What Is The Chile National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History. Photo: MidiFiles
What Is The Chile National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History. Photo: MidiFiles

The "National Anthem of Chile", also known as Canción Nacional ('National Song') or by its incipit Puro, Chile, es tu cielo azulado ('How pure, Chile, is your blue sky'), was adopted in 1828. It has a history of two lyrics and two melodies that made up three different versions. The current version was composed by Ramón Carnicer, with words by Eusebio Lillo, and has six parts plus the chorus. Here are the anthem’s history, original lyrics and English translation.

History of Chile National Anthem

First national anthem

The first Chilean national anthem dates back to 1809, when the government called for, on 13 January, the creation of music and lyrics for this purpose.

The composer Manuel Robles and the poet Bernardo de Vera y Pintado fulfilled this mandate and their "National Song" debuted on 20 August 1820 in the Domingo Arteaga theater, although other historians claim that it was played and sung during the festivities of September 1819.

In the beginning, everyone would stand for the song. The custom of always singing it at the theater slowly disappeared, until it was requested that it only be sung at the anniversary of the country.

The doctor Bernardo Vera, known in the history of the independence, was the author of the verses that were sung to Robles' music.

This first hymn was sung until 1828, when it was replaced with what is sung today.

Second national anthem

The second and current Chilean national anthem was composed by the Spanish composer Ramón Carnicer, when he was exiled in England because of his liberal ideas. Mariano Egaña, Chilean Minister in London, acting on the criticism that Robles' song was receiving, asked Carnicer to compose a new hymn with Bernardo de Vera's original text.

The Spanish musician probably wrote the work by 1827, the date he returned to Barcelona, and his hymn debuted in Santiago, in the Arteaga theater, 23 December 1828.

Years later, in 1847, the Chilean government entrusted the young poet Eusebio Lillo with a new text that would replace the anti-Spain poem of Vera y Pintado, and after being analyzed by Andrés Bello, retained the original chorus ("Dulce patria, recibe los votos..."). The lyrics were slightly revised in 1909.

During the military dictatorship (1973–1990) of Augusto Pinochet, the Verse III was officially incorporated because of his praise of the armed forces and the national police (Carabineros). After the end of Pinochet's regime, in 1990, it was only sung in military events. Supporters from the former military junta also sing the anthem with the Verse III in private ceremonies and rallies, with continuous controversies over the following years because of the crescent general consensus of the crimes against humanity committed by the regime.

In the celebrations marking the return of democracy in March 1990 at Santiago's Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, the anthem was played in its present melody, raised to F Major (the Royal Musical Official Version of the anthem) which is the original melody of the second anthem by Carnicer, but using the 1847 lyrics as text, save for the original chorus of the 1819 anthem. This was the version that from 1991 to 2000 was played before broadcasts of Chilean presidential addresses. In 2000, it was replaced by a more stylized version, which was used until 2010. After that, the anthem was scrapped off the addresses. Since the end of the dictatorship, television stations rarely ever used the anthem during their sign-on and sign-off, and the practice fell off definitely during the 1990s. Radio stations in Chile still have a tradition to play the anthem in New Year's Eve, in order to start celebrations.

Joe Walsh, famed musician who was part of the United States rock band the Eagles, sang the National Anthem of Chile at a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball game in 2003.

There is also a translation in Mapudungun, the largest and most-commonly spoken indigenous language in Chile, spoken by the Mapuche people.

Spanish lyrics of The Chile National Anthem

Puro, Chile, es tu cielo azulado,

Puras brisas te cruzan también,

Y tu campo de flores bordado

Es la copia feliz del Edén.

Majestuosa es la blanca montaña

Que te dio por baluarte el Señor,

Que te dio por baluarte el Señor,

Y ese mar que tranquilo te baña

Te promete futuro esplendor.

Y ese mar que tranquilo te baña

Te promete futuro esplendor.

CHORUS:

Dulce Patria, recibe los votos

Con que Chile en tus aras juró:

Que o la tumba serás de los libres

O el asilo contra la opresión

Que o la tumba serás de los libres

O el asilo contra la opresión

Que o la tumba serás de los libres

O el asilo contra la opresión

O el asilo contra la opresión

O el asilo contra la opresión.

The Chile National Anthem in English translation

Chile, your sky is a pure blue,

Pure breezes blow across you,

And your field, embroidered with flowers,

Is a happy copy of Eden.

Majestic is the snow-covered mountain

That was given to you by the Lord as a bastion,

That was given to you by the Lord as a bastion,

And the sea that tranquilly washes your shore

Promises future splendour for you,

And the sea that tranquilly washes your shore

Promises future splendour for you.

CHORUS:

Sweet fatherland, accept the vows

With which Chile swore at your altars:

Either you’ll be the tomb of the free

Or the refuge against oppression

Either you’ll be the tomb of the free

Or the refuge against oppression

Either you’ll be the tomb of the free

Or the refuge against oppression

Or the refuge against oppression

Or the refuge against oppression.

Lyrics video of Chile National Anthem

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