual services—26%; industry—14.4%; commerce—17.6%; agriculture, forestry, and fishing—13.9%; construction—7.1%; financial services—7.5%; transportation and communication—8.0%; electricity, gas and water—0.5%; mining—1.2%.

Government

La Moneda Palace, seat of Executive Branch.

Chile's Constitution was approved in a September 1980 national plebiscite. It entered into force in March 1981. After Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite. In 2005 President Lagos made several reforms to the Constitution, even changing the Pinochet sign with his. The President is constitutionally barred from serving consecutive terms. Chile has a bicameral Congress, which meets in the port city of Valparaiso, about 140 kilometers (84 mi.) west of the capital, Santiago. Deputies are elected every 4 years, and Senators serve 8-year terms. There are currently 43 Senators and 155 Deputies. The Chilean elections are judged free and fair.

Chile's judiciary is independent and includes a court of appeal, a system of military courts, a constitutional tribunal, and the Supreme Court. In June 2005, Chile completed a nationwide overhaul of its criminal justice system. The reform has replaced inquisitorial proceedings with an adversarial system more similar to that of the United States.

Principal Government Officials

  • President—Sebastián Piñera since 11 March 2018.
  • Minister of Interior—Andrés Chadwick
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs—Teodoro Ribera
  • Ambassador to the United States—Alfonso Silva Navarro
  • Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS)—Hernán Salinas
  • Ambassador to the United Nations—Milenko Skoknic Tapia

Foreign Relations

Since its return to democracy in 1990, Chile has been an active participant in the international political arena. Chile completed a 2-year non-permanent position on the UN Security Council in January 2005. Jose Miguel Insulza, a Chilean national, was elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States in May 2005. Chile is an active member of the UN family of agencies and participates in UN peacekeeping activities. Chile hosted the Defense Ministerial of the Americas in 2002 and the APEC summit and related meetings in 2004. Chile hosted the Community of Democracies ministerial in April 2005. An associate member of Mercosur and a full member of APEC, Chile has been an important actor on international economic issues and hemispheric free trade.

The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries. It settled its territorial disputes with Argentina during the 1990s except for a part in the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields and the Antarctic claims overlap between both countries, however the Antarctic Treaty doesn't allow modification to the claims and they are ineffective.

In 2007 Peru demanded Chile in the International Court of Justice due to a maritime dispute. The case was closed in 2013 in which half of the disputed sea was ceded to Peru and half to Chile. In Chile it was seen as a lost case.

Chile and Bolivia have bad diplomatic relations since Evo Morales, Bolivia's President, has reintegrated the desire to reacquire territory Bolivia lost to Chile in 1879-83 War of the Pacific in his Foreign Affairs Policy and he demanded Chile in the Internation Couth of Justice, a case which Chile won. There is currently a case to determine if Silala is a river (Chile's position) or is a spring artificially modificated by Chile (Bolivia's position). The two countries maintain consular relations and are represented at the Consul General level but doesn't have embassies in each other.

Political parties and coalitions

The main coalitions are:

Recently José Antonio Kast created the Chilean Republican Party (right-wing), also a Pinochetist party called National Force was recently created.

A Libertarian Party is in formation, an Evangelical one called United in Faith and anti-globalist statist one called Social Patriot Party.

Defense

Chile's Armed Forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the President through the Minister of Defense. The President has the authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces.

Army

The Chilean Army is 45,000 strong and is organized with an Army headquarters in Santiago, seven divisions throughout its territory, an Air Brigade in Rancagua, and a Special Forces Command in Colina. The Chilean Army is one of the most professional and technologically advanced armies in Latin America.

Navy

The Navy has 23,000-person, including 2,500 Marines. Of the fleet of 29 surface vessels, only eight are operational major combatants (frigates). Those ships are based in Valparaiso. The Navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol; there are no Navy fighter or bomber aircraft. The Navy also operates four submarines based in Talcahuano.

Air Force (FACH)

The FACH is a force of 12,500. Air assets are distributed among five air brigades headquartered in Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. The Air Force also operates an airbase on Villa Las Estrellas, King George Island, Antarctica.

Carabineros

Carabineros de Chile is the national police force of 30,000 men and women who are responsible for law enforcement, traffic management, narcotics suppression, border control, and counter-terrorism throughout Chile.

Economy

Gran Torre Santiago, in the financial district of the city.
Chuquicamata Copper mine, the largest open pit copper mine in the world.

After a decade of impressive growth rates, Chile began to experience a moderate economic downturn in 1999, brought on by unfavorable global economic conditions related to the Asian financial crisis, which began in 1997. The economy remained sluggish until 2003, when it began to show clear signs of recovery, achieving 3.3% real GDP growth. The Chilean economy finished 2004 with growth of 6.1%. Real GDP growth reached 6.3% in 2005 before falling back to 4.0% growth in 2006. Higher energy prices as well as lagging consumer demand were drags on the economy in 2006. Higher Chilean Government spending and favorable external conditions (including record copper prices for much of 2006) were not enough to offset these drags. For the first time in many years, Chilean economic growth in 2006 was among the weakest in Latin America. In May 2010 Chile signed the OECD Convention, becoming the first South American country to join the OECD.

  • GDP (official exchange rate): $150.4 billion. (GDP (purchasing power parity):$335.4 billion (2013 est.))
  • Annual real growth rate: -1.5%.
  • Per capita GDP (purchasing power parity): $27,058 (GDP - per capita (PPP) 2019 est.)
  • Forestry, agriculture, and fisheries (6% of GDP): Products—fruits, wheat, potatoes, corn, sugar beets, onions, beans, livestock, fish.
  • Commerce (8% of GDP): Sales, restaurants, hotels.
  • Manufacturing (17% of GDP): Types—mineral refining, metal manufacturing, food processing, fish processing, paper and wood products, finished textiles.
  • Electricity, gas, and water: 3% of GDP.
  • Transportation and communication: 7% of GDP.
  • Construction: 8% of GDP.
  • Financial services (12% of GDP): Insurance, leasing, consulting.
  • Mining (13% of GDP): Copper, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, and molybdenum.
  • Trade: Exports--$57.61 billion: copper, fruits and nuts, fish and seafood, and wood products. Major markets—U.S., Japan, China, Netherlands, South Korea, Brazil, Italy, Mexico. Imports--$40.91 billion: fuels, heavy industrial machinery, motor vehicles, electrical machinery, plastic. Major suppliers—U.S., China, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea. (GDP (official exchange rate):$281.7 billion (2013 est.))

Chile has pursued generally sound economic policies for nearly three decades. The 1973-90 military government sold many state-owned companies, and the three democratic governments since 1990 have continued privatization, though at a slower pace. The government's role in the economy is mostly limited to regulation, although the state continues to operate copper giant CODELCO and a few other enterprises (there is one state-run bank). Chile is strongly committed to free trade and has welcomed large amounts of foreign investment. Chile has signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with a whole network of countries, including an FTA with the United States, which was signed in 2003 and implemented in January 2004. Over the last several years, Chile has signed FTAs with the European Union, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, China, and Japan. It reached a partial trade agreement with India in 2005 and began negotiations for a full-fledged FTA with India in 2006. Chile plans to continue its focus on its trade ties with Asia by negotiating in 2007 trade agreements with Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia.

José Piñera creator of the Individual capitalization pension system.
Hernán Büchi, economist during the Military Government that re-implemented liberal economic policies.

High domestic savings and investment rates helped propel Chile's economy to average growth rates of 8% during the 1990s. The privatized national pension system (AFP) has encouraged domestic investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate of approximately 21% of GDP. However, the AFP is not without its critics, who cite low participation rates (only 55% of the working population is covered), with groups such as the self-employed outside the system. There has also been criticism of the inefficiency and high costs due to a lack of competition among pension funds. Critics cite loopholes in the use of pension savings through lump sum withdraws for the purchase of a second home or payment of university fees as fundamental weaknesses of the AFP. The Bachelet administration plans substantial reform, but not an overhaul, of the AFP during the next several years.

Unemployment stubbornly hovered in the 8%-10% range after the start of the economic slowdown in 1999, well above the 5%-6% average for the 1990s. Unemployment finally dipped to 7.8% at the end of 2006, due largely to the fact that fewer Chileans were entering the workforce rather than to a substantial and sustained creation of new jobs. Most international observers place some of the blame for Chile's consistently high unemployment rate on complicated and restrictive labor laws. Wages have risen faster than inflation as a result of higher productivity, boosting national living standards. The percentage of Chileans with incomes below the poverty line—defined as twice the cost of satisfying a family of four's minimal nutritional needs—fell from 46% in 1987 to around 18% by 2004.

Chile's independent Central Bank pursues an inflation target of between 2% and 4%. Inflation has not exceeded 5% since 1998. Chile registered an inflation rate of 3.2% in 2006. The Chilean peso's rapid appreciation against the U.S. dollar in recent years has helped dampen inflation. Most wage settlements and loans are indexed, reducing inflation's volatility. Under the compulsory private pension system, most formal sector employees pay 10% of their salaries into privately managed funds.

Total foreign direct investment (FDI) was only $3.4 billion in 2006, up 52% from a poor performance in 2005. However, 80% of FDI continues to go to only four sectors: electricity, gas, water and mining. Much of the jump in FDI in 2006 was also the result of acquisitions and mergers and has done little to create new employment in Chile. The Chilean Government has formed a Council on Innovation and Competition, which is tasked with identifying new sectors and industries to promote. It is hoped that this, combined with some tax reforms to encourage domestic and foreign investment in research and development, will bring in additional FDI and to new parts of the economy. As of 2006, Chile invested only 0.6% of its annual GDP in research and development (R&D). Even then, two-thirds of that was government spending. The fact that domestic and foreign companies spend almost nothing on R&D does not bode well for the Government of Chile's efforts to develop innovative, knowledge-based sectors. Additionally, on January 8, 2007, Chile was placed on the U.S. Trade Representative's Priority Watch List due to its poor record on protecting intellectual property rights. Chile is only the second U.S. FTA partner ever to be placed on the Priority Watch List. Chile has a poor and deteriorating record of protecting copyrighted music, films, and software. Combined with this is its institutional structure allowing local companies to produce and market pharmaceutical generics that violate existing patents. Beyond its general economic and political stability, the government also has encouraged the use of Chile as an "investment platform" for multinational corporations planning to operate in the region, but this will have limited value given the developing business climate in Chile itself. Chile's approach to foreign direct investment is codified in the country's Foreign Investment Law, which gives foreign investors the same treatment as Chileans. Registration is simple and transparent, and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official foreign exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital. While Chile and the EU have signed a double taxation treaty, no such agreement exists between the U.S. and Chile.

Mining was temporarily curtailed following an accident in which 33 miners were trapped after a cave-in at the San Jose mine[1] near Copiapo on August 5, 2010. A rescue attempt - bolstered by national pride at getting the men out alive - ended 67 days later on October 13 as the last of the men were pulled out to safety.[2][3]

Foreign Trade

Commercial Treaties, 2012.

2006 was a record year for Chilean trade. Total trade registered a 31% increase over 2005. During 2006, exports of goods and services totaled U.S. $58 billion, an increase of 41%. This figure was somewhat distorted by the skyrocketing price of copper. In 2006, copper exports reached a historical high of U.S. $33.3 billion. Imports totaled U.S. $35 billion, an increase of 17% compared to the previous year. Chile thus recorded a positive trade balance of U.S. $23 billion in 2006.

The main destinations for Chilean exports were the Americas (U.S. $39 billion), Asia (U.S. $27.8 billion) and Europe (U.S. $22.2 billion). Seen as shares of Chile's export markets, 42% of exports went to the Americas, 30% to Asia and 24% to Europe. Within Chile's diversified network of trade relationships, its most important partner remained the United States. Total trade with the U.S. was U.S. $14.8 billion in 2006. Since the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement went into effect on January 1, 2004, U.S.-Chilean trade has increased by 154%. Internal Government of Chile figures show that even when factoring out inflation and the recent high price of copper, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Chile has grown over 60% since then.

Total trade with Europe also grew in 2006, expanding by 42%. The Netherlands and Italy were Chile's main European trading partners. Total trade with Asia also grew significantly at nearly 31%. Trade with Korea and Japan grew significantly, but China remained Chile's most important trading partner in Asia. Chile's total trade with China reached U.S. $8.8 billion in 2006, representing nearly 66% of the value of its trade relationship with Asia.

The growth of exports in 2006 was due mainly to a strong increase in sales to the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. These three markets alone accounted for an additional U.S. $5.5 billion worth of Chilean exports. Chilean exports to the United States totaled U.S. $9.3 billion, representing a 37.7% increase compared to 2005 (U.S. $6.7 billion). Exports to the European Union were U.S. $15.4 billion, a 63.7% increase compared to 2005 (U.S. $9.4 billion). Exports to Asia increased from U.S. $15.2 billion in 2005 to U.S. $19.7 billion in 2006, a 29.9% increase.

During 2006, Chile imported U.S. $26 billion from the Americas, representing 54% of total imports, followed by Asia at 22%, and Europe at 16%. Mercosur members were the main suppliers of imports to Chile at U.S. $9.1 billion, followed by the United States with U.S. $5.5 billion and the European Union with U.S. $5.2 billion. From Asia, China was the most important exporter to Chile, with goods valued at U.S. $3.6 billion. Year-on-year growth in imports was especially strong from a number of countries—Ecuador (123.9%), Thailand (72.1%), Korea (52.6%), and China (36.9%).

Chile's overall trade profile has traditionally been dependent upon copper exports. The state-owned firm CODELCO is the world's largest copper-producing company, with recorded copper reserves of 200 years. Chile has made an effort to expand nontraditional exports. The most important non-mineral exports are forestry and wood products, fresh fruit and processed food, fishmeal and seafood, and wine.

Successive Chilean governments have actively pursued trade-liberalizing agreements. During the 1990s, Chile signed FTAs with Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Chile also concluded preferential trade agreements with Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. An association agreement with Mercosur—Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay—went into effect in October 1996. Continuing its export-oriented development strategy, Chile completed landmark free trade agreements in 2002 with the European Union and South Korea. Chile, as a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, is seeking to boost commercial ties to Asian markets. To that end, it has signed trade agreements in recent years with New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, India, China, and most recently Japan. In 2007, Chile plans to begin negotiations with Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia.

After two years of negotiations, the United States and Chile signed an agreement in June 2003 that will lead to completely duty-free bilateral trade within 12 years. The U.S.-Chile FTA entered into force January 1, 2004 following approval by the U.S. and Chilean congresses. The bilateral FTA has inaugurated greatly expanded U.S.-Chilean trade ties, with total bilateral trade jumping by 154% during the FTA's first three years.

Chile unilaterally lowered its across-the-board import tariff for all countries with which it does not have a trade agreement to 6% in 2003. Higher effective tariffs are charged only on imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar as a result of a system of import price bands. The price bands were ruled inconsistent with Chile's World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations in 2002, and the government has introduced legislation to modify them. Under the terms of the U.S.-Chile FTA, the price bands will be completely phased out for U.S. imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar within 12 years.

Chile is a strong proponent of pressing ahead on negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and is active in the WTO's Doha round of negotiations, principally through its membership in the G-20 and Cairns Group.

Finance

Chile's financial sector has grown quickly in recent years, with a banking reform law approved in 1997 that broadened the scope of permissible foreign activity for Chilean banks. The Chilean Government implemented a further liberalization of capital markets in 2001, and there is further pending legislation proposing further liberalization. Over the last ten years, Chileans have enjoyed the introduction of new financial tools such as home equity loans, currency futures and options, factoring, leasing, and debit cards. The introduction of these new products has also been accompanied by an increased use of traditional instruments such as loans and credit cards. Chile's private pension system, with assets worth roughly $70 billion at the end of 2006, has been an important source of investment capital for the capital market. Chile maintains one of the best credit ratings (S&P A+) in Latin America. There are three main ways for Chilean firms to raise funds abroad: bank loans, issuance of bonds, and the selling of stocks on U.S. markets through American Depository Receipts (ADRs). Nearly all of the funds raised through these means go to finance domestic Chilean investment. The government is required by law to run a fiscal surplus of at least 1% of GDP. In 2006, the Government of Chile ran a surplus of $11.3 billion, equal to almost 8% of GDP. The Government of Chile continues to pay down its foreign debt, with public debt only 3.9% of GDP at the end of 2006.

History

Discovery and colonial period

Pedro de Valdivia, founder of several cities and conqueror of Chile.
Bernardo O'Higgins, one of the founding fathers of Chile.

About 10,000 years ago, migrating Indians settled in fertile valleys and along the coast of what is now Chile. The Incas briefly extended their empire into what is now northern Chile, but the area's barrenness prevented extensive settlement. The first European to see Chilean land was Ferdinand Magellan when he discovered the Strait of Magellan in 1520, however the first one to arrive in Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors, who came from Peru seeking gold in 1535. The Spanish encountered hundreds of thousands of Indians from various cultures in the area that modern Chile now occupies. These cultures supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. The conquest of Chile began in earnest in 1540 and was carried out by Pedro de Valdivia, one of Francisco Pizarro's lieutenants, who founded the city of Santiago on February 12, 1541. Although the Spanish did not find the extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

19th Century, Independence, State Consolidation and Wars with neightbours

Fray Pedro Subercaseaux, Jura de la Independencia de Chile.
Diego Portales author of the 1833 Constitution which prioritized order over democracy.
Arturo Prat Chacón, the maximum naval hero of the Chilean Nation.
Sinking of the Esmeralda during the naval battle of Iquique.

The drive for independence from Spain was precipitated by usurpation of the Spanish throne by Napoleon's brother Joseph in 1808. A national junta in the name of Ferdinand—heir to the deposed king—was formed on September 18, 1810. The junta proclaimed Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy. A movement for total independence which José Miguel Carrera started soon won a wide following. After the Battle of Rancagua, a Spanish attempt to reimpose arbitrary rule started, during what was called the "Reconquista" led to a prolonged struggle.

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817, when an army led by Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile's most renowned patriot, and José de San Martín, hero of Argentine independence, crossed the Andes into Chile and defeated the royalists. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic under O'Higgins' leadership.

During the Ramón Freire Presidency in 1826 the last royalist bastion was defeated, the Chiloé archipelago and the Tantauco Treaty was signed between Chile and Spain.

Between 1823 and 1829 there was a period of Constitutional Attempts, and there were four of them.

The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial social structure, which was greatly influenced by family politics, the Roman Catholic Church and the 1833 Constitution made by Diego Portales. After the Civil War of 1829-30, a strong presidency emerged, but wealthy landowners remained extremely powerful.

Between 1836 and 1839, Chile fought a War against the Peru–Bolivian Confederation which Chile won and separated Peru and Bolivia again.

In 1865 and 1866 Chile, Peru and Ecuador fought against Spain in the Chincha Islands War, Chile and it's allies won.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the government in Santiago consolidated its position in the south by founding the Fort Bulnes in 1843 (near the current city of Punta Arenas in the Strait of Magellan) and incorporating the zone of the south of the Biobío river in a process called the Pacification of the Araucanía, the government plan was to building roads, schools, and public infrastructure where the Mapuche Indians live, they were incorporated as citizens, however the rebel Mapuches were crushed.

There was also a process of Colonization in which the Government gave German settlers lands in Valdivia and the Llanquihue Lake where they founded several towns and cities. To this day the German influence can be noted in cities like Valdivia, Puerto Varas, Frutillar, Puerto Octay, Nueva Braunau, Ensenada, Puerto Montt and Osorno.

In 1881, Chile signed a treaty with Argentina confirming Chilean sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan but also loosing its colonial rights over Eastern Patagonia. As a result of the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia (1879–83), Chile expanded its territory northward by almost one-third and acquired valuable nitrate deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence. After a Civil war in 1891 in which President José Manuel Balmaceda committed suicide, a parliamentary democracy was established, but degenerated into a system protecting the interests of the ruling oligarchy. In 1888 Chile incorporated Easter Island to the national territory.

20th Century

By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose. Continuing political and economic instability resulted with the rule of the quasidictatorial Gen. Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (1924–32). In June there was a Coup and between that month and September of 1932 there was an attempt to establish a Socialist Republic that failed. When constitutional rule was restored later that year, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party dominance (1932–52), the state increased its role in the economy. In 1940 Chile started to claim officially the Chilean Antarctic Territory.

In 1962 the "right-wing" President Jorge Alessandri started the agrarian reform in a small portion, that expropiated part of big land properties. This reform was deepened by the next two governments.

The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty," the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had accomplished many noteworthy objectives, but he had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.

He also made the "Chileanization of the copper" which introduced the State into the copper industry.

Unidad Popular Marxist Regime (1970-1973)

Main article: Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro in 1971.

In 1970, Senator Salvador Allende, a Marxist and member of Chile's Socialist Party, who headed the "Popular Unity" (UP) coalition of socialists, communists, radicals, and dissident Christian Democrats (the lasts ones supported him with the condition of respecting the laws and private property), won a plurality of votes in a three-way contest and was named President by the Chilean Congress. His program included the nationalization of private industries and banks, massive land expropriation, and collectivization, implementation of a Marxist education system, repartition of food collectively (with a limit of one stock per family). Allende's program also included the nationalization of U.S. interests in Chile's major copper mines.

Fidel Castro visited Chile in 1971 where he stayed for months. Allende said in the same year "The major role of a journalist is not to server the truth, but to server the revolution" and in 1972 "I'm the President of the Unidad Popular, but I'm not the president of all Chileans".

Elected with only 36% of the vote and by a plurality of only 36,000 votes, Allende never enjoyed majority support in the Chilean Congress or broad popular support. Domestic production declined; severe shortages of consumer goods, food, and manufactured products were widespread; and inflation reached 1,000% per annum. Mass demonstrations, recurring strikes, violence by both government supporters and opponents, and widespread rural unrest ensued in response to the general deterioration of the economy.

The 22th of August of 1973 the Chamber of Deputies called for a military intervention since the Allende's Government was Unconstitutional for not respecting basic laws like private property.[4] By the time the Christian Democrats stopped supporting Allende and started to support an intervention.

Carlos Altamirano, General Secretary of the Socialist Party in July 1973 called to "crush the opposition" and to "not negotiate with the enemies of Chile"[5] he also called for a violent Marxist revolution in 1968.

Military Government (1973-1990)

Main article: Augusto Pinochet regime (Chile, 1973–90)
General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, President of Chile (1973-1990), fighter against Marxism, father of Chile's development, and restorer of the order and the institutions.
Jaime Guzmán founder of the Independent Democrat Union party, writer of part of the 1980 Constitution and its complementary laws, including the binomial system.

A military coup overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973. As the armed forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende reportedly committed suicide. A military government, led by General Augusto Pinochet, took over control of the country. The first years of the regime in particular were marked by serious human rights violations against leftist terrorists who wanted a violent Marxist revolution. The Rettig Report chronicles 2,279 politically motivated killings under Pinochet's reign, few of them weren't involved in Communist armed groups.[6] A new Constitution was approved by a plebiscite on September 11, 1980, and General Pinochet became President of the Republic for an 8-year term. The Constitution was mainly writed by Jaime Guzmán who also founded the Independent Democrat Union. In its later years, the regime gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech, and association, to include trade union activity. In contrast to its authoritarian political rule, the military government pursued decidedly laissez-faire economic policies.

Milton Friedman said,

  • "... the really extraordinary thing about the Chilean case was that a military government followed the opposite of military policies. The military is distinguished from the ordinary economy by the fact that it's a top-down organization. The general tells the colonel, the colonel tells the captain, and so on down, whereas a market is a bottom-up organization. The customer goes into the store and tells the retailer what he wants; the retailer sends it back up the line to the manufacturer and so on. So the basic organizational principles in the military are almost the opposite of the basic organizational principles of a free market and a free society. And the really remarkable thing about Chile is that the military adopted the free-market arrangements instead of the military arrangements."[7]

During its 17 years in power, Chile moved away from economic statism toward a largely free market economy that fostered an increase in domestic and foreign private investment. In a plebiscite on October 5, 1988, General Pinochet was denied a second 8-year term as president. Chileans voted for elections to choose a new president and the majority of members of a two-chamber congress. The Constitution was amended to ease provisions for future amendments to the Constitution.

Return to Democracy

The five Chilean Presidents between the years 1990 and 2022 (two of them were elected twice in non-consecutive terms).

On December 14, 1989, Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, the candidate of a coalition of 17 political parties called the Concertación, was elected president. Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994 and was succeeded by another Christian Democrat, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (son of the previous President), leading the same coalition, for a 6-year term. Ricardo Lagos Escobar of the Socialist Party and the Party for Democracy led the Concertación to a narrower victory in 2000 presidential elections. In September 2005, President Ricardo Lagos signed into law several constitutional amendments passed by Congress. These include eliminating the positions of appointed senators and senators for life, granting the President authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces, and reducing the presidential term from six to four years.

On January 15, 2006 Michelle Bachelet Jeria (center-left) won the elections against businessman Sebastián Piñera (center-right) and she took office in March 11, 2006, becoming the first woman to become President of Chile. In 2009 Sebastián Piñera Echenique won the presidency, been the first center-right candidate to do so after the Pinochet regime. In 2013 Bachelet won the office again and Piñera in 2017. Presidents in Chile can't have consecutive two terms, they need to wait another election.

Chile's congressional elections were governed by a unique binomial system made by Jaime Guzmán until 2018 that rewarded coalition slates. Each coalition could run two candidates for the two Senate and two Deputy seats apportioned to each electoral district. Historically, the two largest coalitions (Concertación and Alianza) splat most of the seats in a district. Only if the leading coalition ticket out-polls the second-place coalition by a margin of more than 2-to-1 did the winning coalition gain both seats.

Sports

Football is the most popular sport by far, however the national sport is the Rodeo.

Chile won the Copa América 2015 and Copa América Centenario 2016, obtaining its first two Football titles.

The Chilean mountains have important ski centers like Valle Nevado.

The Arica city in the north has the best waves of the country, something ideal for surfing.

References

See also


Copyright Details
License: This work is in the Public Domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code
Source: File available from the United States Federal Government [2].