A History of Chile, 1808-2002 by Simon Collier

By Simon Collier

Supplying an outline of Chilean historical past for the final reader in addition to the expert, this article employs fundamental and secondary fabrics to investigate the nation's political, financial, and social evolution from independence to 2002. not like different works, the quantity examines intensive the newest occasions of Chile's background: the diversification of its economic climate, unfold of democratic associations, development of public healthiness, and emergence of a wealthy highbrow tradition. First variation Hb (1996): 0-521-56075-6 First variation Pb (1996): 0-521-56827-7

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Chapter01 CY399/Collier 8 0 521 82749 3 November 7, 2003 20:23 Char Count= 0 Birth of a nation-state Our picture of these is not by any means clear. What is clear is that the impact of the encomienda on the native population, as in other parts of the Spanish empire, was little short of catastrophic. Much more catastrophic, however, was the effect of Old World diseases (against which the natives had no built-up resistance). Indigenous society outside Araucania rapidly disintegrated. By the end of the sixteenth century, Amerindian numbers were in sharp decline to the north (and also, as far as we can tell, to the south) of the B´ıo B´ıo, probably by around four-fifths.

If so, its roots may well lie here. Those peons who drifted into casual labor in the towns became known as rotos (“ragged men”), a term later applied to the urban lower class as a whole. Here a second standard Chilean stereotype was born: the roto, like the huaso, has come to be regarded (and idealized) over the years as supposedly embodying certain perennial features of the Chilean character – cheeriness, improvidence, a strong gambling instinct, and an almost miraculous ability to improvise. The “classical” Chilean countryside had, by 1800 or so, taken on its clearest shape (though not in all respects its later appearance, for the nowadays ubiquitous poplar was introduced only at the very end of colonial times) in the area between the Aconcagua Valley and the Maule River.

Markets for produce were very limited. Locally, there were the small Frontier garrisons to be supplied – not least with the tough, wiry horses for which Chile was soon noted. A modest inter-colonial trade also grew up with the Viceroyalty of Peru. In addition to “opulent Lima,” the impressive viceregal capital, the vital silver-mining city of Potos´ı acted as an economic magnet or “growth-pole” for much of southern South America. The Potos´ı miners’ insatiable demand for mules was partly met from the Central Valley – the mules sent in long trains to the great annual fairs at Salta.

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