History of Quellón

A community located in the so-called Lake District, 96 kilometers south of Castro, Quellón is the southernmost city on the Great Island of Chiloé.

Dwelled by various native peoples, even before colonial times, its official foundation was carried out in 1905 by Compañía de Destilación Quellón, a corporation in charge of extracting alcohol from the wood logged in the forests. This was transported 50 kilometers away by a narrow-gauge railway. This company was also a pioneer in the production of vegetable coal and acetone.

Having closed in 1952, until the mid twentieth century, this industry was unique in Latin America. Of course it became the engine that propelled the village: it provided barrack huts and houses for its workers very close to the facilities.

This is how the urbanization of this part of the island begun. It also included the transportation of the fishermen and public offices built in the early 1900s. Thus, the original settlement was called Quellón Viejo (Old Quellón).

In 1960, the city was hit by a strong earthquake and tsunami, which modified its features and lifestyle. Most houses, which had been built by or close to the sea, were moved inland by the neighbors, generally to the high lands, in order to avoid the consequences of prospective natural catastrophes.

An inflection point in the history of Quellón was 1966, when the South Panamerican Road (or Route 5) reached this location and connected it with the rest of Chile and the American continent by land. This event completely transformed the life conditions of local denizens.

As time went by, Quellón gradually became the most important port on Chiloé Island and one of the major fishing centers in the region, where the salmon and seafood industries stand out.