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Federico Errázuriz Zañartu Edit Profile

Government official , Lawyer , politician , President

Federico Errázuriz Zañartu was a Chilean public figure, who served as the 9th President of the country. He is known for being the first Liberal to become a President of Chile.


Federico Errázuriz Zañartu was born in Santiago on 25 April 1825.


He received his law degree in 1846, after which he began his political career as a member of the municipal government of Santiago.


In 1849 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. He strongly opposed election of Manuel Montt Torres in 1851 and participated in the abortive uprising that sought to prevent Montt’s taking office. He was then exiled for some time to Peru but upon his return was again elected to the Chamber of Deputies.

During the administration of President José Joaquín Pérez (1861-1871), Errázuriz Zañartu held several cabinet portfolios. He served as minister of war and marine during the war against Spain, in which Chile was allied with Peru and Bolivia. In 1867 he was elected to the Senate.

In 1871 Federico Errázuriz Zañartu was elected president, as the outgoing government’s candidate and with support of the Liberal and Conservative parties.

Ex-President Errázuriz Zañartu died only about nine months after turning over his office to his elected successor late in 1876.


  • The Errázuriz Zañartu government encouraged economic development. Construction of new railroads was undertaken, and foreign capital was encouraged to invest in expansion of mining. In addition, a major effort was undertaken, under the direction of Benjamin Vicuña MacKenna, whom Errázuriz appointed mayor of Santiago, to modernize and beautify the capital city.


During his administration, Liberals, Radicals, and National Party members in Parliament proposed a variety of measures to limit the power of the church: extension of government control of education; ending the right of clergymen to be tried in ecclesiastical instead of civil courts; civil control of cemeteries; civil marriage; and separation of church and state. Although compromises were reached on some of these issues, the controversy ended the Liberal-Conservative alliance that had dominated Chilean politics for a decade.

Several steps were taken to limit the power of the president. One increased the power of the “Continuing Committee” of Congress that met regularly when the Senate and Chamber were not in session.