Chile Table of Contents
Period Description SIXTEENTH CENTURY October 21, 1520 Ferdinand Magellan first European to sight (but not identify) Chilean shores. 1535-37 Diego de Almagro leads first Spanish expedition to explore Chile. 1540 Pedro de Valdivia conquers Chile. February 12, 1541 Valdivia founds Santiago. 1553-58 Indigenous Araucanian uprising. 1557 Mapuche rebel chief Lautaro defeated. 1560s Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga composes epic poem "La Araucana." SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 1603 First army-like force, or militia, established in Chile. 1609 Pope Paul V authorizes war against Araucanians. 1643 Although warfare against Araucanians continues, Indians help Spaniards repel invasion of southern Chile by Brouwer expedition. 1647 Earthquake destroys Santiago. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 1730 Earthquake causes great destruction in Santiago and most of central Chile. 1759-96 Bourbon reforms give Chile greater independence from Viceroyalty of Peru. 1791 Governor Ambrosio O'Higgins y Ballenary outlaws encomiendas and forced labor. NINETEENTH CENTURY September 18, 1810 Criollo leaders of Santiago declare independence from Spain. 1814-17 (La Reconquista) October 2, 1814 The Reconquest Spanish troops from Peru reconquer Chile at Battle of Rancagua. February 12, 1817 Troops led by Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, father of Chile, and General José de San Martín defeat Spanish in Battle of Chacabuco. 1817 O'Higgins (1817-23) becomes supreme director of Chile. April 5, 1818 Chile wins formal independence after San Martín defeats last large Spanish force in Battle of Maipú. August 1818 First provisional constitution approved in plebiscite. 1818-30 Period of civil wars. April 17, 1830 Liberals defeated by Conservatives at Battle of Lircay. 1830-61 Period of Conservative rule. 1830-37 "Portalian State" initiated by businessman Diego Portales Palazuelos, who dominates politics. 1833 New Portalian constitution implemented. 1836-39 Chile wages war against Peru-Bolivia Confederation. January 1839 Chile wins war by defeating Peruvian fleet at Casma on January 12 and Bolivian Army at Yungay on January 20. 1861-91 Period of Liberal rule. 1879-83 Chile wages war against Bolivia and Peru in War of the Pacific. 1883 Chile seals victory with Treaty of Ancón. 1891 Civil war pits supporters of President José Manuel Balmaceda Fernández against Congress, which wins. TWENTIETH CENTURY 1891-1925 Period of Parliamentary Republic. 1925 Chile's second major constitution approved. 1945 Gabriela Mistral wins Nobel Prize for Literature. September 4, 1970 Popular Unity's Salvador Allende Gossens wins presidential election. 1971 Pablo Neruda wins Nobel Prize for Literature. September 11, 1973 Military led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte overthrows Allende government. September 1973-90 Period of military rule under General Pinochet. 1980 New military-designed constitution is approved in a plebiscite. 1988 Plebiscite held on Pinochet rule. 1990 Transition to democracy begins with presidency of Patricio Aylwin Azócar. March 11, 1994 Aylwin is succeeded by Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.
Data as of March 1994