1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chile
CHILE, or Chili (derived, it is said, from the Quichua chiri, cold, or tchili, snow), a republic of South America, occupying the narrow western slope of the continent between Peru and its southern extremity. (For map see Argentina.) It extends from the northern boundary of the province of Tacna, about 17° 25′ S., to Cape Horn at the extreme southern point of the Fuegian archipelago in 55° 58′ 40″ S., with an extreme meridian length of 2661 m., and with a coast line considerably exceeding that figure owing to a westward curve of about 31° and an eastward trend south of 50° S. of nearly 8°. Its mainland width ranges from about 46 to 228 m., and its area, including the islands of the southern coast, is officially computed to be 307,774 sq. m., though the Gotha computation (1904) places it at 293,062 sq. m. Chile is thus a ribbon-like strip of territory between the Andes and the Pacific, comparatively regular north of the 42nd parallel, but with an extremely ragged outline south of that line. It is bounded N. by Peru, E. by Bolivia and Argentina, S. and W. by the Pacific. Its eastern boundary lines are described under Argentina and Bolivia. The war of 1879–81 with Peru and Bolivia gave to Chile 73,993 sq. m. of territory, or one-fourth her total area. By subsequent agreements the Bolivian department of the Literal, or Atacama, and the Peruvian department of Tarapacá, were formally ceded to Chile, and the northern frontier was removed to the river Camarones, which enters the Pacific at 19° 12′ S. Under the treaty of Ancon (20th October 1883) Chile was to retain possession of the provinces of Tacna and Arica belonging to the Peruvian department of Moquegua for a period of ten years, and then submit “to popular vote whether those territories are to belong to Chile or Peru.” At the expiration of the period (1893) Chile evaded compliance with the agreement, and under various pretexts retained forcible possession of the territory. This arbitrary retention of Tacna and Arica, which became the province of Tacna under Chilean administration, removed the frontier still farther north, to the river Sama, which separates that province from the remaining part of the Peruvian department of Moquegua. Starting from the mouth of that river, in 17° 57′ S., the disputed boundary follows its course in an irregular N.E. direction to its source in the Alto do Toledo range, thence S. and E. along the water parting to the Bolivian boundary line in the Cordillera Silillica.
Physiography.—For purposes of general topographical description Chile may be divided into three regions: the desert region of the north, the central agricultural region between the provinces of Coquimbo and Llanquihue, and the heavily-forested rainy region south of lat. 41° S. The desert region is an elevated arid plateau descending gradually from the Andes towards the coast, where it breaks down abruptly from elevations of 800 to 1500 ft. From the sea this plateau escarpment has the appearance of a range of flat topped hills closely following the coast line. The surface is made up of extensive plains covered with sand and deposits of alkaline salts, broken by ranges of barren hills having the appearance of spurs from the Andes, and by irregular lateral ranges in the vicinity of the main cordillera enclosing elevated saline plateaus. This region is rainless, barren and inhospitable, absolutely destitute of vegetation except in some small river valleys where irrigation is possible, and on the slopes of some of the snow-covered peaks where the water from the melting snows nourishes a scanty and coarse vegetation before it disappears in the thirsty sands. It is very rich in mineral and saline deposits, however. The eastern parts of this region lie within the higher ranges of the Andes and include a large district awarded to Chile in 1899 (see Argentina and Atacama). This arid, bleak area is apparently a continuation southward of the great Bolivian altaplanicie, and is known as the Puna de Atacama. Its average elevation is estimated at 11,000 to 12,000 ft. A line of volcanoes crosses it from north to south, and extensive lava beds cover a considerable part of its surface. Large shallow saline lakes are also characteristic features of this region. From 28° S. the spurs from the cordillera toward the coast are more sharply defined and enclose deeper valleys, where the cultivation of the soil becomes possible, at first through irrigation and then with the aid of light periodical rains. The slopes of the Andes are precipitous, the general surface is rough, and in the north the higher ground and coast are still barren. Beginning with the province of Aconcagua the coast elevations crystallize into a range of mountains, the Cordillera Maritima, which follows the shore line south to the province of Llanquihue, and is continued still farther south by the mountain range of Chiloé and the islands of the western coast, which are the peaks of a submerged mountain chain. Lying between this coast range and the Andes is a broad valley, or plain, extending from the Aconcagua river south to the Gulf of Ancud, a distance slightly over 620 m. with an average width of about 60 m. It is sometimes called the “Vale of Chile,” and is the richest and most thickly-populated part of the republic. It is a highly fertile region, is well watered by numerous streams from the Andes, has a moderate rainfall, and forms an agricultural and grazing region of great productiveness. It slopes toward the south, and its lower levels are filled with lakes and with depressions where lakes formerly existed. It is an alluvial plain for the greater part, but contains some sandy tracts, as in Ñuble and Arauco; in the north very little natural forest is found except in the valleys and on the slopes of the enclosing mountain ranges, but in the south, where the rainfall is heavier, the plain is well covered with forest. South of 41° S. the country is mountainous, heavily-forested and inhospitable. There are only a few scattered settlements within its borders, and a few nomadic tribes of savages eke out a miserable existence on the coast. The deeply-indented coast line is filled with islands which preserve the general outline of the continent southward to the Fuegian archipelago, the outside groups forming a continuation of the Cordillera Maritima. The heavy and continuous rainfall throughout this region, especially in the latitude of Chiloé, gives rise to a large number of rivers and lakes. Farther south this excessive precipitation is in the form of snow in the Cordilleras, forming glaciers at a comparatively low level which in places discharge into the inlets and bays of the sea. The extreme southern part of this region extends eastward to the Atlantic entrance to the Straits of Magellan, and includes the greater part of the large island of Tierra del Fuego with all the islands lying south and west of it. There are some comparatively level stretches of country immediately north of the Straits, partly forested and partly grassy plains, where sheep farming has been established with some degree of success, but the greater part of this extreme southern territory is mountainous, cold, wet and inhospitable. The perpetual snow-line here descends to 3500 to 4000 ft. above sea-level, and the forest growth does not rise above an altitude of 1000 to 1500 ft.
It has been officially estimated that the arable lands of Chile comprise about twenty-five millions of acres (slightly over 39,000 sq. m.), or very nearly one-eighth of its total area. The desert regions of the north include comparatively large areas of plains and gently sloping surfaces, traversed by Mountains.ranges of barren hills. The remainder of the republic, probably more than three-fifths of its surface, is extremely mountainous. The western slopes of the Andes, with its spurs and lateral ranges, cover a broad zone on the eastern side of the republic, and the Cordillera Maritima covers another broad zone on its western side from about lat. 33° to the southern extremity of Chiloé, or below lat. 43°. This maritime range is traversed by several river valleys, some of which, like the Bio-Bio, are broad and have so gentle a slope as to be navigable. The Andes, however, present an unbroken barrier on the east, except at a few points in the south where the general elevation is not over 5000 to 6000 ft., and where some of the Chilean rivers, as the Palena and Las Heras, have their sources on its eastern side. From the 52nd to about the 31st parallel this great mountain system, known locally as the Cordillera de los Andes, apparently consists of a single chain, though in reality it includes short lateral ranges at several points; continuing northward several parallel ranges appear on the Argentine side and one on the Chilean side which are ultimately merged in the great Bolivian plateau. The Chilean lateral range, which extends from the 29th to the 19th parallels, traverses an elevated desert region and possesses several noteworthy peaks, among which are Cerro Bolson, 16,017 ft., and Cerro Dona Ines, 16,706 ft. It is broken to some extent in crossing the province of Antofagasta, the southern division being known as the Sierra de Huatacondo. At the southern frontier of Bolivia the main chain, which has served as the boundary line between Argentina and Chile, divides into two great ranges, the principal one continuing almost due north along the eastern side of the great Bolivian alta-planicie, and the other forming its western rim, where it is known as the Cordillera Silillica, and then following the trend of the coast north-westward into Peru becomes the Cordillera Occidental. The western slopes of the Andes are precipitous, with short spurs enclosing deep valleys. The whole system is volcanic, and a considerable number of volcanoes are still intermittently active, noticeably in central and southern Chile. The culminating point of the Chilean Andes is Aconcagua, which rises to a height of 23,097 ft.
In southern Chile the coast is highly mountainous, but the relation of these elevations to the Andes has not been clearly determined. The highest of these apparently detached groups are Mt. Macá (lat. 45° S.), 9711 ft., and Mt. Arenales (about 47° S. lat.), 11,286 ft. Cathedral Peak on Wellington Island rises to a height of 3838 ft. and the highest point on Taytao peninsula to 3937 ft. The coast range of central Chile has no noteworthy elevations, the culminating point in the province of Santiago being 7316 ft. Between central Chile and the northern desert region there is a highly mountainous district where distinct ranges or elongated spurs cross the republic from the Andes to the coast, forming transverse valleys of great beauty and fertility. The most famous of these is the “Vale of Quillota” between Valparaiso and Santiago. The Chilean Andes between Tacna and Valdivia are crossed by 24 passes, the majority of them at elevations exceeding 10,000 ft. The best-known of these is the Uspallata pass between Santiago and the Argentine city of Mendoza, 12,870 ft. above sea-level. The passes of central and southern Chile are used only in the summer season, but those of northern Chile are open throughout the whole year.
The volcanic origin of the Andes and their comparatively recent elevation still subject Chile, in common with other parts of the western coast region, to frequent volcanic and seismic disturbances. In some instances since European occupation, violent earthquake shocks have resulted in considerable elevations of certain parts of the coast. After the great earthquake of 1835 Captain Robert FitzRoy (1805–1865) of H.M.S. “Beagle” found putrid mussel-shells still adhering to the rocks 10 ft. above high water on the island of Santa Maria, 30 m. from Concepción, and Charles Darwin declares, in describing that disaster, that “there can be no doubt that the land round the bay of Concepción was upraised two or three feet.” These upheavals, however, are not always permanent, the upraised land sometimes settling back to its former position. This happened on the island of Santa Maria after 1835. The existence of sea-shells at elevations of 350 to 1300 ft. in other parts of the republic shows that these forces, supplemented by a gradual uplifting of the coast, have been in operation through long periods of time and that the greater part of central and southern Chile has been raised from the sea in this way. These earthquake shocks have two distinct characteristics, a slight vibration, sometimes almost imperceptible, called a temblor, generally occurring at frequent intervals, and a violent horizontal or rotary vibration, or motion, also repeated at frequent intervals, called a terremoto, which is caused by a fracture or displacement of the earth’s strata at some particular point, and often results in considerable damage. When the earthquake occurs on the coast, or beneath the sea in its vicinity, tidal waves are sometimes formed, which cause even greater damage than the earthquake itself. Arica has been three times destroyed by tidal waves, and other small towns of the north Chilean coast have suffered similar disasters. Coquimbo was swept by a tidal wave in 1849, and Concepción and Talcahuano were similarly destroyed in 1835. The great earthquake which partially destroyed Valparaiso in 1906, however, was not followed by a tidal wave. These violent shocks are usually limited to comparatively small districts, though the vibrations may be felt at long distances from the centre of disturbance. In this respect Chile may be divided into at least four great earthquake areas, two in the desert region, the third enclosing Valparaiso, and the fourth extending from Concepción to Chiloé. A study of Chilean earthquake phenomena, however, would probably lead to a division of southern Chile into two or more distinct earthquake areas.
The coast of Chile is fringed with an extraordinary number of islands extending from Chiloé S. to Cape Horn, the grouping of which shows that they are in part the summits of a submerged mountain chain, a continuation southward of the Cordillera Maritima. Three groups of Coast.these islands, called the Chiloé, Guaytecas and Chonos archipelagoes, lie N. of the Taytao peninsula (lat. 45° 50′ to 46° 55′ S.), and with the mainland to the E. form the province of Chiloé. The largest of these is the island of Chiloé, which is inhabited. Some of the smaller islands of these groups are also inhabited, though the excessive rainfall of these latitudes and the violent westerly storms render them highly unfavourable for human occupation. Some of the smallest islands are barren rocks, but the majority of them are covered with forests. These archipelagoes are separated from the mainland in the north by the gulfs of Chacao (or Ancud) and Corcovado, 30 to 35 m. wide, which appear to be a submerged part of the great central valley of Chile, and farther south by the narrower Moraleda channel, which terminates southward in a confusing network of passages between the mainland and the islands of the Chonos group. One of the narrow parts of the Chilean mainland is to be found opposite the upper islands of this group, where the accidental juxtaposition of Magdalena island, which indents the continent over half a degree at this point, and the basin of Lake Fontana, which gives the Argentine boundary a sharp wedge-shaped projection westward, narrows the distance between the two to about 26 m. The Taytao peninsula, incorrectly called the Tres Montes on some maps, is a westward projection of the mainland, with which it is connected by the narrow isthmus of Ofqui, over which the natives and early missionaries were accustomed to carry their boats between the Moraleda Channel and Gulf of Peñas. A short ship canal here would give an uninterrupted and protected inside passage from Chacao Channel all the way to the Straits of Magellan, a distance of over 760 m. A southern incurving projection of the outer shore-line of this peninsula is known as Tres Montes peninsula, the most southern point of which is a cape of the same name. Below the Taytao peninsula is the broad open Gulf of Peñas, which carries the coast-line eastward fully 100 m. and is noticeably free from islands. The northern entrance to Messier Channel is through this gulf. Messier, Pitt, Sarmiento and Smyth’s Channels, which form a comparatively safe and remarkably picturesque inside route for small steamers, about 338 m. in length, separate another series of archipelagoes from the mainland. These channels are in places narrow and tortuous. Among the islands which thickly fringe this part of the coast, the largest are Azopardo (lying within Baker Inlet), Prince Henry, Campaña, Little Wellington, Great Wellington and Mornington (of the Wellington archipelago), Madre de Dios, Duke of York, Chatham, Hanover, Cambridge, Contreras, Rennell and the Queen Adelaide group of small barren rocks and islands lying immediately north of the Pacific entrance to the Straits of Magellan. The large number of English names on this coast is due to the fact that the earliest detailed survey of this region was made by English naval officers; the charts prepared from their surveys are still in use and form the basis of all subsequent maps. None of these islands is inhabited, although some of them are of large size, the largest (Great Wellington) being about 100 m. long. It has likewise been determined, since the boundary dispute with Argentina called attention to these territories and led to their careful exploration at the points in dispute, that Skyring Water, in lat. 53° S., opens westward into the Gulf of Xaultegua, which transforms Ponsonby Land and Cordoba (or Croker) peninsula into an island, to which the name of Riesco has been given. The existence of such a channel was considered probable when these inland waters were first explored in 1829 by Captain FitzRoy, but it was not discovered and surveyed until three-quarters of a century had elapsed. Belonging to the Fuegian group south of the Straits of Magellan are Desolation, Santa Ines, Clarence, Dawson, Londonderry, Hoste, Navarin and Wollaston islands, with innumerable smaller islands and rocks fringing their shores and filling the channels between them. Admirable descriptions of this inhospitable region, the farthest south of the inhabited parts of the globe, may be found in the Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty’s Ships “Adventure” and “Beagle” between the years 1826 and 1836 (3 vols., 1839).
The western and larger part of Tierra del Fuego (q.v.) belongs to Chile. About 63 m. S.W. of Cape Horn, in lat. 56° 25′ S., is the Diego Ramirez group of small, rocky islands, the most southern possession of the republic. Its westernmost possessions are Sala-y-Gomez and Easter islands, the former in about 27° S., 105° W., and the latter, the easternmost inhabited Polynesian island, in 27° 6′ S., 109° 17′ W. Much nearer the Chilean coast (396 m.), lying between the 33rd and 34th parallels, are the three islands of the Juan Fernandez group, and rising apparently from the same submerged plateau about 500 m. farther north of the latter are the rocky islets of San Ambrosio and San Felix, all belonging to Chile. North of Chiloé there are few islands in close proximity to the coast. The more important of these are La Mocha, off the southern coast of Arauco, in lat. 38° 20′ S., which is 8 m. long and rises to an elevation of 1240 ft. above the sea; Santa Maria, 30 m. south-west of Concepcion, which partially encloses the Bay of Arauco and is well cultivated; and Quiriquina, lying off the port of Talcahuano in the entrance to Concepción bay. There are a few barren islands on the desert coast, the largest of which are between Coquimbo and Caldera. Since the removal of their guano deposits they have become practically worthless, except where they serve to shelter anchorages.
The coast of northern and central Chile is singularly deficient in good harbours. Those of the desert region are only slight indentations in a remarkably uniform coast-line, sheltered on one side by a point of land, or small island. The landings Harbours.are generally dangerous because of the surf, and the anchorages are unsafe from storms on the unprotected side. Among the most frequented of these are Valparaiso, Coquimbo, Caldera, Iquique and Arica. There are some small harbours for coasting vessels of light draught along the coast of central Chile, usually at the partially obstructed mouths of the larger rivers, as San Antonio near the mouth of the Maipó, Constitución at the mouth of the Maule, and Llico on the outlet of Lake Vichuquen, but there is no harbour of importance until Conceptión (or Talcahuano) Bay is reached. There are three harbours on this bay, El Tomé, Penco and Talcahuano (q.v.), the last being the largest and best-protected port on the inhabited part of the Chilean coast. Immediately south of this bay is the large Bay of Arauco, into which the Bio-Bio river discharges, and on which, sheltered by the island of Santa Maria, are the ports of Coronel and Lota. The next important harbour is that of El Corral, at the mouth of the Valdivia river and 15 m. below the city of Valdivia. The Bay of San Carlos on the northern coast of Chiloé, which opens upon the narrow Chacao channel, has the port of Ancud, or San Carlos, and is rated an excellent harbour for vessels of light and medium draught. Inside the island of Chiloé the large gulfs of Chacao (or Ancud) and Corcovado are well protected from the severe westerly storms of these latitudes, but they are little used because the approach through the Chacao channel is tortuous and only 2 to 3 m. wide, and the two gulfs, though over 30 m. wide and 150 m. long, are beset with small rocky islands. At the north end of the first is the Reloncavi, a large and nearly landlocked bay, on which stands Puerto Montt, the southern terminus of the Chilean central railway. The large Gulf of Peñas, south of Taytao peninsula, is open to the westerly storms of the Pacific, but it affords entrance to several natural harbours. Among these are the Gulfs of Tres Montes and San Estevan, and Tarn Bay at the entrance to Messier Channel. The next 300 m. of the Chilean coast contain numerous bays and inlets affording safe harbours, but the mainland and islands are uninhabited and the climate inhospitable. Behind Rennell Island in lat. 52° S., however, is a succession of navigable estuaries which penetrate inland nearly to the Argentine frontier. The central part of this group of estuaries is called Worsley Sound, and the last and farthest inland of its arms is Last Hope Inlet (Ultima Esperanza), on which is situated the Chilean agricultural colony of Puerto Consuelo. The Straits of Magellan, about 360 m. in length, lie wholly within Chilean territory. Midway of them is situated Punta Arenas, the most southern town and port of the republic.
Except in the extreme south the hydrography of Chile is of the simplest description, all the larger rivers having their sources in the Andes and flowing westward to the Pacific. Their courses are necessarily short, and only a few have navigable channels, the aggregate length of Rivers.which is only 705 m. Nearly all rivers in the desert region are lost in the sands long before reaching the coast. Their waterless channels are interesting, however, as evidence of a time when climatological conditions on this coast were different. The principal rivers of this region are Sama (which forms the provisional boundary line with Peru), Tacna, Camarones, Loa, Copiapó, Huasco, Elqui, Limari and Choapa. The Loa is the largest, having its sources on the slopes of the Cordillera south of the Minho volcano, between 21° and 21° 30′ S. lat., and flowing south on an elevated plateau to Chiuchiu, and thence west and north in a great curve to Quillaga, whence its dry channel turns westward again and reaches the Pacific in lat. 21° 28′ S., a few miles south of the small port of Huanillos. Its total length is estimated at 250 m. The upper courses of the river are at a considerable elevation above the sea and receive a large volume of water from the Cordilleras. The water of its upper course and tributaries is sweet, and is conducted across the desert in pipes to some of the coast towns, but in its lower course, as in all the rivers of this region, it becomes brackish. The Copiapó, which once discharged into the sea, is now practically exhausted in irrigating a small fertile valley in which stands the city of that name. The Copiapó and Huasco have comparatively short courses, but they receive a considerable volume of water from the higher sierras. The latter is also used to irrigate a small, cultivated valley. The rivers of the province of Coquimbo—the Elqui or Coquimbo, Limari and Choapa—exist under less arid conditions, and like those of the province of Aconcagua—the Ligua and Aconcagua—are used to irrigate a much larger area of cultivated territory. The central agricultural provinces are traversed by several important rivers, all of them rising on the western slopes of the snow-clad Andes and breaking through the lower coast range to the Pacific after being extensively used to irrigate the great central valley of Chile. These are the Maipó (Maypó or Maipú), Rapel, Mataquito, Maule, Itata, Bio-Bio, Imperial, Tolten, Valdivia or Calle-Calle, Bueno and Maullin. With the exception of the first three, these rivers have short navigable channels, but they are open only to vessels of light draught because of sand-bars at their mouths. The largest is the Bio-Bio, which has a total length of 220 m., 100 of which are navigable. These rivers have been of great service in the agricultural development of this part of Chile, affording means of transportation where railways and highways were entirely lacking. Some of the larger tributaries of these rivers, whose economic value has been equally great, are the Mapocho, which flows through Santiago and enters the Maipó from the north; the turbulent Cachapoal, which joins the Rapel from the north; the Claro, which waters an extensive part of the province of Talca and enters the Maule from the north; the Ñuble, which rises in the higher Andes north of the peaks of Chillan and flows entirely across the province of Ñuble to join the Itata on its western frontier; the Laja, which rises in a lake of the same name near the Argentine frontier in about lat. 35° 30′ S. and flows almost due west to the Bio-Bio; and the Cautin, which rises in the north-east corner of Cautin and after a tortuous course westward nearly across that province forms the principal confluent of the Imperial. The unsettled southern regions of Chiloé (mainland) and Magallanes are traversed by a number of important rivers which have been only partially explored. They have their sources in the Andes, some of them on the eastern side of the line of highest summits. The Puelo has its origin in a lake of the same name in Argentine territory, and flows north-west through the Cordilleras into an estuary (Reloncavi Inlet) of the Gulf of Reloncavi at the northern end of the Gulf of Chacao. Its lower course is impeded in such a manner as to form three small lakes, called Superior, Inferior and Taguatagua. A large northern tributary of the Puelo, the Manso, has its sources in Lake Mascardi and other lakes and streams south-east of the Cerro Tronador, also in Argentina, and flows south-west through the Cordilleras to unite with the Puelo a few miles west of the 72nd meridian. The Reloncavi Inlet also receives the outflow of Lake Todos los Santos through a short tortuous stream called the Petrohue. The Comau Inlet and river form the boundary line between the provinces of Llanquihue and Chiloé, and traverse a densely wooded country in a north-westerly direction from the Andes to the north-eastern shore of the Gulf of Chacao. Continuing southward, the Yelcho is the next important river to traverse this region. It drains a large area of Argentine territory, where it is called the Rio Fetaleufu or Fetalauquen, its principal source being a large lake of the same name. It flows south-west through the Andes, and then north-west through Lake Yelcho to the Gulf of Corcovado. The Argentine colony of the 16th of October, settled principally by Welshmen from Chubut, is located on some of the upper tributaries of this river, in about lat. 43° S. The Palena is another river of the same character, having its source in a large frontier lake called General Paz and flowing for some distance through Argentine territory before crossing into Chile. It receives one large tributary from the south, the Rio Pico, and enters an estuary of the Gulf of Corcovado a little north of the 44th parallel. The Frias is wholly a Chilean river, draining an extensive Andean region between the 44th and 45th parallels and discharging into the Puyuguapi channel, which separates Magdalena island from the mainland. The Aisen also has its source in Argentine territory near the 46th parallel, and drains a mountainous region as far north as the 45th parallel, receiving numerous tributaries, and discharging a large volume of water into the Moraleda channel in about lat. 45° 20′ S. The lower course of this river is essentially an inlet, and is navigable for a short distance. The next large river is the Las Heras, or Baker, through which the waters of Lakes Buenos Aires and Pueyrredon, or Cochrane, find their way to the Pacific. Both of these large lakes are crossed by the boundary line. The Las Heras discharges into Martinez Inlet, the northern part of a large estuary called Baker or Calen Inlet which penetrates the mainland about 75 m. and opens into Tarn Bay at the south-east corner of the Gulf of Peñas. Azopardo (or Merino Jarpa) island lies wholly within this great estuary, while at its mouth lies a group of smaller islands, called Baker Islands, which separate it from Messier Channel. The course of the Las Heras from Lake Buenos Aires is south and south-west, the short range of mountains in which are found the Cerros San Valentin and Arenales forcing it southward for an outlet. Baker Inlet also receives the waters of still another large Argentine-Chilean lake, San Martin, whose far-reaching fjord-like arms extend from lat. 49° 10′ to 48° 20′ S.; its north-west arm drains into the Tero, or La Pascua, river. Lake San Martin lies in a crooked deeply cut passage through the Andes, and the divide between its southern extremity (Laguna Tar) and Lake Viedma, which discharges through the Santa Cruz river into the Atlantic, is so slight as to warrant the hypothesis that this was once a strait between the two oceans. After a short north-westerly course the Toro discharges into Baker Inlet in lat. 48° 15′ S., long. 73° 24′ W. South of the Toro there are no large rivers on this coast, but the narrow fjords penetrate deeply into the mountains and bring away the drainage of their snow-capped, storm-swept elevations. A peculiar network of fjords and connecting channels terminating inland in a peculiarly shaped body of water with long, widely branching arms, called Worsley Sound, Obstruction Sound and Last Hope Inlet, covers an extensive area between the 51st and 53rd parallels, and extends nearly to the Argentine frontier. It has the characteristics of a tidewater river and drains an extensive region. The sources of the Argentine river Coile are to be found among the lakes and streams of this same region, within Chilean territory. A noteworthy peculiarity of southern Chile, from the Taytao peninsula (about 46° 50′ S. lat.) to Tierra del Fuego, is the large number of glaciers formed on the western and southern slopes of the Cordilleras and other high elevations, which discharge direct into these deeply cut estuaries. Some of the larger lakes of the Andes have glaciers discharging into them. The formation of these icy streams at comparatively low levels, with their discharge direct into tidewater estuaries, is a phenomenon not to be found elsewhere in the same latitudes.
The lakes of Chile are numerous and important, but they are found chiefly in the southern half of the republic. In the north the only lakes are large lagoons, or morasses, on the upper saline plateaus between the 23rd and 28th parallels. They are fed from the melting Lakes.snows and periodical storms of the higher Andes, and most of them are completely dry part of the year. Their waters are saturated with saline compounds, which in some cases have considerable commercial value. In central Chile above the Bio-Bio river the lakes are small and have no special geographical interest, with the exception perhaps of the Laguna del Maule, in 36° 7′ S., and Laguna de la Laja, in 37° 20′, which lie in the Andes near the Argentine frontier and are sources of the two rivers of the same names. Below the Bio-Bio river there is a line of large picturesque lakes extending from the province of Cautin, south through that of Llanquihue, corresponding in character and position to the dry lacustrine depressions extending northward in the same valley. They lie on the eastern side near the Cordilleras, and serve the purpose of great reservoirs for the excessive precipitation of rain and snow on their western slopes. With one exception they all drain westward into the Pacific through short and partly navigable rivers, and some of the lakes are also utilized for steamship navigation. These lakes are Villarica on the southern frontier of Cautin, Rinihue and Ranco in Valdivia, and Puyehue, Rupanco, Llanquihue and Todos los Santos in Llanquihue. The largest of the number are Lakes Ranco and Llanquihue, the former with an estimated area of 200 sq. m. and the latter of 300 sq. m. Lake Todos los Santos is situated well within the Andean foothills north-east of Puerto Montt and at an elevation of 509 ft., considerably above that of the other lakes, Lake Ranco being 230 ft. above sea-level. The great Andean lakes of General Paz (near the 44th parallel), Buenos Aires (in lat. 46° 30′ S.), Pueyrredon, or Cpchrane (47° 15′ S.) and San Martin (49° S.), lie partly within Chilean territory. In the extreme south are Lagoa Blanca, a large fresh-water lake in lat. 52° 30′ S., and two large inland salt-water sounds, or lagoons, called Otway Water and Skyring Water, connected by FitzRoy Passage.
Geology.—Chile may be divided longitudinally into two regions which differ from each other in their geological structure. Along the coast lies a belt of granite and schist overlaid unconformably by Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits; inland the mountains are formed chiefly of folded Mesozoic beds, together with volcanic rocks of later date. The great longitudinal valley of Chile runs approximately, but only approximately, along the boundary between the two zones. Towards the north the coastal zone disappears beneath the sea and the Andean zone reaches to the shore. The ancient rocks which form the most characteristic feature of the former do indeed occur upon the coast of Peru, but in the north of Chile they are found only in isolated masses standing close to the shore or, as at Mejillones, projecting into the sea. South of Antofagasta the old rocks form a nearly continuous band along the coast, extending as far as Cape Horn and Staten Island, and occupying the greater part of the islands of southern Chile. Lithologically they are crystalline schists, together with granite, diorite, gabbro and other igneous rocks. They are known to be pre-Jurassic, but whether they are Palaeozoic or Archaean is uncertain. They are strongly folded and are overlaid unconformably by Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits. In the north both the Cretaceous and Tertiary beds of this zone are limited in extent, but towards the south Mesozoic beds, which are at least in part Cretaceous, form a band of considerable width. The Tertiary beds include both marine and terrestrial deposits, and appear to be chiefly of Miocene and Pliocene age. The whole of the north part of Tierra del Fuego is occupied by plateaus of horizontal Tertiary strata.
The Chilean Andes correspond with the Western Cordillera of Bolivia and Peru, and consist almost entirely of Jurassic and Cretaceous beds, together with the products of the Tertiary eruptions. The Mesozoic beds are thrown into a series of parallel folds which run in the direction of the chain and which are generally free from any complications such as overthrusting or overfolding. The Cretaceous beds form a synclinal upon the eastern side of the chain (and, in general, beyond the Chilean boundary), while the Jurassic beds are thrown into a number of folds which form the axis and the western flank. Through the Mesozoic beds are intruded granitic and other igneous rocks of Tertiary age, and upon the folded Mesozoic foundation rise the volcanic cones of Tertiary and later date. The Trias is known only at La Ternera near Copiapó, where coal-seams with Rhaetic plants have been found; but the rest of the Mesozoic series, from the Lias to the Upper Cretaceous, appears to be represented without a break of more than local importance. The deposits are marine, consisting mainly of sandstone and limestone, together with tuffs and conglomerates of porphyry and porphyrite. These porphyritic rocks form a characteristic feature of the southern Andes, and were at one time supposed to be metamorphic; but they are certainly volcanic, and as they contain marine fossils they must have been laid down beneath the sea. They are not confined to any one horizon, but occur irregularly throughout the Jurassic and occasionally also amongst the Cretaceous strata. They form, in fact, a special facies which may frequently be traced laterally into the more normal marine deposit of the same age. The fauna of the Mesozoic beds is very rich, and includes forms which are found in northern Europe, others which occur in central Europe, and others again which are characteristic of the Mediterranean region. It lends no support to Neumayr’s theory of climatic zones. A large part of the chain is covered by the products of the great volcanoes which still form the highest summits of the Chilean and Argentine Andes. The rocks are liparites, dacites, hornblende and pyroxene andesites. The recent lavas of the still active volcanoes of the south are olivine-bearing hypersthene-andesite and basalt.
Climate.—The climate of Chile varies widely, from the tropical heat and extreme arid conditions of the northern coast to the low temperatures and extreme humidity of western Tierra del Fuego and the southern coast. The high altitudes of the Andean region also introduce vertical zones of temperature, modified to some extent by the rainless plateaus of the north, and by the excessive rainfall of the south. In general terms it may be said that the extremes of temperature are not so great as in corresponding latitudes of the northern hemisphere, because of the greater expanse of water in comparison with the land areas, the summers being cooler and the winters warmer. The cold antarctic, or Humboldt, current sweeps northward along the coast and greatly modifies the heat of the arid, tropical plateaus. The climate of northern and central Chile is profoundly affected by the high mountain barrier on the eastern frontier and by the broad treeless pampas of Argentina, which raise the easterly moisture-laden winds from the Atlantic to so high an elevation that they sweep across Chile without leaving a drop of rain. At very rare intervals light rains fall in the desert regions north of Coquimbo, but these are brought by the prevailing coast winds. With this exception these regions are the most arid on the face of the globe, highly heated by a tropical sun during the day and chilled at night by the proximity of snow-covered heights and a cold ocean current. Going south the temperature slowly falls and the rainfall gradually increases, the year being divided into a short rainy season and a long, dry, cloudless season. At Copiapó, in 27° 22′ S., 1300 ft. above the sea, the mean annual temperature is 60° and the rainfall about 1 in., but at Coquimbo, in 29° 56′ S., the temperature is 59.2° and the rainfall 1½ in. At Santiago, in 33° 27′ S., 1755 ft. above the sea, the mean temperature is 54° and the annual rainfall 16½ in., though the latter varies considerably. The number of rainy days in the year averages about 21. At Talca, in 35° 36′ S. and 334 ft. above sea-level, the mean annual temperature is nearly one degree above that of Santiago, but the rainfall has increased to 19.7 in. The long dry season of this region makes irrigation necessary, and vegetation has something of a subtropical appearance, palms growing naturally as far south as 37°. The climate is healthy and agreeable, though the death-rate among the common people is abnormally high on account of personal habits and unsanitary surroundings. In southern Chile the climate undergoes a radical change—the prevailing winds becoming westerly, causing a long rainy season with a phenomenal rainfall. The plains as well as the western slopes of the Andes are covered with forest, the rivers become torrents, and the sky is covered with heavy clouds a great part of the year. At Valdivia, in 39° 49′ S. and near the sea-level, the mean annual temperature is 52.9° and the annual rainfall 108 to 115 in., with about 150 rainy days in the year. These meteorological conditions are still more accentuated at Ancud, at the north end of the island of Chiloé, in 41° 46′ S., where the mean annual temperature is 50.7° and the annual rainfall 134 in. The equable character of the climate at this point is shown by the limited range between its summer and winter temperatures, the mean for January being 56.5° and the mean for July 45.9°. The almost continual cloudiness is undoubtedly a principal cause, not only of the low summer temperatures, but also of the comparatively high winter temperatures. Frosts are infrequent, and snow does not lie long. The climate is considered to be healthful notwithstanding the excessive humidity. The 600 m. of coast from the Chonos Archipelago south to the Fuegian islands have a climate closely approximating that of the latter. It is wet and stormy all the year through, though the rainfall is much less than that of Ancud and Valdivia. The line of perpetual snow, which is 6000 ft. above sea-level between lat. 41° and 43°, descends to 3500 (to 4000) ft. in Tierra del Fuego, affording another indication of the low maximum temperatures ruling during the summer. At the extreme south, where Chilean territory extends across to the Atlantic entrance to the Straits of Magellan, a new climatic influence is encountered in the warm equatorial current flowing down the east coast of South America, which gives to eastern Tierra del Fuego a higher temperature than that of the western shore. The Andes, although much broken in these latitudes, also exert a modifying influence on these eastern districts, sheltering them from the cold westerly storms and giving them a drier climate. This accounts for the surprising meteorological data obtained from Punta Arenas, in 53° 10′ S., where the mean annual temperature is 43.2° and the annual rainfall only 22.5 in. Other observations reduce this annual precipitation to less than 16 in. According to observations made by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901–1903), at Orange Bay, Hoste Island, in lat. 55° 31′ S., long. 68° 05′ W., which is more exposed to the westerly storms, the mean temperature for 11 months was 41.98° and the total precipitation (rain and snow) 53.1 in. The mean maximum temperature was 49.24°, and the mean minimum 35.83°. The observations showed 284 days with rain or snow, of which 70 were with snow.
Flora.—The indigenous flora of Chile is less extensive and less interesting than those of Argentina and Brazil, but contains many peculiar genera and species. A classification of this flora necessitates its division into at least three general zones—the desert provinces of the north, central Chile, and the humid regions of the south. The first is an arid desert absolutely barren along part of the coast, between Tacna and Copiapó, but with a coarse scanty vegetation near the Cordilleras along watercourses and on the slopes where moisture from the melting snows above percolates through the sand. In the valleys of the Copiapó and Huasco rivers a meagre vegetation is to be found near their channels, apart from what is produced by irrigation, but the surface of the plateau and the dry river channels below the sierras are completely barren. Continuing southward into the province of Coquimbo a gradual change in the arid conditions may be observed. The higher summits of the Cordilleras afford a larger and more continuous supply of water, and so dependent are the people in the cultivated river valleys on this source of water supply that they watch for snowstorms in the Cordilleras as an indication of what the coming season is to be. The arborescent growth near the mountains is larger and more vigorous, in which are to be found the “algarrobo” (Prosopis siliquastrum) and “chañar” (Gourliea chilensis), but the only shrub to be found on the coast is a species of Skytanthus. Near the sierras where irrigation is possible, fruit-growing is so successful, especially the grape and fig, that the product is considered the best in Chile. In regard to the indigenous flora of this region John Ball says: “The species which grow here are the more or less modified representatives of plants which at some former period existed under very different conditions of life.” Proceeding southward cacti become common, first a dwarfed species, and then a larger columnar form (Cereus quisco). The streams are fringed with willows; fruit trees and alfalfa fields fill the irrigated valleys, and the lower mountain slopes are better covered with a thorny arborescent growth. The divides between the streams, however, continue barren as far south as the transverse ranges of mountains across the province of Aconcagua.
To some degree the flora of central Chile is of a transition character between the northern and southern zones. It is much more than this, however, for it has a large number of genera and species peculiarly its own. A large majority of the 198 genera peculiar to the South American temperate regions belong exclusively to central Chile. This zone extends from about the 30th to the 36th parallel, perhaps a little farther south to include some characteristic types. The evergreens largely predominate here as well as in the extreme south, and on the open, sunburnt plains the vegetation takes on a subtropical aspect. One of the most characteristic trees of this zone is the peumo (Cryptocarya peumus), whose dense evergreen foliage is everywhere conspicuous. The quillay (Quillaja saponaria) is another characteristic evergreen tree of this region, whose bark possesses saponaceous properties. In earlier times the coquito palm (Jubaea spectabilis) was to be found throughout this part of Chile, but it has been almost completely destroyed for its saccharine sap, from which a treacle was made. One of the most striking forest trees is the pehuen or Chilean pine (Araucaria imbricata), which often grows to a height of 100 ft. and is prized by the natives for its fruit. Three indigenous species of the beech—the roble (Fagus obliqua), coyhue (F. Dombeyi), and rauli (F. procera)—are widely diffused and highly prized for their wood, especially the first, which is misleadingly called roble (oak). Most of the woods used in construction and manufactures are found between the Bio-Bio river and the Taytao peninsula, among which are the alerce (Fitzroya patagonica), ciprés or Chiloé cypress (Libocedrus tetragona), the Chilean cypress (L. Chilensis), lingue (Persea lingue), laurel (Laurus aromatica), avellano (Guevina avellana), luma (Myrtus luma), espino (Acacia cavenia) and many others. Several exotic species have been introduced into this part of Chile, some of which have thriven even better than in their native habitats. Among these are the oak, elm, beech (F. sylvatica), walnut, chestnut, poplar, willow and eucalyptus. Through the central zone the plains are open and there are forests on the mountain slopes, but in the southern zone there are no plains, with the exception of small areas near the Straits of Magellan, and the forests are universal. In the variety, size and density of their growth these forests remind one of the tropics. They are made up, in great part, of the evergreen beech (Fagus betuloides), the deciduous antarctic beech (F. antarctica), and Winter’s bark (Drimys Winteri), intermingled with a dense undergrowth composed of a great variety of shrubs and plants, among which are Maytenus magellanica, Arbutus rigida, Myrtus memmolaria, two or three species of Berberis, wild currant (Ribes antarctica), a trailing blackberry, tree ferns, reed-like grasses and innumerable parasites. On the eastern side of the Cordillera, in the extreme south, the climate is drier and open, and grassy plains are found, but on the western side the dripping forests extend from an altitude of 1000 to 1500 ft. down to the level of the sea. A peculiar vegetable product of this inclement region is a small globular fungus growing on the bark of the beech, which is a staple article of food among the Fuegians—probably the only instance where a fungus is the bread of a people.
It is generally conceded that the potato originated in southern Chile, as it is found growing wild in Chiloé and neighbouring islands and on the adjacent mainland. The strawberry is also indigenous to these latitudes on both sides of the Andes, and Chile is credited with a species from which the cultivated strawberry derives some of its best qualities. Maize and quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) were known in Chile before the arrival of Europeans, but it is not certain that they are indigenous. Species of the bean and pepper plant are also indigenous, and the former is said to have been cultivated by the natives. Among the many economic plants which have been introduced into Chile and have become important additions to her resources, the more prominent are wheat, barley, hemp and alfalfa (Medicago sativa), together with the staple European fruits, such as the apple, pear, peach, nectarine, grape, fig, olive and orange. The date-palm has also been introduced into the southern provinces of the desert region. Among the marine productions on the southern coast, a species of kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, merits special mention because of its extraordinary length, its habit of clinging to the rocks in strong currents and turbulent seas, and its being a shelter for innumerable species of marine animals. Captain FitzRoy found it growing from a depth of 270 ft.
Fauna.—The fauna of Chile is comparatively poor, both in species and individuals. A great part of the northern deserts is as barren of animal life as of vegetation, and the dense humid forests of the south shelter surprisingly few species. There are no large mammals in all this extensive region except the Cetacea and a species of the Phocidae of southern waters. Neither are there any dangerous species of Carnivora, which are represented by the timid puma (Felis concolor), three species of wildcats, three of the fox, two of Conepatus, a weasel, sea-otter and six species of seal. The rodents are the most numerously represented order, which includes the coypu or nutria (Myopotamus coypus), the chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger), the tuco-tuco (Ctenomys brasiliensis), a rabbit, and 12 species of mice—in all some 12 genera and 25 species. The coypu, sometimes called the South American beaver, inhabits the river-banks, and is highly prized for its fur. It is also found along the river-courses of Argentina. The ruminants are represented by a few species only—the guanaco (Auchenia huanaco), vicuna (A. vicugna), huemul (Cervus chilensis), which appears on the Chilean escutcheon, and the pudu deer, a small and not very numerous species. There are two species of the Edentata, Dasypus and Pichiciego, the latter very rare, and one of the opossums. European animals, such as horses, cattle, sheep, swine and goats, have been introduced into the country and do well. Sheep-raising has also been inaugurated with some degree of success in the vicinity of the Straits of Magellan. The avifauna, with the exception of waterfowl, is also limited to comparatively few species. Birds of prey are represented by the condor, vulture, two species of the carrion-hawk (Polyborus), and owl. The Chilean slopes of the Andes appear to be a favourite haunt of the condor, where neighbouring stock-raisers suffer severe losses at times from its attacks. The Insessores are represented by a number of species. Parrots are found as far south as Tierra del Fuego, where Darwin saw them feeding on seeds of the Winter’s bark. Humming-birds have a similar range on this coast, one species (Mellisuga Kingii) being quite numerous as far south as Tierra del Fuego. A characteristic genus is that of Pteroptochus, of which there are three or four species each characterized by some conspicuous peculiarity. These are P. megapodius, called El Turco by the natives, which is noticeable for its ungainly appearance and awkward gait; the P. albicollis, which inhabits barren hillsides and is called tapacollo from the manner of carrying its tail turned far forward over its back; the P. rubecula, of Chiloé, a small timid denizen of the gloomy forest, called the cheucau or chuca, whose two or three notes are believed by the superstitious natives to be auguries of impending success or disaster; and an allied species (Hylactes Tarnii, King) called the guid-guid or barking bird, whose cry is a close imitation of the yelp of a small dog. The southern coast and its inland waters are frequented by several species of petrel, among which are the Procellaria gigantea, whose strength and rapacity led the Spaniards to call it quebranta huesos (breakbones), the Puffinus cinereus, which inhabits the inland channels in large flocks, and an allied species (Puffinuria Berardii) which inhabits the inland sounds and resembles the auk in some particulars of habit and appearance. There are numerous species in these sheltered channels, inlets and sounds of geese, ducks, swans, cormorants, ibises, bitterns, red-beaks, curlew, snipe, plover and moorhens. Conspicuous among these are the great white swan (Cygnus anatoides), the black-necked swan (Anser nigricollis), the antarctic goose (Anas antarctica) and the “race-horse” or “steamer duck” (Micropterus brachypterus).
The marine fauna is less known than the others, but it is rich in species and highly interesting in its varied forms and characteristics. The northern coast has no sheltered waters of any considerable extent, and the shore slopes abruptly to a great depth, which gives it a marine life of no special importance. In the shoal waters about Juan Fernandez are found a species of codfish (possibly Gadus macrocephalus), differing in some particulars from the Newfoundland cod, and a large crayfish, both of which are caught for the Valparaiso market. The sheltered waters of the broken southern coast, however, are rich in fish and molluscs, especially in mussels, limpets and barnacles, which are the principal food resource of the nomadic Indian tribes of those regions. A large species of barnacle, Balanus psittacus, is found in great abundance from Concepción to Puerto Montt, and is not only eaten by the natives, by whom it is called pico, but is also esteemed a great delicacy in the markets of Valparaiso and Santiago. Oysters of excellent flavour are found in the sheltered waters of Chiloé. The Cetacea, which frequent these southern waters, are represented by four species—two dolphins and the sperm and right whale—and the Phocidae by six species, one of which (Phoca lupina) differs but little from the common seal. Another species (Macrorhinus leoninus), popularly known as the sea-elephant, is provided with short tusks and a short trunk and sometimes grows to a length of 20 ft. Still another species, the sea-lion (Otaria jubata), furnishes the natives of Tierra del Fuego with an acceptable article of food, but like the Phoca lupina it is becoming scarce.
Of Reptilia Chile is singularly free, there being recorded only eleven species—five saurians, four ophidians, one frog and one toad—but a more thorough survey of the uninhabited territories of the south may increase this list. There are no alligators in the streams, and the tropical north has very few lizards. There are no poisonous snakes in the country, and, in a region so filled with lakes and rivers as the rainy south, only two species of batrachians. The insect life of these strangely associated regions is likewise greatly restricted by adverse climatic conditions, a considerable part of the northern desert being absolutely barren of animal and vegetable life, while the climate of Tierra del Fuego and the southern coast is highly unfavourable to terrestrial animal life, for which reason comparatively few species are to be found. Writing of a journey inland from Iquique, Charles Darwin says (Journal of Researches, &c., p. 444): “Excepting the Vultur aura, . . . I saw neither bird, quadruped, reptile, nor insect.” Of his entomological collection in Tierra del Fuego, which was not large, the majority were of Alpine species. Moreover, he did not find a single species common to that island and Patagonia. These conditions subsist with but few modifications, if any, from the Straits northward to the 42nd parallel, the extreme humidity, abnormal rainfall and dark skies being unfavourable to the development of insect life, while the Andes interpose an impassable barrier to migration from the countries of the eastern coast. The only venomous species to be found in central Chile is that of a spider which frequents the wheat fields in harvest time.
Population—.The population of Chile is largely concentrated in the twelve agricultural provinces between and including Coquimbo and Concepción, though the next six provinces to the south, of more recent general settlement, have received some foreign immigrants, and are rapidly growing. In the desert provinces the population is limited to the mining communities, and to the ports and supply stations maintained for their support and for the transport, smelting and export of their produce. The province of Atacama has, in addition to its mining population, a considerable number of agriculturists located in a few irrigated river valleys, which class is largely increased in the adjoining province of Coquimbo. The more northern provinces, however, maintain their populations without the support of such small cultivated areas. In the southern territories unfavourable conditions of a widely different character prevail, and the population is restricted to a few small settlements and some nomadic tribes of Indians. Here, however, there are localities where settlements could be maintained by ordinary means and the population could be greatly increased. Since the census of 1895 the population of Punta Arenas has been largely increased by the discovery of gold in the vicinity. The twelve provinces first mentioned, which include the celebrated “Vale of Chile,” comprise only 17% of the area of the republic, but the census of 1895 showed that 72% of the total population was concentrated within their borders. The four desert provinces north of Coquimbo had only 8% of the total, and the seven provinces and one territory south of Concepción had 20%. According to the census of 1895 the total population was 2,712,145, to which the census officials added 10% to cover omissions. This shows an increase slightly over 7% for the preceding decennial period, the population having been returned as 2,527,320 in 1885. The census returns of 1875 and 1866 gave respectively 2,068,447 and 2,084,943, showing an actual decrease in population. During these years Chile held the anomalous position of a country spending large sums annually to secure immigrants while at the same time her own labouring classes were emigrating by thousands to the neighbouring republics to improve their condition. Writing in 1879, a correspondent of The Times stated that this emigration then averaged 8000 a year, and in bad times had reached as many as 30,000 in one year. The condition of the Chilean labourer has been much improved since then, however, and Chile no longer suffers so serious a loss of population. In 1895, the foreigners included in the Chilean population numbered 72,812, of which 42,105 were European, 29,687 American, and 1020 Asiatic, &c. According to nationality there were 8269 Spanish, 7809 French, 7587 Italian, 7049 German, 6241 British, 1570 Swiss, 1490 Austro-Hungarian, 13,695 Peruvian, 7531 Argentine, 6654 Bolivian, 701 American (U.S.), 797 Chinese. According to residence, 1,471,792 were inhabitants of rural districts, and 1,240,353 of towns. The registration of births, marriages and deaths is compulsory since the 1st of January 1885, but the provisions of the law are frequently eluded. Notwithstanding the healthiness of the climate, the death-rate is high, especially in the large cities. In Santiago and Valparaiso the death-rate sometimes rises to 42 and 60 per 1000, and infant mortality is very high, being 73% of the births in some of the provincial towns. This unfavourable state of affairs is due to the poverty, ignorance and insanitary habits of the lower classes. The government has made repeated efforts to secure immigrants from Europe, but the lands set apart for immigrant settlers are in the forested provinces south of the Bio-Bio, where the labour and hardships involved in establishing a home are great, and the protection of the law against bandits and criminal assaults is weak. The Germans have indeed settled in many parts of these southern provinces since 1845, and by keeping together have succeeded in building up several important towns and a large number of prosperous agricultural communities. One German authority (Hüber) estimates the number of Germans in two of these provinces at 5000. The arrivals, however, have been on the whole discouragingly small, the total for the years 1901–1905 being only 14,000.
Although Chileans claim a comparatively small admixture with the native races, it is estimated that the whites and creoles of white extraction do not exceed 30 to 40% of the population, while the mestizos form fully 60%. This estimate is unquestionably conservative, for there has been no large influx of European blood to counterbalance the race mixtures of earlier times. The estimated number of Indians living within the boundaries of Chile is about 50,000, which presumably includes the nomadic tribes of the Fuegian archipelago, whose number probably does not reach 5000. The semi-independent Araucanians, whose territory is slowly being occupied by the whites, are concentrated in the eastern forests of Bio-Bio, Malleco and Cautin, all that remains to them of the Araucania which they so bravely and successfully defended for more than three centuries. Their number does not much exceed 40,000, which is being steadily reduced by drunkenness and epidemic diseases. A small part of these Indians live in settled communities and include some very successful stock-raisers, but the greater part live apart from civilization. There are also some remnants of tribes in the province of Chiloé, which inhabit the island of that name, the Chonos and Guaytecas archipelagoes and the adjacent mainland, who have the reputation of being good boatmen and fishermen; and there are remnants of a people called Changos, on the desert coast, and traces of Calchaqui blood in the neighbouring Andean foothills.
There is a wide difference in every respect between the upper or ruling class and the common people. The former includes the landed proprietors, professional men and a part of those engaged in commercial and industrial pursuits. These educated classes form only a small minority of the population. Many of them, especially the landed proprietors, are descendants of the original Spanish settlers and are celebrated for their politeness and hospitality. The political control of the republic was secured to them by the constitution of 1833. The common people were kept in ignorance and practically in a state of hopeless servitude. They were allowed to occupy small leaseholds on the large estates on condition of performing a certain amount of work for the landlord. Every avenue toward the betterment of their condition was practically closed. The condition of the itinerant labourers (peons) was still worse, the wages paid them being hardly sufficient to keep them from starvation. The Chilean peon, however, comes from a hardy stock, and has borne all these hardships with a fortitude and patience which go far to counterbalance his faults. Recent reforms in education, &c., together with the growth of manufacturing industries, are slowly leading to improvements in the material condition of the common people.
The political organization of the country has not been favourable to the development of artistic or scientific tastes, though Chile has produced political leaders, statesmen and polemical writers in abundance. Historical literature has been enriched by the works of Diego Barros Arana, Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, Miguel Luis Amunátegui, Carlos Walker Martinez, and others. One of the earliest native histories of Chile was that of Abbé J. Ignacio Molina, an English translation of which has long been a recognized authority; it is full of errors, however, and should be studied only in connexion with modern standard works. Among these must be included Claude Gay’s monumental work, Historia General de Chile, and Sir C. R. Markham’s admirable studies on special parts of the subject. In science, nearly all the important work has been done by foreigners, among whom are Charles Darwin, Claude Gay, Eduard Pöppig, Rudolph A. Philippi and Hans Steffen, who deserves special mention for his excellent geographical work in the southern Andes.
Divisions and Towns.—Chile contains 23 provinces and one territory, which are subdivided into 75 departments, 855 subdelegations and 3068 districts. The territory north of the Bio-Bio was originally divided into 13 provinces, besides which the Spaniards held Chiloé, Juan Fernandez and Valdivia, the latter being merely a military outpost. During the years which have elapsed since the War of Independence the territory south of the Bio-Bio has been effectively occupied and divided into six provinces, Chiloé and the neighbouring islands and mainland to the east became a province, and four provinces in the northern deserts were acquired from Bolivia and Peru. In addition to this, Chile claimed Patagonia and the adjacent islands, and has finally secured not only the forested strip of territory west of the Andes, but also a large piece of the Patagonian mainland, south of lat. 52° S., the larger part of Tierra del Fuego, and all the western islands. This extensive region, comprising an area of 71,127 sq. m., has been provisionally organized as the territory of Magallanes. For a list of provinces, their areas, reduced from official returns, their populations, and the names and populations of their capitals, see the bottom of this page.
|Census 1895.||Est. 1902.|
|Magallanes (Ter.) ||71,127||5,170||Punta Arenas||3,227||8,327|
|Total according to|
|With 10% added for|
In addition to the provincial capitals there are few towns of importance. Among these may be mentioned:—
|1895.||Est. 1902.||1895.||Est. 1902.|
|Los Andes (Santa Rosa)||5,504||6,854||Arauco||3,008||3,334|
|Vina del Mar||10,651||. .||Mulchen||4,268||4,332|
The population is not concentrated in large cities, but is well distributed through the cultivated parts of the country. The large number of small towns, important as ports, market towns, or manufacturing centres, is a natural result. Many of the foregoing towns are only villages in size, but their importance is not to be measured in this way. Arica is one of the oldest ports on the coast, and has long been a favoured port for Bolivian trade because the passes through the Cordilleras at that point are not so difficult. Moreover, the railway from Arica to La Paz will still further add to its importance, though it may not greatly increase its population. Another illustration is that of Vichuquen, province of Curicó, situated on a tide-water lake on the coast, which is the centre of a large salt-making industry. Still another instance is that of Castro, the oldest settlement and former capital of Chiloé, which after a century of decay is increasing again through the efforts to develop the industries of that island.
Communications.—Railway construction in Chile dates from 1850, when work was begun on a short line between Copiapó and the port of Caldera, in the Atacama desert region. Since then lines have been built by private companies from the coast at several points to inland mining centres. One of these, running from Antofagasta to the Caracoles district, was afterwards extended to Oruro, Bolivia, and has become a commercial route of international importance, with a total length of 574 m., 224 of which are in Chile. It should be remembered that many of these railway enterprises of the desert region originated at a time when the territory belonged to Bolivia and Peru. The first railway to be constructed in central Chile was the government line from Valparaiso to Santiago, 115 m. in length, which was opened to traffic in 1863. About the same time the government began the construction of a longitudinal trunk line running southward from Santiago midway between the Andes and the Coast range, and connecting with all the provincial capitals and prominent ports. This is the only railway “system” it is possible for Chile to have. The civil war of 1891 called attention to the need of a similar inland route through the northern provinces. A branch of the Valparaiso and Santiago line runs to Los Andes, and its extension across the Andes connects with the Argentine lines from Buenos Aires to Mendoza and the Chilean frontier—all sections together forming a transcontinental route about 850 m. in length. The Transandine section of this route crosses the Cordillera through the Uspallata pass. A further Transandine scheme provides for a line through the Pino Hachado pass (38° 30′ to 39° S.), and the Argentine Great Southern Company obtained a concession in 1909 to extend its Neuquen line to the frontier of Chile. The railways of the republic had a total mileage at the end of 1906 of 2950 m., of which 1495 m. were owned by the state, and 1455 m. belonged to private companies. The private lines are located in the northern provinces and are for the most part built and maintained for the transportation of mining products and supplies.
In addition to her railway lines Chile has about 21,000 m. of public roads of all descriptions, 135 m. of tramways, and 705 m. of navigable river channels, besides a very considerable mileage of lake and coast navigation. Telegraphic communication between all the important towns of the republic, initiated in 1855 with a line between Santiago and Valparaiso, is maintained by the state, which in 1903 owned 9306 m. of line in a total of 11,080 m. Cable communication with Europe by way of Buenos Aires was opened in 1875, and is now maintained by means of two underground cables across the Andes, 32 m. in length. A West Coast cable also connects with Europe and North American states by way of Panama. There were 15,853 m. of telephone wires in the republic in 1906, all the principal cities having an admirable service. Modern postal facilities date from 1853. The Chilean post-office is administered by a director-general at Santiago, and has a high degree of efficiency and liberality, compared with those of other South American states. The postal rates are low, and newspapers and other periodical publications circulate free, as a means of popular instruction. The postal revenues for 1904 amounted to 2,775,730 pesos and the expenditures to 2,407,753 pesos. Chile is a member of the International Postal Union, and has arrangements with the principal commercial nations for the exchange of postal money values.
The sea has been the only means of communication with distant parts of the country, and must continue to be the chief transportation route. There are said to be 56 ports on the Chilean coast, of which only 12 are prominent in foreign trade. Many of the so-called ports are only landing-places on an open coast, others are on shallow bays and obstructed river-mouths, and some are little-known harbours among the channels and islands of the south. The prosperity of Chile is intimately connected with her ocean-going trade, and no elaborate system of national railway lines and domestic manufactures can ever change this relationship. These conditions should have developed a large merchant marine, but the Chileans are not traders and are sailors only in a military sense. In 1905 their ocean-going merchant marine consisted of only 148 vessels, of which 54 were steamers of 42,873 tons net, and 94 were sailing vessels of 39,346 tons. Nineteen of the 54 steamers belonged to a subsidized national line whose West Coast service once extended to San Francisco, California, and a large part of the others belongs to a Lota coal-mining and copper-smelting company which employs them in carrying coal to the northern ports and bringing back metallic ores for smelting. The navigable rivers and inland lakes employ a number of small steamers. The foreign commerce of the republic is carried chiefly by foreign vessels, and the coasting trade is also open to them. Three or four foreign companies maintain a regular steamship service to Valparaiso and other Chilean ports. The shipping entries at all Chilean ports during the year 1904, both national and foreign, numbered 11,756, aggregating 17,723,138 tons, and the clearances 11,689, aggregating 17,370,763 tons. Very nearly one-half this tonnage was British, a little over 18% German, and about 29% Chilean.
Commerce.—In the aggregate, the commerce of Chile is large and important; in proportion to population it is exceeded among South American states only by Argentina, Uruguay and the Guianas. Unlike those states, it depends in great part on mining and its allied occupations. The values of imports and exports (including bullion, specie and re-exports) in pesos of 18d. during the five years 19011905 were as follows:—
The principal imports comprise live animals, fish, coffee, maté (Ilex paraguayensis), tea, sugar, wood and its manufactures, structural iron and steel, hardware and machinery, railway and telegraph supplies, lime and cement, glass and earthenware, cotton, woollen and silk manufactures, coal, petroleum, paints, &c. Import duties are imposed at the rates of 60, 35, 15, 5 and 25%, and certain classes of merchandise are admitted free. The higher rates are designed chiefly to protect national industries, while wines, liquors, cigars and tobacco are admitted at the lowest rate. The 25% rate covers all articles not mentioned in the schedules, which number 2260 items. The duty free list includes raw cotton, certain descriptions of live animals, agricultural machinery and implements, metal wire, fire engines, structural iron and steel, and machinery in general. The tariff is nominally ad valorem, but as the rates are imposed on fixed official valuations it is essentially specific. The duties on imports in 1905 amounted to 91,321,860 pesos, and in 1906 to 103,507,556 pesos. The principal exports are gold, silver, copper (bars, regulus and ores), cobalt and its ores, lead and its ores, vanadium ores, manganese, coal, nitrate of soda, borate of lime, iodine, sulphur, wheat and guano. Nitrate of soda forms from 70 to 75% of the exports, and the royalty received from it is the principal source of national revenue, yielding about £4,000,000 per annum. In 1904 mineral products made up fully seven-eighths of the exports, while agricultural and pastoral products did not quite reach one-eighth.
Agriculture.—According to the census returns about one-half the population of Chile lives in rural districts, and is engaged nominally in agricultural pursuits. What may be called central Chile is singularly well adapted to agriculture. The northern part of this region has a sub-tropical climate, light rainfall and a long, dry summer, but with irrigation it produces a great variety of products. Alfalfa, or lucerne (Medicago sativa), is grown extensively for shipment to the mining towns of the desert provinces. There were no less than 108,384 acres devoted to it in 1904, a considerable part of which was in the irrigated river valleys of Coquimbo and Aconcagua. Considerable attention is also given to fruit cultivation in these subtropical provinces, where the orange, lemon, fig, melon, pineapple and banana are produced with much success. Some districts, especially in Coquimbo, have gained a high reputation for the excellence of their preserved fruits. The vine is cultivated all the way from Atacama and Coquimbo, where excellent raisins are produced, south to Concepción, where some of the best wines of Chile are manufactured. In 1904 there were 93,370 acres devoted to grape production in this region, the product for that year being 30,184,704 gallons of wine and 212,366 gallons of brandy. The universal beverage of the people—chicha—is made from Indian corn. Although wheat is produced in the northern part of this region, it is grown with greater success in the south, where the rainfall is heavier and the average temperature is lower. There were 1,044,025 acres devoted to this cereal in 1903, which produced 17,910,614 bushels, or an average of 17 bushels (of 60 lb) to the acre. In 1904 the production was increased to 19,999,324 bushels, but in 1905 it fell off to 15,771,477 bushels. At one time Chile supplied Argentina and the entire West Coast as far north as California with wheat, but Argentina and California have become wheat producers and exporters, and Chile has been driven from all her old consuming markets. Great Britain is now her best customer, and Brazil takes a small quantity for milling mixtures. Chile has been badly handicapped by her crude methods of cultivation, but these are passing away and modern methods are taking their place. Formerly wheat was grown chiefly in the region of long rainless summers, and the ripened grain was thrown upon uncovered earth floors and threshed by horses driven about over the straw, but this antiquated process was not suited to the climate and enterprise of the more southern provinces, and the modern threshing-machine has been introduced. Barley is largely produced, chiefly for home consumption. Maize (Indian corn) is grown in every part of Chile except the rainy south where the grain cannot ripen, and is a principal article of food. The green maize furnishes two popular national dishes, choclos and humitas, which are eaten by both rich and poor. Potatoes also are widely cultivated, but the humid regions of the south, particularly from Valdivia to Chiloé, produce the greatest quantity. The total annual production exceeds three million bushels. The kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is another staple product in every part of the country, and is perhaps the most popular article of food among all classes of Chileans. Peas are largely cultivated south of the Maule. Walnuts have become another important product and are exported, the average annual produce being 48,000 to 50,000 bushels. The olive was introduced from Spain in colonial times and is widely distributed through the north central provinces, but its economic importance is not great. Of the European fruits introduced into the southern provinces, the apple has been the most successful. It grows with little care and yields even better than in its original home. The peach, apricot, plum, quince and cherry are also cultivated with success. Wild strawberries are found on both sides of the Andes; the cultivated varieties are unsurpassed, especially those of the province of Concepción.
The pastoral industries of Chile have been developed chiefly for the home market. The climate is admirably suited to cattle-raising, as the winters are mild and pasture is to be found throughout the whole year, but the proximity of the Argentine pampas is fatal to its profitable development. The government has been trying to promote cattle-breeding by levying duties (as high as 16 pesos a head) on cattle imported from Argentina, but with no great success. The importation, which formerly numbered about 140,000 per annum, still numbers not far from 100,000 head. There are some districts in central Chile where cattle-raising is the principal occupation, but the long dry summers limit the pasturage on the open plains and prevent the development which perhaps would otherwise result. As in Argentina, beef is generally dried in the sun to make charqui (jerked beef), in which form it is exported to the desert provinces. Horse and mule breeding are carried on to a limited extent, and since the opening of the far South more attention has been given to sheep. Goats and swine are raised in small numbers on the large estates, but in Chiloé swine-raising is one of the chief occupations of the people. Some attention has been given to the production of butter and cheese, but the industry has attained no great importance. A new industry which has made noteworthy progress, however, is that of bee-keeping, which is greatly favoured by the mild climate and the long season and abundance of flowers.
Manufactures.—The manufacturing interests of Chile have become influential enough to force a high tariff policy upon the country. They have been restricted principally to articles of necessity—food preparations, beverages, textiles and wearing apparel, leather and leatherwork, woodwork, pottery, chemicals, ironware, &c. In earlier days, when Chile had less competition in the production of wheat, flour mills were to be found everywhere in the wheat-producing provinces, and flour was one of the leading exports. Concepción, Talca, and other provincial capitals developed important milling industries, which were extended to all the chief towns of the newer provinces south of the Bio-Bio. There are over 500 large flour mills in Chile, the greater part of which are equipped with modern roller-process machinery. The development of the coal deposits in the provinces of Concepción and Arauco has made possible other industries besides those of smelting mineral ores, and numerous small manufacturing establishments have resulted, especially in Santiago, Valparaiso, Copiapó and other places where no permanent water power exists. Tanning leather is an important industry, especially in the south, some of the Chilean trees, notably the algarrobilla (Balsamocarpon brevifolium) and lingue (Persea lingue) being rich in tannin. To provide a market for the leather produced, factories have been established for the manufacture of boots and shoes, harness and saddles, and under the protection of a high tariff are doing well. Brewing and distilling have made noteworthy progress, the domestic consumption of their products being very large. The breweries are generally worked by Germans and are situated chiefly in the south, though there are large establishments in Santiago and Valparaiso. Small quantities of their products are exported. Furniture and carriage factories, cooperages, and other manufactories of wood are numerous and generally prosperous. There are likewise a large number of factories for canning and preserving fruits and vegetables. Foundries and machine shops have been established, especially for the manufacture of railway material. The sugar beet has been added to the productions of Chile, and with it the manufacture on a small scale of beet sugar. There is one large refinery at Viña del Mar, however, which imports raw cane sugar from Peru for refining. The manufacture of textiles is carried on at Santiago and El Tomé, and numerous small factories are devoted to clothing of various descriptions. The great mining industries have led to a noteworthy development in the production of chemicals, and a considerable number of factories are engaged in the production of pharmaceutical preparations, perfumeries, soaps, candles, &c.
Mining.—The most important of all the national industries, however, is that of mining. In 1903 there were 11,746 registered mines, on which mining dues were paid, the aggregate produce being valued at 178,768,170 pesos. These mines gave employment to 46,592 labourers, of whom 24,445 were employed by the nitrate companies, 13,710 in various metalliferous mines, 6437 in coal mines, and 2000 in other mines. Gold is found in nearly all the provinces from Antofagasta to Concepción, and in Llanquihue, Chiloé and Magallanes territory, but the output is not large. There are a great many placer washings, among which are some extensive deposits near the Straits of Magellan. Silver is found principally on the elevated slopes and plateaus of the Andes in the desert provinces of the north. The second most important mining industry in Chile, however, is that of copper, which is found in the provinces of Antofagasta, Atacama, Coquimbo, Aconcagua, Valparaiso, Santiago, O’Higgins, Colchagua, Curicó and Talca, but the richest deposits are in the three desert provinces. Chile was once the largest producer of copper in the world, her production in 1860–1864 being rated at 60 to 67% of the total. Low prices afterwards caused a large shrinkage in the output, but she is still classed among the principal producers. Iron mining has never been developed in Chile, although extensive deposits are said to exist. Manganese ores are mined in Atacama and Coquimbo, and their export is large. The other metals reported in the official returns are lead, cobalt and vanadium, of which only small quantities are produced. Bolivian tin is exported from Chilean ports. Among the non-metallic minerals are nitrate of soda, borate of lime, coal, salt and sulphur, together with various products derived from these minerals, such as iodine, sulphuric acid, &c. Guano is classed among the mineral products and still figures as an export, though the richest Chilean deposits were exhausted long before the war with Peru. Of non-metallic products nitrate of soda is by far the most important. Extensive deposits of the salt (called caliche in its crude, impure state) in the provinces of Tacna, Tarapacá, Antofagasta and Atacama owe their existence to the rainless character of the climate. Those of the first-named province have been discovered since the war between Chile and Peru, and have greatly extended the prospective life of the industry. The nitrate fields, which lie between 50 and 100 m. from the coast and at elevations exceeding 2000 ft. above sea-level, have been officially estimated at 89,177 hectares (344 sq. m.) and to contain 2316 millions of metric quintals (254,760,000 short tons). The first export of nitrates was in 1830, and in 1884 it reached an aggregate of 550,000 tons, and in 1905 of 1,603,140 tons. The latter figure is apparently about the production agreed upon between the Chilean government and the nitrate companies to prevent overproduction and a resulting decline in price. Nearly all the oficinas, or working plants, are owned and operated by British companies, and the railways of this desolate region are generally owned by the same companies and form a part of the working plant. Borate of lime also furnishes another important export, though a less valuable one than nitrate of soda. Extensive deposits of borax and common salt have been found in the same region, which with several other products of these saline deposits, such as iodine, add considerably to its exports. The coal deposits of Chile are found chiefly in the provinces of Concepción and Arauco, the principal mines being on the coast of the Bay of Arauco at Coronel and Lota. Coal is found also in Valdivia, on the island of Chiloé, and in the vicinity of Punta Arenas on the Straits of Magellan. Sulphur is found in the volcanic regions of the north, but the principal mines are in the provinces of Talca.
The relative magnitude and value of these mineral products may be seen in the following abstract from the official returns of 1903:—
|Lead and Vanadium ores||"||2,000|
Government.—Chile is a centralized republic, whose government is administered under the provisions of the constitution of 1833 and the amendments of the 9th of August 1888, the 11th of August 1890, the 20th of August 1890, the 22nd of December 1891, and the 7th of July 1892. According to this constitution the sovereignty resides in the nation, but suffrage is restricted to married citizens over twenty-one and unmarried citizens over twenty-five years of age, not in domestic service, who can read and write, and who are the owners of real estate, or who have capital invested in business or industry, or who receive salaries or incomes proportionate in value to such real estate as investment; and as 75% of the population is classed as illiterate, and a great majority of the labouring classes is landless, badly paid, and miserably poor, it is apparent that political sovereignty in Chile is the well-guarded possession of a small minority. The dominant element in this minority is the rich landholding interest, and the constitution and the laws of the first half-century were framed for the special protection of that interest.
The supreme powers of government are vested in three distinct branches—legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative power is exercised by a national congress, which consists of two chambers—-a senate of 32 members, and a chamber of deputies of 94 members. The membership of the lower house is in the proportion of one deputy for each 30,000 of the departmental population, and each fraction over 15,000; and the senate is entitled to one-third the membership of the chamber. The senators are elected by provinces and by a direct cumulative vote, and hold office for six years, one-half of the senate being renewed every three years. The deputies are elected by departments and by a direct cumulative vote, and hold office for three years. Both senators and deputies must have reached the age of thirty-six, must have a specified income, and are required to serve without salary. A permanent committee of 14 members represents the two chambers during the congressional recess and exercises certain supervisory and advisory powers in the administration of public affairs. Congress convenes each year on the 1st of June and sits until the 1st of September, but the president may prorogue an ordinary session for a period of 50 days, and with the consent of the council of state may convene it in extraordinary session. Congress has the privilege of giving or withholding its confidence in the acts of the government.
The executive is a president who is elected for a term of five years and is ineligible for the next succeeding term. He is chosen by electors, who are elected by departments in the manner prescribed for deputies and in the proportion of three electors for each deputy. These elections are held on the 25th of June in the last year of a presidential term, the electors cast their votes on the 25th of July, and the counting takes place in a joint session of the two chambers of congress on the 30th of August, congress in joint session having the power to complete the election when no candidate has been duly chosen by the electors. The formal installation of the president takes place on the 18th of September, the anniversary of the declaration of national independence. In addition to the prerogatives commonly invested in his office, the president is authorized to supervise the judiciary, to nominate candidates for the higher ecclesiastical offices, to intervene in the enforcement of ecclesiastical decrees, papal bulls, &c., to exercise supervisory police powers, and to appoint the intendants of provinces and the governors of departments, who in turn appoint the sub-delegates and inspectors of subordinate political divisions. The president, who is paid £2250 per annum, must be native-born, not less than thirty years of age, and eligible for election to the lower house. He is assisted and advised by a cabinet of six ministers whose departments are: interior, foreign affairs, worship and colonization, justice and public instruction, war and marine, finance, industry and public works. In case of a vacancy in the presidential office, the minister of interior becomes the “vice-president of the republic” and discharges the duties of the executive office until a successor can be legally elected. A council of state of 12 members, consisting of the president, 6 members appointed by congress and 5 by the president, has advisory functions, and its approval is required in many executive acts and appointments.
The provinces are administered by intendentes, and the departments by gobernadores, both appointees of the national executive. The sub-delegacies are governed by sub-delegados appointed by the governors, and the districts by inspectores appointed by the sub-delegates. Directly and indirectly; therefore, the administration of all these political divisions is in the hands of the president, who, in like manner, makes and controls the appointments of all judicial functionaries, subject, however, to receiving recommendations of candidates from the courts and to submitting appointments to the approval of the council of state. This gives the national executive absolute control of all administrative matters in every part of the republic. The police force also is a national organization under the immediate control of the minister of interior, and the public prosecutor in every department is a representative of the national government. There is no legislative body in any of these political divisions, nor any administrative official directly representing the people, with this exception: under the law of the 22nd of December 1891, municipalities, or communes, are created and invested with certain specified powers of local government affecting local police services, sanitation, local improvements, primary instruction, industrial and business regulations, &c.; they are authorized to borrow money for sanitary improvements, road-making, education, &c., and to impose certain specified taxes for their support; these municipalities elect their own alcaldes, or mayors, and municipal councils, the latter having legislative powers within the limits of the law mentioned.
Justice.—The judicial power consists of a Supreme Court of Justice of seven members located in the national capital, which exercises supervisory and disciplinary authority over all the law courts of the republic; six courts of appeal, in Tacna, Serena, Valparaiso, Santiago, Talca and Concepción; tribunals of first instance in the department capitals; and minor courts, or justices of the peace, in the sub-delegacies and districts. The jury system does not exist in Chile, and juries are unknown except in cases where the freedom of the press has been abused. All trials, therefore, are heard by one or more judges, and appeals may be taken from a lower to a higher court. The government is represented in each department by a public prosecutor. The police officials, who are under the direct control of the minister of interior, also exercise some degree of judicial authority. This force is essentially military in its organization, and consisted in 1901 of 500 officers, 934 non-commissioned officers and 5400 police soldiers. Small forces of local policemen are supported by various municipalities. The judges of the higher courts are appointed by the national executive, and those of the minor tribunals by the federal official governing the political division in which they are located.
Army.—For military purposes the republic is divided into five districts, the northern desert provinces forming the first, the central provinces as far south as the Bio-Bio the second and third, and the southern provinces and territory the fourth and fifth. Large sums of money have been expended in arms, equipment, guns and fortifications. The army is organized on the German model and has been trained by European officers who have been employed both for the school and regiment. Though the president and minister of war are the nominal heads of the army, its immediate direction is concentrated in a general staff comprising six service departments, at the head of which is a chief of staff. After the triumph of the revolutionists in the civil war of 1891, the army was reorganized under the direction of Colonel Emil Körner, an accomplished German officer, who subsequently served as chief of the general staff. In 1904 the permanent force consisted of 12 battalions of infantry, 6 regiments of cavalry, 4 regiments of mountain artillery, 1 regiment of horse artillery, 2 regiments of coast artillery, and 5 companies of engineers—aggregating 915 officers and 4757 men. To this nucleus were added 6160 recruits, the contingent for that year of young men twenty-one years of age compelled to serve with the colours. Under the law of the 5th of September 1900, military service is obligatory for all citizens between eighteen and forty-five years, all young men of twenty-one years being required to serve a certain period with the regular force. After this period they are transferred to the 1st reserve for 9 years, and then to the 2nd reserve. The military rifle adopted for all three branches of the service is the Mauser, 1895 model, of 7 mm. calibre, and the batteries are provided with Krupp guns of 7 and 7.5 cm. calibre. Military instruction is given in a well-organized military school at Santiago, a war academy and a school of military engineering.
Navy.—The Chilean navy is essentially British in organization and methods, and all its best fighting ships were built in British yards. In 1906 the effective fighting force consisted of 1 battle ship, 2 belted cruisers, 4 protected cruisers, 3 torpedo gunboats, 6 destroyers and 8 modern torpedo boats. In addition to these there are several inferior armed vessels of various kinds which bring the total up to 40, not including transports and other auxiliaries. The administration of the navy, under the president and minister of war and marine, is confided to a general naval staff, called the “Direccion jeneral de la Armada,” with headquarters at Valparaiso. Its duties also include the military protection of the ports, the hydrographic survey of the coast, and the lighthouse service. The personnel comprises about 465 officers, including those of the staff, and 4000 petty officers and men. There is a military port at Talcahuano, in Concepción Bay, strongly fortified, and provided with arsenal and repair shops, a large dry dock and a patent slip. The naval school, which occupies one of the noteworthy edifices of Valparaiso, is attended by 90 cadets and is noted for the thoroughness of its instruction.
Education.—Under the old conservative régime very little was done for the public school outside the larger towns. As a large proportion of the labouring classes lived in the small towns and rural communities, they received comparatively little attention. The increasing influence of more liberal ideas greatly improved the situation with reference to popular education, and the government now makes vigorous efforts to bring its public school system within the reach of all. The constitution provides that free instruction must be provided for the people. School attendance is not compulsory, however, and the gain upon illiteracy (75%) appears to be very slow. The government also gives primary instruction to recruits when serving with the colours, which, with the increasing employment of the people in the towns, helps to stimulate a desire for education among the lower classes. Education in Chile is very largely under the control of the national government, the minister of justice and public instruction being charged with the direction of all public schools from the university down to the smallest and most remote primary school. The system includes the University of Chile and National Institute at Santiago, lyceums or high schools in all the provincial capitals and larger towns, normal schools at central points for the training of public school teachers, professional and industrial schools, military schools and primary schools. Instruction in all these is free, and under certain conditions text-books are supplied. In the normal schools, where the pupils are trained to enter the public service as primary teachers, not only is the tuition free, but also books, board, lodging and everything needed in their school work. The national university at Santiago comprises faculties of theology, law and political science, medicine and pharmacy, natural sciences and mathematics, and philosophy. The range of studies is wide, and the attendance large. The National Institute at Santiago is the principal high school of the secondary grade in Chile. There were 30 of these high schools for males and 12 for females in 1903, with an aggregate of 11,504 matriculated students. The normal schools for males are located at Santiago, Chillán and Valdivia; and for females at La Serena, Santiago and Concepción. The mining schools at Copiapó, La Serena and Santiago had an aggregate attendance of 180 students in 1903, and the commercial schools at Iquique and Santiago an attendance of 214. The more important agricultural schools are located at Santiago, Chillán, Concepción and Ancud, the Quinta Normal de Agricultura in the national capital having a large attendance. The School of Mechanic Arts and Trades (Escuela de Artes y Oficios) of Santiago has a high reputation for the practical character of its instruction, in which it is admirably seconded by a normal handicraft school (Slöyd system) and a night school of industrial drawing in the same city, and professional schools for girls in Santiago and Valparaiso, where the pupils are taught millinery, dress-making, knitting, embroidery and fancy needlework. The government also maintains schools for the blind and for the deaf and dumb. The public primary schools numbered 1961 in 1903, with 3608 teachers, 166,928 pupils enrolled, and an average attendance of 108,582. The cost of maintaining these schools was 4,146,574 pesos, or an average of £2:17:3 per pupil in attendance. In addition to the public schools there are a Roman Catholic university at Santiago, which includes law and civil engineering among its regular courses of study; numerous private schools and seminaries of the secondary grade, with a total of 11,184 students of both sexes in 1903; and 506 private primary schools, with an attendance of 29,684. The private schools usually conform to the official requirements in regard to studies and examinations, which facilitates subsequent admission to the university and the obtainment of degrees; probably they do better work than the public schools, especially in the German settlements of the southern provinces. A Consejo de Instrucción Pública (council of public instruction) of 14 members exercises a general supervision over the higher and secondary schools. There are schools of music and fine arts in Santiago. The national library at Santiago, with 116,300 volumes in 1906, and the national observatory, are both efficiently administered. At the beginning of the 20th century there were 41 public libraries in the republic, including public school collections, with an aggregate of 240,000 volumes.
Charities.—According to the returns of 1903 there were 88 hospitals in the republic, which reported 79,051 admissions during the year, and had 6215 patients under treatment at its close; 628,536 patients received gratuitous medical assistance at the public dispensaries during the year; there were 24 foundling hospitals with 5570 children; and there were 3092 persons in the various hospicios or asylums, and 1478 in the imbecile asylums.
Religion.—The Roman Catholic religion is declared by the constitution to be the religion of the state, and the inaugural oath of the president pledges him to protect it. A considerable part of its income is derived from a subsidy included in the annual budget, which makes it a charge upon the national treasury like any other public service. The secular supervision of this service is entrusted to a member of the president’s cabinet, known as the minister of worship and colonization. The executive and legislative powers intervene in the appointments to the higher offices of the Church. The greater part of the population remains loyal to the established faith. The law of 1865 gives the privilege of religious worship to other faiths, and the laws of 1883 made civil marriage and the civil registry of births, deaths and marriages obligatory, and secularized the cemeteries. Under the reform of 1865 full religious freedom is practically accorded, and it is provided that the services of religious organizations other than the Roman Catholic may be held in private residences or in edifices owned by private individuals or corporations. Of the 72,812 foreigners residing in Chile in 1895, about 16,000 were described as Protestants. Notwithstanding the opposition of some political elements to the Church, the Chileans themselves may all be classed as Roman Catholics. The ecclesiastical organization includes one archbishop, who resides at Santiago, three bishops residing at La Serena, Concepción and Ancud, and two vicars residing in Antofagasta and Tarapacá. These benefices are filled by appointments from lists of three prepared by the council of state and sent to Rome by the president, and in the case of an archbishop or bishop the appointment must also receive the approval of the Senate. The Chilean clergy are drawn very largely from the higher classes, and their social standing is much better than in many South American states. The Church also possesses much property of its own, and is therefore able to maintain itself on a comparatively small subsidy from the public treasury, which was 985,910 pesos (£73,943) in 1902. The Church maintains seminaries in all cathedral towns, and these also receive a subsidy from the government.
Finance.—For a long time Chile was considered one of the poorest states of Spanish America, but the acquisition of the rich mineral-producing provinces of the north, together with the development of new silver and copper mines in Atacama and Coquimbo, largely increased her revenues and enabled her to develop other important resources. During the decade 1831–1840 the annual revenues averaged about 2,100,000 pesos (of 48d.), which in the decade 1861–1870 had increased to an average of only 8,200,000 pesos—and this during a period of considerable agricultural activity on account of wheat exports to California and Australia. After 1870 the revenues increased more rapidly owing to the development of new mining industries, the receipts in 1879 amounting to 15,300,000 pesos, and in 1882 to 28,900,000 pesos. The revenues from the captured Peruvian nitrate fields then became an important part of the national income, which ten years later (1902) reached an aggregate of 138,507,178 pesos (of 18d.), of which 105,072,832 pesos were in gold. In 1906 the receipts from all sources were estimated at 149,100,000 pesos, of which 62,200,000 pesos gold were credited to the tax on nitrate, 39,800,000 pesos gold to import duties, and 23,500,000 pesos currency to railway receipts. During these years of fiscal prosperity the country suffered much from financial crises caused by industrial stagnation, an excessive and depreciated paper currency and political disorder. To ensure an income that would meet its foreign engagements, the government collected the nitrate and iodine taxes and import duties in gold. As a considerable part of the expenditures were in gold, the practice was adopted of keeping the gold and currency accounts separate. In 1895 a conversion law was passed in which the sterling value of the peso was reduced to 18d., at which rate the outstanding paper should be redeemed. A conversion fund was also created, and, although the government afterwards authorized two more large issues, the beneficial effects of this law were so pronounced that the customs regulations were modified in 1907 to permit the payment of import duties in paper. The national revenue is derived chiefly from the nitrate taxes, customs duties, alcohol tax, and from railway, postal and telegraph receipts. There is no land tax, and licence or business taxes are levied by the municipalities for local purposes. The national expenditures are chiefly for the interest and amortization charges on the public debt, official salaries, military expenses in connexion with the army and navy, public works (including railway construction, port improvements, water and sewage works), the administration of the state railways, telegraph lines and post office, church subsidies, public instruction and foreign representation.
The ordinary and extraordinary receipts and expenditures for the five years 1899–1903, in gold and currency, in pesos of 18d., were as follows:—
|Receipts, pesos.||Expenditures, pesos.|
For 1906 the expenditures were fixed at 149,000,000 pesos, and the revenues were estimated to produce 149,100,000 pesos, which included 62,200,000 pesos gold from nitrate taxes, 39,800,000 pesos gold and 200,000 pesos paper from import duties, 23,500,000 pesos paper from the state railways, 2,500,000 pesos paper from postal and telegraph receipts, and 15,000,000 pesos gold from loans. How the revenues are expended is shown in the estimates for 1907, in which the total expenditures were estimated at 134,830,532 pesos paper and 58,796,780 pesos gold, the principal appropriations being 16,192,780 pesos paper and 99,733 gold for the war department, 10,460.781 paper and 6,315,731 gold for the marine department, 40,934,273 paper and 16,984,671 gold for railways, and 6,324,817 paper for public works. In addition to these the budget of 1906 provided for gold expenditures in 1907 of 7,000,000 pesos on sanitary works and 8,000,000 pesos on the Arica-La Paz railway. The custom of dividing receipts and expenditures into ordinary and extraordinary, of treating the receipts from loans as revenue, of adding six months to the fiscal year for closing up accounts, and of dividing receipts and expenditures into separate gold and currency accounts, leads to much confusion and complication in the returns, and is the cause of unavoidable discrepancies and contradictions.
In May 1906 the external debt of the republic aggregated £21,700,000, including the loans of 1905 and 1906, amounting to £5,700.000, for sanitary works and railway construction. At the same time the internal debt was 107,000,000 pesos (£8,025,000), which increases the funded indebtedness to £29,725,000. Like Brazil, Chile has been careful to preserve her foreign credit, and though an average indebtedness of about £10 per capita may seem large for a nation with so much absolute poverty among its people, the government is finding no difficulty in negotiating new loans, the mineral resources of the country and the conservative instincts of the people being considered satisfactory guarantees. According to official returns, the real-estate valuations in 1903–1904 aggregated 1,777,217,704 pesos, of which 1,020,609,215 pesos were in urban and 754,608,489 pesos in rural property. Of the total returned, 1,775,217,704 is described as taxable, and 262,626,576 pesos as non-taxable. The large and steadily increasing receipts from import duties, amounting to 91,321,860 pesos in 1905, and 103,507,556 pesos in 1906, appears to indicate an encouraging state of prosperity in the country, although an average of 34½ pesos a year (nearly £2: 12s.), in addition to the increased prices paid for home manufactures, seems to be a very heavy indirect tax upon so poor a people.
Currency.—The monetary circulation in Chile consists almost wholly of paper currency, nominally based on a gold standard of 18d. per peso. The conversion law of 1895 made the currency convertible at this rate, although the gold peso was rated at 48d. previous to that date; but the financial crisis of 1898 caused the suspension of specie payments, and a forced issue of additional paper led to a further postponement of conversion and the prompt withdrawal of specie from circulation. The paper circulation consists of national and bank issues. The former owes its existence very largely to the war with Peru, the civil war of 1891, and the financial troubles of 1898. On the 1st of January 1890 the national issues stood at 22,487,916 pesos, and the bank issues at 16,679,790 pesos, making a total of 39,167,706 pesos currency in circulation. This total was largely increased by President Balmaceda in 1891. On the 31st of July 1898 the conversion of paper notes, under the law of 1st June 1895, was suspended, and the government issued 27,989,929 pesos to the banks of issue, which was described as a loan at 2%, and raised their outstanding circulation to 40,723,089 pesos, and at the same time issued on its own account 17,693,890 pesos and assumed responsibility for 1,193,641 pesos which had been illegally put into circulation before 1896. This gave an aggregate registered circulation of 86,045,166 pesos in 1898. In 1904 another issue of 30,000,000 pesos was authorized and the date of conversion was still further postponed, and in 1907 a more general act provided that the maximum paper circulation should not exceed 150,000,000 pesos of the value of 18d. per peso, and that new issues should be made only through the issue department and against deposits of gold, which deposits would be returned to depositors on the presentation of the currency issued. The redemption of this issue was guaranteed by a conversion fund of 100,000,000 pesos, and by an authorization to issue a loan of 50,000,000 pesos to redeem the balance, if necessary. The conversion fund under the act of 1895 stood at 77,282,257 pesos (£5,796,170) on the 31st of May 1907. There are 23 joint-stock banks of issue, with an aggregate registered capital of 40,689,665 pesos (£3,051,724). Their circulating notes are secured by deposits in the national treasury of gold, government notes and other approved securities. There is no state bank, though the Bank of Chile, with its numerous agencies and its paid-up capital of 20,000,000 pesos, may be said to fill the place of such an institution. Besides these, there are four non-issue banks, two foreign banks and their agencies, and three mortgage banks, with agencies at the important provincial centres, which loan money on real-estate security and issue interest bearing hypothecary notes to bearer. There are 8 savings banks in the republic, whose aggregate deposits on the 31st of December 1906 were 14,799,728 pesos.
The monetary unit, the gold peso, does not form a part of the actual coinage. The gold coins authorized by this law are the condor of 20 pesos, the medio condor, or doblon, of 10 pesos, and the escudo of 5 pesos. The silver coins are the peso of 100 centavos and its fractional parts of 20, 10 and 5 centavos. The bronze coins are of 21, 2, 1, and 1 centavos.The metric system of weights and measures is the legal standard in Chile, but the old Spanish standards are still widely used, especially in handling mining and farm produce. Nitrate of soda is estimated in Chilean quintals (101.41 ℔) in the field, and metric quintals (220.46 ℔) at the port of shipment. In silver and copper mining the marc (8 oz.) is commonly used in describing the richness of the ores. Farm produce is generally sold by the arroba or fanega; the vara is used in lineal measurement, and the cuadra is used by country people in land measurement. (A. J. L.)
Chile was the recognized name of the country from the beginning of its known history. The land was originally inhabited by tribes of Indians, who, though not mere savages, were far below the level of civilization distinguishing the races of Mexico and Peru. When the country first became known to the Spaniards in the 16th century the northern tribes were found to be more civilized and much more submissive than those of the south. The difference was no doubt due to the invasion and conquest of northern Chile in the 15th century by Yupanqui, Inca of Peru, grandfather of Atahualpa, Inca conquest.ruler of Peru at the time of its conquest by Pizarro. The dominion of the Incas in Chile was probably bounded by the Rapel river (lat. 34° 10′ S.), and, though their control of the country was slight, the Peruvian influence led to the introduction of a higher civilization, and, by weakening the power of the tribes, paved the way for the invasion of the Spaniards. Beyond the limits of the Inca conquest the Indians of Chile were distinguished by fierce independence of character and by their warlike qualities. Rude and ignorant as they were, they possessed a rough military organization; each community was led by its ulmen (chief), and in war the tribes fought together under an elected leader (toqui). The name of the Araucanians, the most powerful of the tribes, came to be applied to the whole confederation of Indians living south of the Bio-bio river.
The first Spanish invasion of Chile took place in 1535, when Diego de Almagro, the companion and rival of Pizarro in the conquest of Peru, marched into Chile in search of gold. Disappointed in his quest, and meeting with obstinate resistance from the southern tribes, he returned to Spanish invasions.Peru with his whole force in 1538. In 1540 Pizarro sent Pedro de Valdivia to make a regular conquest and settlement of Chile. Valdivia founded Santiago, the present capital of Chile, in February 1541, and proceeded to build the towns of La Serena, Conceptión, Villarica, Imperial, Valdivia and Angol, in order to secure his hold on the country. But the Indians fought desperately for their independence, and in 1553 a general rising of the tribes ended in the defeat and death of Valdivia and in the destruction of most of his settlements. This was the beginning of nearly a century of continuous warfare. As there was no gold in the country the number of settlers was small, the loose tribal organization of the natives made it impossible to inflict a vital defeat on them, and the mountainous and thickly wooded country lent itself admirably to a warfare of surprises and ambuscades. General after general and army after army were despatched from Spain and Peru; Chile was given a government independent of the viceroy of Lima; attack after attack was made on the Indians, their lands were laid waste, and the struggle was conducted with merciless ferocity: all in vain. Settlements and forts were never free from assault and were taken and retaken; if one Indian army was destroyed another took its place, if one toqui was killed another was chosen; when defeated, the Indians retired to their forests, marshes and hills, recruited their forces, and fell on the pursuing Spaniards. In 1612 an attempt was made by a Jesuit missionary to negotiate a peace, but not till 1640 was the desperate struggle ended by the treaty of Quillin, which left the Indians all the land south of the Bio-bio river. Up to 1800 the peace was broken by three wars, in 1655, in 1723 and in 1766, the last ended by a treaty which actually gave the Araucanians the right to have a minister at Santiago.
It was this constant warfare with the Indians and the necessity for hard continuous work, owing to the lack of precious metals in Chile, that no doubt helped to produce in the settlers the strength and hardihood of character that distinguishes the Chileans among South American races. But not unnaturally the material condition of the country was the reverse of prosperous. The expenditure far exceeded the revenue. The Indian warfare occupied nearly the whole attention of the governors and much of the time of the settlers. By the Spanish colonial system the development of manufactures was prohibited and the trade of the colony was limited not only to Colonial system.Spain but to the one port of Cadiz. Till the 18th century ships were not allowed to sail round Cape Horn, so that the Chileans had to trade indirectly through Peru and the Argentine. Agriculture was the one resource of the colony, and wheat was grown for export to Peru, but the land was concentrated in the hands of a few big landowners, and the cultivation of the vine and olive was forbidden. At the end of the 17th century Santiago was a town of poor one-storeyed houses and had only 8000 inhabitants; the other towns, Valparaiso, Concepción, La Serena, were only large villages. Books were not allowed to be imported, and education was limited to such as was given here and there by priests and monks. The Indians within the limits of the Spanish colony were treated like slaves, and horribly mutilated to prevent their escape; but at the same time a gradual fusion of races was taking place, and the Chilean peasant (peon) of to-day is as much of Indian as of Spanish descent. The Araucanians, however, continued to preserve their independence; they jealously resented the introduction of Spanish influence, and the missionary efforts of the Jesuits met with little success.
During the 18th century the condition of the colony was improved in many ways. The Bourbon kings of Spain were more liberal in their colonial policy. Merchant-ships were allowed to sail direct to Chile, trade with France was sometimes permitted, and a large batch of hardy emigrants was sent out from the Biscay provinces of Spain. Freed from the preoccupation of the Indian wars, the governors gave more attention to the general welfare of the country: a university was started in Santiago in 1747, many towns were built about the same time, agriculture and industries were promoted and a coasting trade grew up. In 1778 Charles III. threw open all the ports of Spain to the colonies and allowed freedom of trade with France. But in general the administration of the colony was burdensome, oppressive and inefficient. The people had no voice in the government. Ruling with the help of the Royal Audience, the governor was absolute master of the country, and regulated the smallest details of life. Such time as the officials could spare from the main object of enriching themselves by extortion and corruption was given up to endless official and religious ceremonies and to petty disputes of etiquette and precedence. All the high posts and offices were filled by men sent from Spain, with the result that bitter jealousy reigned between them and the native-born colonists (criollos). The criollos as a rule filled the posts in the municipalities (cabildos), disposed of by sale, so that when the revolution broke out the cabildos naturally became the centres of the movement. As in all Spanish colonies, so in Chile, the Church played a large part in the public life. Chile was divided into the two bishoprics of Santiago and Concepción, and the Church managed to accumulate most of the wealth of the country. At the same time the monks and Jesuits did useful work in teaching industrial and agricultural arts, and in giving the people a certain degree of education; but the influence of the Church was used to bolster up the traditional narrow colonial system, and the constant quarrels between the clergy and the secular powers often threw the country into confusion.
At the opening of the 19th century Chile was a colony whose resources had hardly been touched, with a population of about 500,000 persons, of Spanish and mixed Spanish and Indian blood: a people endowed with the vigour of character bred by a mountainous country and a bracing climate and by a hard struggle for existence, but ignorant through lack of education, shut out by a narrow-minded commercial system from knowledge of the outside world, and destitute of the character-training that free institutions afford.
The national independence of Chile dates from the second decade of the 19th century. The revolt of England’s North American colonies, and the events of the French Revolution naturally suggested the idea of a struggle for independence to the Spanish colonists, and the Struggle for independence.deposition of Ferdinand VII. by Napoleon, and the ensuing disorganization of Spain, supplied the desired opportunity. In 1809 risings took place in Venezuela, in Ecuador, in Upper Peru and in the Argentine; the revolutionary fever spread to Chile, and on the 18th of September 1810 the cabildo of Santiago secured the resignation of the governor and vested his powers in an elected Junta (board) of seven members. This event was the beginning of the independence of Chile. But it was some time before independence was fully attained. The mass of the people were ignorant, intercourse between them was slight, and there was a strong section attached to the old régime. The party determined on independence was at first small, and compelled to conceal its aims till the ground had been prepared for open decisive action. Further, there were divisions between the patriots of Santiago and those of Concepción, and bitter jealousies between the leaders, the chief of whom were Juan Martinez de Rozas, José Miguel Carrera and Bernardo O’Higgins. Owing to the apathy of the people and the enmities existing among the leaders, the Spanish forces, sent by the viceroy of Peru to crush the revolutionary movement, succeeded after two years’ indecisive fighting in completely defeating the patriots at Rancagua in 1814. For three years the Spaniards maintained their hold on Chile, ruling the country with tyrannical harshness, but in the spring of 1817 a patriot force which had been organized at Mendoza in the Argentine by José de San Martin, an Argentine officer, and by O’Higgins, crossed the Andes and overwhelmed the royalists at the battle of Chacabuco. O’Higgins was named director-general of Chile, while San Martin, realizing that the independence of each colony depended on the Spanish being expelled from the whole of South America, set about preparing an invasion of Peru. The viceroy of Lima made one more effort to uphold the power of Spain in Chile, but the army he despatched under Mariano Osorio, the victor of Rancagua, was decisively defeated at the river Maipo on the 3rd of April 1818. By this battle the independence of Chile, formally proclaimed by O’Higgins in the previous February, was finally secured.
The next few years witnessed the expulsion of the royalists from the south of Chile, the equipment of a small fleet, placed under the command of Manuel Blanco Encalada and Lord Cochrane (earl of Dundonald), and the invasion of Peru by San Martin with the help of the fleet, The republic.ending in the proclamation of Peruvian independence in 1821; though the Spanish power was not finally broken until Bolivar’s victory at Ayacucho in 1824. Relieved from all fear of Spanish attacks from the north, the new republic of Chile entered upon a period of internal confusion and dissension bordering upon anarchy. As soon as the necessity for establishing a stable government arose the lack of training in self-government among the Chileans became painfully obvious. O’Higgins as director-general, rightly perhaps, considered that firm orderly government was more important than the concession of liberal institutions, but his administration roused strong hostility, and in 1823 he was compelled to resign. From that date up to 1830 there were no less than ten governments, while three different constitutions were proclaimed. The nation was divided into small mutually hostile parties; there were ecclesiastical troubles owing to the hostility of the Church to the new republic; there were Indian risings in the south and royalist revolts in the island of Chiloé; the expenditure exceeded the revenue, and the employment of the old Spanish financial expedients naturally increased the general discontent. Up to 1830 the Liberal party, which favoured a free democratic régime, held the upper hand, but in that year the Conservatives, backed by a military rising led by General Joaquin Prieto, placed themselves in power after a sanguinary battle at Lircay. Prieto was elected president in 1831, and a new constitution was drafted and promulgated in 1833, which, with some modifications, remains the constitution of Chile at the present time. This constitution invested the executive with almost dictatorial powers, and the Conservatives entered upon a long term of office.
The aim of the Conservative policy was to secure above all a strong administration; power was concentrated in the hands of a small circle; public liberties were restricted and all opposition crushed by force. Inaugurated under General Prieto’s administration (1831–1841) by his able minister Diego Portales, this policy was continued by his successors General Manuel Bulnes (1841–1851) and Manuel Montt (1851–1861), each of whom like Prieto was elected to a double term of office. In spite of the discontent of the Liberals, the Conservative ascendancy secured a long period of firm stable government, which was essential to put an end to the confusion in public life and to give time for the people to awake to a fuller realization of the duties and responsibilities of national independence. The internal peace of the country was only disturbed three times, by Liberal risings in 1835, in 1851 and in 1859, all of which were crushed, but not without severe fighting. In 1836 Chile also became involved in a war with a confederation of Peru and Bolivia, which ended in the victory of Chile and the dissolution of the confederation.
While refusing to allow the people any share in, or control over, the government, the Conservative leaders devoted themselves to improving the condition of the people and of the country, and under their firm rule Chile advanced rapidly in prosperity. The government established a department for education, a training college for teachers, and numerous schools and libraries; literary magazines were started and a school of art and an academy of music founded. By the consolidation of the foreign debt, by the regular payment of interest, by the establishment of several banks, and by the negotiation of commercial treaties, the financial position of the country was improved. Internal development was promoted by the working of the silver mines of Copiapo and the coal mines of Lota, by the building of railways and erection of telegraphs, and by the colonization of the rich Valdivia province with German settlers.
The Straits of Magellan were occupied; under an American engineer, William Wheelwright, a line of steamers was started on the coast, and, by a wise measure allowing merchandise to be landed free of duty for re-exportation, Valparaiso became a busy port and trading centre; while the demand for food-stuffs in California and Australia, following upon the rush for gold, gave a strong impetus to agriculture. A code of law was drawn up and promulgated, and the ecclesiastical system was organized under an archbishop appointed by the pope. To Montt, as minister under Bulnes and afterwards as president, must be given the main credit for the far-seeing policy which laid the foundations of the prosperity of Chile; and though the administration was in many ways harsh and narrow, firm government, rather than liberty that would have tended to anarchy, was essential for the success of the young republic.
After 1861, however, a Liberal reaction set in, aided by divisions in the Conservative party arising mainly over church questions. Montt’s successors, José Joaquin Perez (1861–1871), Federico Errázuriz (1871–1876) and Anibal Pinto (1876–1881), abandoned the repressive policy of their predecessors, invited the co-operation of the Liberals, and allowed discontent to vent itself freely in popular agitation. Some democratic changes were made in the constitution, notably a law forbidding the re-election of a president, and the gradual and peaceful transition to a Liberal policy was a proof of the progress which the nation had made in political training. Outside the movement for constitutional reform, the most important internal question was the successful Liberal attack on the privileged position and narrow views of the Church, which led to the birth of a strong ultra-montane party among the clergy. The government continued to be animated by a progressive spirit: schools, railways, telegraphs were rapidly extended; a steamship mail service to Europe was subsidized, and the stability of the government enabled it to raise new foreign loans in order to extinguish the old high interest-bearing loans and to meet the expenses of public works. In 1877 a financial crisis occurred, met by the emission of paper money, but the depression was only temporary, and the country soon rallied from the effects.
During this period there was desultory fighting with the Indians; there was a long boundary dispute with the Argentine, settled in 1880; and in 1865 Chilean sympathy with Peru in a quarrel with Spain led to a foolish war with Spain. The blockade of their ports and the bombardment of Valparaiso by a Spanish squadron impressed the Chileans with the necessity of possessing an adequate fleet to defend their long coast-line; and it was under President Errázuriz that the ships were obtained and the officers trained that did such good service in the great war with Peru. With a population of over two millions, a rapidly increasing revenue, ruled by a government that was firm and progressive and that enjoyed the confidence of all classes, Chile was well equipped for the struggle with Peru that began in 1879.
The war of 1879-82 between Chile and Peru is the subject of a separate article (see Chile-Peruvian War). By the beginning of 1881 the war had reached a stage when the final struggle was close at hand. On the 13th of Close of the war with Peru.January of that year the Chilean forces under command of General Baquedano attacked the entrenched positions of the Peruvians at daybreak in the vicinity of Chorillos, a village some few miles from Lima, and forming the outer line of defence for the capital. After a stubborn fight the day ended in victory for the attacking forces; but the losses on both sides were great, and on the following day negotiations for peace were attempted by the representatives of the foreign powers in Lima, the object being to avoid, if possible, any further bloodshed. This attempt to end the conflict proved, however, abortive, and on the 15th of January at 2 p.m. hostilities recommenced in the neighbourhood of Miraflores. After severe fighting for some four hours the Chileans again proved victorious, and drove the Peruvians from the second line of defence back upon the city of Lima. Lima was now at the mercy of the Chileans, and on the 17th of January a division of 4000 men of all arms, under the command of General Cornelio Saavedra, was sent forward to occupy the Peruvian capital and restore order within the town limits. A portion of the Chilean forces was shortly afterwards withdrawn from Peru, and the army of occupation remaining in the conquered country was in charge of Admiral Patricio Lynch, an officer who had been specially promoted for distinguished services during the war. President Anibal Pinto of Chile now set about to find means to conclude a treaty of peace with Peru, but his efforts in this direction were frustrated by the armed resistance offered in the country districts to the Chilean authorities by the remainder of the Peruvian forces under command of General Cáceres. So matters continued— the Chileans administering on the seaboard and in the principal towns, the Peruvians maintaining a guerilla warfare in the mountainous districts of the interior. In September 1881 the term of office of president Pinto expired, and he was succeeded in the post of chief executive of Chile by President Domingo Santa Maria. Ex-President Pinto died three years later in Valparaiso, leaving a memory respected and admired by all political parties in his country. The name of Pinto will always occupy a prominent place in the annals of Chilean history, not only because the war with Peru took place during his term of office, but also on account of the fact that it was largely due to the intelligent direction of all details by the president during the struggle that the Chilean arms proved so absolutely successful by land and sea.
Señor Domingo Santa Maria, who now acceded to the presidency of Chile, was a Liberal in politics, and had previously held various important posts under the government. Under the rule of President Montt he had been an active member of President Santa Maria.the opposition and involved in various revolutionary conspiracies; for his participation in these plots he was at one time exiled from the country, but returned and received official employment under President Perez. The principal task confronting President Santa Maria on assuming the presidency was to negotiate a treaty of peace with Peru and provide for the evacuation of the Chilean army of occupation. The presence of the Peruvian general Cáceres and his forces in the interior of Peru prevented for some two years the formation of any Peruvian national administration in Lima with which the Chilean authorities could deal. In August of 1883 the Peruvians were defeated by the forces commanded by Admiral Lynch, and a government was then organized under the leadership of General Iglesias. A provisional treaty of peace was then drawn up and signed by General Iglesias and the Chilean representative, and this was finally ratified by the Chilean and Peruvian congresses respectively in April 1884. By the terms of this treaty Peru ceded to Chile unconditionally the province of Tarapacá, and the provinces of Tacna and Arica were placed under Chilean authority for the term of ten years, the inhabitants having then to decide by a general vote whether they remained a part of Chile or elected to belong once more to Peru. In the event of the decision being favourable to Peru a sum of 10,000,000 dollars was to be paid by Peru to Chile. On the ratification of this treaty the Chilean forces were immediately withdrawn from Lima and other points of occupation in Peruvian territory. The government of Bolivia also attempted to negotiate a treaty of peace with Chile in 1884, and for this purpose sent representatives to Santiago. No satisfactory terms, however, could be arranged, and the negotiations ended in only an armistice being agreed to, by which Chile remained in occupation of the Bolivian seaboard pending a definite settlement at some future period.
The administration of President Santa Maria met with violent opposition from the Conservatives, who included the Clerical party in their ranks, and also from a certain section of the Liberals. The dislike of the Conservatives to President Santa Maria was occasioned by his introduction of the law of civil marriage, the civil registration of births and deaths, and the freeing of the cemeteries. Hitherto no marriage was legal unless celebrated according to the rites of the Roman Catholic religion, and all registers of births and deaths were kept by the parish priests. Civil employees were now appointed under the new laws to attend to this work. Formerly the cemeteries were entirely under the control of the Church, and, with the exception of a few places specially created for the purpose, were reserved solely for the burial of Roman Catholics. Under the new regime these cemeteries were made common to the dead of all religions. Under President Perez, in 1865, a clause in the law of constitution had been introduced permitting the exercise of all creeds of religion, and this was now put into practice, all restrictions being removed. On several occasions, notably in 1882 and 1885, President Santa Maria used his influence in the elections of senators and deputies to congress for the purpose of creating a substantial majority in his favour. He was induced to take this course in consequence of the violent opposition raised in the chambers by the liberal policy he pursued in connexion with Church matters. This intervention caused great irritation amongst the Conservatives and dissentient Liberals, and the political situation on more than one occasion became so strained as to bring the country to the verge of armed revolution. No outbreak, however, took place, and in 1886 the five years of office for which President Santa Maria had been elected came to an end, and another Liberal, Señor José Manuel Balmaceda, then succeeded to power.
The election of Balmaceda was bitterly opposed by the Conservatives and dissentient Liberals, but was finally successfully carried by the official influence exercised by President Santa Maria. On assuming office President Balmaceda Balmaceda elected president.endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation of all sections of the Liberal party in congress and so form a solid majority to support the administration, and to this end he nominated as ministers representatives of the different political groups. Six months later the cabinet was reorganized, and two most bitter opponents to the recent election of President Balmaceda were accorded portfolios. Believing that he had now secured the support of the majority in congress on behalf of any measures he decided to put forward, the new president initiated a policy of heavy expenditure on public works, the building of schools, and the strengthening of the naval and military forces of the republic. Contracts were given out to the value of £6,000,000 for the construction of railways in the southern districts; some 10,000,000 dollars were expended in the erection of schools and colleges; three cruisers and two sea-going torpedo boats were added to the squadron; the construction of the naval port at Talcahuano was actively pushed forward; new armament was purchased for the infantry and artillery branches of the army, and heavy guns were acquired for the purpose of permanently and strongly fortifying the neighbourhoods of Valparaiso, Talcahuano and Iquique. In itself this policy was not unreasonable, and in many ways extremely beneficial for the country. Unfortunately corruption crept into the expenditure of the large sums necessary to carry out this programme. Contracts were given by favour and not by merit, and the progress made in the construction of the new public works was far from satisfactory. The opposition in congress to President Balmaceda began to increase rapidly towards the close of 1887, and further gained ground in 1888. In order to ensure a majority favourable to his views, the president threw the whole weight of his official influence into the elections for senators and deputies in 1888; but many of the members returned to the chambers through this official influence joined the opposition shortly after taking their seats. In 1889 congress became distinctly hostile to the administration of President Balmaceda, and the political situation became grave, and at times threatened to involve the country in civil war. According to usage and custom in Chile, a ministry does not remain in office unless supported by a majority in the chambers. Balmaceda now found himself in the impossible position of being unable to appoint any ministry that could control a majority in the senate and chamber of deputies and at the same time be in accordance with his own views of the administration of public affairs. At this juncture the president assumed that the constitution gave him the power of nominating and maintaining in office any ministers he might consider fitting persons for the purpose, and that congress had no right of interference in the matter. The chambers were now only waiting for a suitable opportunity to assert their authority. In 1890 it was stated that President Balmaceda had determined to nominate and cause to be elected as his successor at the expiration of his term of office in 1891 one of his own personal friends. This question of the election of another president brought matters to a head, and congress refused to vote supplies to carry on the government. To avoid trouble Balmaceda entered into a compromise with congress, and agreed to nominate a ministry to their liking on condition that the supplies for 1890 were voted. This cabinet, however, was of short duration, and resigned when the ministers understood the full amount of friction between the president and congress. Balmaceda then nominated a ministry not in accord with the views of congress under Señor Claudio Vicuña, whom it was no secret that Balmaceda intended to be his successor in the presidential chair, and, to prevent any expression of opinion upon his conduct in the matter, he refrained from summoning an extraordinary session of the legislature for the discussion of the estimates of revenue and expenditure for 1891. When the 1st of January 1891 arrived, the president published a decree in the Diario Oficial to the effect that the budget of 1890 would be considered the official budget for 1891. This act was illegal and beyond the attributes of the executive power. As a protest against the action of President Revolution of 1891.Balmaceda, the vice-president of the senate, Señor Waldo Silva, and the president of the chamber of deputies, Señor Ramon Barros Luco, issued a proclamation appointing Captain Jorje Montt in command of the squadron, and stating that the navy could not recognize the authority of Balmaceda so long as he did not administer public affairs in accordance with the constitutional law of Chile. The majority of the members of the chambers sided with this movement, and on the 7th of January Señores Waldo Silva, Barros Luco and a number of senators and deputies embarked on board the Chilean warship “Blanco Encalada,” accompanied by the “Esmeralda” and “O’Higgins” and other vessels, sailing out of Valparaiso harbour and proceeding northwards to Tarapaca to organize armed resistance against the president (see Chilean Civil War). It was not alone this action of Balmaceda in connexion with congress that brought about the revolution. He had alienated the sympathy of the aristocratic classes of Chile by his personal vanity and ambition. The oligarchy composed of the great landowners have always been an important factor in the political life of the republic; when President Balmaceda found that he was not a persona grata to this circle he determined to endeavour to govern without their support, and to bring into the administration a set of men who had no traditions and with whom his personality would be all-powerful. The Clerical influence was also thrown against him in consequence of his radical ideas in respect of Church matters.
Immediately on the outbreak of the revolution President Balmaceda published a decree declaring Montt and his companions to be traitors, and without delay organized an army of some 40,000 men for the suppression of the insurrectionary movement. While both sides were preparing for extremities, Balmaceda administered the government under dictatorial powers with a congress of his own nomination. In June 1891 he ordered the presidential election to be held, and Señor Claudio Vicuña was duly declared chosen as president of the republic for the term commencing in September 1891. The resources of Balmaceda were running short on account of the heavy military expenses, and he determined to dispose of the reserve of silver bullion accumulated in the vaults of the Casa de Moneda in accordance with the terms of the law for the conversion of the note issue. The silver was conveyed abroad in a British man-of-war, and disposed of partly for the purchase of a fast steamer to be fitted as an auxiliary cruiser and partly in payment for other kinds of war material.
The organization of the revolutionary forces went on slowly. Much difficulty was experienced in obtaining the necessary arms and ammunition. A supply of rifles was bought in the United States, and embarked on board the “Itata,” a Chilean vessel in the service of the rebels. The United States authorities refused to allow this steamer to leave San Diego, and a guard was stationed on the ship. The “Itata,” however, slipped away and made for the Chilean coast, carrying with her the representatives of the United States. A fast cruiser was immediately sent in pursuit, but only succeeded in overhauling the rebel ship after she was at her destination. The “Itata” was then forced to return to San Diego without landing her cargo for the insurgents. The necessary arms and ammunition were arranged for in Europe; they were shipped in a British vessel, and transferred to a Chilean steamer at Fortune Bay, in Tierra del Fuego, close to the Straits of Magellan and the Falkland Islands, and thence carried to Iquique, where they were safely disembarked early in July 1891. A force of 10,000 men was now raised by the junta of the revolution, and preparations were rapidly pushed forward for a move to the south with the object of attacking Valparaiso and Santiago. Early in April a portion of the revolutionary squadron, comprising the “Blanco Encalada” and other ships, was sent to the southward for reconnoitring purposes and put into the port of Caldera. During the night of the 23rd of April, and whilst the “Blanco Encalada” was lying quietly at anchor, a torpedo boat called the “Almirante Lynch,” belonging to the Balmaceda faction, steamed into the bay of Caldera and discharged a torpedo at the rebel ship. The “Blanco Encalada” sank in a few minutes and 300 of her crew perished.
In the middle of August 1891 the rebel forces were embarked at Iquique (where a provisional government under Captain Jorje Montt had been set up), numbering in all about 9000 men, and sailed for the south. On the 20th of August the congressist army was disembarked at Quinteros, about 20 m. north of Valparaiso, and marched to Concon, where the Balmacedists were entrenched. A severe fight ensued, in which the troops of President Balmaceda were defeated with heavy loss. This reverse roused the worst passions of the president, and he ordered the arrest and imprisonment of all persons suspected of sympathy with the revolutionary cause. The population generally were, however, distinctly antagonistic to Balmaceda; and this feeling had become accentuated since the 17th of August 1891, on which date he had ordered the execution of a number of youths belonging to the military college at San Lorenzo on a charge of seditious practices. The shooting of these boys created a feeling of horror throughout the country, and a sensation of uncertainty as to what measures of severity might not be practised in the future if Balmaceda won the day. After the victory at Concon the insurgent army, under command of General Campos, marched in a southerly direction towards Viña del Mar, and thence to Placilla, where the final struggle in the conflict took place. Balmaceda’s generals Barbosa and Alcérrica had here massed their troops in a strong position. The battle, on the 28th of August, resulted in victory for the rebels. Both the Balmacedist generals were killed and Valparaiso was at once occupied. Defeat and suicide of Balmaceda.Three days later the victorious insurgents entered Santiago and assumed the government of the republic. After the batile of Placilla it was clear to President Balmaceda that he could no longer hope to find a sufficient strength amongst his adherents to maintain himself in power, and in view of the rapid approach of the rebel army he abandoned his official duties to seek an asylum in the Argentine legation. The president remained concealed in this retreat until the 18th of September. On the evening of that date, when the term for which he had been elected president of the republic terminated, he committed suicide by shooting himself. The excuse for this act, put forward in letters written shortly before his end, was that he did not believe the conquerors would give him an impartial trial. The death of Balmaceda finished all cause of contention in Chile, and was the closing act of the most severe and bloodiest struggle that country had ever witnessed. In the various engagements throughout the conflict more than 10,000 lives were lost, and the joint expenditure of the two governments on military preparations and the purchase of war material exceeded £10,000,000 sterling.
An unfortunate occurrence soon after the close of the revolution brought strained relations for a short period between the governments of the United States and Chile. A number of men of the U.S.S. “Baltimore” having been given liberty on shore, an argument arose between some of them and a group of Chilean sailors in a drinking den in Valparaiso. Words led to blows. The Americans were badly handled, one of their number being killed and others severely hurt. The United States government characterized the affair as an outrage, demanding an indemnity as satisfaction. The Chilean authorities demurred at this attitude, and attempted to argue the matter. James G. Elaine, then secretary of state, refused peremptorily to listen to any explanations. In the end Chile paid an indemnity of $75,000 as asked, but the affair left bad feeling in its train.
The close of the revolution against Balmaceda left the government of Chile in the hands of the junta under whose guidance the military and naval operations had been organized. Admiral Jorje Montt had been the head of this President Jorje Montt.revolutionary committee, and he acted as president of the provisional government when the administration of the country changed hands after the victory of the Congressional party. An election was now immediately ordered for the choice of a president of the republic and for representatives in the senate and chamber of deputies. Admiral Montt, as head of the executive power, stanchly refused to allow official influence to be brought to bear in any way in the presidential campaign. The great majority of the voters, however, required no pressure to decide who was in their opinion the man most fitted to administer the affairs of the republic. For the first time in the history of Chile a perfectly free election was held, and Admiral Montt was duly chosen by a nearly unanimous vote to be chief magistrate for the constitutional term of five years. The senate and chamber of deputies were formally constituted in due course, and the government of the republic resumed normal conditions of existence. The new president showed admirable tact in dealing with the difficult problem he was called upon to face. Party feeling still ran high between the partisans of the two sides of the recent conflict. Admiral Montt took the view that it was politic and just to let bygones be bygones, and he acted conscientiously by this principle in all administrative measures in connexion with the supporters of the late President Balmaceda. Early in 1892 an amnesty was granted to the officers of the Balmaceda régime, and they were freely permitted to return to Chile without any attempt being made to molest them. The first political act of national importance of the new government was the grant of control to the municipalities, which hitherto had possessed little power to direct local affairs, and were not even permitted to dispose of the municipal revenues to any important amount without first obtaining the consent of the central government. Almost absolute power was now given these corporations to manage their own concerns, and the organization of the police was placed in their hands; at a later period, however, it was found necessary to modify this latter condition.
President Montt next turned his attention towards the question of how best to repair the damage occasioned to the country by eight months of civil warfare. The plan of public works authorized in 1887 was reconsidered, and the construction of portions of the various undertakings recommenced. The army and navy were reorganized. Additional instructors were brought from Germany, and all arms of the military service were placed on a thoroughly efficient footing in matters of drill and discipline. Several new and powerful cruisers were added to the navy, and the internal economy of this branch of the national defence was thoroughly inspected and many defects were remedied. President Montt then took in hand the question of a reform of the currency, the abolition of inconvertible paper money, and the re-establishment of a gold basis as the monetary standard of the republic. This reform of the currency became the keynote of the president’s policy during the remainder of his term of office. Great opposition was raised by the representatives of the debtor class in congress to the suppression of the inconvertible paper money, but in the end President Montt carried the day, and on the 11th of February 1895 a measure finally became law establishing a gold currency as the only legal tender in Chile. In July 1896 the Conversion Act was put in force, a dollar of 18d. being the monetary unit adopted. In 1895 relations with the neighbouring republic of Argentina began to become somewhat strained in regard to the interpretation of the treaty concerning the boundary between the two countries. The treaties of 1881, 1893 and 1895 left doubts in the minds of both Chileans and Argentines as to the position of the frontier line. On the 17th of April 1896 another protocol was drawn up, by which the contending parties agreed to submit any differences to the arbitration of Great Britain, at the instance of one or both governments. President Montt had now fulfilled his term of office, and on the 18th of September 1896 he handed over the presidential power to his successor, Señor Federico Errázuriz, who had been duly elected in the month of June previously.
The election for the position of president of the republic was closely contested in 1896 between Señor Errázuriz and Señor Reyes, and ended in the triumph of the former candidate by the narrow majority of one vote. The father President Errázuriz.of the new president had been chief magistrate of Chile from 1871 to 1876, and his administration had been one of the best the country had ever enjoyed; his son had therefore traditions to uphold in the post he was now called upon to fill. At the beginning of 1897 the public attention was absorbed by foreign political questions. The problems to be solved were the frontier difficulty with Argentina, the question of the possession of Tacna and Arica with Peru, and the necessity of fulfilling the obligation contracted with Bolivia to give that country a seaport on the Pacific coast. The treaty made in 1896 with the Argentine government, referring to the arbitration of disputed points concerning the boundary, became practically for the moment a dead letter, and both Argentines and Chileans began to talk openly of an appeal to arms to settle the matter once for all. The governments of both countries began to purchase large supplies of war material, and generally to make preparations for a possible conflict. In these circumstances no final settlement with Peru and Bolivia was possible, the authorities of those republics holding back to see the issue of the Chile-Argentine dispute, and Chile being in no position at the time to insist on any terms being arranged. So matters drifted until the beginning of 1898. In July of that year the crisis reached an acute stage. Both Chile and Argentina put forward certain pretensions to territory in the Atacama district to the north, and also to a section of Patagonia in the south. Neither side would give way, nor was any disposition exhibited to refer the matter to arbitration under the protocol of 1896. The cry of an acute financial crisis emanating from the fear of war with Argentina was now raised in Chile. The president was advised that the only way of averting the financial ruin of the banking institutions of the republic was to suspend the conversion law and lend from the national treasury inconvertible notes to the banks. Señor Errázuriz weakly gave way, and a decree was promulgated placing the Crisis with Argentina.currency once more on an inconvertible paper money basis until 1902. In August of 1898 the Chilean government determined to insist upon the terms of the protocol of 1896 being acted upon, and intimated to Argentina that they demanded the fulfilment of the clause relating to arbitration on disputed points. This was practically an ultimatum, and a refusal on the part of the Argentine government to comply with the terms of the 1896 agreement meant a declaration of war by Chile. For a few days the issue hung in the balance, and then the Argentine government accepted the provisions made in 1896 for arbitration. The dispute concerning the Atacama district was submitted to an arbitration tribunal, consisting of the representative of the United States in Argentina, assisted by one Argentine and one Chilean commissioner. This tribunal, after due investigation, gave their decision in April 1899, and the verdict was accepted unreservedly by both governments. The dispute regarding the Patagonian territory was submitted to the arbitration of Great Britain, and a commission—consisting of Lord Macnaghten, Sir John Ardagh and Sir T. H. Holdich—was appointed in 1899 to hear the case.
The Argentine difficulty was ended, but Chile still had to find a settlement with Peru and Bolivia. The treaty made with the former country in 1893 was not ratified, as it was thought to concede too much to Peru, and the subsequent ad referendum treaty was rejected on account of Peru claiming that only Peruvians, and not all residents, should have the right to vote in the plebiscite to be taken by the terms of the treaty of 1883 for the possession of Tacna and Arica. By the terms of the armistice of 1883 between Chile and Bolivia, a three years’ notice had to be given by either government wishing to denounce that agreement. By the protocol of 1895 Chile agreed to give to Bolivia the port of Arica, or some other suitable position on the seaboard. On these lines a settlement was proposed. Vitor, a landing-place a little to the south of Arica, was offered by the Chilean government to Bolivia, but refused as not complying with the conditions stated in the protocol of 1895; the Bolivians furthermore preferred to wait and see if Arica was finally ceded by Peru to Chile, and if so to claim the fulfilment of the terms of the protocol.
After the accession to office of President Errázuriz there was no stability of any ministry. Political parties in congress were so evenly balanced and so subdivided into groups that a vote against the ministry was easy to obtain, and the resignation of the cabinet immediately followed in accordance with the so-called parliamentary system in vogue in Chile. The president of the republic has no power to dissolve the chambers, to endeavour to remedy the evil by one or another political party obtaining a substantial working majority, but must wait to see the results of the triennial elections. As a consequence of these conditions Conservative, Liberal and coalition ministries held office at short intervals. These unsettled political circumstances checked any continuity of policy, and tended to block the passage of all useful legislation to help forward the economic development of the country and inhabitants; on the other hand, the financial situation was better by the end of 1899 than in the previous year, since all proposals for a fresh paper issue had been vetoed; and the elections for congress and municipal office at the opening of 1900 returned a majority favourable to a stable currency policy.
In September 1900 a fresh outburst of hostile feeling against Chile was created in Argentina by a note addressed by the Chilean government to Bolivia, intimating that Chile was no longer inclined to hand over the port of Arica or any other port on the Pacific, but considered the time ripe for a final settlement of the questions connected with the Chilean occupation of Bolivian territory, which had now been outstanding for sixteen years. The foreign policy of Chile, as indicated by this note, was considered by Argentina to be grasping and unconciliatory, and there were rumours of an anti-Chilean South American federation. Chile disclaimed any aggressive intentions; but in December the Bolivian congress declined to relinquish their claim to a port, and refused to conclude a definite treaty of peace. The year closed with a frontier incident between Chile and Argentina in the disputed territory of Ultima Esperanza, where some Argentine colonists were ejected by Chilean police; but both governments signed protocols agreeing not to take aggressive action in consequence.
At the opening of 1901 the country was chiefly interested in the forthcoming presidential election, for which the candidates were Don Pedro Montt (Conservative and Clerical) and Señor German Riesco (Liberal). The relations President Riesco.between President Errázuriz and congress became rather strained, owing to the former’s inclination to retain in office a ministry on which congress had passed a vote of censure; but Errázuriz had been in ill-health for more than a year, and on the 1st of May he resigned, and died in July. At the ensuing election Riesco was elected president. The attitude of Chile towards the Pan-American Congress at Mexico became a matter of interest in the autumn, particularly in connexion with the proposal for compulsory arbitration between all American governments. The Chilean government made it quite clear that they would withdraw from the congress if this proposal was meant to be retroactive; and their unyielding attitude testified to the apprehensions felt by Chile concerning United States interference. In October the Chilean government announced that the contemplated conversion scheme, for which gold had been accumulated, would be postponed for two years (till October 1903), the gold being held as a reserve fund pending the result of the arbitration over the Argentine frontier. This was generally considered to be a reasonable and statesmanlike course. Unfortunately, a recrudescence of the excitement over the boundary dispute was occasioned by the irritation created in Argentina by the fact that, pending a decision, Chile was constructing roads in the disputed territory. During December 1901 relations were exceedingly strained, and troops were called out on both sides. But at the end of the month it was agreed to leave the question to the British arbitrators, and the latter decided to send one of their number, Sir T. H. Holdich, to examine the territory.
The survey occupied some eight months, and it was not until the autumn that Sir T. H. Holdich returned to England to make his report. The difficulty of ascertaining the true line watershed had been very great, but the result Argentine boundary award.was eminently successful. The award of King Edward was signed on the 20th of November 1902, and both parties to the litigation were satisfied. In order that future disputes might be amicably settled, a treaty was signed by which it was agreed that any question that might arise should be submitted to the arbitration of Great Britain or in default of that power to the Swiss Confederation. The removal of this source of irritation and the restoration of friendly relations between the two republics was a great relief to the finance of Chile. Had it not been for the political instability of the country, the effects of the diminution of expenditure on military and naval preparations would have effected a rapid improvement in its financial position. The constant change of ministry (there being no stable majority in the congress) prevented during 1903 any settled policy, or that confidence in the government which is the basis of commercial prosperity. In 1904, however, both trade and revenue showed signs of improvement, and the sale of the warships “Esmeralda” and “Chambuco” for £1,000,000 furnished a surplus, which was devoted to the improvement of the port of Valparaiso. This was the beginning of a period of steady industrial growth and development. The settlement of the long outstanding dispute with Bolivia in a treaty of peace signed on the 17th of October 1905 was very advantageous to both countries. By this treaty Bolivia ceded all claims to a seaport and strip of the coast, on condition that Chile constructed at her own charges a railway to Lapaz from the port of Arica, giving at the same time to Bolivia free transit across Chilean territory to the sea. A cash indemnity of £300,000 was also paid, and certain stipulations were made with regard to the construction of other railways giving access from Chile to the Bolivian interior.
The prosperity of Chile was to suffer a rude shock. On the 17th of August 1906 a terrible earthquake visited Valparaiso and the surrounding district. The town of Valparaiso was almost entirely destroyed, while Santiago and Valparaiso earthquake.other towns were severely shaken and suffered much damage. It was estimated that about 3000 persons were killed, a still larger number injured, and at least 100,000 rendered homeless. The loss of property was enormous. The fire which broke out after the earthquake shock had subsided added to the horror of the catastrophe. Measures were, however, promptly taken for succouring the people, who had been driven from their homes, and the task of restoration was vigorously taken in hand. Before the end of the year the rebuilding of the city was rapidly progressing.
In 1906 Señor Pedro Montt was elected president and entered upon his office on the 17th of September. The personality of the president, however, had become of much less importance in modern Chile than in earlier days. Up to 1870 the government was in the hands of a small oligarchy of Santiago President Pedro Montt.families, but the president enjoyed large powers of initiative. Nowadays the congress has virtually absorbed the executive power, with the result that the cabinet is often changed many times in one year. This prevents indeed any continuity of policy, for the majority in congress is perpetually fluctuating, and ministerial crises rapidly follow one another. Chile, however, except in the Balmacedist civil war, is happily distinguished by its freedom from revolution and serious political unrest. Its history in this respect is in marked contrast to that of the neighbouring South American states. The completion of the Trans-Andean railway between Valparaiso and Buenos Aires was bound to be of immense commercial and industrial value; and eventually the making of a longitudinal railway route uniting the nitrate province of the north with Santiago, and Santiago with Puerto Montt in the distant south, opened up further important prospects. Such a line of through communication, binding together the different provinces forming the long narrow strip of territory stretching along more than 2000 m. of the Pacific littoral, could only be looked forward to, both politically and economically, as an inestimable benefit to the country.
Bibliography.—General History.—The most valuable authority is D. Barros Arana’s Historia jeneral de Chile (15 vols., Santiago, 1884), from the earliest days up to 1830. Smaller handbooks covering the whole period are: A. U. Hancock, a History of Chile (Chicago, 1893), the only general history in English, and containing a bibliography; Gaspar Toro, Compendio de la historia de Chile (Santiago, 1879), a good clear abstract of Chilean history; and F. Valdes Vergara, Historia de Chile (Valparaiso, 1898), written primarily for schools, but containing useful sketches of leading figures in Chilean history.
Works on Special Periods.—Colonial Period: M. L. Amunátequi, Descubri miento y conquista de Chile (Santiago, 1885), a valuable detailed account of the Spanish conquest; by same author, Los Precursores de la independencia de Chile (Santiago, 1870), a clear useful description of the evils of the Spanish colonial system; Horacio Lara, Cronica de la Araucania (Santiago, 1889), a history of the Araucanian Indians right up to recent dates; Abbé Eyzaguirre, Histoire du Chili (Lille, 1855), mainly dealing with the position of the Church during the colonial period. Perez Garcia’s Historia del reino de Chile (Santiago, 1900), an old history by a Spanish officer written about 1780, and Molina’s History of Chili in the English translation (London, 1809), will also be found useful. Useful material for research exists in J. T. Medina’s Coleccion de documentos para la historia de Chile (Santiago, 1888), a collection of despatches and official documents; his Cosas de la colonia (Santiago, 1889), an accumulation of undigested information about life in the colonial period; and Historiadores de Chile (21 vols., Santiago, 1861), a collection of ancient chronicles and official documents up to the early part of the 17th century.
Revolutionary Period.—A. Roldan, Las Primeras Asambleas nacionales (Santiago, 1890), an account of the struggles in the first national assemblies; A. Valdes, Revolucion Chilena y campañas de la independencia (Santiago, 1888), an account of the early fighting and rivalry of the revolutionary leaders; W. Pilling, Emancipation of South America (London, 1893), a translation of B. Mitre’s life of San Martin, describing the fighting in the wars of independence; Lord Cochrane, Narrative of Services in Chile, Peru and Brazil (London, 1859), an autobiography describing the naval exploits that helped to secure the expulsion of the Spaniards; B. Vicuña Machenna, Vida de O’Higgins (Santiago, 1882), giving a useful account of the revolutionary struggle and the main actors; and the same author’s Historia jeneral de la republica de Chile, a collection of essays on the early republican history by various writers.
Later History.—R. Sotomayor Valdes, Historia de Chili, 1831–1871, a detailed account of the period}} (Santiago, 1875); the same author’s Campaña del ejercito Chileno en 1837 (Santiago, 1896), describing the fighting of the first Peruvian War; B. Vicuña Machenna, D. Diego Portales (Valparaiso, 1863), a good account of the life and time of Portales, the famous minister of the Conservative party; P. B. Fiqueroa, Historia de la revolution constituyente 1858–59 (Santiago, 1889), an account of the revolution at the end of Montt’s presidency; F. Fonch, Chile in der Gegenwart (Berlin, 1870), a description of Chile at the time; Statement on Behalf of Chile (in the Chilean-Argentine Boundary Arbitration) (6 vols., London, 1901–1902); Sir Thomas Holdich, Countries of the King’s Award (1904); Beltran y Rospido, Los Pueblos hispano-americanos en el siglo XX. (Madrid, 1904); P. F. Martin, Through Five Republics of South America (London, 1906); Wright, The Republic of Chile (London, 1905); G. F. Scott Elliot, Chilé (London, 1907); Sir W. M. Conway, Aconcagua and Tierra del Fuego (London, 1902); “Chile-Argentine Arbitration” in the Geog. Journal (January 1903); C. M. Pepper, Panama to Patagonia (London, 1907); C. E. Akers, History of South America, 1854–1904 (London, 1904); M. Hume, Lecture on the Republic of Chile (London, 1902). (E. G. J. M.; C. E. A.; G. E.)
- See A. Pissis, “Sur la constitution géologique de la chaîne des Andes entre le 16° et le 55° degré de latitude sud,” Ann. des mines, ser. 7, vol. iii. (Mém.), 1873, pp. 402-426, pils. ix., x.; R. A. Philippi, Die tertiären und quartären Versteinerungen Chiles (Leipzig, 1887), (includes also descriptions of some Cretaceous fossils), and Los Fósiles secondarios de Chile (Santiago, 1899); Karl Burckhardt, “Profils géologiques transversaux de la Cordillère argentino-chilienne. Stratigraphie et tectonique,” Anales Mus. La Plata, 1900, and “Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Jura- und Kreide-formation der Cordillere,” Palaeontographica, vol. 1. (1903–1904) pp. 1–144, pls. i.-xvi.; see also a series of papers on South American geology by G. Steinmann and his collaborators in Neues Jahrb, für Min. Beil.-band viii. et seq.
- Notes of a Naturalist in South America, p. 134.
- Also classified as Nothofagus (Mirb.).
- A. Gallenga, South America (London, 1880), p. 181.
- The expenditures of 1902 are also given as 25,882,702 pesos gold, and 108,844,693 pesos currency.