Osorno, province of the Los Lagos region in southern Chile. Its 221,509 inhabitants (2002) are mostly concentrated in the city of Osorno, advantageously located in the Central Valley. The settlement of Osorno was begun in 1558 by Governor García Hurtado De Mendoza, the successor of Pedro de Valdivia, who was killed by the Araucanians in 1553. In 1692 the settlement was destroyed by the Indians, but recognizing its strategic value, Governor Ambrosio O'Higgins ordered its reconstruction in 1796. After 1860 several German and Swiss families settled in the province and started successful wheat and dairy farms. At the turn of the century Osorno was famed for its flour, breweries, and leather industries. After decades of recession Osorno has recovered economically and has become an active dairy and sugar beet production center.
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CÉsar N. Caviedes