The Magallanes region is considered part of Chilean Patagonia. Magallanes is Spanish for Magellan, the explorer who, while circumnavigating the earth for Spain, passed close to the present site of Punta Arenas in 1520.
Located on the Brunswick Peninsula, Punta Arenas is the southernmost city of its size in the world. Early English navigational documents referred to its location as "Sandy Point."
The city proper is located on the northeastern shore of Brunswick Peninsula. Besides the eastern shore, with the settlements of Guairabo, Rio Amarillo and Punta San Juan, the peninsula is largely uninhabited. The municipality (commune) of Punta Arenas includes all of Brunswick Peninsula, as well as all islands west of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and north of Cockburn Channel and Magdalena Channel. The largest of those are:
Except Dawson Island, with a population of about 301 in 2002, the islands are largely uninhabited. Clarence Island had a population of just five.
As said above, on the year 1843 the Chilean government sent an expedition with the appointed task of establishing a permanent settlement on the shores of the Strait of Magellan. For this it built and commissioned a small sail ship called Goleta Ancud, which under the command of the British sailor John Williams transported a crew of 21 people (captain, eighteen crew, two women), plus cargo, to accomplish the mandate of the Chilean government. The founding act of the settlement took place on 21 September 1843.
Although the site was perfectly suited for a military garrison with the mission of coastal defence, since it is located on top of a small rocky peninsula, it was ill prepared to become a proper civilian settlement. With this in mind the Military Governor, José de los Santos Mardones, decided in 1848 to move the settlement to its current location, on the sides of the Las Minas river, renaming it Punta Arenas.
In the mid-19th century, Chile used Punta Arenas as a penal colony and a disciplinary posting for military personnel with "problematic" behaviour, as well as a place for immigrant colonisation. In December 1851, a prisoners' mutiny led by Lieutenant Cambiaso, resulted in the murder of Governor Muñoz Gamero and the priest, and the destruction of the church and the hospital. The mutiny was put down by Commander Stewart of assisted by two Chilean ships: Indefatigable and Meteoro. In 1877 a mutiny, known as "El Motín de los Artilleros" (Mutiny of the Artillerymen) led to the destruction of a large part of the town and the murder of many civilians not directly associated with the prison. In time the city was restored and with the growth of the sheep industry and the discovery of gold, as well as increasing trade via sailing ships, began to prosper. Between about 1890 and 1940, the Magallanes region became one of the world's most important sheep-raising regions, with one company (Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego) controlling over 10,000 square kilometres in southern Chile and Argentina. The headquarters of this company and the residences of the owners were in Punta Arenas. Visitors today can get a glimpse of the economic stature of the city, or at least of its leading citizens, by touring the Sarah Braun museum (sometimes called Braun-Menéndez mansion) in the center of Punta Arenas. Other popular attractions include the two nearby rookeries for Magellanic penguins, and the rebuilt site of the failed Fuerte Bulnes settlement.
The Punta Arenas harbour, although exposed to storms, was considered one of the most important in Chile before the construction of the Panama Canal, because it was used as a coaling station by the steamships transiting between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Today it is mostly used by tourism cruises and scientific expeditions. The city is often a jumping-off point for Antarctic expeditions, although Ushuaia (Argentina) and Christchurch (New Zealand) are also common starting points.
In September 2000, Punta Arenas was the first significantly populated city in the world to be directly affected by the hole in the ozone layer, exposing its residents to potentially damaging levels of ultraviolet radiation.
Recently, Punta Arenas had a trans-national cultural exchange program with Scotland.
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Jul 01, 2011; RESUMEN1,2 Punta Arenas es una comuna ubicada en el extremo sur de Chile, cuya economía se basa en la producción de dos materias...
OBTENCIÓN, ANÁLISIS Y SIMULACIONES DE LA MATRIZ INPUT-OUTPUT DE LA COMUNA DE PUNTA ARENAS/ THE INPUT-OUTPUT MATRIX OF THE PUNTA ARENAS CITY: DESCRIPTION, ANALYSIS AND SIMULATION
Jan 01, 2011; RESUMEN El objetivo de este trabajo es mostrar y analizar la matriz input- output de la Comuna de Punta Arenas elaborada para el...
Purchase Slip Tapes for Municipal Theatre of Punta Arenas. Supply Delivery Department, Located in Rock 930, Floor 2, Punta Arenas
Jan 03, 2013; Contract awarded for Purchase slip tapes for municipal theatre of punta arenas. Supply delivery department, located in rock 930,...