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Valparaiso travel guide — Valparaiso tourism and travel information

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Valparaiso travel guide

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about Valparaiso

Valparaíso is one of the main seaports of Chile, on the Pacific Ocean, and the capital of the Valparaíso Region. It had a crucial geopolitical function during the middle of the 19th century.

Valparaíso is located near the center of Chile at latitude 33° 01´S, longitude 71° 38´W, two hours by highway from the capital Santiago.

The Chilean Congress is located here, having been moved from Santiago de Chile during the last years of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Although It was moved by an act of 1987, It was not until the first democratic government of Patricio Aylwin in 1990 that began to function as the seat of Congress.

Valparaiso history

Valparaíso's bay was populated by the Changos, an old ethnic group dedicated to fishing and farming. Spaniards arrived to Valparaíso 1536, with a ship (Santiaguillo) sent by Diego de Almagro, discoverer of Chile. The captain of this ship was Juan de Saavedra and it carried men and groceries for Almagro's expedition.

During colonial time, Valparaíso remained as a little village with only a few houses and church. But after Chilean Indepedence, Valparaíso became the first Chilean fleet harbour and there was opened to free trade. So, it turned into the most important harbour in Southern Pacific. It was an obligatory scale during the cross between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Magellan and Cape Horn.

During the golden age, Valparaíso received many immigrants. The most important colonies were from Britain, Germany and Italy. Also there were many other people from other European country. German, French, Italian and English were commonly spoken and newspapers in these languages were published.

The influence of all the colonies was important. Football was introduced in Chile by English people, the two first private schools were founded (The Mackay School and Deutsche Schule), they created and joined many firemen companies (voluntary activity in Chile), and the buildings reflected the european tendences.

The golden age of Valparaíso ended a few years after the inaguration of the Panama Canal: ships did not favor the Strait of Magellan anymore and the harbour's movement came down.

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cheap flights to Valparaiso

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Valparaiso, Chile".

This city is also known as: Valparaiso.

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