18th September

1809 London’s Royal Opera House opens

1928 Juan de la Cierva makes the first autogyro crossing of the English Channel

1709 Samuel Johnson (wrote the first English dictionary) born

1819 Leon Foucault (inventor of the Foucault pendulum) born

Azerbaijan Day of National Music – see 17th November

Chile Independence Day (Dieciocho)

Native Americans moved to Chile about 10,000 years ago. They became the Mapuche people, who resisted Inca invasions.

In 1520 Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Strait of Magellan through Chile. Spain came to conquer them in 1540, but the Mapuches weren’t having it. In fact, Spain abolished slavery after realising it just made the Mapuche people angrier. However Spain eventually succeeded, and by 1778 73% of the population was European.

In 1808 Napoleon decided France had Spain now and put his brother Joseph on the throne. Not all of Spain agreed and Chile definitely didn’t and declared itself independent on 18th September 1810. Spain tried to take Chile back in the Reconquista but by 1818 Chile had won.

From 1972 they had a socialist government which increased nationalised industry and employment, but a year later inflation was out of control because they had funded the socialist changes by printing money. A military coup took over, led by General Pinochet and helped by America. Around 40,000 people were then tortured, imprisoned or killed for political reasons. Eight years later he lost his presidential role in a democratic election.

In 2010 Chile had a huge earthquake, but also made international news for rescuing 33 miners who were trapped in a shaft for 17 days.

Chile’s national animal is the condor. The national dance is the cueca. Chile is most famous for Easter Island.

 

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