Gabriel Salazar

Gabriel Salazar
Born (1936-01-31)31 January 1936
Santiago, Chile
Fields History of Chile, social history
Influences Mario Góngora
E. P. Thompson
Notable awards Chilean National History Award (2006)

Gabriel Salazar Vergara, (Santiago 31 January 1936) is a Chilean historian. He is known in Chile for his study of social history and interpretations of social movements, particularly the recent student protests of 2006 and 2011–12.

Salazar was born into a lower class religious Catholic family. His family lived in the Santiago shanty-town (población) Manuel Montt.[1] He studied history, sociology and philosophy at Universidad de Chile, and for time he was assistant of historian Mario Góngora.[1] Salazar used to be a member of the Revolutionary Left Movement until 1973.[2] In that year he was tortured in Villa Grimaldi by the military.[2] Having been released from a military prison camp in 1976 he went into exile in the United Kingdom. There he obtained a scholarship for continued studies in University of Hull. He obtained a Ph.D. in Economic and Social History from that university in 1984. Next year he returned to Chile. Relatively unknown Salazar's breakthrough came in 1985. His subject of study has included peons, labourers, proletarians, child huachos[upper-alpha 1] and women.[1] Salazar is one of the founders of the historiographic current known as Nueva Historia Social. Salazar considers history as a useful tool for social action. In interview he has declared himself a "leftist, critical social historian" and rejected the label "Marxist".[1]

Particular views

Salazar describes the 2011-2012 Chilean student conflict as being the continuation of a long strife between popular citizen movements and civic and military dictatorships.[3] In October 2011, Salazar led a campaign aiming to hold a citizen's plebiscite on the demands behind the 2011-2012 Chilean student protests.[4]

Salazar has been critical of various historical figures like José Miguel Carrera[5] and Diego Portales.[upper-alpha 2] In addition Salazar has sparkled controversy by his criticism of contemporary student leader Camila Vallejo.[upper-alpha 3]



  1. In Chilean Spanish a "huacho" is person who is raised without one of the parents, usually without the a father.
  2. Salazar is one of various historians with a negative assessment of Portales including Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna and Sergio Villalobos.[6]
  3. In June 2012 Salazar stated that student leader Camila Vallejo should quit the Communist Party of Chile "if she was intelligent enough".[7][8]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Gabriel Salazar Vergara (1936 - )". Memoria Chilena (in Spanish). Biblioteca Nacional de Chile. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Gabriel Salazar, Premio Nacional de Historia: "Si Camila Vallejo es inteligente debe abandonar el PC"". El Mercurio de Calama (in Spanish). 17 June 2012. p. 46. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  3. Salazar, Gabriel (6 August 2011). "Perspectivas históricas del movimiento social-ciudadano". The Clinic (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  4. "Premio Nacional de Historia y actores encabezan campaña de apoyo a plebiscito por la Educación". Radio Biobío (in Spanish). 7 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  5. Marín, Pablo (15 October 2015). "José Miguel Carrera, el prócer en el siglo XXI". La Tercera (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  6. Prieto Larraín, María Cristina (2011). "Chapter 2: Shaping Chile's Traditional Self-Image of Exceptionality". Branding the Chilean Nation: Socio-Cultural Change, National Identity and International Image (PDF) (Thesis).
  7. "Salazar aclara: "Camila Vallejo no es una gran líder política, pero lo puede ser"". Emol (in Spanish). 18 June 2012.
  8. "Gabriel Salazar precisa dichos sobre Vallejo: "no es una líder política y lo puede ser"". La Tercera (in Spanish). 18 June 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2016..

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