Southern Cone Under the British
Britain’s invasions of the River Plate in 1806 and 1807 in Auchmuty-Whitelocke World (AWW) had lots of consequences for Chile. First of all, some people in support of Spanish-American independence came to Chile from the Plate Colony to flee British rule and joined the Chilean independence struggle. From 1808, Chileans had become disgusted with Joseph Bonaparte’s rule in Spain. Meanwhile, after the British conquered the Viceroyalty of La Plata to the east in 1807 under the command of General John Whitelocke, they were on the verge of conquering Chile as well. However, the sheer height of the Andes combined with the ongoing Anglo-Plate War in the western parts of Argentina prevented such a campaign.
As it was, Chileans started seriously contemplating independence from Spain in 1810, and indeed, a cabildo abierto (~ open council) was set up that year. Jose de San Martin (in our world, involved in the Argentine independence struggle as well) came over in 1813 and supported Bernardo O’Higgins and other Chilean patriots. San Martin, O’Higgins, and their supporters fought successfully against the Spaniards at the Battle of Rancagua in 1814 and at the Battle of Chacabuco in early 1816. The Spaniards did not, therefore, control Chile from late 1814 to 1817 like in our world. Also unlike in our world, there was no San Martin-led campaign to cross the Andes in 1817. Chile declared independence in late 1816, right after the Battle of Maipu. San Martin set sail with the Chilean navy a few years after that for Peru to liberate it, while O'Higgins led Chile until his ousting in 1823 and then joined Bolivar's forces and remained in Peru for the rest of his life. Indeed, Bernardo O’Higgins, the independence hero of Chile, was of Irish descent.
In an 1881 treaty with Argentina, Patagonia was split between Argentina and Chile (with the Andes as a dividing point), and the Strait of Magellan became Argentine in the eastern half and Chilean in the western half. All of the main island of Fireland was awarded to Argentina. Prior to the 1881 treaty, both countries claimed all of Patagonia, the Strait of Magellan, and Fireland.
Before and (especially) after independence, British influence in Chile has been tremendous, largely due to its proximity to British South America (later to become Argentina and Uruguay). First of all, it was the British who established the navy at Valparaiso. Also, in the War of the Pacific from 1879 to 1881 (that pitted Chile against Bolivia and Peru for nitrate resources), the British and the nascent Argentine Union played large roles in resolving the disputes. It was in fact the British and Argentines who developed and controlled the nitrate industry of northern Chile. Furthermore, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Valparaiso was a trading centre, and the British and Anglo-Argentines together constituted a majority of its population; in fact, it felt like an extension of British South America. In the 20th century, more angloparlants (English-speakers) from Argentina and Uruguay, along with those from Britain and North America, moved to Chile.
In 1970, Jorge Alessandri, who was also the president from 1958 to 1964, was elected president, narrowly defeating Salvador Allende. Later that year, however, Alessandri resigned, knowing correctly that the people liked the previous president, Eduardo Frei Montalva, so much that he would win again. (The consitutional system did not allow consecutive terms.) In 1976, Allende won elections and governed until 1979, when Augusto Pinochet overthrew Allende's government. Pinochet ruled with an iron fist until 1990. Some angloparlants left Chile during the political upheavals of the 1970s and 1980s, especially to Argentina and other Anglophone countries, but most stayed in Chile.
In 1998, Chile had a per capita income of almost US$10,000, twice what it was in our world then (in 2007, US$20,000), and over the past 20-25 years, it has enjoyed strong economic growth and serious reforms to its economic, political, and social systems. In fact, around 2005, Chile joined the ranks of the developed world according to some international agencies, in the same fashion as, say, Slovenia. Its capital, Santiago, is South America's third-biggest financial centre, right behind Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. The main trading partners of Chile in 2006 for exports were China (14.8%), the US (12.5%), Japan (10.5%), the Netherlands (5.8%), South Korea (5.7%), Italy (5.1%), Brazil (5%), and Argentina (4.7%); for imports, they were Argentina (23.8%), the US (16.7%), China (11.2%), and Brazil (10.3%).
Chile has an English-speaking proportion of about 4.5%, comparable to Namibia's portion of whites. Just as many more may have some British ancestry. Of the 700,000 or so angloparlants in Chile, half live in Santiago, 100,000 are in the Valparaiso-Viña del Mar area (80% of them in Valparaiso), and 200,000 are in Patagonia and the Lake District. As a matter of fact, in Chile’s far south, English-speakers make up over one-third of the total population; the far south feels like an extension of angloparlant Argentina. In the Magallanes region, the southernmost region of Chile that includes Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams, the British/Irish population of 60,000 makes up 40% of the total. A bit further north, the Aisén region, at 30,000 angloparlants, is almost 30% of British or Irish descent. So, Chile has had a British influence comparable to our world’s Argentina and Uruguay, though with a much higher proportion. Chilean angloparlants are highly assimilated into overall Chilean society, so they speak much better Spanish than their counterparts east of the Andes.
The area of Chile is 710,951 square kilometres (or 274,500 square miles), a bit smaller than in our world. Chile's population in 2002 was 14,986,847 - making it slightly smaller than in our world.
In AWW, Chile is even more of a soccer powerhouse than in our world, ranking as high as Argentina or Uruguay do in our world; it won the World Cup in 1950 and 1978, and hosted the 1962 World Cup. Not only was soccer introduced by the British, but also rugby. Because of the profound angloparlant influence, the national rugby team in Chile is in the First Tier of rugby union (unlike in our world), on par with Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, Australia, the UK, and so on. Chile also has a national rugby league team; the country aspires to be fully professional pretty soon with rugby league.
There are some French as well as Spanish and Italian people who have filled more or less the same roles in Chile in AWW that they have in Argentina in our world. These include Eugene Py, one of the founders of the Chilean film industry; Luis Federico Leloir, who won the 1970 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; and Carlos Thays, a famous landscape architect.
Francisco Romero, who was born in Spain and moved to Chile, was a leading Latin American philosopher. Luis Cesar Amadori, a filmmaker with movies like "Albeniz" (1947) to his credit, lived in Chile (and not Argentina like in our world). As well, three Chileans have won the Nobel Prize (including Leloir and two in Literature).
Another effect of the British victory in Buenos Aires is that Santiago, rather than Buenos Aires as in our world, has been the Paris of South America (Buenos Aires has been the London of South America). In AWW, it is Santiago that has the highest proportion of psychoanalysts in the world, and also of many types of plastic surgery. Santiago is also the headquarters of the Latin American Integration Association (in our world, based in Montevideo, Uruguay) and of the UN Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean.
As well, northern Chile (where the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, is located) kind of fills part of the same role for people from Argentina and Uruguay that Arizona does to North Americans – a second-favourite, dry-climate retirement spot, and maybe also a place to move to in general. Especially popular retirement and snowbird spots are Arica, Calama, and Antofagasta, along with Iquique, Copiapó and La Serena/Coquimbo. Northern Chile, along with, to a greater extent, various cities in northwest Argentina, is a distant second to Brazil in that regard.
Moreover, over the past few decades, there has been a significant migration of Chileans into Argentina, looking for higher wages or fleeing the governments of Allende or Pinochet. They have largely settled in Cuyo province (which has had strong Chilean cultural influences anyway), Buenos Aires and Plate Province, and Patagonia. Many of them work as menial labourers or, as in Patagonia, sheep hands (peones). In total, the Chileans in Argentina number just over 400,000.
Because all of Fireland in AWW belongs to Argentina, Chile does not have a source of petroleum - consequently, it must import even more petroleum than in our world. Another consequence of Fireland all belonging to Argentina is that there was never a dispute over Lennox, Picton, and New Islands in the late 1970s like in our world. Moreover, Port Williams (on Navarino Island just southeast of Ushwaya) is a much smaller town than in our world because it does not function as a naval town (for there is not international boundary along the Beagle Channel to defend Chilean interests as in our world).
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