The beginning of the year brought with it a run-off election for the presidency. The unfinished presidential elections of 2009 produced two final candidates, former president Eduardo Frei and businessman Sebastian Piñera.
Piñera came out victorious and became Chile’s 35th president. He replaced the extremely popular president Michelle Bachelet and entered office as a right-wing leader, which has not been had for decades.
President Piñera was literally a few weeks from taking office when a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake rocked south-central Chile. The powerful earthquake struck in the early hours of February 27th and with its resulting tsunami, left hundreds of people dead and more than 500,000 people homeless. The earthquake damage was so extensive that people are still living in temporary housing near the epicenter.
Chileans all over the country banded together financially to help those impacted by the earthquake, raising millions for relief efforts. This renewed sense of Chilean pride and patriotism was in full swing when Chile headed to the World Cup.
On the heels of the disastrous earthquake, the Chilean national soccer team headed to the World Cup in South Africa. Chile won its first World Cup game since 1962, ended up second in their group, and went on to the second round where they were defeated by Brasil. Despite not advancing further, the Chilean national team was a great source of pride and joy for the Chilean people in 2010.
Chile celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2010. The bicentennial celebrations could be seen and felt throughout the country. The typical patriotism and pride of the annual fiestas patrias was taken to a new level as Chileans celebrated overcoming many challenges this year.
Shortly after the fiestas patrias in September, Chile captured the world’s attention on October 12th as 33 trapped miners were rescued from deep within the earth after 69 days of captivity.
What a Year
Chile had a truly unforgettable year. With both great sadness and joyful celebration, 2010 was a year that awoke a renewed sense of patriotism in Chileans and put Chile in the global spotlight more than any other year in the recent past.