The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Chile

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This page contains a list of the greatest Chilean Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 41 of which were born in Chile. This makes Chile the birth place of the 61st most number of Politicians behind Algeria and Australia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Chilean Politicians of all time. This list of famous Chilean Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Chilean Politicians.

Photo of Augusto Pinochet

1. Augusto Pinochet (1915 - 2006)

With an HPI of 83.82, Augusto Pinochet is the most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 94 different languages on wikipedia.

Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (, also US: , UK: , Spanish: [awˈɣusto pinoˈ(t)ʃe(t)]; 25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chilean Army General, politician and military dictator who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, first as the leader of the Military Junta of Chile from 1973 to 1981, being self-declared President of the Republic by the junta in 1974 and becoming the de facto dictator of Chile, and after from 1981 to 1990 as de jure President after a new Constitution, which confirmed him in the office, was approved by a referendum in 1980.Augusto Pinochet rose through the ranks of the Chilean Army to become General Chief of Staff in early 1972 before being appointed its Commander-in-Chief on 23 August 1973 by President Salvador Allende. On 11 September 1973, Pinochet seized power in Chile in a coup d'état, with the support of the U.S., that toppled Allende's democratically elected Unidad Popular government and ended civilian rule. In December 1974, the ruling military junta appointed Pinochet Supreme Head of the nation by joint decree, although without the support of one of the coup's instigators, Air Force General Gustavo Leigh. After his rise to power, Pinochet persecuted leftists, socialists, and political critics, resulting in the executions of from 1,200 to 3,200 people, the internment of as many as 80,000 people, and the torture of tens of thousands. According to the Chilean government, the number of executions and forced disappearances was 3,095. Operation Condor was founded at the behest of the Pinochet regime in late November 1975, his 60th birthday.Under the influence of the free market-oriented "Chicago Boys," Pinochet's military government implemented economic liberalization, including currency stabilization, removed tariff protections for local industry, banned trade unions, and privatized social security and hundreds of state-owned enterprises. Some of the government properties were sold below market price to politically connected buyers, including Pinochet's own son-in-law. The regime used censorship of entertainment as a way to reward supporters of the regime and punish opponents. These policies produced high economic growth, but critics state that economic inequality dramatically increased and attribute the devastating effects of the 1982 monetary crisis on the Chilean economy to these policies. For most of the 1990s, Chile was the best-performing economy in Latin America, though the legacy of Pinochet's reforms continues to be in dispute. His fortune grew considerably during his years in power through dozens of bank accounts secretly held abroad and a fortune in real estate. He was later prosecuted for embezzlement, tax fraud, and for possible commissions levied on arms deals.Pinochet's 17-year rule was given a legal framework through a controversial 1980 plebiscite, which approved a new constitution drafted by a government-appointed commission. In a 1988 plebiscite, 56% voted against Pinochet's continuing as president, which led to democratic elections for the presidency and Congress. After stepping down in 1990, Pinochet continued to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army until 10 March 1998, when he retired and became a senator-for-life in accordance with his 1980 Constitution. However, Pinochet was arrested under an international arrest warrant on a visit to London on 10 October 1998 in connection with numerous human rights violations. Following a legal battle, he was released on grounds of ill-health and returned to Chile on 3 March 2000. In 2004, Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia ruled that Pinochet was medically fit to stand trial and placed him under house arrest. By the time of his death on 10 December 2006, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations during his 17-year rule and tax evasion and embezzlement during and after his rule. He was also accused of having corruptly amassed at least US$28 million.

Photo of Salvador Allende

2. Salvador Allende (1908 - 1973)

With an HPI of 82.65, Salvador Allende is the 2nd most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 95 different languages.

Salvador Guillermo Allende Gossens (US: , UK: , American Spanish: [salβaˈðoɾ ɣiˈʝeɾmo aˈʝende ˈɣosens]; 26 June 1908 – 11 September 1973) was a Chilean physician and socialist politician, who served as the 28th president of Chile from 3 November 1970 until his death on 11 September 1973. He was the first Marxist to be elected president in a liberal democracy in Latin America.Allende's involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years, having covered the posts of senator, deputy and cabinet minister. As a life-long committed member of the Socialist Party of Chile, whose foundation he had actively contributed to, he unsuccessfully ran for the national presidency in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 elections. In 1970, he won the presidency as the candidate of the Popular Unity coalition, in a close three-way race. He was elected in a run-off by Congress as no candidate had gained a majority. As president, Allende sought to nationalize major industries, expand education and improve the living standards of the working class. He clashed with the right-wing parties that controlled Congress and with the judiciary. On 11 September 1973, the military moved to oust Allende in a coup d'état supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As troops surrounded La Moneda Palace, he gave his last speech vowing not to resign. Later that day, Allende committed suicide, according to an investigation conducted by a Chilean court with the assistance of international experts in 2011.Following Allende's death, General Augusto Pinochet refused to return authority to a civilian government, and Chile was later ruled by a military junta that was in power up until 1990, ending more than four decades of uninterrupted democratic governance. The military junta that took over dissolved the Congress of Chile, suspended the Constitution, and began a persecution of alleged dissidents, in which at least 3,095 civilians disappeared or were killed.

Photo of Michelle Bachelet

3. Michelle Bachelet (1951 - )

With an HPI of 75.23, Michelle Bachelet is the 3rd most famous Chilean Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 96 different languages.

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (Spanish: [beˈɾonika miˈtʃel βatʃeˈle ˈxeɾja]; born 29 September 1951) is a Chilean politician who has served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018. She also previously served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and 2014 to 2018 for the Socialist Party of Chile, she is the first woman to hold the Chilean presidency. After leaving the presidency in 2010 and while not immediately reelectable, she was appointed the first executive director of the newly created United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In December 2013, Bachelet was reelected with over 62% of the vote, bettering the 54% she obtained in 2006. She was the first President of Chile to be reelected since 1932.Bachelet, a physician who has studied military strategy at university level, was Health Minister and Defense Minister under her predecessor, Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic. She speaks English fluently, as well as some German and Portuguese.

Photo of Bernardo O'Higgins

4. Bernardo O'Higgins (1778 - 1842)

With an HPI of 72.29, Bernardo O'Higgins is the 4th most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.

Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme (Spanish pronunciation: [beɾˈnaɾðo oˈ(x)iɣins] (listen); 1778–1842) was a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. He was a wealthy landowner of Spanish and Irish ancestry. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–1823), he is considered one of Chile's founding fathers, as he was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state. He was Captain General of the Chilean Army, Brigadier of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, General Officer of Gran Colombia and Grand Marshal of Peru.

Photo of Sebastián Piñera

5. Sebastián Piñera (1949 - )

With an HPI of 72.28, Sebastián Piñera is the 5th most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 72 different languages.

Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique (Spanish: [miˈɣel ˈxwan seβasˈtjam piˈɲeɾa etʃeˈnike] (listen); born 1 December 1949) is a Chilean billionaire businessman and politician who has been president of Chile since 2018. He previously served as president from 2010 to 2014. The son of a Christian Democratic politician and diplomat, he studied business engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and economics at Harvard University. He had an estimated net worth of 2.8 billion dollars in 2019 according to Forbes, making him one of the richest people in Chile.A member of the liberal conservative National Renewal party, he served as a senator for the East Santiago district from 1990 to 1998, running for the presidency in the 2005 election, which he lost to Michelle Bachelet, and again, successfully, in 2010. As a result, he became Chile's first conservative president to be democratically elected since 1958, and the first to hold the office since the departure of Augusto Pinochet in 1990.Following the social unrest that erupted in late 2019, Piñera's diminished capacity to govern according to the principle of presidentialism has led to claims that Chile is in a state of de facto parliamentarism or should become parliamentarian. Other observers claim instead the Piñera administration had become increasingly presidential as result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile.

Photo of Patricio Aylwin

6. Patricio Aylwin (1918 - 2016)

With an HPI of 70.07, Patricio Aylwin is the 6th most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Patricio Aylwin Azócar (Spanish pronunciation: [paˈtɾisjo ˈelwin aˈsokaɾ] (listen); 26 November 1918 – 19 April 2016) was a Chilean politician from the Christian Democratic Party, lawyer, author, professor and former senator. He was the first president of Chile after dictator Augusto Pinochet, and his election marked the Chilean transition to democracy in 1990. Despite resistance from elements of the Chilean military and government after his election, Patricio Aylwin was staunch in his support for the Chilean National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation which exposed the systematic brutalities of the dictatorship.

Photo of Eduardo Frei Montalva

7. Eduardo Frei Montalva (1911 - 1982)

With an HPI of 68.62, Eduardo Frei Montalva is the 7th most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Eduardo Nicanor Frei Montalva (Spanish pronunciation: [eˈðwaɾðo fɾej monˈtalβa]; January 16, 1911 – January 22, 1982) was a Chilean political leader. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and the 28th president of Chile from 1964 to 1970. His eldest son, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, also became president of Chile (1994–2000). Frei's Christian Democratic Party supported the Armed Forces intervention to remove his successor Salvador Allende from office in 1973, after the Chamber of Deputies, on August 22, 1973, accused Allende of violating the Constitution and called for his overthrow. He was later a vocal opponent of the Augusto Pinochet regime. On January 22, 1982, Frei died in Santiago, Chile following surgery. Assassination was suspected by some but has never been proved.

Photo of Ricardo Lagos

8. Ricardo Lagos (1938 - )

With an HPI of 68.43, Ricardo Lagos is the 8th most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Ricardo Froilán Lagos Escobar (Spanish pronunciation: [riˈkaɾðo fɾojˈlan ˈlaɣos eskoˈβaɾ]; born 2 March 1938) is a Chilean lawyer, economist and social-democratic politician who served as President of Chile from 2000 to 2006. He won the 1999-2000 presidential election by a narrow margin in a runoff over Independent Democrat Union (UDI) candidate Joaquín Lavín. Lagos was the third president from the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy to have ruled Chile since 1990. He was succeeded on March 11, 2006 by Socialist Michelle Bachelet, from the same coalition. Since May 2007 he has served as a Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Photo of Luis Corvalán

9. Luis Corvalán (1916 - 2010)

With an HPI of 67.42, Luis Corvalán is the 9th most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Luis Alberto Corvalán Lepe (14 September 1916, in Puerto Montt – 21 July 2010) was a Chilean politician. He served as the general secretary of the Communist Party of Chile (PCCh). Corvalán joined the Communist Party of Chile at the age of fifteen in the city of Chillán shortly after the fall of the dictatorship of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo in 1932. Trained as a teacher, after 1952 he became an elected member of the PCCh's Central Committee, and after 1958 served as the secretary-general. The party was outlawed from 1948 until 1958. On 11 September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet led a military coup and Corvalán was among the many arrested. After the murder of Víctor Jara, he was the most prominent political prisoner in Chile. While in prison, Luis Corvalán was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize (for 1973–74). The Soviet Union launched an international campaign for his release and on 18 December 1976, Corvalán was exchanged for a notable Soviet political prisoner, dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, and received asylum in the USSR.Corvalán headed the Communist Party of Chile – both within Chile and whilst in exile – for over three decades, which covered the whole period of the Pinochet military dictatorship. Corvalán returned to Chile in 1990 after the end of the Pinochet regime.

Photo of Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

10. Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (1942 - )

With an HPI of 67.09, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle is the 10th most famous Chilean Politician.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (Spanish pronunciation: [eˈðwaɾðo alˈfɾeðo ˈxwan βeɾˈnaɾðo ˈfɾej ˈrwis ˈtaɣle]; born June 24, 1942) is a Chilean politician and civil engineer who was President of Chile from 1994 to 2000. He was also a Senator, fulfilling the role of President of the Senate from 2006 to 2008. He attempted a comeback as the candidate of the ruling Concertación coalition for the 2009 presidential election, but was narrowly defeated. His father was Eduardo Frei Montalva, who was President of Chile from 1964 to 1970.

Pantheon has 41 people classified as politicians born between 1768 and 1988. Of these 41, 5 (12.20%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Michelle Bachelet, Sebastián Piñera, and Ricardo Lagos. The most famous deceased politicians include Augusto Pinochet, Salvador Allende, and Bernardo O'Higgins. As of October 2020, 1 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Diego Portales.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.