Jaime Eyzaguirre

Jaime Eyzaguirre

Portrait of Eyzaguirre by Jorge Delano Frederik.
Born (1908-12-21)21 December 1908
Santiago, Chile
Died 17 September 1968(1968-09-17) (aged 59)
Fields History of Chile, Hispanic studies
Notable students Gabriel Guarda
Jaime Guzmán
Armando de Ramón
Hugo Montes
Ricardo Lagos
Andrés Bianchi
Influences Manuel Lacunza
Ramiro de Maeztu
Léon Bloy
Influenced Gonzalo Vial Correa
Notable awards Order of Isabella the Catholic
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Civil Order of Alfonso X, the Wise

Jaime Eyzaguirre (21 December 1908 – 17 September 1968) was a Chilean lawyer, essayist and historian. He is variously recognized as a writer of traditionalist or conservative[upper-alpha 1] historiography in his country.[1][2]

Early life and marriage

Eyzaguirre was born into a religious upper class family in Santiago. As young man he studied law in the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC) and was member of the Catholic student organization Asociación Nacional de Estudiantes Católicos.[upper-alpha 2] During his studies he was influenced by the Jesuit Fernando Vives and the writings of Manuel Lacunza.[2]

Eyzaguirre started to court Adriana Philippi[upper-alpha 3] in 1929 and married her in 1934.[3]

Essayist, historian and teacher

The PUC founded its Pedagogy School (Escuela de Pedagogía) in 1943 and contracted Eyzaguirre to be in charge of the History of Chile (Historia de Chile) classes. Most of the students of the time were priests, nuns and brothers. He was assisted by Mario Góngora is some classes.[4] Apart from this part-time work Eyzaguirre was also part-time teacher at Liceo Alemán.[5] At the Pedagogy School Eyzaguirre met Ricardo Krebs, who was also history teacher but had rather few contacts, and introduced him to the Catholic intellectual elite of Santiago.[4] His salary is reported to have been low at PUC and when "raised" it mostly had to do with the currency inflation experienced in Chile. Nevertheless he was allowed to rent a small local owned by the Archbishopric of Santiago at a relatively low price. Here, Eyzaguirre ran a small bookshop called El Arbol until the late 1950s when it was closed. Despite his economic hardships he twice refused to be assigned ambassador to Spain. Eyzaguirre thought any diplomatic work he did would need to compete with his work as historian and therefore he would not be able to accomplish a dedicated work in diplomacy. At the same time the writings of Léon Bloy provided him with comfort about his economic hardship.[5]

O'Higgins and Spain

A milestone in the work of Eyzaguirre was his essay O'Higgins that won a prize in 1946 to commemorate the centenary of the death of Bernardo O'Higgins. This was the first written work that granted Eyzaguirre some income.[5] The prize reward helped Eyzaguirre to finance a trip to Spain in 1947.[6] This seven months long journey reinforced his leanings for Spanish heritage in his historiography.[7] In Spain Eyzaguirry held a course on Chilean political and constitutional history at Universidad Central de Madrid. His stay in Spain made him target of attacks in Chile from those critical of the Franco regime, in particular from people associated with the National Falange party (not to be confused with the Spanish movement). Personally, Eyzaguirre admired the stoic stance of the isolated Francoist Spain against both Soviet and Western pressure but did never propagandize the Franco regime in Chile.[8]

Back in Chile

For a time he was teacher of Jaime Guzmán.[9] When the journal Historia was established in 1961 Eyzaguirre served as its first director.[10]

Generally Eyzaguirre dealt with similar topics as Lewis Hanke. He despised 19th century writers such as José Victorino Lastarria and Domingo Faustino Sarmiento because he considered they "ruptured" the historical links to Spain and characterized their views as "apostasy".[11]

The work of Eyzaguirre was criticized by historians associated with left-wing historiography. Mario Céspedes said in reference to Eyzaguirre's writings on the conquest of Chile that the conquest was a search for indian labourers and "not a chivalrous journey". On the essay O'Higgins Céspedes wrote that it lacked "the social and economic causes of the facts". Historian Julio César Jobet made a more harsh criticism accusing Eyzaguirre of "exalting backward doctrines and institutions" and undermining the influence of "French rationalist and critical thought in the development and progress of Chile".[12]

Major works


  1. This label groups Eyzaguirre with other Chilean historians considered conservative such as Alberto Edwards, Francisco Antonio Encina and Mario Góngora.[1]
  2. Most students of the university were members of this organization. Including Eyzaguirre's contemporaries like Alberto Hurtado, Clotario Blest, Eduardo Frei and Mario Góngora.[2]
  3. Adriana came from a family of scientists. Her paternal grandfather was Federico Philippi son of Rodolfo Amando Philippi both of whom were naturalists. Her maternal grandfather was Vicente Izquierdo, a physician, botanist and entomologist. The father of Adriana, Julio Philippi Bihl, was a lawyer, economist and politician. She was Catholic as Julio Philippi was a Catholic convert from Lutheranism.[3]


  1. 1 2 Góngora et al., pp. 201–202
  2. 1 2 3 "Jaime Eyzaguirre (1908-1968)". Memoria Chilena (in Spanish). Biblioteca Nacional de Chile. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  3. 1 2 Góngora et al., pp. 140–142
  4. 1 2 Góngora et al., pp. 177–178
  5. 1 2 3 Góngora et al., pp. 156–160
  6. Góngora et al., p. 194
  7. Góngora et al., p. 154
  8. Góngora et al., pp. 225–226
  9. Moncada Durruti, Belén (2006). Jaime Guzmán: una democracia contrarevolucionaria : el político de 1964 a 1980 (in Spanish). Santiago: RIL editores. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-956-284-520-5.
  10. "Historia". Memoria Chilena (in Spanish). Biblioteca Nacional de Chile. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  11. Góngora et al., pp. 221–222
  12. Góngora et al., pp. 197–198


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