Historically known as La Nevería street.
Extending from Plaza de Armas to the Mapocho River, this street would spring to life on account of the busy trade that took place there. Initially, it was called “Fishmonger’s street” because merchants would sell fish to the locals here on Thursdays, the only day when it was allowed.
Later on its name was changed to “Calle de la Caridad” (Charity Street) due to the construction of the Charity Cemetery, where deceased prisoners used to be buried.
In the 19th century its name was changed to “Calle de la Nevería” (Snow Street), since numerous sellers of snow, brought from the Las Condes Mountain Range during the summer, had set up there. This product, wrapped up in straw and transported by mule packs, was highly appreciated and was sold by weight, using scales, to make ice-cream and to preserve food.
Another important place linked to the history of this street is the former wholesale marketplace called Plaza de Abastos, now the Central Market. This center was opened with a great ball and an exhibition at the close of the 19th century.
The current name, “21 de Mayo”, is designed to pay tribute to one of the greatest epics of the country’s maritime history: the Naval Battle of Iquique, which took place on May 21, 1879.