Chile celebrated one hundred and sixty-nine years of independence on Tuesday (18 September) with a commemorative mass at Santiago's main cathedral.
Chile celebrated one hundred and sixty-nine years of independence on Tuesday (18 September) with a commemorative mass at Santiago's main cathedral. Earlier in the month the ruling Chilean junta marked the sixth anniversary of the coup which overthrew the Socialist government of Salvadore Allende.
SYNOPSIS: Hundreds of people gathered at the cathedral in Santiago to commemorate Chile's independence. An independence movement to oust the Spanish colonialists first grew up in Chile at the beginning of the nineteenth century. But like most of Latin America it took the French invasion of Spain in 1808 for the colonisers to turn their attention to defending their own borders--and leave it to the Chilean settlers to form their own government. And so in 1810 Chile's first provisional government was established.
The honoured guest at the special mass was the country's current leader and head of the military junta, General Augusto Pinochet. He was greeted by Cardinal Homilia, who lead the service.
The provisional government established in 1810, only lasted for two years because the Spanish returned and ousted independence leader Bernardo O'Higgins. He and other leaders of the movement fled to Argentina seeking aid from Jose De San Martin. But once again the Spaniards were soundly defeated by a combined Argentine, Chilean army in February 1817. O'Higgins - now considered Chile's founding father was nominated head of state and remained in that position until 1823. And Chileans now mark the founding of his first provisional government one hundred and sixty nine years as the founding of an independent Chile.