Just a couple of things in reply to Robinson’s response.
First, the nineteenth century was very long. A hundred years. Robinson and I are talking about complete different historical periods. The free trade I mentioned, in which Chile was engaged, happened very early on, with public support for it being made explicit even before 1800. Chilean intellectuals such as Manuel de Salas, Armando de la Cruz, and even the Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins himself were arguing in favor of free trade, on economic and political grounds, in some cases twenty years or more before David Ricardo’s writings and the Corn Laws controversy in England. Thus, Chile had an advantage of at least 50 years, possibly more, in relation to the free trade other countries in the region engaged in as the British Empire expanded. By the time other Latin American countries were starting to export primary commodities to England and elsewhere, Chile had–at least partly thanks to the progress brought by several decades of free trade–already developed institutions, including a national army and a strong sense of national identity across different social classes, which allowed it to free Peru from Spanish rule, and then to go on to win all the local wars it was involved in. In other words, by the time other Latin American countries were starting to benefit from free trade under Pax Britannica, Chile had already done it for several generations, having started even before England herself had embraced free trade.
As to being “civilized” and “free,” again Robinson and I are talking about different things. In the nineteenth century, Chile was “civilized” and “free” as compared with the rest of Latin America (it does not make much sense to compare Chile in the 19th century with Scandinavian countries in the 21st century). The fact is that, again from very early on in the nineteenth century, Chile was chosen as their favourite country to go into exile by the most distinguished Latin American democratic intellectuals, including, for example, Argentinian Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Venezuelan Andres Bello. Before going to study in the United States and Europe became fashionable, the children of the Latin American elites typically chose to become students of Chilean universities. Of course, these exiles and students were not illiterate campesinos. No one is claiming that. The benefits of progress only very gradually were extended from the top to the bottom of the social pyramid. Chile, in that sense, was no different from the rest of Latin America, and from many other countries.