Metrication in Chile

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Chile adopted the metric system in 1848. Previously, the Spanish system of measures was used.[1]


Since colonization, Chile had always used a unit system based on the Spanish customary units. In 1843, a law[2] was passed formalizing it, and defining its fundamental unit, the vara, as a fraction of a metre.

Later, during the presidency of Manuel Bulnes, a law was passed on 29 January 1848[3] was passed, adopting the Metric System. Finally, Chile signed the Metre Convention in 1908.

Exceptions in the 20th century[edit]

For a long time, all refrigerators were labeled in cubic feet. This changed around 1990, and since then they have since been labeled in litres.

Current exceptions[edit]


  1. ^ Ensayo sobre Chile, Prólogo (Spanish)
  2. ^ Ley de Medidas y peso de 15 de diciembre de 1843; published in the 1 January 1844 edition of the Boletín de Leyes y Decretos de Gobierno.
  3. ^ Gabriel Rodríguez, Sistema Internacional de Unidades. A tomar medidas, Bit Revista Técnica de la Construcción
  4. ^ Chiloe, Customs