WIT Press

Fortification System In Valdivia, Chile: Relevant Spanish Colonial Urban Settlement Expressions Transferred To America


Free (open access)





Page Range

353 - 363




2200 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Pizzi


During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the settlement of Valdivia, Chile, in Corral Bay, was the best fortified port of the Spanish Colonial domain, due to its strategic setting on the South Pacific coast. On several occasions it was devastated by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and fires or by human intervention of the native inhabitants or pirate sacking. It is the oldest southern city founded in 1552, today with an industrial character and as a university pole and tourist attraction. The Spanish colonial process in Chile took place mainly inland, establishing only three main strongly fortified coastal areas in Valparaiso, Valdivia and Punta Arenas. The Royal Spanish Army, in 1645, built in Valdivia, relevant fortifications in a strategic circular system layout, including the areas of Mancera, Corral and Niebla, in order to dissuade and attack enemies, surrounding them from different flanks to guarantee the Crown’s domains, especially after the Dutch occupation. Fortresses and castles were mainly designed by the most relevant engineers of the Royal Crown, reflecting a process of cultural and technological influence transferred to America. These valuable remains, which represent the genesis of the urban settlement logic in our country, are partially protected, and administrated by several unrelated entities. The strong historical significance of these manifestations of the Spanish Colonial process has yet to be understood, enhancing the remains as part of a local and international fortification system in the New World as an opportunity for sustainable development.


Valdivia, Mancera, Corral, Niebla, strategic fortification system, cultural and technological transference, urban settlement logic