Puerto Montt – a Little Germany in South America
Today we are in Puerto Montt, located about two-thirds of the way south in Chile. This is in the Lake Region of Patagonia which has plenty of water as opposed to the northern third of Chile, which is desert. The area also has a very favorable climate that, although it gets very cold in winter, gets no snowfall. All of these lead to fabulous farmland.
Chile, as I’ll explain in a later blog, has a very checkered history. But for the Lake Region, the most important dates are the 1850’s. Puerto Montt was founded in the 1850s by German settlers who had been enticed to Chile during that period. The site was chosen for the new town after the discovery of its proximity to the open ocean and the great farmland and named after then President Manuel Montt.
At the time, the growing population of Prussia and the German states were growing overpopulated, and farmland was getting hard to find. It was also hard to find good paying jobs and political rights were very limited. With this lack of land and opportunity, it did not take a lot of coaxing to get people to move to the Americas – including Chile.