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Punta Arenas

 

Punta Arenas is the capital city of the Province of Magellan, of the Magellan Region and of the Chilean Antarctica. It was founded by the State of Chile on December 18, 1848 as the main seat of the Territory of Magellan and as a penal colony, is located in the area formerly called Sandy Point, a place chosen for easy access to fresh water and coal and from which derives its current name, thus situated on the eastern coast of the Brunswick Peninsula, on the continental shore of the Strait of Magellan and a few kilometres from Cape Froward, the southernmost point of the American mainland.

The geographic location of the city stands out as one of the 2 cities located east of the Andes Mountain Range in Chile. The city is projected as a world gateway to the Antarctica. Punta Arenas is located between the two largest freshwater reserves in the world, Antarctica and Campos de Hielo Sur.

Before the opening of the Panamá Channel in 1914 it was the main port in the navigation between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans by its location in the Strait of Magellan, circumstance that explains its time of glory, that made it a large cosmopolitan and commercial center in the southern tip of South America. This has affected the European character of the city centre, which displays outstanding architecture. Punta Arenas is the most populous and cosmopolitan city in Southern Patagonia. Its quality of life stands out as the best of all Chile, so it is currently positioned as the regional capital with a higher quality of life index and has the second highest per capita income in the country.

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