History of Viña del Mar

The first settlers of the territory where the City of Viña del Mar stands today were the native “changos”, who used to dominate these lands up to the Valley of Peuco. They were mostly fishermen and collectors who lived in this area until the coming of the Spanish conquerors.

Viña del Mar, as it is known today, arose from the two large estates in the region: Las Siete Hermanas and La Viña del Mar itself, divided by the Marga-Marga Marshlands, which today cross the center of the city. Both estates were purchased by Francisco Álvarez in 1840. His granddaughter, only heir to the lands, married engineer José Francisco Vergara Echevers in 1874. He finally presented a project to turn Viña del Mar into a city in December that year. The City of Viña del Mar experienced significant growth fostered by the settlement of industries accompanied by modernity.

In the XX century, its beaches slowly changed into high socio-economical national bathing resorts and its coastline grew into a powerful tourist attraction.

Years passed and the population number increased. In the 1930s, the entire center of the city was covered with buildings. Large mansions, castles, towers and residences of remarkable architectural style were erected in this place.

In 1980, new colleges were installed in the area as a result of the settlement of private universities and the expansion of public universities. Thus, the city acquired the atmosphere of a university campus.

Some time later, a new neighborhood emerged in the northern area of the city, in the Reñaca Marshland, which experienced a booming growth in 1990. It became a high-class neighborhood.

In the architectural sense, Viña del Mar has been applying new technologies to raise buildings higher than 20 stories preserving, at the same time, the colonial aspect of town.

Today, Viña del Mar is a tourist destination par excellence where the national and international jet-set gathers. The Song Festival, amongst other important events, attracts the attention of people from all round the world.