Chile During Colonial Period

Chile During Colonial Period

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the main features of the nascent Chilean society were outlined, some of which are still present today. The first of these centuries passed between natural catastrophes, dramatic episodes, the sudden and devastating appearance of pirates and corsairs, and the action of some corrupt and inefficient governors.

However, the second represented the Century of Enlightenment of progress that was expressed through the founding of new cities, the creation of new institutions, and the administration of leaders marked by a reformist policy imposed from Spain.

The institutions were fully operational: the town councils, the Royal Audience of Santiago and all the officials, made up a complex administrative system, which was distinguished by the unclear delimitation of functions, the mutual supervision between the authorities and the existence of a series of of prohibitions that in many cases were not respected.

At the beginning of the 18th century there was a dynastic change in Spain, Carlos II leaving no descendants and his testamentary provisions allowed that through Felipe de Anjou – Felipe V – the reign of the Bourbon family, of French origin, began, who imposed a new style in the government of Chile and America, characterized by the idea of repowering and renewing the already ailing Spanish Empire.

It tended to increase the control that the State exercised over the subjects of the Spanish Crown and to improve economic returns and living conditions in the colonies, establishing several cities and establishing new institutions, such as the Royal University of San Felipe, the Casa de Moneda. and the Consulate Court.

Transatlantic trade was speeded up with the opening of new ports and routes. Agriculture was able to export large quantities of wheat to the Peruvian market, causing a great concentration of ownership. Advancement works were carried out, such as the improvement of the mountain road between the Andes and Mendoza, and the route that linked Santiago with Valparaíso, meanwhile, in the capital, work continued on the Maipo canal, the Tajamares del Mapocho, the construction of the Cathedral of Santiago continued, and the Cal y Canto bridge was raised.

In 1767, Carlos III decreed the expulsion of the members of the Society of Jesus, in charge of carrying out the mission of evangelizing the indigenous people, which had a great impact on the quality of education, industry and the culture of the country. The Jesuits left a void that the other religious orders failed to fill.

Period of organization

At the end of the independence stage, the leading sector of Chilean society faced the political challenge of structuring a type of State that would respond to the ideals that had driven the break with the Metropolis.

This had to establish an economic model that would allow Chile to insert itself in the international market with an administrative and educational system that would modernize the country. It should also establish a military force obedient to the civil power and rebuild the relations between the Church and the Government. without altering the relationships within the social structure.

The population census carried out in 1835 indicated the existence of a total of one million 10 thousand 336 residents in the country, distributed mainly between the provinces of Santiago, Colchagua and Maule, Ñuble and Concepción. The rural population rose to almost 80 percent and the density of 1.4 residents per km 2, and the country exhibited an aspect of uninhabited territory, in large areas of the Central Valley and the Cordillera de la Costa. Starting in 1840, new economic activities drove sectors of the population to move in search of better opportunities. This process tended to accelerate from the sixties and would end at the beginning of the 20th century, with the current configuration of the territory.

Between 1830 and 1860, processes were carried out that explained the new territorial ordering: mining exploitation, wheat export, slow immigration and foreign colonization and, finally, state measures to control strategic routes. The 25 of maypole of 1833 was promulgated and put into effect a new constitution, which replaced the liberal masterpiece with which the conservative order since it was imposed established the predominance of the executive over the legislature, and gave to the President of the Republic a wide range of legislative, administrative, military and economic powers, making it a kind of sovereign without a crown. In its writing participated Mariano Egaña and Manuel José Gandarillas, among others. In one of his articles he stated:

“Article 36. The exclusive attributions of Congress are: 1 ‘. Approve or disapprove annually the account of the investment of funds destined for the expenses of the public administration that the Government must present;
2’. Approve or disapprove the declaration of war, at the proposal of the President of the Republic;
3´. Declare, when the President of the Republic resigns from his post, if the reasons on which he founds it or does not make it impossible for him to exercise it, and consequently admit or reject it;
4´ Declare, when in the cases of articles 74 and 78 there is room in doubt, if the impediment that deprives the President of the exercise of his functions is of such a nature that a new election must be preceded;
5. Carry out the scrutiny and rectify the election of the President of the Republic, in accordance with articles 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72 and 73; 6 ‘. To authorize the President of the Republic to use extraordinary powers, the powers granted to him must always be expressly indicated, and to set a specific time for the duration of this law. [1]

In 1842 the University of Chile was created, an institution that represented the nerve center of the scientific and cultural development of the 19th century. The arrival of numerous professors of different specialties and nationalities, established the foundations of modern education with a liberal character, preparing the first generations of professionals in the country.

During the period of the Formation of the Republican State, one of the objectives of the national leaders was to seek recognition from the international community. After contact with the United States, it was followed by those who took over France and England and most of the nascent American republics.

However, the most difficult processes were experienced with the Holy See, which only agreed to recognize the Independence of Chile in 1840 and with reservations, due to the maintenance of the exercise of the Patronage, while Spain only recognized Independence in 1844.

The moment of greatest international tension of the period occurred between 1836 and 1839 during the development of the war against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, the result of which allowed Chile to establish a predominance of commercial traffic in the waters of the South Pacific.

After thirty years of domination by authoritarian conservatism, the authoritarian and clerical sectors distanced themselves, which resulted in the emergence of the National Party and the formation of the strange conservative liberal coalition, which would end up dominating the transition process that led the liberals to the power in 1861.

Chile During Colonial Period

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