national day of chile

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Santiago, Chile, 2017-09-15

Flags are out for the 18th of September, which is celebrated as Chile’s national day, although that is actually the date when the first national council met in 1810. The date then actually marks the beginning of the independence process, and it is the day when national celebrations have taken place every year since that time. (Chile finally gained independence from Spain on the 12th of February 1818.)

Copyright © Andrew Graeme Gould

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Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) was a Chilean poet, and the first Latin American author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. She achieved this in 1945, for her poems which deal with themes of nature, love, and Latin American identity, among others.

She was first recognized as a great poet when she won the national contest Juegos Florales in 1914. She soon became a widely acclaimed figure internationally, and worked for the League for Intellectual Cooperation within the League of Nations. In 1951 she was awarded the Chilean National Prize for Literature.

Eloísa Díaz (1866-1950) was the first woman to attend medical school and become a doctor of medicine not only in her native country of Chile, but across the entire continent of South America. She graduated in 1886 and obtained her degree an year later, very shortly after women were first allowed to attend university in the country.

She worked not only as a physician, but also as a teacher in the capital, Santiago. In 1898 she became the School Medic Supervisor of Chile and held this position for 30 years. She founded several kindergartens and clinics for the poor, and also implemented campaigns to offer school breakfasts, mass vaccination of students, and to combat diseases such as rickets and tuberculosis at a national level.

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Remarkable Women in History by Country: Chile

Gabriela Mistral

She was the first person from Latin America to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Working as a teacher in the early twentieth century, she started publishing poetry. She strove to give children of all social classes the opportunity to go to school. Her quick promotions caused resentment and she therefore went to Mexico and assisted the Minister of Education in reforming schools and libraries.

When she became more famous, she toured the world and served as consul in several nations.

In 1945, she received her Nobel Prize. After her death in 1957, three days of national mourning were declared in Chile. Her face appears on the 5,000 peso bank note.

Masterlist of Countries: remarkable women in history