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He was born in Santiago on December 18th, 1858. He was the son of Domingo Matte Messia and Rosario Perez Vargas. Married to Elvira Hurtado Concha, which whom he had 7 children.

He coursed his studies at the Instituto Nacional and the Universidad de Chile, graduating as a lawyer in 1879.

In 1881, he traveled to Europe, where he stayed for six years coursing his first studies in literature. In addition, he examined all of the current systems and texts pertaining to primary education, visiting school sin France, Germnay, Sweden and Great Britain to accomplish this.

In Leipzig, which was the most important literary and educational center in Germany at the time, he studied pedagogy and methodology. In this city (1884), he delivered the first edition of the Nuevo Método para la Enseñanza Simultánea de la Lectura y Escritura (New Method for the Simultaneous Teaching of Reading and Writing), known as the Matte Syllabary.
This text replaced the archaic spelling for a phonetic- analytic -synthetic method. Matte sent issues to Chile as a gift to the Society of Primary Instruction.

Upon his return he saw for himself that his syllabary was used at all the public schools of the country. In addition, in 1894 it was declared an official teaching text in Chile and it soon had success throughout Latinamerica.

His lasting devotion for education drove him to preside the Society of Primary Instruction (1889), and he was also a member of the commission that organized the First National Pedagogical Congress.

He fought to introduce shop class, home economics, industrial plotting and physical education in schools. In addition, he went to great lengths to approve the Obligatory Primary Instruction Law, and, using his fortune, he founded several Matte schools. At these establishments he inaugurated the medical-dental service and the complementary lunch program.

He held several positions, among them: president of the Commission of Fine Arts (1888), confidential agent of the government in Berlin (1891), academic member of the Faculty of Philosophy and Liberal Arts of the Universidad de Chile (1892), minister of Foreign Relations, Cult and Colonization (1895), deputy for Llanquihue, Carelmapu and Osorno (1894-1897), vice-president  of the Council of Primary Research (1920), president of the Society of Urban Income (1923) and chancellor of the Universidad de Chile (1927). He passed away at the age of 98 on December 20th 1956.

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