Corrugated City

Monday 24 March 2008

Arco Britanico

The Arco Britanico was a gift to the city of Valparaiso from the colectividad britanica. It was built in 1910-11 to celebrate 100 years of Chilean independence. The structure is covered in white marble and there are four friezes, one on each column of British 'heroes': O'Higgins, Cochrane, Simpson and O'Brian. We already know about Cochrane and O'Higgins (Chile's liberator). Simpson was another British Naval Officer/mercenary who was around at the same time as Cochrane (surprise, surprise-they didn't get along). Here he is:

I can't find anything out at all about O'Brian. I assume he was another naval guy who fought alongside the other three.

Anyway, here's the arch from sometime around 1925 and then from sometime last year. The photos are taken from different sides, by the way-the recent one looking east towards Viña and the older one towards the city centre.


El Zorillo said...

Always amazes me how little information the British have of their past influence in parts of Chile.

Most People here sadly couldnt even place it on a map, yet every chileano I chat to online seems to speak very highly of the British.

Santiago FLORES said...

Hey Matt:
Here are some biographies about British, Unitedstatesian and Irish staff in the early days of the Republic, starting with the missing George O'Brien you mentioned in your article (there are in Castellano though):
1)George O'Brien:
2)James George Bynon:
3)Paul Hinckley Delano:
4)Paul Delano:
5) Robert Forster:
6)Edward Hyatt:
7)your man Simpson:
8)William Miller:
and so on and so forth. Most of the crew of the first Chilean Fleet liberating Perú, marauding the Pacific Ocean and from Hawaii to Acapulco, rising the flag high, years before the United States even though in building a Pacific Fleet (...but once they did...!).
I wholeheartedly agree with El Zorrillo about the lack of interest from the Brits to Chile, but you have explained partly in your article about the "Farcical Country". For many years, our neighbours saw us as the pawns of the British, and it seems rather surprising that the "masters" didn't have a clue of what was going on.
Anyways, still think that what you're doing is valuable, so I send me best regards,


Matt said...

el zorillo...i agree that we don't have much interest in chile but, let's be honest, we ruled pretty much 2/3s of the world and chile was never more than an economic colony, not part of the Empire. Chile was never going to be more than a footnote in most British history books. South America is understandably automatically seen as 'Spanish' history and not British, despite the reality of what actually happened.

Santiago-thanks for those links, i'm going to start to have a look through them over the next few days.