Former nation state in South America, Old Earth

Chile Flag
Image from Wikimedia Commons


Located at the southern tip of South America, mainland Chile was first settled by humans sometime around 10,000 BT, by hunter-gatherers migrating in from further north in the Americas. The Inca Empire, a major Agricultural Age polity in the region, briefly extended its rule over the north of present-day Chile, but was driven back by one of the major native cultures, the Mapuche.

From 429 BT, the region came under the rule of the Spanish Empire, a European polity. Over the course of many years, the Spanish conquered the native peoples, with the exception of the Mapuche people, who would remain under autonomous rule up until their integration into the independent Chile. Due to its isolation, Chile became one of the most culturally homogenous of the many colonies of the Spanish Empire, being hemmed in by the ocean to the west, the Mapuche to the south, the Andes Mountains to the east and the desert to the north. Nevertheless, many Europeans migrated to Chile during the colonial era, primarily from Spain, but also from the British Isles, as well as people from West Africa, the latter as a result of slavery. The primary cultural influence on Chile during colonial times was that of the Basque people, a culture within Spain.

Chile won its independence in 152 BT as a part of the Latin American independence struggles, in collaboration with neighbouring Argentina and Peru. The nation was established as a republic, along the lines of contemporary political thought in France, a powerful European polity. Roman Catholicism was the predominant variety of Christianity in Chile, and its authorities tended to clash with the more liberal Chilean governments during this early period. Over the course of the next 150 years, Chile's population and economy grew gradually, with substantial numbers of immigrants coming to settle the country. The governments encouraged European immigration, often in the hopes they would 'civilise' the more indigenous-influenced regions in the south. In particular, the south-central regions received great numbers of German-speakers, who mixed with the local Mapuche peoples; the far south received many Croatians and the north many British immigrants. There were also large numbers of Arab immigrants from the Ottoman Empire, a major contemporary polity. Chile expanded to the north as a result of a successful war with neighbouring countries Peru and Bolivia.

The increasing adoption of communist ideas by the government of Chile in the 1st century BT led to intervention by the strongly-capitalist United States of America's government during the first decade AT, resulting in a military coup and the country's takeover by its military, headed by Augusto Pinochet, who became the country's dictator. Many Chileans fled the country during the period of military rule, due to widespread human rights abuses including the deaths of around 5,000 people. The country underwent a transition to democracy after this, and recovered economically from the ravages of the Pinochet regime.

During the Information Age, the recovered Chile became an increasingly stable and prosperous economy, and became classified as a 'high-income country'. Its economic focus shifted from mining and wood to agriculture and finance. With the country's economic growth, increasing numbers of immigrants were attracted to Chile. At first, these were mainly Peruvians and Bolivians, who came to work as labourers, as well as substantial numbers of Argentinians. Over time, they would come from further afield. Sizable Chinese communities developed in Santiago, Valparaiso and Concepcion, the country's three largest cities, while large numbers of Central Americans, Filipinos and Sub-Saharan Africans, particularly from West and Central Africa, came to Chile for work opportunities. The Filipino Chilean community was very influential in reviving the waning Roman Catholicism of the nation.

Several Chilean governments supported learning English, and by 120 AT the country was nearly 100% bilingual in Spanish and English. The Chilean dialect of Spanish was particularly divergent, due to the country's long cultural isolation, and due to influences from English, German and, to a lesser extent, native languages such as Quechua and Mapudungun. During the earlier years of the 1st century AT, many Chileans would go and spend some time in the USA in their younger years, either working or studying. Combined with the increasing use of English in the country, both for trade and for engagement with global culture, this resulted in both a continuing increase in the numbers of English loanwords in Chilean Spanish, and the emergence of a number of first-language English speakers in Chile who would speak English by default within their families. However, these groups would never become the majority.

During a particularly missionary phase in the late 1st century, the Malaysian government built on old ties to the Chilean Muslim community, and encouraged many Malaysians to go to Chile in an attempt to win converts to Islam. While some Chileans did convert, the settlement of many of the Malaysian missionaries in Chile had a greater cultural impact.

The Roman Catholicism previously dominant in Chile subsided during the Information Age, to be replaced by Pentecostalism, Mormonism and widespread agnosticism or atheism, as well as, to a lesser extent, Nuagist beliefs and Buddhism. It is worth noting that the Mormon community increasingly spoke English in their religious ceremonies, and Mormons tended to switch to speaking English as a first language above the baseline rate.

Chile had claimed a portion of the continent of Antarctica during the 1st century BT, but did not start to settle it in earnest until well into the Information Age, when O'Higgins Base, later the City of O'Higgins, grew to a population of several tens of thousands. This trend would continue through the Interplanetary Age, when several Chilean and other ai made their homes there, and the emerging pan-Antarctic culture began to assert itself due to the extensive levels of migration and co-operation between settlements. As Chilean Antarctica became ever-more aligned with the Antarctic Free States during the 3rd century, a number of O'Higgins' citizens, including a handful of Siberoo, migrated back to the Chilean mainland. One street in the Patagonian settlement of Punta Arenas became almost entirely occupied by Siberoos, who were generally very well-received.

During the 2nd century AT, large numbers of Chileans would go to the new high-tech centres of Africa - Chad, Mali, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. Many would learn French when there, and while not all would not return to Chile, those who did brought with them cultural and linguistic influences, the latter from African English, which mixed into the ever-changing Chilean Spanish and Chilean English, along with the odd African French loanword. At the same time greater levels of trade with Africa brought a huge level of African influence to the Chilean dialect of English, whether it was spoken as a second or first language. Nollywood films and music became all the rage in Chile, as in much of the world.

The generally high level of technical expertise in Interplanetary Age Chile meant that a disproportionate number of Chileans moved into space. The Chilean government operated a number of orbital colonies, while several Chilean-based organisations set up settlements in orbit, in the near-Earth asteroids, the asteroid belt and out in the Jovian system. Several of the earlier colonies to fold into the Gengineer Republic were of Chilean origin.

South American integration in the Organización Sudamericana Supranacional (OSS) brought greater homogenisation of Latin American cultures, with increasing migration between constituent members. Nevertheless, the loose nature of the union meant Chile could continue to develop separately. While the biopunk movement never really took root in Chile as it did in neighbouring Peru, the genetic engineering prowess developed in the nation's agricultural sector was considerable. Chilean society generally accepted tweaks a little before the average nation, and so they, along with cyborgs and, later, ai, vecs and provolves were prevalent there, especially in the cosmopolitan city of Valparaiso. After the series of anti-Neo-Pig assaults perpetrated by the group El Ganado No Son Personas (Livestock Aren't People) in Argentina, the majority of their community there relocated to Chile, where they established their own neighbourhood in the outskirts of Santiago. Due to their being well-accepted in Chile, many other Neo-Pig communities from across Hispanic America moved to Chile, and as well as settling in urban centres, established a few communities of their own in the southern region Los Lagos.

During the Solsys Golden Age, an ai community developed in Chile, especially in Santiago and in the north, where the high light levels made solar power an easy source of energy. Famous Chilean ai from the period include El Hablante del Verdad and Fernando XIII.

It is estimated that over a million Chileans migrated into space before the Technocalypse, both as Chilean-run ventures, or as part of collaborative ventures, either anational or multinational.

When the Technocalypse struck, Chile was particularly badly-affected due to its high population density and very high level of technological connectivity. There were huge death rates, especially in the northern ai settlements and in the three conurbations of Santiago, Valparaiso and Concepcion.

When GAIA intervened and cleared the technological plagues from Earth, the level of relief in Chile was so great that the vast majority resigned themselves calmly to the Great Expulsion. The Last War hardly reached Chile. Of all the sophonts in Chile, the only ones given permission to remain by GAIA were a few human baselines who had been trying hard to maintain their Mapuche, Quechua, Aymara, Rapanui or other indigenous cultures.

Chile's population was evacuated, either into Solsys or further afield. Many settled in Earth orbit, while several million made their way to the Gengineer Republic, or further out-system. The Chilean government-in-exile officially disbanded in 675 AT, one of the first to do so. For quite some time, a few Chilean 'successor states' lingered on, or even prospered, either in cislunar space or in the near-Earth asteroids. Some notable examples included La República Verdadera de Chile (the True Republic of Chile), La Confederación Orbital Chileno (the Chilean Orbital Confederation) and the English-speaking Holy Chilean State. Although some would be involved in the formation of these new polities, Chileans generally integrated into non-Chilean societies of Solsys, or joined the general exodus to the stars.

Cultural Legacy

Chilean, or Chilean-majority, habitats in orbit were the homes of a handful of early space-adapted humans. These small groups took the Chilean culture and Chilean dialect of Spanish with them as they spread out into the Terragen sphere, and as they intemingled with other space-adapted humans, and indeed other clades, a few Chilean cultural influences entered the mix. Chilean cultural influence could be seen in parts of the Jovian system, and quite strikingly in a few of the outer system Spanish-speaking habitats.

Indeed, the distinctive Chilean dialect of English also had substantial impact on some of the dialects of English to emerge, in cislunar space in particular, following the Technocalypse. The ubiquitous bilingualism of Chile meant that when mixed with English-speaking people they would tend to switch to English entirely within a generation, although this is not to say that it would not be Chilean English, complete with its abundant Spanish loanwords.

Even to this day, the traditional cuisine of northern Mimas can be seen to have Chilean attributes, including a distant descendant of the dish chorillana, a mixture of beef, chorizo sausage, scrambled egg and onion. This was, in fact, imported in the 5000s from the Chilean-American-origin culture prevailing in a few of the habitats of the former C-chondrite League.

Overall, however, Chilean culture was subsumed within the vast mix of peoples expelled into Solsys following the Technocalypse, having never been a nation of any huge numbers of people, with only 30 million inhabitants by the time of the Great Expulsion.

Memes of Chilean origin can be seen far more readily in certain star systems settled by refugees of the Technocalypse, particularly in those settled by GAIA's arkships. One of the most well-known of these is the habitat Esperanza, in the Gatlida system.

Chile Today

With the advent of the Gaiacene Ice Age, Chile's glaciers have re-emerged. The Andes have iced over fully once again, and the only sophonts inhabiting what was once Chile, aside from the Goddess herself, are baseline lazurogenes akin to Chile's pre-European inhabitants and a few societies of mara provolves in Patagonia. These baseline lazurogenes include Mapuche, Rapanui, Tehuelche, Selknam, Atacameño, Quechua, Aymara and several other groups.

Huge numbers of guanacos and rheas once again roam the south, flocks of penguins roost on the coasts, the Andes' western slopes are coated with araucarias and Andean condors can be seen swooping through the skies. The fertile land of the south supports creatures such as pudu and chillas, and a great profusion of greenery, while the northern desert is devoid of most life, aside from hardened desert plants, like acacias and cacti, and smaller creatures like the salt flat lizard, the viscacha and the widespread culpeo. On all planet Earth, nowhere more closely approximates a true desert than the most barren parts of the Chilean Atacama Desert.

As GAIA has lazurogened numerous species in various ecosystems across the planet, it can be safely assumed that such creatures as Megatherium the giant sloth, New World gomphotheres such as Cuvieronius and Stegomastodon and the native horse Hippidion have been brought back to populate the land once known as Chile.

GAIA has made no locations in Chile available for pilgrimage, so all this remains speculation, at best informed by satellite observation.

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Development Notes
Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
Initially published on 19 March 2015.