This study inserts Santiago, Chile, into contemporary discussions of colonial Latin America by reading two Jesuit documents—a map and a letter—created prior to and following the devastating earthquake of 1647, respectively. Alonso de Ovalle's Prospectiva y planta de la ciudad de Santiago (1646) presents an urban paradise in accordance with Spanish and Catholic ideals, a New World Jerusalem. This depiction is juxtaposed with a letter by Juan González Chaparro that describes postearthquake Santiago as “ruined at the powerful hand of the Almighty.” Focusing on the 1647 earthquake's religious dimensions and perceived causes, the study concludes that the religious authorities of Santiago stand out in the colonial Spanish Americas for assigning fault for such a disaster to their city's elites rather than to its underclasses.

You do not currently have access to this content.