by María Ithurria (PhD student, University of Edinburgh) and Claudio Soltmann (Historian, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
Let us go back to the nineteenth century. There is no doubt that Andrés Bello (1781 – 1865) was a prominent intellectual figure for Latin America. His work had a massive impact on the rise of post-independence nation-building. Bello was born in Venezuela but spent his entire adult life between London and Santiago de Chile: the London years (1810-1829) provided him with the most vibrant intellectual environment of those times, and Chile was the perfect place to develop the knowledge acquired there. Bello is widely recognised due to his work as the drafter of the Chilean Civil Code, which was borrowed by many other Latin-American countries. On the other hand, he is well-known as the founder of the Universidad de Chile. Is worth saying that this university played a crucial role in the construction of Chile as an independent country.