Barros Arana, Diego (1830–1906)

views updated

Barros Arana, Diego (1830–1906)

Diego Barros Arana (b. 16 August 1830; d. 14 November 1906), Chilean historian and diplomat. One of Chile's premier scholars, Barros Arana graduated from the Instituto Nacional, Chile's finest secular high school. As a liberal historian he tended to equate conservative ideology with backwardness; consequently, his works tended to flay both the Roman Catholic church and the authoritarian regime of Manuel Montt. He was a professor at the University of Chile and later was the director of the Instituto Nacional. He enjoyed an active political life, serving as a deputy for the Liberal Party. Barros Arana's articles in various newspapers so incensed Montt that Barros Arana fled his homeland.

Upon his return, he took up once again a life of scholarship and public service. An extremely prolific historian, Barros Arana published a variety of biographies as well as a multivolume history of Chile. He also acted as Chile's minister to Argentina, where he negotiated a treaty resolving the question of the ownership of Patagonia. Rather than follow his instructions, Barros Arana gave up Chile's claim to the disputed territory, permitting the Argentines to occupy Tierra del Fuego. This act not only compromised Chile's claims to vast territory but also threatened Santiago's vital trade routes to Europe. Recalled in disgrace to Chile, he became an object of public scorn, although he continued in public life, serving as a deputy. Barros Arana's scholarship had a lasting impact on Chilean intellectual life, influencing subsequent generations.

See alsoChile, Political Parties: Liberal Party; Patagonia.


Gertrude Yeager, Barros Arana's Historia jeneral de Chile: Politics, History, and National Identity (1981).

Allen Woll, A Functional Past: The Uses of History in Nineteenth-Century Chile (1982).

                                         William F. Sater

About this article

Barros Arana, Diego (1830–1906)

Updated About content Print Article