Chile

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Chile
Republic of Chile
República de Chile
File:Flag Chile.png
File:Locator Chile.pngLocation of Chile
CapitalSantiago
Government TypeFederal Republic
LanguagesSpanish (Official) Mapudungun

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile (República de Chile) is a country located in southwestern South America. Chile is one of the southernmost countries in the world and borders the Pacific Ocean to the west, Peru to the north & Carolina to the east and south. The country's capital and largest city is Santiago, and its national language is Spanish.

History

Early History

The first humans to inhabit the Chilean lands are estimated to have arrived around 10,000 years ago. From these nomads, various distinguished groups developed in the region, but they can be divided into three groups: the Northerners, influenced by the Inca presence on the area, the Araucanians, people who lived primarily from agriculture in the central-south region of Chile, and the Patagonia nomadic groups.

The inhabitants of southern Chile were the natives which resisted the most Spanish, and later British, attempts of invasion of their lands. Many areas of Patagonia were only de facto controlled in the late 19th century.

The Inca Empire managed to hold territories over northern Chile for a brief time. Due to the distance from Cusco and the lesser amount of time compared to other regions, the Incas were incapable of establishing a strong cultural presence.

Spanish Rule

Under the Viceroyalty of Peru, Chile received the status of Captaincy General of Chile in 1541. This title lasted until Peruvian independence was declared in 1875. During colonial times, Chilean society, just like the rest of Hispanic America, was based on a caste system. The Peninsulares and the Criollo, the two top classes and most privileged, had control over politics and the economy. Below were the Mestizos and Indians, although free, lacked wealth. On the down bottom were the enslaved.

In the early stages of colonization, Chile's most notable economic activity was mining, but after an indigenous uprising in the late 1500s, the mining settlements were abandoned and the economy shifted to agriculture and husbandry.

Peruvian Rule

The last governor of the Captaincy General of Chile, Juan Pérez Eyzaguirre, was a member of the Independent Council of Peru. Once Peruvian independence was declared in 1875, the now Province of Chile joined the newly established Kingdom of Peru.

During the war for independence, Chilean forces fought especially around the city of Santiago, where they managed to prevent the city from falling. The Spanish had an initial success, due naval superiority, the port of Valparaíso was taken, but once in land, Chilean forces had the advantage of knowledge of the terrain and narrow paths leading to the main towns.

After the independence of Peru, things came back to a similar way to the colonial times. The Criollo were now the only elite, since Peninsulares were expelled from the country, slavery was abolished soon after the independence, but little was done to integrated the former enslaved into society. Wealthy disparity was enormous and social ascension from the lower classes was almost impossible.

Politically, Peru was a centralized government, so the province didn’t have enough autonomy to solve more localized issues, therefore ideals of reformation of the political system of the country soon popped up among the educated. Economically, the Province of Chile had mining and growth of wheat as its main activities

Path towards Independence

Chile gained independence from Peru in 1919 as a condition of the Treaty of Leonabelle, after a rebellion in response, among other factors, to the 2nd Colombian-Peruvian War (1917-1919), which was supported by Colombia and Britain.

Before gaining independence Chile was the southernmost province of the Kingdom of Peru whose government was a unitary monarchy with much of the political power in the country laying in the capital Cusco. During the late 19th century political organizations & labor unions throughout Chile started gaining large popular support by advocating a less centralized more federal government (taking inspiration from many other nearby South American nations). The largest of these organizations was the 'Party for Reform in Chile' (El Partido por la Reforma en Chile) who campaigned across the province advocated their vision of a federal kingdom of Peru where the provinces could have much more autonomy to solve localized issues with less interference from the far-off capital; this party grew increasingly popular in the decades leading up to independence especially amongst liberals, union workers & the province's Native American communities. Collectively all the groups seeking federalist reforms in Chile were known (informally) as the Reformists, and were concentrated especially in the city of Santiago.

In the early 20th century, the Reformist cause gained force due to the poor Peruvian economy and later the war with Colombia. When the 2nd Colombian-Peruvian War broke out, Reformist groups started to write anti-war articles in local newspapers and organization large scale public protests. The war was seen by Chileans across the political spectrum to be driven by the arrogance & greed of the Peruvian central government. The Peruvian government fearing that the political unrest in Chile would spread to other regions banned public & private political gatherings, established curfews and instituted a large scale censorship on the press. These actions, ironically, invigorated the Reformist cause and turned the Chilean public increasingly against the central government leading to even more protests in the province's main urban centers.

In the fall of 1918, after a violent response from the national forces over a protest in Santiago, the Chileans throughout the city became outraged and confrontations with central government forces in the street started to get violent. Many public buildings were vandalized and looted for supplies while central government & pro-Peruvian politicians were run out of the region by violent mobs. After only one day of fighting, Santiago fell to reformist aligned protestors. After the capital's demise, other towns and cities across central Chile and later the Chaco followed the same path. Due to the war in the Amazon and the long distance needed to be crossed by national forces from the country's heart to Chile, rebel forces held an advantage. In late 1918, Britain and Colombia started to supply the Reformists through the port of Valparaíso. From this moment until the end of the conflict in April 1919, the rebels took a guerilla fighting approach, engaging in surprise confrontations in the Andes. In 1919 during the aftermath of the 2nd Colombian-Peruvian, the treaty of Leonabelle was signed and Chilean independence was recognized by Peru as one of the peace conditions.