Theme Week Chile – Punta Arenas

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Nao Victoria, Magellans ship replica, in the Museo Nao Victoria © Juanmatassi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Nao Victoria, Magellans ship replica, in the Museo Nao Victoria © Juanmatassi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Punta Arenas is the capital city of the southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. The city was officially renamed as Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to Punta Arenas. It is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south. As of 1977 Punta Arenas has been one of only two free ports in Chile. Located on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony to assert sovereignty over the Strait. During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade traveling to the west coasts of South and North America. This period of growth also resulted from the waves of European immigrants, mainly from Croatia and Russia attracted to the gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900s. The largest sheep company, controlling 10,000 square kilometres in Chile and Argentina, was based in Punta Arenas, and its owners lived there. Since its founding Chile has used Punta Arenas as a base to defend its sovereignty claims in the southernmost part of South America. This led, among other things, to the Strait of Magellan being recognized as Chilean territory in the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina. The geopolitical importance of Punta Arenas has remained high in the 20th and 21st centuries because of its logistic importance in accessing the Antarctic Peninsula.

Between about 1890 and 1940, the Magallanes region became one of the world’s most important sheep-raising regions, with one company (Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego) controlling over 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) in southern Chile and Argentina. The headquarters of this company and the residences of the owners were in Punta Arenas. Visitors today can tour the Sarah Braun museum, established at the former Braun-Menéndez mansion, in the center of Punta Arenas. Other popular attractions include the two nearby rookeries for Magellanic penguins, and the reconstructed fort of the failed Fuerte Bulnes settlement. The Punta Arenas harbor, although exposed to storms, was considered one of the most important in Chile before the construction of the Panama Canal. It was used as a coaling station by the steamships transiting between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Today it is mostly used by tourism cruises and scientific
expeditions.

© flickr.com - Daniel Diaz Nauto/cc-by-sa-2.0 © flickr.com - Gonzalo Baeza H/cc-by-sa-2.0 © flickr.com - Victor/cc-by-2.0 Memorial to Ferdinand Magellan © Buron444 Nao Victoria, Magellans ship replica, in the Museo Nao Victoria © Juanmatassi/cc-by-sa-3.0 Aerial view © Penarc/cc-by-3.0 © Heretiq/cc-by-sa-2.5 © Oscaroyarzo/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Nao Victoria, Magellans ship replica, in the Museo Nao Victoria © Juanmatassi/cc-by-sa-3.0
By 2006 the economy of Punta Arenas and the region had diversified. Chile’s principal oil reserves are located here, along with some low-grade coal. Agricultural production, including sheep and cattle, continues to play a significant role. Tourism has contributed to the city’s economy and steady growth. Tourist destinations include the Cathedral and other notable churches, the city cemetery, and the statute of Magellan. Some cruise ships to Antarctica depart from Punta Arenas’s port, which also serves as a hub for many cruise lines that travel along the channels and fjords of the region. There is fishing and silviculture. A scheduled ferry service connects Punta Arenas with the main island of Tierra del Fuego and a less frequent ferry runs to the Chilean town of Puerto Williams. Since the Falklands War, when transport ties were severed between the Falkland Islands and Argentina, Punta Arenas has become a major outside link to the archipelago.

The Museo Nao Victoria Museum exhibits a full-size replica of the first ship ever to circumnavigate the world: Ferdinand Magellan’s Nao Victoria. Since October 2011, the museum has added a full-size replica of the James Caird, used by Ernest Shackleton during his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition with the Endurance. The museum is located 7.5 km north on Route Y-565 to Rio Seco.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Punta Arenas, chile.travel – Punta Arenas, LonelyPlanet.com – Punta Arenas, Wikivoyage Punta Arenas and Wikipedia Punta Arenas. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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