History of Castro

The City of Castro is located in the Province of Chiloé, Lake District, 1,214 kilometers away from Santiago. It is the third oldest city in Chile.

After the long expeditions across the seaside territory in Chiloé, which started in 1553 by command of the General Governor of Chile, Mr. Pedro de Valdivia, with the aim of expanding his domain, Captain Martín Ruiz de Gamboa founded the city of Santiago de Castro on February 12, 1567.

The earthquakes that hit the area in 1786 and 1787 significantly reduced the population of the city, leaving behind a desolate sad scene. Its denizens moved to the countryside and only returned to the former city on days of celebration.

In 1788, Castro ceased to be the capital of the Spanish province to pass that hierarchy to the City of Ancud. Later on, Chilean independence was declared on the entire archipelago of Chiloé, including Castro.

The city lost importance and was thrown into oblivion. Nevertheless, in the late nineteenth century, a new opportunity for Castro emerged: timber activities and the arrival of the railway in 1912 set local progress back in motion, causing the city to recover its importance as the center of the archipelago.

In the 1920s, Castro developed its sea activities to the utmost. The potatoes grown in the area were shipped to the northern and southern ports in the country. This supported the economic growth of the town.

In 1958, the road that joined Castro and Ancud was opened, which fostered tourist developments in the region even more. The City of Castro was already furnished with a great deal of hotels, wineries, boarding houses and stores that lured more and more visitors every year.

In the 1960s, a strong earthquake hit the city once again, destroying the town hall, the port, the railway and many palafitos (typical local houses on stilts). By then, the population reached 7,000 inhabitants.

After that catastrophe, the city grew towards the high area of the archipelago and recovered its hierarchy of capital of the province in 1982.

The City of Castro is the heart of the Province of Chiloé not only due to its location but also because it contains a high degree of culture and history. It offers a wide array of activities to learn more about and discover aspects of a city second to none.