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Atacama Region, Chile: Historical records

Paul Treutler: Port of Caldera (1852)

Museo Virtual, Chile
W. Griem, 2006 - 2018
Paul Treutler
Caldera - de Reclus
Carta de Caldera de Espinoza 1895

 Literature: Caldera at 1852

deutsch / español / english

Paul Treutler visited 1852 Caldera: Original text, description of the port of Caldera -
The port of Caldera is located 27°5'20" s. Lat. and 70° 56 w. Long. Founded by a law of December 21,1850.
Treutler published "his" description of the port of Caldera where he arrived from Valparaiso.

The port of Caldera is situated 27° 5'20" s. B. and 70° 56 w. L. and was created by the law of 21 December 1850.

If I hadn't possessed such reliable news about the great mineral wealth of this province, which was now to become my sphere of activity and my homeland, and if I hadn't been inspired by the hot desire and hadn't been assured of the prospect of acquiring a significant fortune in a short time, the sight that presented itself to me here would have really daunted me all the more.

My fantasy, which in Europe had portrayed the most beautiful images of the areas I would live and travel along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, had betrayed me.

Wherever my eye turned around the large harbour, I saw nothing but the most barren sandy areas that stretched for miles to the horizon where grey, bare rocky mountains piled up. Nowhere else was there a trace of vegetation and only on the shore did a larger building, several smaller houses and miserable huts reveal that there were living creatures in this desert.
The difference in climate was immediately noticeable because all the inhabitants of this port were significantly browner than those of Valparaíso. When we landed happily and in the almost foot-deep, burning sands some 100 steps with the most glowing heat of the sun after a small tavern waded, we received a second proof of the climatic change by being literally bathed in sweat. This also could not have a positive effect on me. Since I had many suitcases, I was one of the last to arrive at this so-called hotel. I now learned that there was no room, no corner where one could have protected oneself from the burning rays of the sun and I was forced to settle in the sand with my suitcases. By the way, this fate was shared by whole families, who provided shade with suitcases over which the cloth was stretched.

I then hired a guard for my luggage and went to the dining room, where they rang every half hour, one could say for feeding. Those who had had breakfast had to leave their seats immediately in order to make room for the arrival of the sober guests. When I had won a chair, I first demanded water to quench my burning thirst. They brought me almost pure salt water, which was quite undrinkable. The fried fish that was now served was not fresh, the meat smelled and the coffee that was cooked with the salt water was not enjoyable, so that I did not enjoy the whole breakfast, which cost two pesos per man, and soon made room for others who might have had a better stomach. As soon as this feeding was over, the table was cleared and the bench was laid on top of it and the game continued until the departure.

Copiapó, the destination of my trip, was 12 1/2 German miles [92.7 km] (1) from here in northeastern direction in the interior of the country and was already connected to this desolate place Caldera by a railway, which was the first in South America since a few weeks to be handed over to the company (2). Unfortunately, there was no railway station (3), where one could have found shelter against the sun, and since the next train was only to leave in the afternoon, we were condemned to crave and fry here for seven hours.
Unusually unaccustomed to this truly tropical heat, I returned to the seashore, where at least a fresh breeze refreshed me, and as I continued to discover some cliffs, I hurried along looking for shade. I found a place where a small cave gave me the opportunity to refresh myself in the waves of the ocean that penetrated into it. Beautiful sand covered the bottom of the shallow water. [...]

 

Caldera, Aduana en la Región de Atacama
Caldera in the Atacama Region

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Paul Treutler
Intro Treutler in Atacama
Paul Treutler in Copiapó
Paul Treutler in Caldera
viaje en Ferrocarril por P. Treutler
Treutler: Accidente ferroviario 1853
Treutler, miners in Tres Puntas 
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geovirtual.cl: Mining, Geology and Atacama desert

Literatura:
• ESPINOZA, ENRIQUE (1895):
Jeografía Descriptiva de la República de Chile - Arreglada.- Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades; quinta edición; Santiago de Chile.
• TREUTLER, PAUL (1882)
: Fünfzehn Jahre in Südamerika an de Ufern des Stillen Ozeans. - 3 Bd., 236 Seiten; Weltpostverlag, Leipzig. (Colección W. Griem)
• RECLUS, E. (1895):
Nouvelle Geographie Universelle - La tierra et les Hommes.- XVIII Amerique du sud - les regiones Andines; Paris 1895. (Colección Biblioteca Museo Regional de Atacama)

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