Chilean Cultural History And Politics For The Potential Retiree

The recent history of Chile shows that the South American nation has been both politically stable and economically thriving since the final decade of the 20th century. Despite this fact, the country’s history before that time is largely characterized by social unrest and politically sanctioned violence. If you’re planning to retire in Chile, it will be helpful to gain a basic understanding and overview of Chilean cultural history.

An Overview of Chile’s Origins

Chile has been an independent nation since the early 19th century. Chile declared its freedom from Spain in 1818 after a violent struggle with colonial occupying forces. This independence did not allow for the majority of the population to prosper, and society went forward much as it had under the Spanish. Wealthy landowners thrived, and the greater share of Chile’s people struggled to survive. The country didn’t begin to truly prosper until the 1930s, when the reformist Radical Party took power.
The visible cultural footprints left by the Spanish are fairly minimal, particularly by comparison to many other countries of Latin America. Many buildings of Spanish colonial rule have been destroyed by the country’s many violent earthquakes. The most lasting influence of Spain’s colonization is evident in the country’s official language, which is Spanish, and in the Spanish ethnicity of many Chilean residents.

Right and Left-Wing Extremist Politics in Chile

Political unrest became prominent again in Chile after over 30 years of relative prosperity, as ideological and political zealots of both liberal and conservative persuasions grew dissatisfied with Eduardo Frei Montalva, the President of Chile elected in 1964. From 1970-1973, the Socialist senator Salvador Allende assumed power as President, but was ousted by a military coup, committed suicide, and was succeeded by Auguste Pinochet, a brutal dictator. Pinochet held power in various forms until 1990, when Chile returned to a democratic system of government.
Allende’s legacy is largely despised due to his regime’s detrimental effects on Chile’s economy–inflation rose by 800% during his reign.

Contemporary Culture of Chile

Retirees living in contemporary Chile will find the nation safe, politically stable and economically viable. The country has earned a reputation for being safe, and traveling in or near Santiago offers many tourist-friendly amenities. Foreign investment has become prevalent in the nation since full democracy returned in the 1990s, an option worth considering while enjoying an active retirement in Chile.