Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpunta aˈɾenas]; historically Sandy Point in English) is the capital city of Chile's southernmost region, Magallanes and Antarctica Chilena. The city was officially renamed as Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to "Punta Arenas". It is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south, and at the same time the most populous southernmost city in Chile and in the Americas, and due to its location, the coldest coastal city with more than 100,000 inhabitants in Latin America. It is one of the most southerly ports in the world, serving as an Antarctic gateway city.

Punta Arenas
Sandy Point
City, Port and Commune
Top:Panoramic view of downtown Punta Arenas, from La Cruz Hills, Second:Sara Braun Palace (Palacio Sara Braun), Ferdinand Magallen Monument in Muñoz Gamero Square (Plaza Muñoz Gamero) Third:Punta Arenas Sacred Heart Cathedral, Cemetery of Punta Arenas, Fourth:Iselín Santos Ovejero Monument, Goleta Ancud Monument, Bottom:An overview of Strait of Magellan, from Costaoera area (all item from left to right)

Punta Arenas
Location in Chile
"Labor omnia vincit"
("Work conquers all")
Coordinates (city): 53°10′S 70°56′W
Country Chile
Region Magallanes y Antártica Chilena
Founded asPunta Arenas
Foundation18 December 1848
  AlcaldeClaudio Radonich (National Renewal)
  Total17,846.3 km2 (6,890.5 sq mi)
34 m (112 ft)
 (2012 Census)[3]
  Density7.1/km2 (18/sq mi)
  Men60,616 (2002)
  Women58,880 (2002)
Time zoneUTC−3 (CLT)
Area code(s)56 + 61
WebsiteOfficial website (in Spanish)
Memorial to Ferdinand Magellan in Punta Arenas

As of 1977, Punta Arenas has been one of only two free ports in Chile, the other one being Iquique, in the country's far north.[4][upper-alpha 1]

Located on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony to assert sovereignty over the Strait. During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade travelling to the west coasts of South and North America. This period of growth also resulted from the waves of European immigrants, mainly from Croatia and Russia, attracted to a gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900s. The largest sheep company, controlling 10,000 square kilometres in Chile and Argentina, was based in Punta Arenas, and its owners lived there.

Since its founding Chile has used Punta Arenas as a base to defend its sovereignty claims in the southernmost part of South America. This led, among other things, to the Strait of Magellan being recognized as Chilean territory in the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina. The geopolitical importance of Punta Arenas has remained high in the 20th and 21st centuries because of its logistic importance in accessing the Antarctic Peninsula.

Since 2017, the city and its region have their own time zone: they use summer time during the whole year (UTC−3). The city is supplied with water from San Juan River.[5]

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