Fuerte Bulnes Wooden Fence at Punta Arenas
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Fuerte Bulnes is a Chilean fort located by the Strait of Magellan, 62 km south of Punta Arenas. It was founded in 1843 over a rocky hill at Punta Santa Ana, under the command of President Manuel Bulnes Prieto.
The fort's construction was a consequence of the colonization policies in Southern Chile. Chiloé's intendant (governor) Domingo Espiñeira Riesco ordered the construction of a schooner named after the President himself, but its name was changed to "Goleta Ancud" by President Bulnes in order to reflect the origin of the ship. She sailed from Ancud on May 22, 1843, at command of Commander John Williams Wilson, Chilean Navy (who changed his English name to Spanish version of Juan Guillermos, under which name he signed documents), and arrived at Punta Santa Ana on September 21, 1843, about 2 km from Puerto del Hambre.
At this place the fort was built, using mainly logs and dirt & grass 'bricks'.
Due to the harsh weather, it was not possible to gather a large and stable population. As a result, after six years of struggling to establish a town in that area, Punta Arenas was founded in the Sandy Point area in 1848. Once people finished moving and settled down in Punta Arenas, the fort was abandoned, and burned by Lieutenant Cambiazo.
Between 1941 and 1943 a reconstruction of the original fort was built complete with the church, chaplain's quarters, jail, powder magazine, post office and stables. It was declared a national monument in 1968. Today, it is administered by CONAF (National Forest Corporation).
Also by Saroj Swain
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