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313,000 B.C.- 10,000 B.C. Nomadic hunters settled along what is now known as South America's west coast.

1450 The Incas from Peru conquered northern Chile.

21st October 1520 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan becomes the first European to sight Chile as he sails through the strait now named for him.

1535 The Indigenous Araucanian people successfully resist the first Spanish invasion of Chile.

1541  Pedro de Valdivia began his Spanish conquest of Chile and founded Santiago.

1551 The Spaniards in Chile began producing wine.

1553 The  Araucanians captured and kill Valdivia.

5th December 1578 Sir Francis Drake sailed into the port of Valparaiso. He had just renamed his flagship, the Pelican, to the Golden Hind, and ravaged the coasts of Chile and Peru on his way around the world.

1810 The Military Junta in Santiago proclaimed autonomy for Chile following the overthrow of the king of Spain by Napoleon.

1810  Junta in Santiago proclaimed autonomy for Chile.

1814  Spain regained control of Chile.

1817  The battles of Chacabuco and Maipu in which the Spanish were defeated by the Army of the Andes led by Jose de San Martin and Bernardo O'Higgins.

1818  Chile became independent, with Bernardo O'Higgins proclaimed as the supreme leader.

1823-30 Bernardo O'Higgins was forced to resign, after a civil war between liberal federalists and conservative centralists ended with a conservative victory.

27th September 1834 Charles Darwin returned to Valparaiso.

10th November 1834 The HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin sailed from Valparaiso.

21st November 1834 The HMS Beagle anchored in Bay of San Carlos, Chile.

25th December 1834  Charles Darwin celebrated Christmas on the  Beagle at Tres Montes, Chile.

20th February 1835  Concepcion, Chile, was destroyed by earthquake and some 5,000 died.

22nd February 1835 The HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin left Valdivia, Chile.

4th March1835 The HMS Beagle moved into Bay of Concepcion.7th March 1835 The HMS Beagle returned from Concepcion to Valparaiso.

10th March 1835  Charles Darwin wrote in a letter to Carolyn Darwin and described a massive earthquake in Concepcion, Chile.

13th March 1835 Charles Darwin departed Valparaiso for Andes crossing.

18th March 1835 Charles Darwin departed Santiago, Chile, on his way to Portillo Pass.

23rd March 1835 Charles Darwin reached Los Arenales in the Andes.

10th April 1835 Charles Darwin returned to Santiago, Chile.

12th May 1835  Charles Darwin visited the copper mines in North Chile.

14th May 1835  Charles Darwin reached Coquimbo in Northern Chile.

20th January 1839 Chile defeated a confederation of Peru and Bolivia in the Battle of Yungay.
1851-61  President Manuel Montt liberalised the constitution and reduced privileges for landowners and the church.

1862  Peruvian slavers arrived on Easter Island. The slaves that eventually returned carried smallpox to the island.

3rd May 1866 The first submarine in the Americas, a 39-foot vessel designed in the 1860s by German immigrant Karl Flach, sank in the Bay of Valparaiso off the coast of Chile. The crew, two Chileans, two Frenchmen and seven Germans, including Flach and his 15-year-old son, all died. (In 2007 a search team found the vessel).

1879-84  Chile increased its territory by one third after it defeated Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific. Its main prize being  Antofagasta, Bolivia's only outlet to the sea, along with mineral-rich areas of Peru.

1881  A German expedition to Chile took 11 Kawesqar Indians to Europe to appear in what was later described as a human zoo. 5 of the Indians died in 1882 in Zurich, Switzerland. Their remains were repatriated in 2010.

1890 Pacification of the Araucanians paved the way for European immigration, allowing large-scale mining of nitrate and copper.

1891 Civil war over constitutional disputes between the president and congress ended  in a congressional victory, with the  president being reduced to just a figurehead.

1925  A New constitution increased the  presidential powers and separated the church and state.

1927  General Carlos Ibanez del Campo seizes power and establishes dictatorship.

1927  General Carlos Ibanez del Campo seized power and established a dictatorship.

1938-46 The  Communists, Socialists and Radicals formed the Popular Front coalition and introduced economic policies based on a new US Deal.

1948-58  The Communist Party was banned.

1952  Gen Carlos Ibanez was elected president after promising to strengthen law and order.

1964  Eduardo Frei Montalva a Christian Democrat was elected president and introduced cautious social reforms, but failed to curb inflation.

1970  Salvador Allende became the world's first democratically elected Marxist president and embarked on an extensive programme of nationalisation and radical social reform.

15th September 1970 US Pres. Nixon authorized a US-backed coup in Chile.

25th October 1970 A US CIA-backed kidnapping attempt was botched and left Gen. Rene Schneider dead. Schneider had opposed a US plan for a military coup. In 2001 his widow and 3 sons filed a suit against Henry Kissinger, Richard Helms and several other former US bureaucrats.

23rd March 1972  US Pres. Nixon discussed his orders to undermine Chilean democracy after the leak of corporate papers revealing collaboration between ITT and the CIA to rollback the election of socialist leader Salvador Allende.

13th May 1972 There was a burglary at the Chilean Embassy in Washington DC. Two members of Pres. Nixon's secret White House team, known as the plumbers, were involved.
1973 Gen Augusto Pinochet ousted Allende in a CIA-sponsored coup and proceeded to establish a brutal dictatorship.

21st September 1973  A secret CIA report indicated that severe repression was planned in Chile and that 300 students were killed in the technical university when they refused to surrender to the military. The report was made public in 1999.

22nd September 1973 Michael Woodward (42), a suspended priest, died. He had been taken into custody by security forces in the port city of Valparaiso on Sep. 16th, 1973. Woodward was allegedly tortured with other detainees on at least two navy ships used as detention centres. In 2008 retired admirals Sergio Barros, Guillermo Aldoney and Adolfo Walbaum and retired navy captains Sergio Barra and Ricardo Riesgo were indicted for the kidnapping and torture of Woodward and other members of leftist groups.

6th October 1973  Andres Pereira was arrested, assassinated and thrown into the sea. He was considered as disappeared until his death was confirmed in a 2001 in a government report.

17th October 1973  Winston Cabello Bravo (28) and 12 other political prisoners were shot to death in Copiago, Chile. Bravo's body was carved with a corvo knife. He had been Allende's chief of economic planning in 2 northern regions where copper mines were to be nationalised.   

October 1973 A group of military officers toured several cities by helicopter in northern Chile in a "caravan of death" and had 72 dissidents dragged from jail and executed. Five high ranking officers, including Gen. Sergio Arellano, were indicted for these executions in 1999. In 2004 Gen. Gonzalo Santelices, head of the Santiago army garrison, resigned amid accusations that he was involved in the “Caravan of death.” Santelices acknowledged that as a young lieutenant he followed orders and transferred 14 prisoners from a jail in northern Chile to a desert area where they were executed by firing squad. In 2008 retired Gen. Sergio Arellano was sentenced to six years in prison for the killing of five dissidents in the helicopter tour.

8th December 1973  Soldiers shot Argentine primary school teacher Bernardo Lejderman and Maria Avalos, a Mexican citizen, in front of their 2-year-old child. In 2007 a retired general and two former sergeants were fined and sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing the leftist couple, and were ordered to pay $600,000 to Ernesto Lejderman, the son of the slain couple.

1973 - 1988  Gen Pinochet lost a referendum on whether he should remain in power.

30th September 1974 Gen. Carlo Prats, a former Chilean army chief, was killed with his wife by a car bomb in Buenos Aires. In 2000 an Argentine judge called for the extradition of Augusto Pinochet for the slaying. In 2000 Enrique Arancibia Clavel was sentenced in Argentina to life in prison for his role in the murder.

5th October 1974  Miguel Enriquez (b.1944), a physician and founder (1965) of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR), was shot dead by Pinochet’s security forces.

1976  A US congressional commission found that Pres. Nixon had authorized $10 million for a covert CIA mission to get rid of Allende in Chile. Papers to this effect were declassified in 1998.

21st September 1976  Chilean exile Orlando Letelier, one time foreign minister to Chilean President Salvador Allende, was killed when a bomb exploded in his car in Washington D.C. He was assassinated by order from Chile by Gen. Manuel Contreras, head of the secret police known as DINA. Ronni Moffitt (25), an American colleague of Letelier, was also killed. Contreras was convicted of the order in 1993 and sentenced to a 7-year prison term. In 2000 Gen. Pinochet was linked to the killing.

19th April 1978 A law was enacted that gave amnesty to the military.

1979  Chilean Communist Party Sec. Gen. Luis Corvalan proclaimed from Moscow a new era of acute violence, and endorsed guerrilla warfare, terrorism and a massive armed uprising.

21st October 1980   Gen. Pinochet issued a new constitution that allowed him to stay in power for another 8 years. It was approved by plebiscite.

22nd January 1982 Eduardo Frei Montalva (b.1911), former Chilean President (1964-1970), died from septic shock as he recovered from stomach surgery at a Santiago clinic. In 2007 his family filed a court complaint claiming that Frei had been assassinated by poisoning after a Belgian university investigation found mustard gas in the body of the former Christian Democratic leader. In 2009 a Chilean judge ruled that Montalva was assassinated and that his killing was covered up by people linked to the dictatorship of Gen. Pinochet. Six people were charged in the case.

23rd February 1982 Tucapel Jimenez, a Chilean labor leader, was found with his throat cut and face shot in his car. Gen. Humberto Gordon Rubio (d.2000), secret police chief, was implicated in the killing.

5th January 1985 Boris Weisfeiler (43), a Russian émigré and naturalised US citizen, disappeared while hiking in Chile. US declassified documents in 2000 indicated that Boris, a mathematics professor, was detained by the Chilean military and handed over to Colonia Dignidad.

5th February 1985 The US halted a loan to Chile in protest over human rights abuses.

29th March 1985 In Santiago, police killed Rafael and Eduardo Vergara. The 2 young brothers, active members of the often violent “Movement of the Revolutionary Left” (MIR), were peppered with bullets by military police during an anti-Pinochet protest in the low-income Villa Francia district. The event became known as the “Day of the Young Combatants.”

1986  Chile’s military discovered a clandestine arms shipment that was traced to Cuba. There were enough arms to support 5,000 men.

7th September 1986  Gen. Pinochet narrowly survived an assassination attempt involving 70 terrorists. 5 of his escorts were murdered.

1987  A secret police unit killed 12 members of a pro-communist urban guerrilla gang. In 2007 retired Col. Ivan Quiroz was convicted as a member of the secret police unit and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Sentenced along with Quiroz were 10 other agents of Dina, including its director at the time, retired Gen. Hugo Salas, who received a life sentence.

29th September 1988 A 17-year-old girl died from electric torture by military police. This case was later cited by a Spanish judge as part of the 1998 warrant against Gen. Pinochet.

5th October 1988  The Chilean population agreed at referendum their opposition to the Pinochet regime.

6th October 1988   Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the president of Chile, conceded defeat in a referendum held the day before to determine whether he should receive a new eight-year term of office. He was forced to call for an open election but stayed president until his term ran out in 1990.

1989 Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin won the presidential election. Gen Pinochet stepped down in

1990 as head of state, but remained commander-in-chief of the army. However the generals maintained great power that included the right to veto all political decisions.

1990  Gen. Pinochet sent troops into the streets of Santiago as a warning to drop an official investigation into his son’s business dealings.

11th March 1990  Gen. Augusto Pinochet finally gave up power after 16 years of rule, but remained commander of the army. Some 3,200 people were murdered under his dictatorship and 30,000 more were tortured.

1st April 1991 Senator Jaime Guzman was assassinated. Sergio Galvarino Apablaza, head of the left-wing Manuel Rodrizuez Patriotic Front, was later accused of the murder. In 2005 an Argentine judge refused to extradite Apablaza.

December 1991 Hungarian officials discovered 11 tons of rocket launchers and automatic weapons being loaded on to  trucks headed for Croatia in violation of an UN arms embargo. They had been labelled as Chilean humanitarian aid for Sri Lanka. In Chile Col. Gerardo Huber, who directed purchases at the army's weapons manufacturer, turned up dead shortly after testifying in a military investigation. His head had been blown apart by a blast from a machine gun. In 2009 former Chilean Army Gen. Guillermo Letelier and Air Force Gen. Vicente Rodriguez were sentenced to prison for shipping arms to Croatia at the time of its battle for independence from Yugoslavia. 11 people were sentenced by a military court in June, 2009, for their roles in the deal. In October, 2009, retired Gen. Victor Lizarraga and retired Col. Manuel Provis got 10 and eight years, respectively, for conspiracy and homicide. Gen. Carlos Krum and Col. Julio Munoz, also both retired, got nearly 2 years for conspiracy and murder, respectively. The identity of the gunman in Huber's murder remained unknown.

1991  The National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation probed the abuses of the military regime and reported that some people arrested by the DINA were taken to the Dignity Colony, held there and tortured by agents of the DINA and by people of the colony. The Rettig Commission was named by the first post-military government to investigate human rights abuses. It was headed by a former Allende minister and counted a total of 2,279 dead and missing on both sides of the civil war.

1994-95  Eduardo Frei succeeded Aylwin as president and began to reduce the military's influence in government.

January 2005 Gen. Pinochet is placed under house arrest for human-rights offenses against the Chilean people.

20th January 1998  The 1st criminal suit was filed against  Gen. Pinochet for human rights violations

1998  Gen. Pinochet retired from the army and was made senator for life, but was arrested in the UK at the request of Spain on murder charges.

11th March 1998  Gen. Pinochet could not be removed as head of the army until this date. His successor was to be chosen by Pres. Eduardo Frei from 5 generals proposed by Pinochet. He had agreed to resign on condition that he be allowed to assume a Senate seat. Pinochet stepped down and was replaced by Patricio Aylwin.

12th September 1998 The anniversary of the 1973 coup was marked by weekend clashes with police and 2 people were killed and 77 injured.

16th October 1998  After receiving a Spanish extradition warrant, the British police arrested former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London for questioning about allegations that he had murdered Spanish citizens during his years in power. Pinochet was held for 16 months as courts decided whether he could be extradited to Spain, in 2000 he was allowed to return to Chile, where a court later held that he could not face charges because of his deteriorating health and mental condition.

17th October 1998 Chilean officials lodged a formal complaint to Britain over the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who arrested in a London medical clinic following a request from Spain for his extradition.

19th October 1998  A Spanish judge filed a motion for the extradition of Gen. Pinochet from England that encompassed 94 cases of genocide, as well as the deaths of 79 Spaniards who were killed in Chile after being abducted by an alliance of south American intelligence services.

28th October 1998  Britain’s High Court ruled that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet could not be tried in England for anything he did in Chile. Pinochet was still held pending an appeal. The House of Lords later overturned the decision, saying Pinochet's arrest could stand. Pinochet was eventually allowed to return to Chile, where a court later held that he could not face charges because of his deteriorating health and mental condition. Pinochet died in 2006.

10th November 1998  Chile announced the promotion of Brig. Gen. Sergio Espinoza Davies to Inspector Gen. of the Chilean Army. This followed his departure as chief of the UN military observer mission in India and Pakistan due to his role in human rights abuses during the Pinochet dictatorship.
25th November 1998 In Britain 5 members of the House of Lords voted 3 to 2 to reject former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s claim of immunity from extradition. The rejection came one day before Pinochet’s 83rd birthday. The final decision rested with Home Sec. Jack Straw.

9th December 1998 Britain’s Home Secretary, Jack Straw, turned down Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s plea to be set free.

17th December 1998 In Britain the high court set aside its ruling against Gen. Pinochet because one member failed to disclose close ties with Amnesty International. A new panel will rehear Pinochet’s claim of immunity.

24th March 1999 In Britain the high court rejected the claim of Pinochet for immunity from prosecution, but reduced the charges that could be brought against him to offenses after 29th Sep 1988. 27 of the 30 charges in the Spanish warrant were thrown out.

8th June 1999 Five Chilean army officers were indicted in connection to the executions of 72 dissidents after a 1973 coup. Indicted were retired Generals Sergio Arellano, Pedro Espinoza, retired Cols. Sergio Arredondo, Marcelo Moren, and retired Capt. Patricio Diaz.

8th October 1999 In London a court ruled that Gen. Pinochet can be extradited to Spain for trial on torture and conspiracy charges.

16th February 2000 Spanish papers reported that former Chilean Gen. Pinochet suffered from brain damage, according to a leaked British medical assessment, and could not stand for trial.

March  2000  British Home Secretary Jack Straw decided that Gen Pinochet was not fit to be extradited. Later Gen Pinochet returned to Chile. Socialist Ricardo Lagos was elected president.

3rd March 2000  Gen. Pinochet was flown home to Chile after being released from Britain on medical grounds.

2000  Chilean courts stripped Gen Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution several times, but attempts to make him stand trial for alleged human rights offences failed, with the  judges  citing concerns over the general's health.

July 2002  Gen Pinochet resigned from his post as a lifelong senator.

May 2004 President Lagos signed a law giving Chileans the right to divorce, despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Manuel Contreras, former head of the secret police, was jailed for 15 years over the disappearance and death of a journalist in 1974.

May 2005 45 young soldiers perished in a blizzard, prompting calls for an end to compulsory military service.

July 2005 The Senate approved changes to the Pinochet-era constitution, including one which restored the president's right to dismiss military commanders.

December 2005 During Presidential elections, Socialist Michelle Bachelet gained the most votes but failed to win more than 50% support, forcing a second-round vote against conservative billionaire and former senator Sebastian Pinera.

January 2006  Michelle Bachelet won the second round of presidential elections to become Chile's first woman president and the fourth consecutive head of state from the centre-left Concertacion coalition, and  took office in March.

August  2006  Chile and China signed a free-trade deal, Beijing's first in South America.

December 2006 Pinochet died.

January 2007 President Bachelet signed a decree allowing the morning-after contraceptive pill to be given to girls as young as 14 without their parents' consent.

March 2007 Ongoing protests in the capital Santiago over chaos followed the introduction of a new transport system.

June 2007 The Government agreed to pay compensation to the families of 12 victims of Pinochet.

January 2008 Peru filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in a bid to settle a long-standing dispute over maritime territory with neighbouring Chile.

October 2008 Local elections signalled that the political right, long out of office in Chile, might be gaining ground ahead of the next year's presidential poll.

February  2009 President Bachelet made  the first visit to Cuba by a Chilean leader in almost four decades.

October 2009 Relations with Peru became  further strained after Chile staged a military exercise in the north, close to the disputed border.

November 2009 A new diplomatic row erupted after a Peruvian air force officer was accused of spying for the Chilean military.

January 2010 Right-wing candidate Sebastian Pinera defeated the former President Eduardo Frei during  presidential election, ending 20 years of rule by the left-wing Concentracion coalition.

March 2010 President Pinera was inaugurated, and pledged to tackle the consequences of the earlier earthquake



Articles of Interest

11th September 1973. The Ingredients of a Military Coup