History of Santiago de Chile

History of Santiago de Chile

Santiago de Chile. It is the capital and main urban nucleus of Chile. The metropolitan area called Greater Santiago and corresponds to the capital of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. It is the fifth most populated metropolitan area in LatinAmerica, also the seventh most populated city in Latin America and one of the most populated urban agglomerations in the world.


Around the year 800, different native communities settled in the region of the Santiago territory, choosing the area of the Mapocho River to settle. There they harvested corn, potatoes and beans and domesticated animals. There are testimonies that in the fifteenth century these communities advanced in their agriculture, specifically the tribe of the “pichinchas”, they carried out artificial irrigation by means of canals. They did not have a stable political organization, clashes between different tribes were common. The confrontations ended with the conquest of the Inca empire during the reign of Capac at the end of the 15th century. With the arrival of the Spaniards to the region, a great commotion began to be generated in the place, on February 12, 1541 Pedro de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago del Nuevo Extremo; He named it like this in honor of the Spanish military protector and Patron Saint of Spain, the Apostle Santiago.

Pedro de Valdivia entrusts the layout of the new city to the master builder Pedro de Gambia, who designed the city in the shape of a checkerboard. In the center he placed the Plaza Mayor and around it were the sites for the cathedral, the jail and the governor’s house. When Valdivia left for Guerra de Arauco, the city was left unprotected, so it was razed by the natives. Then the city was rebuilt, but once again in 1552 it was hit by an earthquake. In the architectural field, the first buildings in the city began to be built; The beginning of the stone construction of the first cathedral in 1561 and of the church of San Francisco in the south of the city stands out and it began to be populated quickly.

In 1647 a new earthquake hit the city and it was practically destroyed, which once again recovered and maintained a constant growth.

It is characterized by a quiet town that begins to disappear with the advent of the 18th century. In 1780 the Italian architect Joaquín Toesca was commissioned to carry out the construction of the Palacio de la Moneda building.

In 1810 the First National Government Board was proclaimed based in the city of Santiago. The accelerated growth of the capital continued by leaps and bounds, despite the fact that in 1822 and 1835 two new earthquakes struck the city again. In 1851, the first telegraph system was established that connected the capital with the port of Valparaíso.

In terms of transportation, the city received the first railroad on September 14, 1857 at the brand new Central Station in Santiago. The rest of the streets were paved and suitable for the use of private vehicles and trams. In the 20th century, the city began to experience changes related to the income of the industry, in 1910, the main banks and commercial stores were installed on the main streets of the city.

Foundation of the city of Santiago

Pedro de Valdivia arrived in the Mapocho Valley in December 1540 accompanied by 150 Spaniards and indigenous people who managed to survive the trip. Once established, Valdivia brought together the indigenous tribes that inhabited the place, in order to obtain their collaboration in a peaceful way. Then Pedro de Gamboa designs the new city according to the rules established in the royal decree of 1523 for the New World. With the creation of the Plaza de Armas, the public buildings and the land for the conquerors, Valdivia founded the city of Santiago del Nuevo Extremo on February 12, 1541.

The geography and advantages of the land allow it to be easily defended, it had pure and drinkable water at hand, fertile lands, easy to cultivate, and a good and pleasant climate. In the political aspect, Santiago had the advantage of being very far from Peru, which gave greater independence and autonomy from the viceroy and this distance diminished the desertion of the Spanish troops to Peru.

The city

Santiago is one of the “top” cities with international business opportunities and establishes an image of tranquility, cleanliness and quality of life for visitors. In Santiago the civic life of the country takes place, there is La Moneda (the government palace), the Plaza de Armas and important buildings of the judicial and executive power. With its museums and pedestrian promenades, the center is a spectacle. In the Providencia, Bellavista, Las Condes or Vitacura neighborhoods, commerce, gastronomy and a hectic nightlife come together. Despite all the cement typical of a metropolis, in Santiago there are green spaces of great value: the Metropolitan Park (Cerro Tupahue) visible from much of the city and you can climb to its summit in different ways, walking, cycling, car and in an old and renovated “funicular” elevator. And the walk through the vineyards in the middle of the city offer tastings of the best Chilean wines. The Cordillera of Los Andes towards the town of Pirque to meet nature and taste typical food, buy some souvenirs or stroll along the banks of the river. The greatest virtues of Santiago is that it is close to the ski centers and the port of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and other summer resorts on the shores of the Pacific where the snow and the sea are within reach.

History of Santiago de Chile