November 30, 2012

0399-0400 CHILE (Metropolitana de Santiago) - Cerro Santa Lucía

On 12 February 1541, the Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded, on a island of the Mapocho River, a settlement which he named it Santiago de Nueva Extremadura, as a homage to Saint James and Extremadura and in relation with the first name given to Chile, Nueva Extremadura (Extremadura, in Spain, was Valdivia's birthplace). The founding ceremony was held on Huelén Hill (in Mapudungun Huelén means "pain, melancholy or sadness"). Seven months later, on 11 September, the Picunche attacked Santiago, beginning a three-year-long war. On 13 December, day in which was celebrates Santa Lucia, Valvidia conquered the hill and renamed it after this saint. Even though is not the highest hill in town (it has only 69 meters hight, i.e. an altitude of 629 meters above sea level), the spaniards used it as an observation spot, to detect indigenous attacks.

Here were constructed the first hermitages, of the Virgin of Socorro in 1543, of Santa Lucia  and later San Saturnino. During Reconquests (1814-1817), the last Spanish governor, Don Casimiro Marco Del Pont, taking advantage of its strategic location, with ample dominion on the city and the valley, turned the place in bastion of the realistic defense. At his order, the Brigadier of the Royal Engineers Manuel Olaguer Feliú built two forts, on north and south of Santa Lucía Hill (Cerro Santa Lucía), the Marco Del Pont (later González Castle - Caupolicán Seat) and the Santa Lucia (Hidalgo Fortress), able to put eight or twelve cannons each. On the other side, the hillside terrain was used as a "cemetery for the dissidents", people who didn't follow the then-official Roman Catholic faith, or were considered otherwise unworthy of burial at hallowed grounds.

In 1872 Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, then mayor of Santiago, decided to change the urban atmosphere of the city, among his works being the remodelation of the hill. Was constructed a road which crossed the hill, which at the top accessed a chapel, illuminated by gas. The rest of the hill contains a park with fountains and lookouts. The porch and the monumental scale were completed between 1897 and 1903. In 1938, a decree of the Ministry of Public Education declaimed the Cerro Santa Lucia as national monument. A few years ago, the hill received an improvement in its illumination system and protections. Also, Hidalgo Fortress was restored and reopened to the public. Traditionally, a cannon shot is fired exactly at noon. The acces of La Alameda, Santiago's main avenue, is the most visible face of the hill.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0399
The first two stamps on the left, depicting Organillero (organ player) and Heladero (ice-cream man), belongs to the Personajes Típicos Chilenos (Chilean Traditional Characters) series, about which I wrote here.

The third is a comemorative one, issued on this year for the anniversary of 50 years Chile South Korea relations.

The fourth is part of a series of two, designed by Roberto Sepúlveda Bustos and issued on April 24, 2012, with the occasion of the anniversary of 85 Years from the foundation of Carabineros de Chile.

On the postcard 0400
The first two stamps, depicting Artillería Funicular and Polanco Funicular, belong to the Valparaíso, Patrimonio de la Humanidad set, about which I wrote here. So far I have 6 stamps in this series, so only two missing to complete it.

The third stamps is part of an unusual series, issued on March 20, 2000, and having as subject Condorito, a character of a comic strip, very popular throughout Latin America. It is an anthropomorphic condor which lives in a fictitious town named Pelotillehue, a typical small Chilean provincial town. Created by the Chilean cartoonist René Uribe, known as Pepo, Condorito is meant to be a representation of the Latin American people. The series contain the following four stamps:
• Condorito celebrates the Millenium (150 CLP)
• Condorito Soccer Player (260 CLP)
• Condorito fireman (480 CLP) - it's on the postcard
• Condorito on horseback (980 CLP)

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday #144, hosted on Beth's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Santa Lucía Hill - Wikipedia
Cerro Santa Lucia - Let's go Chile
CHL2/2000-03-20/01/IS/000/N1 - El Bolivariano
Condorito - Wikipedia

Sender: Hernán (direct swap)
Sent from Santiago (Chile), on 09.11.2012
Sent from Santiago (Chile), on 19.06.2012


  1. One thing I love about visiting links on PFF is being able to read such wonderful posts as this. I am fascinated by the history - and the wonderfully same-yet-different views of the same hill!

    Happy PFF!

  2. Always fun to visit on Friday to see the postcards and read the wonderful posts you put together on history. Keep the little grey cells working! Happy PFF!

  3. What a historic place! Thanks for all the info, Danut!
    Happy weekend!

  4. I know so very little about South American history but now I know a little more!