The Jewel of the Pacific, Valpo
Valparaíso played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the
Notable features include
The second half of the twentieth century was unfavorable to Valparaíso, as many wealthy families abandoned the city. The opening of the Panama Canal and reduction in ship traffic dealt a serious blow to Valparaíso's port-based economy. Over the first 15 years of the twenty-first century the city reached a recovery, attracting artists and cultural entrepreneurs who have set up in the city's hillside historic districts. Today, many thousands of tourists visit Valparaíso from around the world to enjoy the city's labyrinth of cobbled alleys and colorful buildings. The port of Valparaíso continues to be a major distribution center for container traffic, copper, and fruit exports. Valparaíso also receives growing attention from cruise ships that visit during the South American summer. Most significantly, Valparaíso has transformed itself into a major educational center with four large
The Bay of Valparaíso was probably first populated by the
During Spanish colonial times, Valparaíso remained a small village, with only a few houses and a church.
In 1810, a wealthy merchant built the first pier in the
After Chile's independence from Spain (1818), beginning the
Valparaíso soon became a desired stopover for ships rounding South America via the
International immigration transformed the local culture from Spanish origins and Amerindian origins, in ways that included the construction of the first non-Catholic cemetery of
In August 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck Valparaíso; there was extensive property damage and thousands of deaths. The Chilean doctor, Carlos Van Buren, of
The golden age of Valparaíso's commerce ended after the opening of the
On March 28, 1814, the USS Essex was defeated by British frigates Phoebe and Cherub during the
At half past ten on the evening of November 19, 1822, Valparaíso experienced a violent earthquake that left the city in ruins; of the 16,000 residents, casualties included at least 66 adults and 12 children, as well as 110 people wounded. The next day, a meteor trail was visible from Quillota to Valparaíso, seen as a religious experience for much of the population.
In 1826, the
On June 6, 1837, Minister
By 1851, the first fire brigade in the country was formed. The next year potable running water became available, as well as the first
Taking advantage of the total lack of defenses, a Spanish fleet commanded by
A merger of the National Steamship Company and Chilean Steamship Company, the
After the country's independence and its consequent openness to international trade, Valparaíso became an important port of call on trade routes through the Eastern Pacific. Many immigrants settled there, mostly from Europe and North America, who helped include Valparaíso and
All this resulted in a population increases. The city reached more than 160,000 inhabitants in the late nineteenth century, making it necessary to use the steep hills for more houses, mansions and even cemeteries. The lack of available land caused the city authorities and developers to reclaim low lying tidal marshland (polders) upon which to build administrative, commercial and industrial infrastructure.
The twentieth century began with the first big protest of dockworkers, Chile on April 15, 1903, due to complaints by dockers about their excessive working hours and demands for higher wages, requests that were ignored by employers, creating a tense situation that led to serious violence on May 12. There were protests and the burning of the
The same year, electric trams were introduced.
Damage was valued at hundreds of millions of pesos of the time, and human victims were counted at 3,000 dead and over 20,000 injured. After the removal of the debris, reconstruction work began. This included the widening of streets, culverting and covering streams, (Jaime and Delicias – creating the current avenues Francia and Argentina respectively). The main street of the city (Pedro Montt) was laid and Plaza O'Higgins was created; a hill was removed to allow the passage of Colon Street. The damaged Edwards mansion was demolished and in its place the present Cathedral of Valparaíso was built and, among many other works, this gave shape to the current Almendral Valparaíso area.
In 1910, the port expansion work of the city, which ended in 1930, began. A long breakwater was built, along with piers and docking terminals.
The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 caused a severe reduction of port activity as Valparaíso lost its vital role as the major stopping point for shipping going from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific via the Magellan channel.
The Imperial German East Asia Squadron squadron engaged the British West Indies Squadron on 1 November 1914 at the
In November 1915,
Currently Chile's legislature along with other institutions of national importance like the National Customs Service, the National Fish and Aquaculture Ministry, the Ministry of Culture and the Barracks General of the