HISTORY OF VALDIVIA
Valdivia was the first city founded by the Spaniards in Chile. In 1552 the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia named this city Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia and was considered a strategic location in the South for its outlet to the Pacific Ocean.
The first settlers in the area were a Mapuche-huilliche people known as Ainil. After its founding as a Spanish city a rapid development began for its seaport. However, the city was hit by an earthquake in 1575 and then recaptured by the Indians in the Batalla de Curalaba (Battle of Curalaba) in 1598 that destroyed the city in 1599.
After this and a raid by the Dutch in the territory, during 1645 the Spanish began restocking and the Fuerte de Mancera (Fort Mancera) was built. At the end of the eighteenth century and because of the strategic importance of the zone in the southern tip of the continent, the Camino Real, which linked Valdivia and Chiloe by land was built.
Valdivia Bay, called Corral, was fortified with a broad defense system consisting of 17 forts built to withstand the siege of pirates and Dutch and English privateers, which failed to enter the city to plunder it.
Later, and after the independence of Chile, a process of attracting German immigrants to the area was made, as it was thought that their presence could positively influence the development of the area. New settlers arrived with technology for the industry, developed farmlands and brought their culture and traditions to the identity of the city.
Valdivia became an important port because of its location near one of the few navigable rivers in Chile, which allowed the building of large ports.
The city is also known for being protagonist of the Valdivia Earthquake on May 22, 1960, the largest seismic event recorded by modern instruments, with more than 10 degrees on the Richter scale. It was so intense that it caused tsunamis along the coasts of Japan and Hawaii and changed the geography of the city, flooding some areas, so the river was no longer usable for navigation to the sea.
In 2007, the new Región de los Ríos was created, comprising the provinces of Valdivia and Ranco and where Valdivia is the capital city.