Santiago, also Santiago de Chile , is the capital and largest city of Chile. It is also the center of its largest conurbation. Santiago is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level.
Founded in 1541, Santiago has been the capital city of Chile since colonial times. The city has a downtown core of 19th century neoclassical architecture and winding side-streets, dotted by art deco, neo-gothic, and other styles. Santiago's cityscape is shaped by several stand-alone hills and the fast-flowing Mapocho River, lined by parks such as Parque Forestal. Mountains of the Andes chain can be seen from most points in the city. These mountains contribute to a considerable smog problem, particularly during winter. The city outskirts are surrounded by vineyards, and Santiago is within a few hours of both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Santiago's steady economic growth over the past few decades has transformed it into a modern metropolis. The city is now home to growing theater and restaurant scenes, extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping centers, and a rising skyline, including the tallest building in Latin America, the Gran Torre Santiago. It includes several major universities, and has developed a modern transportation infrastructure, including a free flow toll-based, partly underground urban freeway system and the Metro de Santiago, South America's most extensive subway system. Santiago is the cultural, political and financial center of Chile and is home to the regional headquarters of many multinational corporations. The Chilean executive and judicial powers are located in Santiago, but Congress meets in nearby Valparaíso.
Santiago is named after the biblical figure St. James.
Founding of the city
According to certain archaeological investigations, it is believed that the first human groups of the X millennium settled in the Santiago basin. The groups were mainly nomadic hunter-gatherers, who traveled from the coast to the interior in search of guanacos during the time of the Andean snowmelt. About the year 800, the first sedentary inhabitants began to settle due to the formation of agricultural communities along the Mapocho River, mainly maize, potatoes and beans, and the domestication of camelids in the area.
The villages established in the areas belonging to picunches groups (name given by Chileans) or promaucaes (name given by Incas), were subject to the Inca Empire throughout the late fifteenth century and into the early sixteenth century. The Incas settled in the valley of mitimaes, the main installation settled in the center of the present city, with strengths as Huaca de Chena and the sanctuary of El Plomo hill. The area would have served as a basis for the Inca expeditions southward road junction as the Inca Trail.
Having been sent by Francisco Pizarro from Peru and make the long journey from Cuzco, Extremadura conquistador Pedro de Valdivia reached the valley of the Mapocho on 13 December 1540. The hosts of Valdivia camped by the river in the slopes (slopes) of the Tupahue hill and slowly began to interact with the picunches Indians who inhabited the area. Valdivia later summoned the chiefs of the area to a parliament, where he explained his intention to found a city on behalf of the king Carlos I of Spain, which would be the capital of his governorship of Nueva Extremadura. The Indians accepted and even recommendedthe foundation of the town on a small island between two branches of the river next to a small hill called Huelén.
On February 12, 1541, Valdivia officially founded the city of Santiago del Nuevo Extremo (Santiago of New Extremadura) in honor of St. James, patron saint of Spain, near the Huelén, renamed by the conqueror as "St. Lucia". (The name Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctu Iacobu, "Saint James".) Following colonial rule, Valdivia entrusted the layout of the new town to master builder Pedro de Gamboa, who would design the city grid layout. In the center of the city, Gamboa designed a Plaza Mayor, around which various plots for the Cathedral and the governor's house were selected. In total, eight blocks from north to south, and ten from east to west, were built. Each solar (quarter block) was given to the settlers, who built houses of mud and straw.
Valdivia left months later to the south with his troops, beginning the War of Arauco. Santiago was left unprotected. The indigenous hosts of Michimalonco used this to their advantage, and attacked the fledgling city. On September 11, 1541, the city was destroyed by the Indians, but the 55 Spanish Garrison managed to defeat the attackers. Apparently, the resistance was led by Inés de Suárez, a mistress to Valdivia. The city would be slowly rebuilt, giving prominence to the newly founded Concepción, where the Royal Audiencia of Chile was then founded in 1565. However, the constant danger faced by Concepción, due partly to its proximity to the War of Arauco and also to a succession of devastating earthquakes, would not allow the definitive establishment of the Royal Court in Santiago until 1607. This establishment reaffirmed the city's role as capital.
Although early Santiago appeared to be in imminent danger of permanent destruction, threatened by the Indian attack, earthquakes, and a series of floods, the city began to grow quickly. Of the 126 blocks designed by Gamboa in 1558, forty were occupied, and in 1580, the first important buildings in the city began to rise, the start of construction highlighted with the placing of the stone of the first Cathedral in 1561 and the church of San Francisco in 1572 and the building of the church of San Francisco in 1572. Both of these constructions consisted on mainly adobe and stone. In addition to construction of important buildings, the city began to develop as nearby lands welcomed tens of thousands of livestock.
A series of disasters impeded the development of the city during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: a earthquake, a 1575 smallpox epidemic, in 1590, 1608, and 1618, the Mapocho River floods, and, finally, the earthquake of May 13, 1647, which killed over 600 people and affected more than five thousand victims. However, these disasters would not stop the growth of the capital of the Captaincy General of Chile at a time when all the power of the country was centered on the Plaza de Armas santiaguina.
In 1767, the corregidor Luis Manuel de Zañartu, launched one of the most important architectural works of the entire colonial period, Calicanto Bridge, effectively allowing the city to join La Chimba to north of the river, and began the construction of embankments to prevent overflows of the Mapocho River. Although the bridge was able to be built, the stems were constantly destroyed by the river. In 1780, Governor Agustín de Jáuregui hired the Italian architect Joaquín Toesca, who would design, among other important works, the façade of the cathedral, the Palacio de La Moneda, the canal San Carlos, and the final construction of the embankments during the government of Ambrosio O'Higgins. These important works were opened permanently in 1798. The O'Higgins government also oversaw the opening of the road to Valparaíso in 1791, which connected the capital with the country's main port.
Capital of the Republic
September 18, 1810 was proclaimed the First Government Junta in Santiago, beginning the process of establishing the independence of Chile. The city, which became the capital of the new nation, was threatened by various events, especially the nearby military actions.
Although some institutions, such as the National Institute and the National Library, were installed in the Patria Vieja, they were closed after the patriot defeat at the Battle of Rancagua in 1814. The royal government lasted until 1817, when the Army of the Andes secured victory in battle of Chacabuco, reinstating the patriot government in Santiago. Independence, however, was not assured. The Spanish army gained new victories in 1818 and headed for Santiago, but their march was definitively halted in the plains of Maipo River, during the Battle of Maipú on April 5, 1818.
With the end of the war, Bernardo O'Higgins was accepted Supreme Director and, like his father, began a number of important works for the city. During the call Patria Nueva, closed institutions reopened. The General Cemetery opened, work on the canal San Carlos was completed, and, in the south arm of the Mapocho River, known as La Cañada, the drying riverbed, used for sometime as a landfill, was turned into an avenue, now known as the Alameda de las Delicias.
Two new earthquakes hit the city, one on November 19, 1822, and another on February 20, 1835. These two events, however, did not prevent the city's rapid, continued growth. In 1820, the city reported 46,000 inhabitants, while in 1854, the population count reached 69,018. In 1865, the census reported 115,337 inhabitants. This significant increase was the result of suburb growth to the south and west of the capital, and in part to La Chimba, a vibrant district growing from the division of old properties that existed in the area. This new peripheral development led to the end of the traditional checkerboard structure that previously governed the city center.
During the years of the Republican era, institutions such as the University of Chile (Universidad de Chile), the Normal School of Preceptors, the School of Arts and Crafts, and the Quinta Normal, which included the Museum of Fine Arts (now Museum of Science and Technology) and the National Museum of Natural History, were founded. Created primarily for educational use, they also became examples of public planning during that period. In 1851, the first telegraph system connecting the capital with the Port of Valparaíso was inaugurated.
A new momentum in the urban development of the capital took place during the so-called "Liberal Republic" and the administration of Mayor Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna. Among the main works during this period are the remodeling of the Cerro Santa Lucía which, despite its central location, had been in a state of poor repair. In an effort to transform Santiago, Vicuña Mackenna began construction of the Camino de Cintura, a road surrounding the entire city. A new redevelopment of the Alameda Avenue turned it into the main traffic artery of the city.
The city became the main hub of the national railway system. The first railroad reached the city on 14 September 1857, at the Santiago Estación Central railway station. Under construction at the time, the station would be opened permanently in 1884. During those years, railways connected the city to Valparaíso as well as regions in the north and south of Chile. The streets of Santiago were paved and by 1875 and there were 1,107 cars in the city, while 45,000 people used tram services on a daily basis.
The Santiago of Centenary
With the advent of the new century, the city began to experience various changes related to the strong development of industry. Valparaíso, which had hitherto been the economic center of the country slowly begins to lose prominence at the expense of capital. Already in 1895, 75% of the national manufacturing industry was in the capital and only 28% in the harbor, and by 1910, major banks and shops were set up in the streets of the city center, leaving Valparaíso.
The enactment of Both the law and the decree Autonomous Municipality building permit municipalities to create various administrative divisions in the Department of Santiago, in order to improve local governance. Maipú, Ñuñoa, Renca, Lampa and Colina would be created in 1891, Providencia and Barrancas in 1897; and in 1901, Las Condes. In the department of La Victoria, would originate Lo Cañas in 1891, which would be divided into La Granja and Puente Alto in 1892 born in 1899 and La Florida in 1925, La Cisterna.
The San Cristobal hill in this period began a long process of improvement. In 1903 an astronomical observatory was installed and the following year the first stone was placed Marian shrine at its summit, which is characterized by 14-meter image of the Virgin Mary, visible from various points of city. However, reforestarlo the idea would not be fulfilled until some decades later.
With the desire to celebrate the centenary of the Republic in 1910, many urban works were performed. It was extended railway network, allowing connection of the city with its nascent suburbs by rail ring and wearing the Cajon del Maipo , while a new railway station was built in the north of the city: the Mapocho Station. In the land reclaimed by channeling Mapocho, the Parque Forestal was created and new buildings of the Museum of Fine Arts, the National Internship and the National Library were opened. In addition, the work would be completed sewer, covering about 85% of the urban population.
The 1920 census estimated the population of Santiago to be 507,296 inhabitants, equivalent to 13.6% of the population of Chile. This represented an increase of 52.47% from the census of 1907, i.e. an annual growth of 3.3%, almost three times the national figure. This growth was mainly due to the arrival of farmers from the south who came to work in factories and railroads which were under construction. However, this growth was experienced on the outskirts and not in the town itself.
The situation would change only several years later with a new industrial boom fostered by CORFO and the expansion of the state apparatus from the late 1930s. At this time, the aristocracy lost much of its power and the middle class, composed of merchants, bureaucrats and professionals, acquired the role of setting national policy. In this context, Santiago began to develop a substantial middle- and lower-class population, while the upper classes sought refuge in the districts of the capital. Thus, the old moneyed class trips to Cousino and Alameda Park, lost hegemony over popular entertainment venues such as the National Stadium emerged in 1938.
The Greater Santiago
In the following decades, Santiago continued to grow unabated. In 1940, the city accumulated 952,075 inhabitants, in 1952 this figure rose to 1,350,409 residents and the census of 1960 totaled 1,907,378 santiaguinos. This growth was reflected in the urbanization of rural areas on the periphery, where families of middle and lower class with stable housing were established: in 1930 the urban area had an area of 6500 hectares, which in 1960 reached 20 900 and in 1980 to 38 296 Although most of the communities continued to grow, it is mainly concentrated in outlying communities such as Canyon to the west, Conchalí northern and La Cisterna and La Granja to the south. For the upper class, it began to approach the foothills of Las Condes and La Reina sector. The center, however, lost people leaving more space for the development of trade, banking and government
In 1967 he opened the new International Airport Pudahuel and, after years of discussion, in 1969 started the construction of the Santiago Metro would, the first phase would run beneath the western section of the Alameda and would be inaugurated in 1975 The Metro would become one of the most prestigious buildings in the city and in the following years would continue to expand, reaching two perpendicular lines by the end of 1978 telecommunications also have an important development, reflected in the construction of the Torre Entel, which since its construction in 1975 would be one of the symbols of the capital to be the tallest structure in the country for two decades.
After the coup of 1973 and the establishment of the military regime, urban planning major changes did not start until the 1980s, when the government adopted a neoliberal economic model and the role of organizer passes the state to the market. In 1979 the master plan was amended, extending the urban area to more than 62 000 ha for real estate development, causing a new sprawl of the city, reaching the 40 619 ha in size in the early 1990s, especially in the Near La Florida, in the 1992 census became the country's most populous municipality with 328,881 inhabitants. Meanwhile, a strong earthquake struck the city on March 3, 1985, although it caused few casualties, left many homeless and destroying many old buildings.
The metropolis in the early twenty-first century
With the start of the transition in 1990, the city of Santiago and surpassed the four million inhabitants, preferably living in the south: La Florida was followed in population by Puente Alto and Maipú. The real estate development in these municipalities and others like Quilicura and Peñalolen largely due to the construction of housing projects for middle-class families. Meanwhile, high-income families moved into the foothills and called Barrio Alto, increasing the population of Las Condes and giving rise to new communes like Vitacura and Lo Barnechea. Moreover, although poverty began to drop significantly, there remained a strong dichotomy between the thriving global city and scattered city slums.
Providencia Avenue area was consolidated as an important commercial hub in the eastern sector and into the 1990s, this development was extended to the Barrio Alto which became an attractive location for the construction of high-rise buildings. Major companies and financial corporations were established in the area, giving rise to a thriving modern business center known as Sanhattan. The departure of these companies to Bairro Alto and the construction of shopping centers all around the city, creating a crisis in the city center, which had reinvented: its main shopping streets turned into pedestrian walkways, as the Paseo Ahumada, and instituted tax benefits for the construction of residential buildings, mainly attracting young adults.
As we enter the twenty-first century, Santiago persists in its rapid development. Various urban highways have been built, the Civic District was renewed with the creation of the Plaza de la Ciudadanía and construction of the Ciudad Parque Bicentenario to commemorate the bicentenary of the Republic begins. The development of tall buildings continues in the eastern sector, which will culminate in the opening of skyscrapers Titanium La Portada and Gran Torre Santiago in real Costanera Center complex. However, socioeconomic inequality and fragmentation geosocial remain two of the most important problems, both city and country.
The February 27, 2010, a strong earthquake was felt in the capital, causing some damage to old buildings; however, some modern buildings are uninhabitable, generating much debate about the actual implementation of mandatory earthquake standards in the modern architecture of Santiago.
In the coming years the development of several new projects in many areas, especially in transport is expected. Reshaping the international airport by 2012 and expansion of rail services is expected, including several projects currently under evaluation as a network of trams in Las Condes, close to trains Lampa and Padre Hurtado (Melitrén) and a high-speed train that connects the capital to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Two new urban highways, Vespucci East and Central Costanera, are in the bidding process, while the Santiago Metro announced the construction of two new lines; 3 and 6 to this transformation would add parks on the banks of the Mapocho river, navigable become a flagship project of Sebastián Piñera who was President between 2010 and 2014.