Historically known as Calle del Rey (King’s Street).
Initially, it was known as “Calle del Alguacil Mayor”. Some speculate that this was due to the fact that Juan Gómez de Almagro, the first to hold this office and who became famous in the early years of the Conquest, lived there.
According to other chroniclers, the street was named “Alférez Real” (Royal Second Lieutenant) as in 1556 Charles V granted Santiago the title of “noble and loyal”; it was then that the “Walk of the King’s standard” was instituted, to be held every July 24, the Feast Day of St. James the Apostle. Twelve knights mounted on their chargers would meet in the square and would head for the house of the Alférez Real. They would then proceed along this street on their way to the Cathedral.
The street became the official route for public ceremonies during the Colonial period. The presidents would come in through it to be given the key to the town, and then would reach the Cathedral where the Bishop was awaiting. Because of the considerable solemnity surrounding the street, it became known as “Calle del Rey” (King’s Street).
In 1780, the custom of night watchmen began. They had to cover Calle del Rey, from Ahumada to Plaza de Armas, after nightfall. Around 1825, it was renamed “calle del Estado”. In view of the importance of this street, it was the first to be paved during the Mayorship of Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna.
Characterized by the enormous number of shoe stores to be found here, especially between the streets known as Merced and Agustinas, it was turned into a Pedestrian Walkway in 1999.