Browse Exhibits (4 total)

Chile's Dark History of Epidemics, 1880s - 90s

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In just over a hundred years, an incessant series of epidemic nightmares swept over Chile, causing enormous damage to the nation’s welfare and economy. First, smallpox ravaged the country in the 1800s, followed by plague from 1902 to 1907, both brought to the country via marine transportation and trade with the rest of South America and Europe.

In this exhibit, we will analyze the pandemics within Chile and answer many questions, such as what factors influenced the virulence of the smallpox and plague epidemics. By looking at Chilean living conditions, prevention methods, and political influences, we explore how these factors interact and create a holistic mapping of Chile’s public health through these pandemics.

Earthquakes in Chile

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Chile's culture, beauty and economy have all flourished, yet its people have been fighting against natural disasters for decades, showing a resiliance that we would like to understand more deeply. In this exhibit, we present data from Chilean newspapers on several of the destructive earthquakes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries in Chile, tracing the devastation they caused to this nation. As a result of shifts in the earth's tectonic plates, sequential earthquake shocks occurred in Chile in the years 1575, 1647, 1730, 1822, and 1906, leaving the nation with constant anxiety as well as damage to both human beings and facilities.

The Anglophone Newspapers of Chile

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From the 16th century, Spain forbade its competitors from trading with its colonies along the South American coast. While professing neutrality in Chile's fight for independence from Spain, Britain had long sought trading rights, and British merchants were on the spot as soon as Chile became an independent republic on September 18, 1810. Chilean journalism developed rapidly from this date, reflecting Chile's multiplicity of voices and national cultures.

Before independence, printed materials like newspapers were generally produced in Spain and imported into Chile. After independence, Chile gained freedom of speech and of print, and the Chilean press began to flourish.

From its beginnings with just a few merchants in the 1820s, the British colony developed rapidly over the first half of the nineteenth century also. From the 1840s, the colony began to produce newspapers written in English and edited by the British inhabitants in Chile, although often published through Chilean printing houses alongside the more widely-distributed national press.

In this exhibit, we examine three Anglo-Chilean newspapers. Each of these newspapers captures the unique factors that shape the foreign language press, or journalism written in a foreign language and published by a colony living in a host country; at the same time, each of them captures a significant moment in the development of the Anglophone press worldwide. Thus the earliest paper in our collection, The English Mercury (1843) focuses on mercantile news; the second, the Valparaiso and West Coast Mail (1874-), introduces local and international news as well as sections intended to appeal to a more diverse family readership as the Anglo-American colony grew and developed; and the third, the The Star of Chile (1904-06) not only provides meaningful news from within and outside Chile, but also seeks to share Chile's beauty and cultural diversity through photography as well as coverage of the arts and of domestic subjects.

The Pacific Steam Navigation Company

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The Pacific Steam Navigation Company became a household word in South America in the nineteenth century. The company was the first to utilize steam ships commercially in the Pacific Ocean and it connected the Pacific coast of South America to the rest of the world. Starting with two mail-carrying steam ships, Chile and Peru, in 1840, the Pacific Steam Navigation Company was trading with the Britain and Australia just a few years after its inception. It outlived the two World Wars and its legacy is still strong, with its in-house magazine, Sea Breezes, still running even today.