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History of Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas was founded in 1849 as a military fort to reinforce the Chilean claim to sovereignty over the Magellan Straits and to house the settlers of Fuerte Bulnes, which did not provide a suitable home for a permanent population.

The consolidation of the town took place between 1875 and 1885, after it had been destroyed in various mutinies. From this period the city became dedicated to stock-raising, attracting successive waves of immigrants.
In 1927 it was re-named Magallanes, but in 1938 its original name was restored.

In 1945 deposits of oil were discovered, which changed the face of the city as it became the administrative and residential center for the personnel working in oil extraction.

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