Patria Vieja

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Patria Vieja

Patria Vieja (old homeland), the term universally used in Chile to denote the four-year period from the installation of Chile's first national government (18 September 1810) to the battle of Rancagua (1-2 October 1814), which brought about the collapse of patriot Chile and the Spanish reconquest (1814–1817). Politically, this period was marked by dissension within the patriot leadership, including the division between moderates and radicals that was exacerbated by the disastrous family rivalry of the Larraíns and the Carreras. The first national junta gave way in mid-1811 to an elected congress dominated by moderates. This body was dissolved in November 1811 by José Miguel Carrera (1785–1821), who held power until 1813, when the arrival of the first of three successive task forces from the Viceroyalty of Peru (creating royalist armies in the south) forced him to take command of the patriot forces. In his absence the junta in Santiago soon fell under the de facto control of his adversaries, and Carrera himself was relieved of command, which eventually passed to Bernardo O'Higgins (1778–1842). A second viceregal expedition (1814) then attacked the Central Valley.

On 3 May 1814 a peace treaty between patriots and royalists was negotiated at Lircay, but it was soon repudiated by the viceroy. Meanwhile, Carrera once again seized power (23 July 1814). Conflict between Carrera and O'Higgins was averted only by the arrival of a third viceregal expedition under General Mariano Osorio (1777–1819). Making his last stand at Rancagua, O'Higgins was overwhelmed by Osorio (1-2 October 1814), and the Patria Vieja ended. None of its various governments declared independence from Spain.

See alsoO'Higgins, Bernardo; Rancagua, Battle of.


Simon Collier, Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence, 1808–1833 (1967), chaps. 3 and 6-9.

Additional Bibliography

Díaz Meza, Aurelio. Patria vieja y patria nueva. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Antarctica, 1969.

Villalobos, R. Sergio. Historia de los chilenos. Santiago, Chile: Taurus, 2006.

                                             Simon Collier