Memory of the World in Chile

In 2003, Chile submitted fundamental documentary heritage of its historical memory into the Memory of the World Register: the Human Rights Archive and the Jesuits of America Fund. In2013 the literary expression known as “Lira Popular” was incorporated into the world register. These nominations are the result of work done by the National Memory of the World Committee in Chile, which is composed of representatives of entities specialised in this area.

The Human Rights Archive of Chile

Atacama desert, Chile: a cross marks the symbolic grave of many of the dissapeared

The Human Rights Archive of Chile (Documentary heritage submitted by Chile and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register) is aimed at preventing the further deterioration of the historical memory of human rights violations which occurred during the military dictatorship (1973-1989) and are documented in several archives kept by national institutions.

The archive is composed of unique and authentic documents originally used for international solidarity actions and for the defence and search for people who were persecuted, detained and disappeared during this period in Chile. They include around one thousand photographs of disappeared prisoners, audio-visual material, press excerpts and editions of “Teleanálisis”, a news programme distributed by video which recorded the struggle to defend human rights.

The registers were put together and safeguarded from 1973 and 1995 by the Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared (AFDD); the Corporation for the Promotion and Defence of People’s Rights (CODEPU); the Solidarity Vicarage; the Justice and Democracy Corporation; the Social Aid Foundation of Christian Churches (FASIC); the Foundation for the Protection of Children Injured by States of Emergency (PIDEE); the Chilean Human Rights Commission and Teleanálisis.

The conservation of the archives is necessary since it presents a public debate about memory, particularly regarding human rights violations. For UNESCO, the future of a country cannot be built upon oblivion, but rather on the in-depth understanding of democracy’s purpose and respect for human rights, and this includes remembering how dictatorships functioned. Through a process of reflection and recognition, countries can opt for a future free from the mistakes of the past.

Year of submission: 2003
Year of inscription: 2003
Registration form of the HR Archives

The Documentary Jesuits of America Fund

Files in Archivo National, Chile

The Documentary Jesuits of America Fund (Documentary heritage submitted by Chile and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register) brings together testimonies related to the history of the Antilles, Argentina, Colombia (Bogota), Bolivia, Cuba (Havana), Ecuador, Spain, Philippines (Manila), Mexico, Paraguay and Chile during the 17th and 18th centuries, all of which were areas where the Society of Jesus carried out its missionary work.

The Society of Jesus was founded in Rome in 1540. It made mission trips to the Western Indies, as well as the Eastern Indies, in order to perform educational work tied to Christian humanism, with a great influence upon culture.

It includes more than 128 pages of the history of the conversion to Christianity in Latin America during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The documentation was generated by the “Junta de Temporalidades”, an entity created by the Spanish Crown to manage the assets of the Society of Jesus, which was expelled from Latin America under the reign of Charles III in 1767 and was aimed at creating a complete list of the assets and property held by the Order of St. Ignatius in each of the areas where it had settled.

Therefore, the Jesuits of America fund is the only reference available to the international community for the study of the Society of Jesus’ missionary work in Latin America.

Year of submission: 2003
Year of inscription: 2003
Registration form of the Jesuits of America Fund

La Lira Popular

Photo: Wikimedia commons

La Lira Popular is a documentary heritage proposed by Chile and recommended for inclusion in the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Register. Was submitted in 2010 to the Regional Committee for the Oral Literature and Popular Traditions Archive by the National Library (DIBAM) and the Universidad de Chile. After its acceptance in this list, it applied for incorporation into the World Register in March 2012 and it was included in June, 2013.

The Chilean printed popular literature collections, entitled “Lira Popular”, are defined as a set of printed sheets of décima poetry (composed of ten octosyllabic lines), written in Chile from the mid-19th century to the first few decades of the 20th century. Its name comes from Juan Bautista Peralta, one of the most distinguished popular poets, who entitled the collection “La Lira Popular” in 1899, and it is thought to be a type of parody of the “cultured poetry” magazine “La Lira Chilena”. Later, this term would be expanded to include all productions.

The creators of Lira Popular were anonymous poets, heirs of a practice that dates back to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, who brought with them a rich thematic tradition and the décima espinela structure. Working as labourers or artisans, these poets wrote about violent news, catastrophic events, epidemics or the civil war of 1891, supernatural events or protests against high tax prices, along with humour and political satire. The support: loose pages of common paper and variable size, 26 x 38 cm or 35 x 56 cm, whose fundamental features include engraving on the upper part of the page, a large title below and four to eight compositions on the bottom two-thirds of the page, almost always in black ink, but occasionally in green or red.

This heritage is composed of 1553 pages, corresponding to three collections: the Oral Traditions Archive of the National Library, with 327 pages (donated by the German professor, Rodolfo Lenz); the Universidad de Chile collection, put together by Raúl Amunátegui, with 800 pages, and the collection put together by Alamiro de Ávila, with 352 pages, recovered in Argentina and also donated to the National Library.
Application form of Lira Popular to the Regional Committee (in Spanish)

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