Chile Military Records

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Military records identify individuals who served in the military or who were eligible for service. Most young men were required to serve in or register for military service in Chile. Evidence that an ancestor actually served may be found in family records, biographies, census, probate records, civil registration, and church records.

Military records give information about an ancestor’s military career, such as promotions, places served, pensions, and conduct. In addition, these records usually include information about age, birthplace, residence, occupation, physical description, and family members. However, many military records in Chile provide very few details about individuals other than officers.

The records you may find include:

  • Muster rolls
  • Personnel files
  • Regimental account books
  • Letters of deportment
  • Lists of officers
  • Pay vouchers or records
  • Pension records
  • Records of leave
  • Naval records
  • Descriptive rolls

Records of military service in Chile were kept by the government. These records are found in the Chilean national archives.

Military records include genealogical information, but other sources, such as church records and civil registration records, are more easily available and contain much of the same information. The Family History Library has not microfilmed many military records for Chile. You can find military records in the FamilySearch Catalog under:



Original military records of Chile are found in the National Archives in Santiago and in the Military, Historical, and Provincial Archives of Chile, Argentina, and Peru.

Military History[edit | edit source]

In order to keep the Spanish governors in power, maintain order, and protect settlers from Indians, Spain maintained a military presence in Chile during occupation. Dates of important military actions in which Chileans were involved include:


Spain’s occupation of the country began with the second expedition from Peru into Chile. Santiago was founded in 1541. Armed forces were needed continually to protect the settlements from marauding Indians.


The military expedition of Argentine general José de San Martin, which liberated Chile and Peru from Spanish domination, included a large number of Chileans.


Chile fought a three-year war with Peru. Chile prevailed.


During the Araucanian Rebellion, Mapuches Indians resisted Chilean settlement encroachments, and the first reservations were created.


Chile fought a war with Spain.


After defeating Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific, Chile annexed the provinces of Arica and Tarapacá from Peru, and Antofagasta from Bolivia.


The Mapuches Indians’ stronghold near Villarica fell after the last Indian revolt in 1880. A definitive treaty was signed in 1883.


The army was professionalized with strong German influence.


The military became involved in politics, and at times ruled by a military junta.

Chile was involved in many military actions against Peru and Bolivia. For more historical information about the Chilean wars, use:

  • Toro Dávila, Agustín. Síntesis histórico militar de Chile graficada (Illustrated Historical Military Synthesis of Chile). Santiago, Chile: Fondo Editorial Educación Moderna, 1969. (FHL book 983 M25t.)

Additional military histories are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under: