Tuesday, January 09, 2018


Chile is on the long, narrow strip between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Squeezed in, the Spanish colony (after 1541) had fierce resistance from indigenous Mapuche to the South, a desert to the North, and attacks from other European rivals. In 1808, Napoleon installed his brother as Spanish King. A National Junta (board) declared independence in loyalty to the heir to the deposed King. This was a catalyst for a move for full independence, which came in 1818, and was recognised in 1844. Sovereignty was strengthened by military might (an arms race), economic strength (discovery of silver ore), and populating contested areas with European immigrants. Periods of oligarchy, military coups, and political polarisation followed, with socialist democracy then deposed by a right-wing military dictatorship (1973-1990). Today, Chile is a high income economy with high living standards.

The five presidents of Chile since transitioning to democracy in 1990

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