Brief History of Chile

Chilean Flag The first Spanish expedition to Chile was led by don Diego de Almagro in 1536 from Peru. The expedition was rather a disaster given the harsh crossing of the Andes and the unkind Atacama Desert, which took a lot of the men. Their findings were most disappointing too: quite a bit of resistance from the indigenous indians and virtually no gold. One of his Captains discovered the bay of Valparaíso in 1536, where the port of the same name would develop. It was not until a much smaller, but more successful expedition, led by don Pedro de Valdivia in 1540, that the country began to take shape. The capital, Santiago, was founded in February 1541.

Chile declared its independence from the Spanish Crown in 1810, but only gained independence after waging a war against Spain which lasted until 1818. Chile declared itself to be a Republic, with the balance of power swaying between Parliament and the Presidency, over the years. The advent of socialist ideas entered during the early 1900s, the governments growing increasingly socialist in tendency until 1970, when a Communist Government was elected. The government was ousted in 1973 by a military coup lead by the united Armed Forces - Army, Navy, Air Force and Police. The government became a "junta" meaning a group consisting of the heads of the four forces. The Army is the senior service and so General Pinochet was named President of the Junta and the C -in- C of the navy, Admiral J. T. Merino, Vice-President.

Power was returned to the civilians with general elections in 1990, when Mr. Patricio Aylwin was elected President for a transition term of four years

President in OfficeAt present, the President is Mr. Sebastián Piñera, whose started on11th March 2010 and lasts 4 years.


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