Santiago in the twentieth century

At the turn of the 20th century, Chile was getting ready to celebrate one hundred years of republican life, for which there was a series celebrations and official activities, with Santiago as the epicenter.

Buildings, public spaces and urban developments were opened, such as the Palace of Fine Arts, the Courts of Justice Palace, Mapocho Station, street lighting and sewer system, among others. In 1908, an image of the Virgin Mary was unveiled on the top of Cerro San Cristobal hill, visible from any point in the city.

Centennial celebrations were attended by representatives and officials from various countries, who left beautiful and valuable sculptures as gifts. Such gifts included the German Fountain in Parque Forestal, a monument that gave importance to this social space as a leisure spot following the final channeling of the Mapocho River.

In 1930, the modernizing project continued. The creation of the Civic District surrounding the Palacio de La Moneda was emblematic. High-rise buildings housed ministries and other public services. Thus, the Paseo Bulnes to the south and Plaza de la Constitución to the north, became meeting places.

From the end of the 19th century onwards, Chile embarked on an industrialization process that was to continue until 1950. This led to people moving in from the country to the city, which had a bearing on the lack of housing for the working class who had come to the capital in search of better job opportunities.

Thus illegal settlements sprang up and Santiago gradually began to be saturated. Despite progress in general and modern services, the capital also increased social differences and signs of poverty that it often attempted to conceal reared their ugly head.

During this period, the development to the east of Plaza Italia began, (now called Baquedano), for the more well-to-do households. These new districts created and established a kind of symbolic social boundary, the most wealthy settling to the east of this historic square.

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