🇨🇱 Puerto Montt is a port city and commune in southern Chile, located at the northern end of the Reloncaví Sound in the Llanquihue Province, Los Lagos Region, 1,055 km to the south of the capital, Santiago. It is bounded by the communes of Puerto Varas to the north, Cochamó to the east and south-east, Calbuco to the south-west and Maullín and Los Muermos to the west.
Founded as late as 1853 during the German colonisation of southern Chile, Puerto Montt soon outgrew older neighboring cities through its strategic position at the southern end of the Chilean Central Valley being a gateway city into the Chiloé Archipelago, the Llanquihue and Nahuel Huapi lakes and Western Patagonia.
Puerto Montt has gained renown and grown significantly through the rise of Chile to become the second largest salmon producer of the world during the 1990s and 2000s. However, the Chilean salmon aquaculture crisis of the late 2000s resulted in severe unemployment and exposed weaknesses in the local economy. The city's cultural endowment mixes elements of Chiloé culture with a German heritage, although the city has attracted a significant number of newcomers from all over Chile in the last 30 years in search of employment opportunities.
History Originally, the site was covered by thick forest and was called Melipulli (which means "four hills" in Mapudungun). It was selected as an entrance to Lake Llanquihue when its proximity to the open sea was discovered. The expedition was entrusted to Bernardo Philippi, a German naturalist and cartographer, but after his death in 1851, Vicente Perez Rosales took over his duties, and by the end of September started to chop trees at Reloncaví sound using local woodsman coming from Huar, Maillen, Huelmo and Calbuco Mainly. By December, after the forest was cut down, the area was burned to clear the land in anticipation of completing the settlement plan. The city itself was founded on February 12, 1853, after government-sponsored immigration from Germany that began in 1848 populated the region and integrated it politically to the rest of the country. It was named after Manuel Montt, President of Chile between 1851 and 1861, who set in motion the German immigration.
In 1912 the city was connected by train to Santiago, making it an important point of entry into Chilean Patagonia and augmenting its commercial development. By 1950 it had a population of 27,500, and the city was rapidly urbanizing. However, the 1960 Valdivia earthquake destroyed much of Puerto Montt, collapsing the port and the train station along with many building and houses. Eventually the city recovered, becoming once again an important urban centre as well as a port of national interest.
*1969 violence * At the start of March 1969, approximately 90 landless persons received advice from Socialist member of parliament Luis Espinoza due to the local authority never granting them any land they needed to build homes. On March 4, 1969, they settled on farmland belonging to an absentee landlord. Having been denied titles by the local authorities, these families simply moved onto the empty, unoccupied land. They did so seeking squatters' rights, and without making any payment of rent. Some four or five days later, the local Police Chief Rolando Rodríguez Marbán reassured the squatters that they would not be disturbed and could proceed with their home construction. However, a change of plans by the ministry of the interior quickly led to new orders.
At midnight on March 9, Luis Espinoza was charged with breaking the law, arrested, and moved to the city of Valdivia. Following direct orders from Interior Minister Edmundo Pérez Zujovic, 250 armed policemen launched an assault on the squatting families that dawn. Eight of the landless persons were shot dead and two, a 9-month child and an adult, died afterwards. All of the newly built homes were burned to the ground. The massacre is poignantly memorialized by singer-songwriter Víctor Jara in his song Preguntas por Puerto Montt.
The massacre of Puerto Montt and the public outcry that followed were major factors contributing to the defeat of Eduardo Frei's party in the Chilean presidential election of 1970 which was succeeded by Salvador Allende's Unidad Popular.
Late 20th century By 1979 Puerto Montt was nominated and later become the Capital of Los Lagos Region, thereby becoming the principal administrative, political and commercial centre of Southern Chile.
Economy Puerto Montt is the capital of the Los Lagos Region and the Llanquihue Province, and the main sea port at the lower end of Chile's western continental land. The city is the principal commercial, services, and financial hub of the Chilean Northern Patagonia—Zona Austral. As the geographic region's main port, Puerto Montt is often considered the 'capital' of Chilean Patagonia.
Puerto Montt is also the gateway to the Chiloé Archipelago and Chiloé Island across the Chacao Channel, and the many other smaller islands in Chile's inland Sea of Chiloé.
The city's economy is now based upon agriculture, cattle, and forestry on the surrounding islands, and fishing and salmon aquaculture in the fjords and nearby Pacific Ocean.
Salmon aquaculture The city is configured as the hub of one of the largest salmon aquaculture industries in the world. Hatcheries, fisheries and packing plants are mostly located south of Puerto Montt. Fresh salmon is flown daily to world markets and frozen salmon is shipped by ocean to all destinations. The tremendous growth of the region, mainly due to the salmon industry, but also due to rapid expansion of forestry, cattle, and tourism, has proven the massive economic potential of Puerto Montt and its surrounding area.
Airports El Tepual Airport is the main commercial airport serving the city. Three airlines operate regular flights to and from Santiago, Punta Arenas, Balmaceda, and Antofagasta. The airlines operating at the airport are Latam Airlines (the country's largest), Sky Airline and JetSmart. The flight time to Santiago is approximately two hours. Additionally, Marcel Marchant Aerodrome (La Paloma) connects the city with remote locations within the Patagonian Fjords.
Puerto Montt has a population of over 245,902 people. Puerto Montt also forms the centre of the wider Los Lagos Region which has a population of over 823,204 people.
Twin Towns - Sister Cities Puerto Montt has links with:🇦🇷 Bariloche, Argentina 🇨🇦 Gaspé, Canada 🇦🇷 Puerto Madryn, Argentina 🇨🇳 Qingdao, China
Locations Near: Puerto Montt -72.9333,-41.4667
Antipodal to: Puerto Montt 107.067,41.467