V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > I. Latin America, 1806–1914 > 2. The Wars of Independence, 1806–1872 > e. Chile
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
e. Chile
Upon the apparent triumph of Napoleon in Spain, a junta assumed authority in the name of Ferdinand VII and deposed the captain general. The junta was led by Juan Martínez de Rozas, a creole official, who promoted liberal reforms. A general congress convened at Santiago.  1
Measures to open commerce provoked opposition from creole merchants and most of the landed elite. José Miguel Carrera (1785–1821), a member of a landed military family allied to the antiroyalist deputies, led troops and urban crowds to expel conservatives from the congress. He formed an executive junta that abolished the slave trade and freed all children born from slave mothers subsequent to the decree. The creole ruling class divided into factions organized around powerful landed aristocratic families. Gen. Bernardo O'Higgins (1778–1842), although not pro-aristocratic, objected to Carrera's bid for popular support.  2
The junta promulgated the Reglamento Constitucional, which recognized Ferdinand VII while asserting that no orders or laws issued outside Chile should be enforced there. It proclaimed civil rights for all Chileans, freedom of the press, and the subordination of the executive to the congress. These measures caused deep discontent in the aristocracy. Royalist Chileans joined the army sent by the viceroy of Peru to subdue Carrera.  3
The royal government was established in Santiago. O'Higgins agreed on an armistice with Spanish chiefs, but Viceroy Abascal repudiated the treaty and sent a new expedition, which defeated the proindependence army at Rancagua, sealing the end of the period known as the Patria Vieja.  4
The retaliatory policy followed by the royalist government alienated creoles. O'Higgins moved to Mendoza to collaborate with Gen. San Martín (See 1815) in preparing the liberation of Chile and Peru. Manuel Rodríguez, who had served Carrera, organized guerrillas in the countryside.  5
San Martín, at the head of the patriot army, crossed the Andes and defeated a Spanish army at Chacabuco (Feb. 12). O'Higgins was made supreme director.  6
1818, Feb. 12
THE INDEPENDENCE OF CHILE WAS PROCLAIMED. San Martín's troops defeated a royalist army from Peru at Maipú, thus securing the independence of Chile. San Martín started to organize an army to liberate Peru.  7
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.