August 09, 2023 #ChileDemocratic

Chile: 213 years of institutions that cemented the Chilean State

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Throughout its more than 200 years of history, various state institutions have been part of the construction of our Republic, giving both strength and projection to our democracy. An example of this is the Supreme Court of Chile, the highest jurisdictional body within the courts of the Judiciary, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2023. Imagen de Chile compiled this and other historical milestones that cemented the foundation of the Chilean State.

After the declaration of national Independence and the installation of the First Government Junta, the authorities defined an institutional structure for the incipient Republic. Thus, in 1811 the First National Congress was born, within the framework of the period known as "Patria Vieja", which implemented and developed the first national laws and institutions. In 1812 the Provisional Constitutional Regulation was issued, with twenty-seven articles, which was in force until October 1813.

Under the Political Constitution of 1823, on December 29 of that year the Supreme Court of Chile was born, one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the world and the oldest in Latin America still in operation. The "first judicial magistracy of the State", its mission was to "protect, enforce and claim the other powers for individual and judicial guarantees".

Notwithstanding the changes in its name and attributions, today it remains the highest court of the Republic, and therefore receives the official title of "Excellency". Since 1997, it has been composed of 21 members, headed by its President and Ministers, who are appointed by the President of the Republic, ratified by the Senate and have the status of "Your Honor". The highest court is currently composed of seven women - 35% of its members - and operates from its imposing building on Compañía Street between Morandé and Bandera, in the heart of the historic center of the Chilean capital.

The birth of the Republic

The Supreme Court is not, however, the only institution that has existed since independence. During the period of the "Patria Vieja", the Institute and the National Library were also created. Likewise, the Law of the Press and the Law of Primary Instruction were enacted, which established that every town of fifty or more neighbors had to maintain a "school of first letters, financed with municipal resources of the place, therefore without costs for its assistants".

After the period of the "Spanish Reconquest" in 1817, and under the command of Supreme Director Bernardo O'Higgins, several legal initiatives were promoted, from the declaration of the abolition of entailed estates and titles of nobility, the sale of public offices, the regulation of schools, customs and cemeteries, the legal equality of indigenous people and the amnesty law of 1822. In addition, a new Constitution was promulgated, which established the creation of three ministries of State: Treasury, Government and Foreign Affairs, and War and Navy. Portugal, Peru, France, the United States and England were the first to recognize Chile's sovereignty.


Image of Chile