Introduction and Points of Divergence
The original point of divergence is set 40 MYA, when the Santa Clara hotspot opened latitudinally, creating a divergent rigde and the formation of a barrier submarine volcano, akin to a much smaller version of the Siberian Traps. 20 million years after, this geologic accident would emerge to the surface, creating a fastly-growing island, which was easily colonized by neotropical vegetal and animal species in few millions of years. Still growing, the island reached a size comparable to Hainan in historic times (around 33.000 sq. km), but with a heavily sloped terrain, plenty of active volcanoes and rift valleys.
The historical point of divergence happened in the mid 11th century C.E., when the growing population of Rapa Nui (Easter) Island sailed eastward to find another land to populate: while the northbound travellers found the coasts of South America and the much useful sweet potato which they bringed back to their islands, the southernmost adventurers were grabbed by the swirling currents of the South Pacific Gyre to the land they called Hou Hiva.
15th century C.E.
Back to Rapa Nui arrived the news of a huge land, so high their hills the clouds got entangled on their peaks, with almost frozen water running on enormous streams at the depths of sharp ravines, and boiling water emerging from the soil, accompained of yellow, breathtaking clouds. That description was taken by the ruling class as proof that their adventurers have found no land and were lying, or even worse, that they have indeed found a land forbid for people to inhabit. That, added to the lack of a previous prediction of the island, as happened with Rapa Nui, was enough for the Ariki to dismiss the discovery and forbid more travels to the east.
Four centuries after, when a civil war broke on the overpopulated Rapa Nui, some islanders decided to try luck and find the now mythical Hou Hiva sailing to the east. Sadly, it was too late for them to set a firm foot on this new land, because just decades after their arriving, Juan Fernández, a portuguese navigator serving to the spanish Crown and searching for a faster route between El Callao and Valparaíso, found the island he called Santa Clara on August, 12th of 1574.
When arriving at Valparaíso, the news of a vast, forested island on the southern seas begun the Santa Clara Craze, and many spaniards newly established in the port and Santiago decided to embark to a new conquest instead of waiting for a new defeat in hands of the araucanians as the one happened recently in Purén or the shock of an earthquake as the one that destroyed Concepción in 1570.
Those first spaniards, backed by the actions of Bravo de Saravia, Royal Governor of Chile, carried captured araucanians with them as work indians, most of whom readily escaped their captors once arriving to Santa Clara's first port and village, San Mateo on September 21st, 1574, a sandy cove on the north of the island. Those araucanian 'cimarrones' were the only hope for the isolated houhivans that inhabited the southernmost tip of the island, because they were already inmune to the diseases the spaniards bring to this land. Even if most houhivans died of smallpox, contagied by the araucanians, a few had mixed children that born inmune.
A double process of colonization ensued in the island, with the now firmly settled indigenous peoples sparsely populating the south and adopting the language and customs of the araucanians; and the spaniard colonizers accompained by more docile indians establishing mining towns on the north, where the rift valley exposed gold deposits, further contributing to the aforementioned Santa Clara Craze, now even dubbed the authentic location of the mythical El Dorado.
1575 - With the beggining of the austral spring, Juan Fernández, by then Capitán General and Adelantado of Santa Clara, headed the first spanish raid against the mapuche 'cimarrones', a group of whom had just recently taken contact with the houhivans. The aggressive manners of the spanish "maloca" biased the houhivans to the mapuche side, notwithstanding the foregoing they didn't join the retaliatory mapuche's "malón".
1576 - Due to the contact with mapuches, most houhivans got ill from smallpox. Close to 70% of the houhivan contacted population died from the illness
1587 - After the attack perpetrated by the english corsair Thomas Cavendish in mid March, San Mateo ends burnt and is depopulated. The spaniards move inland and found Ciudad del Lago over the peninsula that narrows the lake and divides both lobes of Lago Colorado. This protected position, located inside an ancient volcanic crater, became the main urban center of the island.
16th century C.E.
1600 - Escaping from Valparaíso, the dutch corsair Oliver Van Noort tries to trace the estuary of the Kalfú River, west of Ciudad del Lago, informed that there was a route available to enter the town up the river. After being discovered and attacked by a gunned outpost on the mouth of the river, sent a boat to set fire to the forested hill where the outpost was located, then escaping from the island. The resulting Great Fire of 1600 did not reached the town, but the winds carried an ash rain over it and contaminated its water sources. Most of the population had to move outside the city
1603 - As a countermeasure to the effects of seasonal and man-made fires, (placeholder name), governor of Santa Clara, ordered the construction of the Gran Zanjón, bringing running waters from many springs on the northern hills to the town centre.
1625 - The works of the Gran Zanjón were culminated. The water course was previously functional by means of a network of artisan wells on route of the definitive reservoir.
17th century C.E.
18th century C.E.
19th century C.E.
1810 - Being a key base of the spanish navy and having an important peninsular population, on September, 3rd Ciudad del Lago's Cabildo resolves to declare obedience to the deposed king of Spain, Fernando VII, and to the peninsular Cádiz Courts, instead of trying an independentist movement. The spanish Santa Clara Fleet sails around the island on the 'Loyalist Patrol', forcing the other Cabildos to accept the aforementioned decision. Having no means of enforcing their opposition, nor the local oppositors nor the revolutionary administrations on the continent could avoid Santa Clara's ports being used as royalist base.
1817 - José de San Martín seizes the fleet that José Miguel Carrera brought from the United States, with the explicit intention of capturing Santa Clara and deny the spanish crown a foothold on South America. The plan gets frustrated with the slow tear and wear of the fleet, which is used to defend Montevideo from the brazilians, to populate Puerto Deseado on the Patagonia and prevent a southern invasion, to try briefly to siege San Carlos and Valdivia and to left cannons for coastal defenses on Isla Santa María. Even getting a reinforcement tripulation and munitions in Valparaíso, the fleet was too weak to take Santa Clara. A plan to take advantage of the extra manpower making a complex landing on the eastern site of Murallón resulted on a terrible defeat and the capture or deliberate sinking of the ill-fated fleet.
1818 - With a new fleet formed with the ships previously stationated on friendly ports and new ones, and the command of the english lord Thomas Cochrane, the so-called Expedición Libertadora tried a new landing on Santa Clara on January, 16th, this time taking the southern village of Epuhuén, gaining the backing of the majoritarian indigenous population and forcing the spanish santaclaran elite to deny the use of the island's ports to the spanish fleet, under the threat of an indigenous upheaval against the northern cities, where most able men had departed to the continent to fight against the revolutionaries. While originally the plans included forcing the signing of an independence declaration for Santa Clara, Cochrane rescinded from that idea, fearing that his nationality confirmed the notion that the maneouvre was merely an english grabbing of former spanish colonies, risking the alliances between monarchist nations on Europe.
1820 - With the news of the king Fernando VII accepting the Cádiz Constitution,
20th century C.E.
21st century C.E.
References and footnotes
- ↑ Juan Fernández Hotspot in OTL