Timeline of Chilean history

This is a timeline of Chilean history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Chile and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Chile. See also the list of governors and presidents of Chile.

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.

16th century

Year Date Event
1502 The Inca Emperor Túpac Yupanqui reached Itata River
1513 Ñuñez de Balboa discovers the Southern Sea (Pacific Ocean). Florida joins the union.
1520 Ferdinand Magellan is passing through the Straits of Magellan, and becomes the first European to describe Patagonia.
1532 Francisco Pizarro arrives in Peru from Panamá. He begins the Conquest of the Inca Empire and captures Emperor Atahualpa during the Battle of Cajamarca.
1536 Diego de Almagro arrives in Chile from Peru, passing over the Andes into the valley of Copiapó, and explores the central region of Chile as far as what will later become Santiago de Chile. An expedition sent southwards ends in the Battle of Reynogüelén with native Mapuches, which is considered to be the first battle of the Arauco War.
1541 Pedro de Valdivia founds Santiago de Chile. In the following years, he, and others sent by him, found La Serena and Concepción.
1546 Uprising of Michimalonco, Mapuche chief: Santiago destroyed. Mapuche military leader Lautaro is captured by the Spanish.
1552 Founding of Valdivia. Lautaro, after six years' imprisonment by the Spanish, escapes and teaches his people military strategy, including riding horses.
1553 Mapuche uprising under Lautaro. Pedro de Valdivia is killed in the Disaster of Tucapel.
1557 Death of Lautaro, Caupolicán assumes the role of Mapuche toqui (wartime chief).
1558 Caupolicán is captured and executed by impalement.
1564 Concepción is unsuccessfully besieged by native Mapuches.
1565 A Real Audiencia is established in Concepción. The Audiencia is abolished in 1575.
1567 Chiloé Archipelago is claimed by Spain. Castro is founded on the main island and becomes the southernmost European settlement at that time.
1574 Spanish captain Juan Fernández discovers the Juan Fernández Islands.
1575 1575 Valdivia earthquake. As in the 1960 Valdivia earthquake, the Riñihue Lake dams.
1578 Francis Drake attacks the coast of Chile during his circumnavigation of the earth; La Serena and Valparaíso are plundered.
1583 Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa founds the settlement Rey Don Felipe in the Strait of Magellan. By 1587 the settlement is in ruins.
1598 "Disaster of Curalaba". Governor Martín García Óñez de Loyola killed in a Mapuche ambush.
1599 The Real Situado, an annual payment from Potosí to Chile, is established.

17th century

Year Date Event
1602 General uprising of the Mapuches under Pelantaro. All cities south of the Bío-Bío River are demolished, in what is now called Destruction of the Seven Cities.
1604 A fort established in 1602 at the ruins of Valdivia is abandoned.
1608 Jesuits arrive to Chiloé.
1612 Beginning of the Defensive War phase (promoted by Luis de Valdivia) in the Arauco War.
1639 The alcabala is reestablished after it had been suspended since the Disaster of Curalaba in 1598.
1641 The first large shipment of Fitzroya wood leaves Chiloé Archipelago.[1]
1643 A Dutch expedition plunders Carelmapu (May 20) and Castro and occupies the ruins of Valdivia from August 24 to October 28.
1645 Repopulation of Valdivia and construction of the Valdivian Fort System, Valdivia becomes part of Viceroyalty of Peru.
1647 Santiago is struck by an earthquake.
1655 A general insurrection moves for some years the frontier between the Spaniards and the mapuches from the Bío-Bío River north to the Maule River.
1664 The Viceroalty of Peru estimates 30,000 to 42,000 Spaniards to have died in Chile of which half would have died by the direct consequences of the Arauco War.
1667 Governor Francisco de Meneses is destitute after accusations of immorality against him.
1672 The jesuits established in Chiloé Island founds a mission in the Nahuel Huapi Lake that lasts until 1717.
1680 Bartholomew Sharp destroys and pillages La Serena.
1681 By royal decree, the Atacama desert is declared to be the border between the Captain-Generalship of Chile and the Viceroyalty of Peru.
1687 Chilean wheat exports to Peru increase since Peru is affected by a major earthquake and plague.

18th century

Year Date Event
1703 A Jesuit mission is established on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake.
1709 Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, is rescued from the Robinson Crusoe Island in the Juan Fernández Archipelago.
1712 10 February A Huilliche rebellion occurs in the Chiloé Archipelago.
1717 The Jesuit mission at Nahuel Huapi Lake is destroyed.
1722 5 April Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is discovered by Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen.
1723 After 30 years of peace, the War of Arauco resumes with a Mapuche uprising.
1726 A Mapuche-Spanish peace treaty is signed at a parliament in Negrete.
1740 Valdivia is reincorporated as part of the Captaincy General of Chile.
1741 HMS Wager is wrecked off the coast of Western Patagonia.
1749 A fort and prison is established on Robinson Crusoe Island of Juan Fernández Archipelago.[2]
1751 An earthquake affects all of Chile between Concepción and Talca.
1767 The Spanish empire exiles all Jesuits. Ancud is founded. Chiloé becomes part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
1771 The Franciscan order assumes the religious functions of the Jesuits in Chiloé.
1776 The territories of Cuyo, previously governed as part of Chile, become part of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. (See History of Argentina.)
1778 Direct commerce between Chile and Spain is allowed.
1789 Start of the French Revolution, which affected Europe and the Americas with its ideas.
1792 A Huilliche rebellion occurs in the surroundings of Río Bueno.
1793 The parliaments of Negrete and Las Canoas between Spanish and native Mapuche and Huilliche are celebrated. The native chiefs accept the Spanish king as their de jure sovereign, but their own independence is also confirmed.
1796 Osorno is officially repopulated after that works begun in 1792. The city had previously been destroyed by the indigenous mapuche in 1602.

19th century

Year Date Event
1808 Francisco Antonio García Carrasco is the unpopular Governor of Chile. The Spanish king Ferdinand VII is imprisoned by Napoleon during his invasion of Spain.
1810 Imitating the juntista movement of the rest of Latin America, the criollos (people of Spanish ancestry, but not born in Spain) of Santiago de Chile proclaim a governing Junta.
1811 Tired of being circumvented by political intrigues, José Miguel Carrera takes power by military means and initiates a dictatorship.
1812 Hostilities begin between the moderados, led by Bernardo O'Higgins, and the exaltados, led by Carrera. Carrera institutes the first Chilean national symbols (flag, coat of arms, and national anthem), and Fray Camilo Henríquez begins to publish the Aurora de Chile, the first Chilean newspaper. The Chilean Constitution of 1812 comes into effect. Founding of the Logia Lautaro.
1813 The Spanish send military expeditions (under Antonio Pareja and Gabino Gaínza) from the Viceroyalty of Peru. In the ensuing battles O'Higgins rises to be seen as a figure of great stature, overshadowing the continually less popular Carrera, who ultimately resigns. Francisco de la Lastra becomes Supreme Director.
1814 The "Disaster of Rancagua". Mariano Osorio, in command of a third Spanish expedition, defeats O'Higgins (October 1 2). Osorio reconquers Santiago for Spain. Exodus of Chilean patriots to Mendoza, Argentina, where they receive the support of José de San Martín. Those patriots who remain in Chile are captured by the Spaniards are deported to the Juan Fernández Islands. Osorio is confirmed Governor of Chile by the Viceroy Fernando de Abascal of Peru. The talaveras, under the command of San Bruno, install a regime of terror extending to those merely suspected of sympathy for the Chilean cause.
1815 Guerrilla resistance against the Spanish begins, led by Manuel Rodríguez Erdoiza, and other spies such as Justo Estay. Increasing enmity between Osorio and Abascal leads Abascal to replace Osorio with Casimiro Marcó del Pont.
1817 Battle of Chacabuco. José de San Martín and O'Higgins defeat Rafael Maroto, reconquering Santiago. Captain San Bruno, hated chief of the talaveras, is captured and less than 24 hours later executed by firing squad. O'Higgins becomes dictator.
1818 O'Higgins signs the Chilean Declaration of Independence (February 12). Shortly afterwards, in the Battle of Maipú, O'Higgins defeats a new military expedition led by Mariano Osorio, and Chile definitively obtains independence from Spain (April 5). The rivalry between O'Higgins and Manuel Rodríguez ends with the ambush and assassination of the latter in Tiltil. The brothers Juan José and Luis Carrera are shot in Argentina.
1820 Valdivia is captured by Lord Cochrane who commands the Chilean navy. The Freedom Expedition of Perú is organised by the government of Chile, and manages to free some parts of Peru from Spanish rule.
1821 José Miguel Carrera arrested as a montonero (mounted rebel/bandit) in Argentina, and executed in Mendoza.
1822 The Chilean Constitution of 1822 comes into effect.
1823 Ramón Freire leads a military expedition from Concepción to Santiago and forces O'Higgins to resign. He goes into exile in Peru, where he dies in 1842. Freire assumes power.
1825 Taking advantage of the un-surveyed border, and ignoring the royal decree of 1681 and the principal uti possidetis, Simón Bolívar grants the port of Cobija to Bolivia. This gives Bolivia an outlet to the sea between Chile and Peru, which it will retain until the War of the Pacific.
1826 Freire incorporates Chiloé, the last area under Spanish control, into Chile. He later resigns, initiating an interregnum known as The Anarchy. First attempt in Chile of federal (as against centralized) government, led by the first president of Chile Manuel Blanco Encalada, and the federalist José Miguel Infante.
1828 Francisco Antonio Pinto assumes power after the resignation of Encalada and his predecessors. Chilean Constitution of 1828.
1829 Chilean Civil War of 1829. After several battles, Joaquín Prieto defeats Ramón Freire in the Battle of Lircay.
1830 Diego Portales begins to remodel Chilean institutions, converting the country into an authoritarian republic.
1831 José Joaquín Prieto becomes president of Chile. He will serve two consecutive five-year terms. With him, the so-called decenios (decade-long reigns) begin, which continue until 1871. This 30-year Conservative Party hegemony is sometimes referred to as the Authoritarian Republic.
1832 Discovery of mineral deposits in Chañarcillo, and the beginning of the rise of silver in what was then el Norte Chico and now constitutes the Atacama and Coquimbo regions of Chile. The mining fortunes constitute an important source of power in the following decades.
1833 Chilean Constitution of 1833. "Portalian" that is, inspired by Diego Portales definitively fixed Chilean institutions.
1834 Charles Darwin lands at Valparaíso, during the second voyage of HMS Beagle. He also visits Santiago.
1835 Southern Chile is affected by the worst earthquake for several decades on 20 February, an event witnessed by Charles Darwin.[3] Darwin visits Valdivia, Concepción and Mendoza.
1836 Diego Portales declares the war on the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation.
1837 Diego Portales is assassinated by mutinous soldiers in Quillota. A Chilean military expedition debarks in Perú, beginning the War of the Confederation.
1839 Battle of Yungay and defeat of the Confederation.
1840 The Vatican acknowledges the Independence of Chile
1841 Manuel Bulnes, victorious marshal of the Battle of Yungay, elected president of Chile.
1843 University of Chile founded. Fort Bulnes established, the first Chilean presence on the Strait of Magellan.
1844 Spain recognizes the Independence of Chile
1848 Founding of Punta Arenas in the Strait of Magellan
1851 José María de la Cruz revolts in the southern provinces of Chile. Bulnes crushes the revolutionary attempt and signs the treaty of Purapel with the revolutionaries. Manuel Montt becomes the third of the decenal presidents.
1856 The Dispute of Sacristán ("Cuestión del Sacristán"). An apparently trivial question of ecclesiastical discipline divides the Conservative Party into secular and ultra-Catholic factions, which lays the ground for their political defeat in the elections of 1861.
1857 The Civil Code of Chile comes into effect; it will become a model for Latin American legal codes down to the present day.
1859 Chilean Revolution of 1859. Pedro León Gallo, radical revolutionary of Copiapó, and others are defeated by the government forces. However, as a consequence, Antonio Varas renounces to his candidature.
1861 José Joaquín Pérez of the Liberal Party elected president. His party will retain power until the Chilean Revolution of 1891.
1863 A French adventurer proclaims himself Orélie Antoine I, King of Araucanía. After a short time he is arrested by the Chileans and deported in the pacification of Araucanía.
1866 Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia at war with Spain. The port of Valparaíso is bombed by the Spanish. A treaty of limits (borders) of 1866 is signed with Bolivia.
1871 A constitutional reform prohibits re-election, resulting in the end of the decenios. Governments of five years duration persist until 1925, except for the premature death of Pedro Montt in 1910.
1874 Another treaty of limits is signed with Bolivia due to political tensions.
1879 The War of the Pacific begins with Chilean troops occupying the then-Bolivian port city of Antofagasta. Bolivia's ally Peru attempts to mediate, but Chile refuses to negotiate and Peru enters the war on the side of Bolivia. Chile captures the provinces of Antofagasta from Bolivia and Tarapacá from Peru.
1880 The United States attempts to mediate in the Lackawanna Conference, but both sides refuse to negotiate.
1881 Chilean troops occupy Lima, the capital of Perú. Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina.
1883 The Treaty of Ancón is signed with Perú to end the war, but hostilities with Bolivia continue. Law of Civil Matrimony adopted. This secularization was fiercely resisted by the Roman Catholic Church. The "Pacification of Araucanía" ends, and according to some historians this concludes the long-running War of Arauco.
1884 The War of the Pacific ends with the signing of a truce with Bolivia. Chile's territorial gains allow the mining of saltpeter in the conquered regions, leading to great national prosperity for Chile. Treaty called "Pacto de Tregua".
1888 Policarpo Toro leads a naval expedition to annex Easter Island. The Catholic University of Chile is privately founded.
1890 The Malleco Viaduct is opened and railway traffic expands further south during the following decades.
1891 1891 Chilean Civil War. The constitutional president José Manuel Balmaceda is overthrown by troops favorable to the National Congress. The beginning of "Parliamentarism".
1895 Easter Island is rented to Compañía Explotadora de Isla de Pascua.

20th century

Year Date Event
1904 "Meat" Massacre in Santiago. The workers revolt against the central government due to an increase in the cost of living, including the price of meat. The government responds sending in the army. Two days of riots follow, during which hundreds of civilians are killed in street fighting.
1907 Massacre of the Escuela Santa María de Iquique; soldiers fire on saltpeter workers and their unarmed associates. It will be years before the workers, terrorized by the brutal repression, resume the struggle for their rights.
1910 Centenary of Chilean independence. Celebrations are darkened by the death of President Pedro Montt, the only president between 1831 and 1925 did not serve for a full five-year term.
1914 15 August

1 November
The Panama Canal opens; with Atlantic–Pacific shipping redirected to the new canal, the formerly crucial port of Valparaíso enters an economic decline.

First World War: A German naval squadron decisively defeats a British squadron at the Battle of Coronel, off the coast of Chile.
1920 Arturo Alessandri Palma is elected president, indicating a rise to power by the Chilean middle classes.
1924 Chile's first income tax is levied.
1925 After intense political agitation the Chilean Constitution of 1925 is adopted, only slightly less authoritarian than that of 1833. The Impuesto Global Complementario, a graduated income tax, is introduced.
1927 In a bloodless coup, Carlos Ibáñez del Campo takes the presidency by force during great political instability. He subsequently governs as a dictator until 1931.

The corps of Carabineros paramilitary police is founded.

1929 The economic crash of 1929 strikes Chile with more force than any other country on earth.
1931 The deep economic crisis obliges Ibáñez del Campo to step down. A series of civilian governments and military juntas follows, some of which last no more than a few days.
1932 The period of political anarchy ends with the return to power of Arturo Alessandri Palma.
1938 Massacre of Seguro Obrero: the Carabineros execute members of the fascist National Socialist Movement of Chile (Nacistas), after the fascists attempted to oust the government in a coup d'état.
1939 The Radical Party gains power, which they will retain until 1952.
1940 President Pedro Aguirre Cerda registers the first Chilean claims in Antarctica.
1945 Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1946 Gabriel González Videla becomes president, backed by a broad alliance of parties, including the Radicals and Communists. Once in power, he accedes to pressure from the United States and promulgates the Law of Permanent Defense of the Democracy, also known as the Ley Maldita ("accursed law"). The law outlawed his former allies the Communists, some of whom were placed in concentration camps in Pisagua. Poet Pablo Neruda is hounded into exile.
1952 Carlos Ibáñez del Campo returns to the presidency, this time via the ballot box, ending the era of the Radical Party.
1958 Argentine forces destroy a Chilean lighthouse during the Snipe incident.
1960 The Great Chilean earthquake is the most intense earthquake ever recorded, with a magnitude of 9.5 and an epicenter near Valdivia.
1964 Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva becomes president, proclaiming the so-called "Revolution in Liberty". His election campaign was largely (and secretly) funded by the CIA, an intelligence agency of the United States.
1970 Salvador Allende is elected president. The election campaign was highly polarised and subject to covert interference by foreign intelligence agencies (the CIA and KGB). Allende's leftist orientation greatly displeases the government of the United States.
1971 Poet Pablo Neruda receives Nobel Prize for Literature.
1973 The armed forces, carabineros, and others stage a violent coup by overthrowing Allende, who dies in the course of the coup. Some historians believe that the coup was supported or encouraged by the CIA. In the aftermath, Augusto Pinochet establishes himself as the head of a military junta. The subsequent repression of leftists and other opponents of the military regime results in approximately 130,000 arrests and at least 2,000 dead or "disappeared" over the next 17 years.
1977 Beagle conflict: The binding Beagle Channel Arbitration awards the Picton, Nueva and Lennox islands to Chile.
1978 Beagle conflict: Argentina refuses to abide by the judgement and invades Chile in Operation Soberania. Argentine forces withdraw before any combat occurs.
1980 The military government promulgates the Chilean Constitution of 1980, which is adopted by plebiscite. Economic policy begins to be significantly influenced by the ideas of the Chicago School and of Neoliberalism. The United States oblige President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos to cancel a scheduled visit by President Pinochet to the Philippines.
1982 Chile provides non-combat support for British armed forces during the Falkland War.
1984 Beagle conflict: Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984 between Chile and Argentina is signed.
1988 Pinochet loses a plebiscite mandated by the constitution, which triggers elections the following year.
1990 Patricio Aylwin wins the election and takes office as President. Transition to democracy begins.
1991 The volcano Mount Hudson erupts, in one of the world's largest volcanic eruptions of the twentieth century.
1994 Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle is elected President.
1998 During a visit to London for medical reasons, Augusto Pinochet is arrested in accord with the orders of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, beginning an international struggle between his supporters and detractors. He returns to Chile the following year, and the charges against him are later thrown out on the basis of his mental state. Chile suffers greatly from a world economic crisis, resulting in years of inflation and unemployment.
2000 In the second round of voting, in a tight contest with right wing candidate Joaquín Lavín, Ricardo Lagos Escobar is elected President.

21st Century

Year Date Event
2001 Chile signs the Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty act.
2002 A general census is performed all over the country.
2004 The Chilean Supreme Court declares that Pinochet is mentally competent to stand trial.
2005 The Pinochet trial continues. The presidential election of December 11 puts Michelle Bachelet and Sebastián Piñera into a second round.
2006 In the second round of the presidential election the socialist leader Michelle Bachelet emerges the winner. 790,000 students adhere to the 2006 student protests in Chile. Death of Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (10 December 2006)
2007 Los Ríos Region and Arica-Parinacota Region are created.
2010 February 27 2010 Chile earthquake.
2010 March 11 Sebastián Piñera assumed office as President of Chile.
2010 5 August – 13 October Copiapó mining accident
2011 2011 student protests, and later massive protest claiming for better education and economic equality.
2014 Michelle Bachelet assumed office as President of Chile as the first woman to be reelected.

See also


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