The Republican of Valparaíso, Chile

By | May 3, 2022

In 1811 the first National Congress was formed and it was inaugurated in the atrium of the church of La Matriz. This congress ratifies the approval of the royal decree of 1802 and approves it by decree on August 9, 1811. The 28 of November of 1811 the Cabildo of Valparaiso acknowledges and sends the order to apply the title of “Very Noble and Illustrious City”. The shield of the city is constituted where the patron saint of the city appears on a castle inserted in an eagle that represents the eagle of San Juan, from the shield of the Catholic Monarchs.

The 28 of March of 1814, in the context of the war of 1812 the Naval Battle of Valparaiso, where British ships HMS Phoebe and HMS Cherub captured American frigate USS Essex’s produced. In 1837 the city of Portersville (founded with that name a year earlier to honor David Porter, captain of the American ship) in the state of Indiana, United States, was renamed Valparaíso in memory of this naval battle.

Within the framework of the Chilean war of independence, on April 27, 1818 the naval combat of Valparaíso was developed between the Spanish frigate Esmeralda and the Chilean Lautaro, the latter being the winner, managing to break the Spanish blockade of the port of Valparaíso and eradicating the Spanish naval presence on the Chilean coasts.

On August 20, 1820, the day of San Bernardo and the birthday of the supreme director of Chile Bernardo O’Higgins, the Liberating Expedition of Peru set sail from Valparaíso, conceived and led by the Argentine general José de San Martín.

At half past ten in the night of November 19, 1822, a violent earthquake occurred in Valparaíso that left the city in ruins, causing the death of 66 adults and 12 minors, in addition to 110 wounded, of the 16,000 residents that the city had. back then. Among the wounded is the liberator of Chile and at that time the country’s supreme director, Bernardo O’Higgins, who slept in the city’s government palace, and had it not been for he was taken out on a litter, he would have been crushed by the building. that was collapsing. The next day a meteorite was visible from Quillota to Valparaíso, which aroused religious feelings in the population.

On September 12, 1827, Pedro Félix Vicuña and Thomas Wells founded the newspaper El Mercurio de Valparaíso, the oldest Spanish newspaper in the world in continuous circulation.

On May 28, 1828, in the church of San Francisco the Constituent Congress began to hold sessions, which drafted and promulgated on August 9 of the same year (1828), the Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile of 1828.

On May 30, 1837, the city council granted the license to form an educational establishment to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts. Currently this is the oldest private school in Chile.

On June 6, 1837, on Cerro Barón, Minister Diego Portales was shot. As he did not die, he was finished off with bayonets by military conspirators who opposed the war against the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation, promoted by the minister.

On November 9, 1837, José Joaquín Prieto (President of Chile) promulgated Supreme Decree No. 109 authorizing the construction of the Punta Ángeles lighthouse, the first in Chile. Originally it was a wooden tower painted white with a torch, located in the port of the city, then they changed it to the Naval School on Cerro Artillería and later to its current location in Playa Ancha. It has a range of 32 nautical miles, and a light output of 9.6 million candela.

Shortly before two in the morning on December 15, 1850, in the Carmen Olivo cigar store (current location of the National Customs Directorate) a fire begins that burns for six hours, spreading between the Cueva del Chivato (El Mercurio) and Cerro Cruz de Reyes (Concepción), up to Aduana (Prat) and Cochrane streets, leaving almost forty commercial and residential buildings on both sides of Calle del Cabo (now Esmeralda), where the most luxurious warehouses were located. of the moment) and three wineries in Cochrane street. The losses were estimated at 700,000 pesos at the time, and more than 30 families were affected, the vast majority of them of foreign origin, without registering deaths. Four days after the flames were suffocated, José Santiago Melo, the deputy mayor,

On June 30, 1851, the Valparaíso Fire Department was formed, the first in the country.

This same year (1851) the first national insurance company was founded in Valparaíso.

In 1852 the city’s first potable water service began to operate. Also this year the telegraph between Valparaíso and Santiago begins to operate, being the first in Latin America.

On September 18, 1856, the first public lighting system was inaugurated, with 700 gas- lit lanterns.

In 1861 the first tram company was created, starting to roll the first cart – animal traction – in 1863.

In 1866, taking advantage of the total lack of defenses in Valparaíso, the Spanish flotilla under the command of Casto Méndez Núñez bombarded the city during the Spanish-South American War. The Spanish sink the Chilean merchant fleet, except for those ships whose captains flew foreign flags.

In 1872, as a merger of the Nacional de Vapores and Chilena de Vapores companies, the Compañía Sudamericana de Vapores was created, as the country’s response to the growing dominance of the British shipping company Pacific Steam Navigation Company.

In 1876 the construction of the Camino Cintura began, starting at Playa Ancha and ending at Cerro La Cruz, communicating with 20 of the 42 hills in the city at 100 meters above sea level.

On August 25, 1880, the Edison Chilean Telephone Company was established in Valparaíso, which ―formed by Americans Joseph Husbands, Pedro Mac Kellar, Santiago Martín and the United States Consul in Valparaíso Lucius Foot―, became the first company telephone number of the country.

On December 1, 1883, the Concepción elevator was inaugurated, operating with a hydraulic system and shouting coordination, it became the first of its kind in the city.

On July 30, 1888, the Imprenta Litografía Excelsior published the book Azul, by the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, considered the foundation stone of the literary movement known as Modernism.

Shortly after the Chilean civil war of 1891 and after the death of two American sailors from the USS Baltimore in a vulgar fight outside a Valparaíso, United States canteen, who had supported the deposed José Manuel Balmaceda, he threatened Chile with war if the new government did not obey an ultimatum and accept the imposed conditions contrary to what the national courts of justice had determined.

After the independence of the country and its consequent opening to international trade, Valparaíso became an important center for the world’s trade routes, settling in the city a large number of immigrants, mostly Europeans and Americans, who helped to give a marked cosmopolitan aspect. Thus, Valparaíso and Chile were included in the industrial revolution of that time, creating different civil, financial, commercial and industrial institutions in the city, many of which still survive.

All of the above caused a population increase that reached over 160,000 residents in Valparaíso at the end of the 19th century, making it necessary to use the steep hills to build houses and later mansions, even cemeteries. Shortly after, and due to the lack of available land, land began to be generated in what was once the sea, to build administrative, commercial and industrial infrastructure buildings.

Twentieth century

The twentieth century began with the first major protest by dock workers in Chile, on April 15, 1903, due to claims by longshoremen for their excessive working hours and a wage increase, requests that were ignored by employers, creating a situation Tension that led to serious acts of violence on May 12, such as the seizure of the quartermaster by the protesters, the burning of the CSAV offices and the shooting and death of people in different parts of the city. All this provoked the intervention at the state level, applying the state of siege for several days in the city. This protest was of importance for the future unionism in the country.

The same year the electric trams were inaugurated, which replaced the previous urban railways with animal traction.

The earthquake of August 16, 1906 caused serious damage to the entire city, which was at that time the nucleus of the Chilean economy. The damages were valued in hundreds of millions of pesos of the time, and the human victims were counted in 3,000 dead and more than 20,000 wounded. After removing the rubble, reconstruction works began. These included the widening of the streets, the vaulting and paving of the Jaime and Delicias estuaries, creating the current Francia and Argentina avenues.respectively, the main street of the city was drawn: Pedro Montt, the O’Higgins square was created, a hill was dynamited to allow the passage of Colón street, the damaged Edwards mansion was demolished and in its place the current cathedral was projected, among many other works that gave its shape to the current El Almendral neighborhood. The vast majority of the city’s public reconstruction works were framed in the so-called “Valparaíso Reconstruction Plan”, promoted by President Pedro Montt, which included especially the lower part of the city (before the earthquake it was familiarly known as “High zone” to the hills, and “low zone” to the flat terrain between the hills and the sea), which after these works began to be called in a familiar way by the porteños as “the plan”.

In 1910, work began on the expansion of the city’s port, which ended in 1930. Among the buildings built there is a shelter mound (1 km long and 55 m deep), piers and docking terminals, the Breakwater and the Baron Pier.

The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 caused a decrease in port activity, as it lost its importance as a shipping node on the route through the Strait of Magellan.

XXI century

Currently Valparaíso is the headquarters of the National Congress of Chile, as well as other institutions of national importance such as Customs, Fisheries and Aquaculture services., and the Ministry of Culture. The Chilean Navy has a large presence in the city, where its Headquarters, Court Martial and Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service, the National Maritime Museum, the Arturo Prat Naval School, the General Directorate of the Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine of Chile are located. in addition to other departments of the institution. As the capital of the Valparaíso Region, it houses the Intendency, which is the seat of the regional government, with the vast majority of its services, known as Seremis (Regional Ministerial Secretaries), and the Court of Appeals of Valparaíso, which is the highest judicial authority in the region.

In the private sector, in the city are Stock Exchange Commerce of Valparaiso, the Regional Chamber of Commerce, headquarters of transnational company Chilena de Navigation Interoceanic (CCNI), Compañía Sudamericana de Vapores (CSAV), Sudamericana Agencias Aereas y Marítimas SA (SAAM) as well as offices for Chile of various foreign shipping companies. The El Mercurio de Valparaíso newspaper, the oldest publication of its kind in the world, is also headquartered in Valparaíso.

The city, having populated hills near forests, is vulnerable to forest fires, among the most important are the Rodelillo fire, which occurred on Wednesday February 14, 2013 where more than 100 homes were consumed; and the great fire of Valparaíso, the largest in the history of the city and the country, occurred on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 April 2014, where 10 hills (Mariposas, Monjas, La Cruz, El Liter, Las Cañas, Merced, La Virgen, Santa Elena, Ramaditas and Rocuant) were razed, leaving 15 dead and 2,854 affected.

Republican of Valparaíso, Chile