"Timeline" Continued...

Issue: "A warmer Chile," Nov. 9, 2002


Chile joins Peru in a war against Spain, begun when Spain attacks Chile's main port of Valparaiso and attempts to exert control over the country. Spain quickly retires. In 1870, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay defeat expansionist-minded Paraguay in the War of the Triple Alliance.


Chile declares war on Peru and Bolivia over a longstanding dispute over control of nitrate fields that are mostly inside Peruvian and Bolivian territory but are mostly managed by Chilean interests. Chile wins the "War of the Pacific" in 1884, increasing its national territory by one-third and leaving Bolivia landlocked. Chile and Peru argue over their boundary until 1929.


After ending the slave trade in 1850 and in 1871 freeing all children born to slaves (the "Law of the Free Womb"), Brazil finally abolishes slavery, the last country in the Western Hemisphere to do so. Brazil's 3 million slaves (out of a population of 7 million) had by then diminished to 750,000. Planters force Pedro II off the throne, and Brazil becomes a republic in 1889.


Brazilian Presbyterians gain independence from their U.S. parent denominations, responding to the rising current of nationalism. They lean toward emphasizing education rather than evangelism, while Baptists tip toward evangelism and pave the way for the future success of Pentecostals.


Argentine merchants, factory workers, and tenant farmers form the Union Civica and demand free elections. The union later becomes Argentina's largest political party, the Radical Party.


The United States and Latin America form the International Union of American Republics to prevent armed conflict within the Western Hemisphere and protect American states against outside attack. The organization creates the commercial Bureau of American Republics, renamed the Pan American Union in 1910, to create closer economic, cultural, and political relations.


Civil war erupts in Chile, pitting the executive branch (under President Jose Manuel Balmaceda) against legislators. Congress wins the brief but bloody fight when its military backers overwhelm supporters of President Balmaceda, who then commits suicide.


President Eloy Alfaro and his liberal followers welcome Protestant missionaries to Ecuador; they use Protestants to weaken the Conservatives' hold on power, while Protestants use the liberals to gain a foothold. The Catholic Church denounces Protestants as children of Satan and warns Ecuadorians that associating with the intruders will lead to eternal damnation.


While attending a revival meeting in South Bend, Ind., two Swedes receive "the call" to spread the word in Para, Brazil, at the mouth of the Amazon. They found Latin America's first Assemblies of God church, now the oldest and largest Pentecostal organization in Latin America. They also sponsor open-air prayer meetings and spread a network of satellite churches through urban neighborhoods and surrounding communities, eventually turning the Assemblies of God into Brazil's fastest-growing denomination. By 1964, the Assemblies of God claims 1 million Brazil believers and by 1984 they number 6 million-roughly half of Brazil's Protestants.


Brazil joins the Allies during WWI, and is the only South American country to send troops overseas. The Brazilian navy patrols the South Atlantic, and Allied demand for Brazil's food products temporarily boosts Brazil's prosperity.


Communist parties appear in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Peru in the wake of the Russian Revolution. Juan Bautista Justo founds the Argentine Socialist Party that promotes greater governmental power but also free trade, and advocates a redistribution of new income rather than wealth.


Ecuadorian workers' societies, originally dedicated to protecting members' welfare, gradually become radicalized as Ecuador's export economy suffers major losses. Increased unemployment and unfair labor practices lead to sporadic protests and strikes that culminate in a bloody massacre of striking workers in Guayaquil.


Chile's new constitution officially separates church and state. It recognizes the legality and historical relevance of the Roman Catholic Church but also allows freedom of religion and the right of other religious groups to own property and erect buildings. The government continues to support the Catholic Church for a five-year transition period while Catholics seek other revenue sources.


Army officers and some Conservative Party leaders seize control of Argentina's government; military regimes allow no free elections until 1958. Edelmiro Farrell becomes president in 1944, but the United States and many other countries refuse to recognize his government until he declares war on the Axis powers on March 27, 1945. This paves the way for Argentina to be a charter member of the United Nations.


The World Radio Missionary Fellowship and the Christian and Missionary Alliance found the Voice of the Andes, also known as HCJB (Heralding Christ Jesus' Blessings), the first evangelical radio station to operate outside the United States. The radio station's managers loan receivers so groups of listeners can hear the gospel in remote regions. In 1941 the Alliance starts broadcasting programs and religious services in the Quechua language; its programming grows to 100 hours per week and reaches 14 million listeners in Southern Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Northern Argentina.


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