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History of Chile

History of Chile

Watch centuries of history unfold before you on your private Chile tour. Chile’s history begins with distinct indigenous cultures who inhabited the country in ancient times. In the north the Inca held sway and in the central and southern stretches lived the Araucarian tribes, most notably the Mapuche.

Experience Chile's gaucho culture in Patagonia.
Experience Chile’s gaucho culture in Patagonia.
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Valparaiso at dusk - best places to visit in 2019

Colonial history of Chile

In 1540, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia landed in Chile and founded Santiago and other cities, despite fierce resistance from the Araucanians who attacked and destroyed the settlements. A century of warfare followed, but eventually the Spanish won control. Chile declared independence in 1810 but wasn’t actually liberated until 1818, when Jose de San Martin from Argentina famously crossed the Andes and joined with the Chilean General Bernardo O’Higgins to defeat the Spanish troops.

In 1879, Chile seized the Bolivian port of Antofagasta and initiated a war with Bolivia and Peru. Chile was victorious, gaining control of many ports and important nitrate and copper mines. Chile was a prosperous country at the close of the 19th century, but a fall in exports due to WWI caused economic decline and unrest. The military took control and subsequent years saw various changes in the government.

In 1970 Marxist Salvador Allende became the first freely elected communist president of Chile. His administration was plagued by unrest and economic disaster, fuelled by antagonism from the USA.

In 1973 Augusto Pinochet took over after a military coup. Pinochet’s regime was especially controversial due to the Dirty War, when thousands of dissenters disappeared. Despite this, Pinochet was able to raise the literacy rate and stabilize the Chilean economy. In 1989 Pinochet allowed for free elections and Chile returned to democracy; the economy grew, the country became politically stable, and gradually Chile tourism began to gain momentum. Sebastian Pinera was elected president in 2010.

Santiago

Chile travel tips

Though there is still a stark divide between the wealthy middle class and the poor, on your Chile tour you will find that it’s currently one of the strongest economies in Latin America and growing!

During our luxury Chile tours, do check out the national flag to see if you can spot similarities with the Texas state flag. It was designed according to suggestions from a US Envoy.

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One of the very best travel experiences I have ever had. We even got updates once at 3 am! He also made one change in one day’s itinerary to accommodate our wishes which was very wonderful. For business, I have traveled to Europe, Russia, all over Asia and South Africa but was blown away by all the beautiful sites in Argentina and Chile.

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Joseph MatheyUSA

All the little touches made by our Enchanting Travel consultant, Amelia Edwards, were noticed and recognized by my wife and I. Thank you for making our milestone trip (25th wedding anniversary) such a memorable one! We look forward to engaging Enchanting Travels again for our next South American adventure!!

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This was my first adventure as a solo traveler. But while I may have traveled on my own, I was never alone. I was well taken care of by a superb team of planners, trip coordinators, guides and drivers.

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