Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The National Anthem of Chile

Chile's first national anthem, commisioned by the government in 1819, was composed by Manuel Robles and written by Bernardo de Vera y Pintado and was first performed the following year. Falling into unpopularity by 1828, the government requested that Ramon Carnicer compose new music for the anthem, using Bernardo de Veras's text. Then in 1847, the government ordered the young poet Eusebio Lilio to write a new text to Carnicer's melody, to replace the old lyrics of de Vera Pintado, which contained violent references against Spain. While Lilio wrote new lyrics, he kept the chorus from the original anthem. Today, the chorus and fifth verse of Lilio's poem make up the official National Anthem of Chile.

Following the coup d' etat by Augusto Pinochet in 1973, the military junta dictated that two verses would be used along with the chorus, the fifth verse retained, and the third verse, which extolled Chile's army, was then added as the official second verse. When democracy was restored in 1990, the government removed the military verse and restored the anthem as it was before the coup. Today, supporters of the past military government still sing the third verse.