Valparaíso, Chile History
The area where Valparaíso was later developed was inhabited before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors by the monkeys, an eminently fishing people who moved from one place to another according to their needs. They had rafts made of wolf skin for fishing and also fed on wild fruits. The monkeys used to fish and gather shellfish and inhabited the slopes of the hills very close to the fishing places and beaches. They practiced barter with the cultures of the interior, especially to obtain pottery, since the collecting peoples are transhumant and generally do not have pottery production. They are also known as shell culture. These were the original residents of Valparaíso who belonged to the southern sector of the Inca empire. The sector that extends between Concón and Punta Duprat, where the Molo de Abrigo is located, was known as Alimapu (‘land destroyed by fire’) by the picunches, while the area where the city later developed was called Quinti l for the monkeys.
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.