History of Chile

President Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994, in what was considered a transition period.

In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, the son of previous president Eduardo Frei Montalva, led the Concertación coalition to victory with an absolute majority of votes (58%).

21st century

Frei Ruiz-Tagle was succeeded in 2000 by Socialist Ricardo Lagos, who won the presidency in an unprecedented runoff election against Joaquín Lavín of the rightist Alliance for Chile. In January 2006, Chileans elected their first female president, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, of the Socialist Party, defeating Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, extending the Concertación governance for another four years. In January 2010, Chileans elected Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, as the first rightist President in 20 years, defeating former President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle of the Concertación, for a four-year term succeeding Bachelet.

On 27 February 2010, Chile was struck by an 8.8 MW earthquake, the fifth largest ever recorded at the time. More than 500 people died (most from the ensuing tsunami) and over a million people lost their homes. The earthquake was also followed by multiple aftershocks. Initial damage estimates were in the range of US$15–30 billion, around 10% to 15% of Chile real gross domestic product.

Chile achieved global recognition for the successful rescue of 33 trapped miners in 2010. On 5 August 2010 the access tunnel collapsed at the San Jose copper and gold mine in the Atacama Desert near Copiapó in northern Chile, trapping 33 men 700 meters (2,300 ft.) below ground. A rescue effort organized by the Chilean Government located the miners 17 days later. All 33 men were brought to the surface on 13 October 2010, over a period of almost 24 hours, an effort that was carried on live television around the world