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Puerto Montt

Puerto Montt is a port city and commune in southern Chile, located at the northern end of the Reloncavi Sound in the Llanquihue Province, Los Lagos Region. It has a population of 153,118 and a city area of 39.58 km.It is 1 055 km to the south of the capital of the country, Santiago.


Originally, the site was covered by a thick forest and was called Melipulli (Means Four hills in Mapudungun). It was selected as an entrance to Lake Llanquihue when its proximity to the open sea was discovered. In the summer of 1851, an expedition arrived from Chiloe to begin the clearing of the area and the building of houses for the new inhabitants. 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.

On March 4, 1969, approximately 90 landless squatters decided to settle on otherwise unoccupied farmland without any title, right, or payment of rent belonging to an absentee landlord. The squatters received advice from Socialist member of parliament Luis Espinoza due to the local authority never granting them any land they wanted to build houses. Five days later, local Police Chief Rolando Rodriguez Marban reassured the squatters that they would not be disturbed and could proceed with their home construction. However, new orders received from the ministry of the interior the following day led to a change of plans: At midnight on March 9, Espinoza was charged with breaking the law, arrested, and moved to the city of Valdivia. At dawn, 250 policemen launched an assault on the squatters, following direct orders from Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Zujovic. The final result was that all newly-built homes were burned to the ground and 11 squatters were shot dead.

The massacre of Puerto Montt and the public outcry that followed were major factors contributing to the fall of Eduardo Frei's government, which was succeeded by Salvador Allende's Unidad Popular in the next year's elections. The events were described by singer-songwriter Victor Jara in his song Preguntas por Puerto Montt.


The city's economy is now based upon agriculture, forestry, fishing and salmon aquaculture in the surrounding islands and fjords. It is the fastest-growing city in southern Chile, mainly because of the explosive growth of salmon culture. Puerto Montt is also the gateway to Chiloe Island and the many other smaller islands in Chile's inland sea.

Puerto Montt has an airport, El Tepual, where three airlines have regular flights from Santiago, Punta Arenas, Balmaceda, Concepcion, Temuco and Bariloche (Argentina). The airlines operating at the airport are LAN Airlines (the country's largest), Sky Airlines and Air Comet Chile. The flight to Santiago takes two hours.

External links


Puerto Montt City Guide

Satellite view of Puerto Montt Google Maps

Works on history and culture of Puerto Montt by the anthropologist Wladimir Soto Carcamo

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Puerto Montt

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