Punta Arenas, Chile (English: “Sandy Point”) is a commune and the capital city of Chile’s southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. Located on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony to assert sovereignty over the Strait. During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade traveling to the west coasts of South and North America. This period of growth also resulted from the waves of immigrants attracted to the gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900s. The geopolitical importance of Punta Arenas has remained high in the 20th and 21st centuries because of its logistic importance in accessing the Antarctic Peninsula.