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Destination Details

Valdivia, Chile

 

Valdivia was founded in 1552 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia. Its original name was Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia. Some years later in 1598 the Spaniards suffered several reversals in the War of Arauco, and the defenceless city was abandoned. In 1643 the Dutch arrived at the ruins and settled in the zone, planning to use Valdivia as a base for attacks on the Spanish empire. After some conflicts with the Mapuche Indians of the zone, the Dutch had to leave Valdivia.
It was then when Pedro Álvarez de Toledo y Leiva, Marquis of Mancera ordered the re-population of Valdivia and the construction of several forts. The main forts were built at Corral Bay, but some other forts were built to protect the city from the Mapuches. Then the city came to be called The key of the south sea and Gibraltar of the Pacific. The forts where reinforced several times, and new additions were made until the late 18th century. At the time of Chilean independence Valdivia remained a Spanish stronghold, and was perceived as threat to Chile's independence by Lord Cochrane, admiral of the Chilean navy who captured the forts in 1820 without facing the batteries by using a surprise land assault. Valdivia surrendered when the news about the fall of Corral Fort came.
 
The Fort System of Valdivia are a series of Spanish colonial fortifications at Corral Bay, Valdivia and Cruces River established to protect the city of Valdivia, in southern Chile. During the period of Spanish rule (1552–1820), it was one of the biggest systems of fortification in the Americas. It was also a major supply source for Spanish ships that crossed the Strait of Magellan.
The four largest forts in this system were the forts in Corral Bay that controlled the entry to Valdivia River, thus Valdivia. Other fortifications were built to defend the city from land attacks (mostly from indigenous Huilliches).

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