Beer, wood, and paper are the three most important elements in the economic development of Valdivia, better known in the City of Chelas. Founded in 1552 by the Spanish colonizer Pedro de Valdivia, it was one of the first cities in Chile.
In the colonial era this was known as "the key of the southern sea" due to its strategic location for access to the Pacific Ocean, hence during the colony were built forts for the protection of enemy attacks, or the indigenous people of the zone.
This Pearl of the South, as it is also known, was influenced by European culture - especially German - due to the belief of the Chilean government (post independence) that it would have a positive influence on the development and growth of the city, This was true, since the German colony contributed to transforming the city of Valdivia into a prosperous place full of commercial and cultural activity, although with a deep socioeconomic inequality. Hence, the city became, through time, one of the most important ports in all of Chile.
But Valdivia, despite its natural beauty, has been the victim of catastrophes that have left it on the ground. The first of the twentieth century was in 1909 when a fire destroyed all the downtown blocks so the city had to be raised from scratch.
51 years later, on May 22, 1960, all of southern Chile -including Valdivia- was shaken by the most intense earthquake recorded. At 3:00 p.m., the greatest seismic tragedy of all time began, which left about 2,000 dead and the destruction of an entire city, in addition to the formation of tidal waves that affected the Chilean coasts, the city of Hilo, in the Hawaiian archipelago, more than 10,000 kilometers away from the epicenter, causing the death of 61 people. Similar events happened in Japan, the Philippines, Rapa Nui, the western United States, New Zealand, Samoa and the Marquesas Islands, all as a result of the Valdivia Earthquake.
This tsunami that followed the earthquake toppled several of the fortresses of Spanish origin. This telluric movement of great impact changed the physiognomy of the city and its surroundings (sinking of land in swampy soil), leaving a large part of the river unused for navigation to the ocean.
There were many tragedies that followed this earthquake. Two days later, on May 22, the Puyehue Volcano erupted 200 kilometers from the epicenter. In the same way, the hills surrounding Lake Riñihue collapsed, blocking the drainage of the same. When the San Pedro River was blocked, the level of the waters began to grow rapidly, so the emptying of the lake began so that its channel did not wipe out what was left of those cities.
Valdivia is part of the new Region of the Rivers decreed in 2007. This new city is sheltered by fluvial sedimentation plains, in the middle of the Cordillera de la Costa.
The Evergreen Forest, as it is known to the Valdivian forest that is characterized by having a temperate oceanic climate and being "always green".
In terms of the number of inhabitants in Valdivia, according to figures from the census conducted in 2002 by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) there is a population of 140,559 people. The figures of the census carried out in 2017 * are still unknown.
On the other hand is the tourist and cultural activity that Valdivia has, a city that stands out for the combination of Mapuche roots and German and Spanish influences.
Perla del Sur holds important celebrations such as The Valdivian Week, which takes place the last week of February to honor the years of foundation. There is also the International Film Festival of Valdivia, which has been held since 23 is one of the most relevant film activities in all of Chile.
Culture is an important issue for the Valdivians, which is why the city has exhibition halls such as Ainilebu or the El Austral Cultural Center. Similarly, the Austral University of Chile has several museums such as The Maurice van de Maele Historical and Anthropological Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Valdivia.
In 2016, Valdivia was recognized by the Organization of American States (OAS) as the American Capital of Culture, which aims to help meet various characteristics of the cities and towns of the continent, respecting their national and regional diversity, show heritage common cultural and national and international promotion of the city to establish new bridges of cooperation with the other cultural capitals of the world.
If you want to know more about this historic city, which was reborn from its ashes and became a national and international reference, just go to PasajeBus.com and buy your tickets
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