The United States and Chile have had a long, dynamic relationship. While a Spanish colony and as a new nation, Chile’s distance from the East Coast of the United States impeded extensive interaction because ships had to sail around Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America, to reach Chile’s primary seaport, Valparaíso. The key diplomatic events during the course of the U.S.-Chilean relationship often have exerted a profound influence upon U.S. policy. As signified by the landmark 2003 United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement, the two governments have consulted frequently on issues of mutual concern, and have worked together on many areas of interest and agreement. Modern Flag of Chile
The United States recognized the Republic of Chile on January 27, 1823, when the U.S. Senate confirmed President James Monroe’s nomination of Heman Allen of Vermont as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Chile.
A colony of Spain, Chile previously had been an audiencia of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Napoleon’s French armies invaded Spain in 1808 and captured the Spanish monarch, Ferdinand VII. The invasion sparked revolutionary movements in Spain’s American colonies. Chilean revolutionaries declared Chile’s independence on September 18, 1810. Several years of fighting followed, but by 1822 U.S. President Monroe concluded that Spain could not recover its American colonies, and on March 8, sent a message to Congress asking that Congress appropriate the funds for Ministers Plenipotentiary for Chile, La Plata (Argentina), Colombia, Peru, and Mexico. Spain protested, but Congress passed the appropriations bill and President Monroe signed it on May 4, 1822. On January 20, 1823, President Monroe nominated Heman Allen of Vermont as Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary to Chile, and Congress approved the nomination a week later on January 27, 1823.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Chile when Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Heman Allen of Vermont presented his credentials to Ramón Freire Serrano, who had replaced Bernardo O’Higgins as Supreme Director, on April 23, 1824.
The United States elevated its Legation in Santiago to Embassy status on October 1, 1914, when U.S. Minister to Chile Henry P. Fletcher was appointed as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.