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Despite being founded in one of the best defensive positions of all the Spaniards’ frontier forts, Osorno was regularly sacked by Mapuche Indians from 1553 until 1796, at which point Chile’s governor, Ambrosio O’Higgins, ordered it to be resettled. From tentative beginnings, it has grown into a thriving agricultural city mainly as a result of the industry of European settlers who felled the forests and began to develop the great dairy herds that form the backbone of the local economy today. The German heritage is evident in the row of of wooden houses along Calle Mackenna, built between 1876 and 1923, and declared national monuments.

As the transport hub for the southern Lake District and starting point for the region’s main road into Argentina, Osorno has an abundance of public buses, making surrounding attractions such as Parque Nacional Puyehue, one of Chile’s most-visited national parks, much easier to visit.

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