Chile: History

  1. 1541

    Pedro de Valdivia begins the conquest of Chile and founds the city of Santiago.

  2. 1818

    Chile proclaims independence after an army led by Bernardo O’Higgins and Jose de San Martin defeat the Spanish.

  3. 1883

    The War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia ends, with Chile expanding its territory northward by a third. Valuable nitrate deposits are acquired with the new territory.

  4. 1932

    A radical party, representing the middle class, emerges as the dominant political party for the next 20 years. The state increases its role in the economy, introducing policies based on the United States New Deal reforms.

  5. 1964

    Eduardo Frei Montalva of the Christian Democrat party is elected as president and introduces far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers

  6. 1970

    Senator Salvador Allende becomes the first democratically elected Marxist president in the world. His policies included extensive nationalization of private industries and banks and acceleration of agrarian reform.

  7. 1973

    General Augusto Pinochet leads a coup against Allende, eventually taking control of Chile. He establishes a dictatorship marked by serious human rights violations, the stifling of civil liberties, and political expression.

  8. 1988

    Chileans vote for elections to choose a new president in a referendum, effectively ending Pinochet’s rule.

  9. 2006

    Chile and China sign a free-trade agreement, China’s first in South America.

  10. 2008

    Relations between Chile and Peru are strained because of a dispute over maritime territory.

  11. 2013

    Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru agree to end most trade tariffs between the countries.


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