History of Valparaiso

There is no certainty about the day on which Valparaíso was founded. Most historians assure that it was in the 1530s, when Juan de Saavedra arrived in the Quintil Bay. At that moment, this city began to emerge.
The original name of the territory was Valle del Paraíso (Valley of Paradise), due to the admiration visitors from other latitudes felt in front of the natural charms of this region.
In the early XIX century, Valparaíso became more popular as it was an important spot on the routes communicating Europe with the Pacific coast through Cape Horn, for it had a port suitable for large vessels.
English, German, French and Yugoslavian immigrants, as well as the Spanish, began to land on the shores of this small great city. These visitors contributed with the singular characteristics that distinguish Valparaíso. A particular growth in the number of houses erected on the hills and in the transportation means that joined various points in the city was experienced. Alleys, staircases and funiculars were created to move about Valparaíso.
The city had its zenith until the early XX century, when it was hit by an earthquake that almost completely destroyed it. When the Panamá Canal was opened, sea traffic was interrupted and the city began to decay.
For its history, architecture and cultural diversity, UNESCO declared it “World Heritage” in July 2, 2003.
At present, it is the legislative capital of Chile and the seat for four traditional universities. In the tourist scope, it is considered “The Jewel of the Pacific” for its natural charm and history. It has been the inspiration for well known plastic artists, writers and poets.