Emilio Pugin Building
Campus Isla Teja, Valdivia, Chile
Universidad Austral de Chile
Valdivia is not another city in the history of the conquest of the Chilean territory. Founded on January 9, 1552 by Pedro de Valdivia, who named it Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia, it was the first Spanish settle in the area and its proximity to the south Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Magellan made it a Precious jewel.
In fact, it was the fourth city founded by the Spaniards in the Chilean territory (after Santiago, La Serena and Concepción) and its strategic position led to that it was surrounded by fortifications that protected it from enemy attacks.
Its richness in minerals and woods and the fact of owning the greater navigable fluvial network of Chile reinforced its strategic character when becoming a safe passage for the commerce developed from the Viceroyalty of the Upper Peru.
Of course, for the same reasons, Valdivia seemed the perfect target for the rest of the colonial powers. In fact, in 1643 the Dutch attacked and briefly occupied the city.
Once reconquered the territory, ordered the construction of the famous castles and fortifications of Valdivia, that granted to the city a very particular landscape. Thus were born the unequaled castles of Mancera, Corral, Niebla, Amargos and Cruces, and the fortresses of San Carlos, El Molino, among others, beautiful and current tourist attractions of the city.
In this way, Valdivia was erected for three centuries as the most important Spanish advance in the territories of South America. Its river and coastal situation in the Pacific Ocean not only offered the possibility of defending itself against the corsairs who attacked from the sea, but also from the natives who came from the east.
The first immigrants of European (especially German) families arrived in Valdivia in the middle of the nineteenth century, a process that did not stop for decades and, of course, changed the face of the city.
An unforgettable and miserable landmark in the history of Valdivia is found on May 22, 1960. On that day, the largest earthquake in the history of the planet and a subsequent tsunami destroyed many of the city's main buildings. It took several years to achieve complete social and economic recovery.
Today Valdivia has a strong economic development related to tourism and the beer, wood and paper industries, and has a population of around 150 thousand inhabitants.