From the beginning of Chile’s bid for independence, the intention of Supreme Commander Bernardo O’Higgins was to create an administrative framework for the new republic. That framework included the creation of Chile’s first government ministries.
In May 1811 the Chamber of War, the Chamber of Government and Police, and the Royal Finance Chamber were established. The members of these early ministerial groups included spokesmen of the ruling junta and varying numbers of representatives from the first National Congress.
In late 1811, the ministries were denominated “secretaries”, and in May 1814 the Secretary of Finance appeared.
On June 2nd 1817, a Cabinet of Finance was created by decree law, and was placed under the charge of Hipólito de Villegas. This cabinet was also in charge of the Cabinet of War and the Cabinet of Justice.
On September 2nd 1817 the “Finance and Public Administration Plan”, drafted by the Accountant Minister of the General Treasury Rafael Correa de Saa, was signed into law.
The purpose of the plan was to organize public services, determine tax levies and collection methods, and sever dependence on the Spanish crown, on top of protecting certain citizen rights, setting procedures to regulate war tax contributions and collect debt, among others.
The finance and public administration plan set the stage for the adoption of rules that would allow the subsequent formation of a national republic, a difficult task given that war was the government’s primary focus.
Years later on November 30th 1927, the attributions and duties of the Finance Ministry were established in Executive Decree N° 7912, known as the “General Law of Ministries”.