Key Locations: Valparaiso’s Dissidents Cemetery

Exploring the Hispanic-Anglosphere…

Three examples of burials and monuments – more details in the text below (photos by Manuel Llorca-Jaña)

Author: Manuel Llorca-Jaña

Valparaiso’s Dissidents Cemetery (Cementerio de Disidentes de Valparaíso) was established in 1825, a few years after the first Britons opened commercial houses in this important Chilean port. It is located in Cerro Panteón (formerly Cerro del Cementerio). It was funded as a result of religious discrimination faced by the growing Protestant community, particularly at the time of death. Chilean cemeteries were exclusively Catholic, the official religion of the new Chilean republic, and as such, locals tended to be rather intolerant of Protestant burial rituals. Overcrowding in the existing cemeteries meant that room was unlikely to be found for non-Catholic people. In 1819, 48 British merchants sent a formal letter to the new government, then headed by Bernardo O’Higgins asking for permission to buy land for the sole purpose of using it as a cemetery. The request was eventually conceded despite some opposition from the local elites, including members of the clergy. Indeed, as late as in 1853, when Britain and Chile signed a Friendship Treaty, religious toleration was still regarded as a pending issue. For nearly 60 years, until the promulgation of a new cemetery law (1883), this cemetery received not only Protestants, but also other non-Catholic dead. Since 2005, the cemetery enjoys the status of National Historic Monument [decree Nº 1797 (2005)].

The inscriptions in the photos above (notice that they were all written in English rather than in the vernacular Spanish language) read as follows:

  • Anne Sharp widow of Peter McPherson, shipmaster, born at Rothesay, Scotland, 26 September 1826, died at Valparaiso, 28th November 1890. Margaret Menelaus, widow of John Hardy, shipmaster, born at Greenock, Scotland, 11th February 1811, died at Valparaiso, 18th October 1899. Harold Andrew Hardy, born 21st March 1893, died 3rd October 1900. John William Hardy, born at Greenock, Scotland, 26th February 1849, died at Valparaiso, 10th February 1933. Annie McPherson, widow of John W. Hardy, born at Greenock, Scotland, 1st January 1856, died at Valparaiso 22nd June 1943.
  • In Memory of Alexander Kennedey, formerly of Edinburgh, afterwards merchant at Chañaral who departed this life at Valparaiso the 30th Day of June 1892 in his 48th year. Erected by his two brothers – Sacred to the Memory of Lushington Goodwin who died the 21st Day of December 1889 aged 42 years.
  • (Under the sculpture of a classic female figure): Juan Brown, 1808-1877; Isabel Caces de Cox, 1825-1916; Alfredo Cox, 1830-1913; Maria Luisa Brown de Barton, 1848-1876; Amalia Seferina Brown de Brunet, 1846-1878; Elena Brown C., 1859-1868; Juan Brown Caces, 1857-1934; Maria Teresa Brown de Ariztia, 1863-1951.

Little is known about these individuals apart from the information given above. If you have any more details, please let us know! Just send us an email at hispanicanglosphere@gmail.com . Your collaboration will be acknowledged both in this site and in any other of our future relevant publications.

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Sources and Suggested Reading: León, Marco (1997). Sepultura Sagrada, Tumba Profana: los espacios de la muerte en Santiago de Chile, 1883-1932. Santiago: LOM-DIBAM, p. 40 available at http://www.memoriachilena.gob.cl/archivos2/pdfs/MC0027428.pdf ; Estrada, Baldomero. (2006), ‘La colectividad británica en Valparaíso durante la primera mitad del siglo XX’. Historia (Santiago), 39(1), 65-91, available at http://revistahistoria.uc.cl/index.php/rhis/article/view/1289

How to cite: To cite from this page, please use any style (Chicago, Harvard, etc). Our preferred citation form is: Manuel Llorca-Jaña, ‘Key Locations: Valparaiso´s Dissidents Cemetery’, Exploring the Hispanic-Anglosphere, an online exhibition – The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th to early 20th centuries), project funded by the AHRC and the University of Winchester in partnership with the National Trust,[https://hispanic-anglosphere.com/online-exhibitions/key-locations-valparaisos-dissidents-cemetery, accessed – please add the date of your visit].

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