1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chiloé

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CHILOÉ (from Chile and hué, “part of Chile”), a province of southern Chile, and also the name of a large island off the Chilean coast forming part of the province. The province, area 8593 sq. m., pop. (1895) 77,750, is composed of three groups of islands, Chiloé, Guaitecas and Chonos, and extends from the narrow strait of Chacao in 41° 40′ S. to the peninsula of Taytao, about 45° 45′ S. The population is composed mainly of Indians, distantly related to the tribes of the mainland, and mestizos. The capital of the province is Ancud or San Carlos, at the northern end of the island of Chiloé, on the sheltered bay of San Carlos, once frequented by whalers. It is the seat of a bishopric; pop. (1905) 3182. Other towns are Castro, the former capital, on the eastern shore of Chiloé, and the oldest town of the island (founded 1566), once the seat of a Jesuit mission, and Melinca on an island of the Guaitecas group.

The island of Chiloé, which lies immediately south of the province of Llanquihue, is a continuation of the western Chilean formation, the coast range appearing in the mountainous range of western Chiloé and the islands extending south along the coast. Between this coast range and the Andes, the gulfs of Chacao, or Ancud and Corcovado (average width, 30 m.) separate the island from the mainland. Chiloé has an extreme length north to south of about 118 m., and an average width of 35 to 40 m., with an area of about 4700 sq. m. There are several lakes on the island—Cucao, 12 m. long, being the largest,—and one small river, the Pudeto, in the northern part of the island, is celebrated as the scene of the last engagement in the war for independence, the Spanish retaining possession of Chiloé until 1826.