Daily Event for January 23, 2010

Built in 1869 the Santiago was an oceangoing sidewheeler built for the Pacific Steam Navigation Company of Liverpool. She was the second so named ship for the company and was 267' long and registered at 1,619 gross tons. She was built of iron, had one funnel and two masts rigged for sail and could make 10 knots. Santiago and the ships of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company at that time were among the earliest steamers plying the waters off the western coast of South America.

Steamship service to Chile was the vision of William Wheelwright, the son of an Englishman, born in Massachusetts in 1798 who ended up in Chile in the late 1820's. He founded the Pacific Steam Navigation Company in 1838, three years after he secured a ten year agreement with the Chilean government giving him exclusive rights to operate steamships in Chilean waters, this agreement was signed in 1835. Service was finally established in 1840 when the first ships of the line, Peru and Chile, arrived in October of that year.

On Jan. 23, 1869 the Santiago was anchored off Mercy Harbor in the Straits of Magellan waiting out a storm, she was carrying 172 passengers from Valparaiso to Liverpool. When conditions improved she weighed anchor and resumed her voyage, but within a few miles she ran aground on an uncharted rock. The ship was stuck fast, but everyone less three were removed to safety, sadly one of the three lost was a child. For the company this was the second loss in ten days, on Jan. 13 the Arica had been wrecked and sunk off Peru.

News of the loss did not reach England until March 13 when a telegram was received by the company from Lisbon. The SS La Plata of the Liverpool, Brazil and River Plate Company returned the crew landing them on the Isle of Wight on Mar. 21.

Following this the company built a third Santiago in 1871, but sold her in 1872. A forth Santiago was built in 1889 and in 1907 she was also lost off Chile, she was the last so named ship built for Pacific Steam Navigation Company, but the company survived in one form or another until 1985.

© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

2005 Daily Event
2009 Daily Event