Valparaíso

Valparaíso is one of the main seaports of Chile, on the Pacific Ocean, and the capital of the Valparaíso Region. It had a crucial geopolitical function during the middle of the 19th century.

Valparaíso is located near the center of Chile at latitude 33° 01´S, longitude 71° 38´W, two hours by highway from the capital Santiago.

The Chilean National Congress is located here, having been moved from Santiago de Chile during the last years of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Today
3 Culture
4 See Also
5 Links

History

Valparaíso's bay was populated by the Changos, an old ethnic group dedicated to fishing and farming. Spaniards arrived to Valparaíso 1536, with a ship (Santiaguillo) sent by Diego de Almagro, discoverer of Chile. The captain of this ship was Juan de Saavedra and it carried men and groceries for Almagro's expedition.

During colonial time, Valparaíso remained as a little village with only a few houses and church. But after Chilean Indepedence, Valparaíso became the first Chilean fleet harbour and there was opened to free trade. So, it turned into the most important harbour in Southern Pacific. It was an obligatory scale during the cross between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Magellan and Cape Horn.

During the golden age, Valparaíso received many immigrants. The most important colonies were from Britain, Germany and Italy. Also there were many other people from other European country. German, French, Italian and English were commonly spoken and newspapers in these languages were published.

The influence of all the colonies was important. Football was introduced in Chile by English people, the two first private schools were founded (The Mackay School and Deutsche Schule), they created and joined many firemen companies (volontary activity in Chile), and the buildings reflected the european tendences.

The golden age of Valparaíso ended a few years after the inaguration of the Panama Canal: ships did not favor the Strait of Magellan anymore and the harbour's movement came down.

Today

Today Valparaíso is one of the most important Chilean harbours, and the "Gran Valparaíso" (including Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Quilpué and Villa Alemana, whose naturally joined together as they grew) is third biggest population concentration in the country.

Culture

In 2003 Valparaíso was declared a World Heritage Site, due of his historical importance, natural beauty, particular architecture and urbanisation.

Valparaíso's newspaper, El Mercurio de Valparaíso, is the oldest spanish-written newspaper still in circulation.

The city has second biggest university concentration of the nation. It's home of four traditional high studies houses:

Valparaíso is the birthplace of many Chilean historical persons such as Augusto Pinochet and Salvador Allende. It has also been the residence of many artists like Pablo Neruda and Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío.

See Also

  • Hills of Valparaíso, Chile

Links


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