The place names in Aysén are linguistic
layers of the different cultures that have
been present in the region. There are names
of indigenous origin, sometimes with the meaning
lost over time, while others have survived
the successive waves of explorers and settlers
that have passed through Aysén. The
Mapudungun language has strongly influenced
the place names of Chile, including in parts
outside of their traditional presence. In
the case of Aysén, its influence is
passed through the Huilliche people, with
words like Quitralco (warm waters) and through
the Tehuelches people with whom they had contact
through the Pampas. As well, words have survived
from a now extinct language of the Chono people,
because of which there is no certainty about
the meaning, as in the case of the place name
Guamblin, composed of “guam” with
an unknown meaning and “lin”,
which means hill. The Tehuelche people left
their mark in the form of some names, like
Coyhaique, in which the word “aike”
means encampment. Apart from names of Spanish
origin and those of historical figures from
Chilean history, of English origin are Cheap
Island and Cheap Channel, which bear the name
of the captain who commanded the ship The
Wager, which in turn gave its name to Wager
Nuevo a place where sheep are bathed
Chelenko from the Teluelche
language and means stormy lake, was the original
name of what is now Lake General Carrera.
Caleta Andrade named after
the colonist Francisco Andrade Aguilar.
Carrera was named after General
José Miguel Carrera, the hero of Chilean
Chile Chico was named by
the settlers in memory of their country of
origin and as a result the rest of the country
has by custom been referred to as Chile Grande.
Chacabuco from “chacay”, the name
of a bush plant and its fruit.
Cochrane in memory of Sir
Thomas Alexander Cochrane, the English admiral
contracted by the nascent Chilean State as
Admiral of the Chilean Navy.
Coyhaique from a Tehuelche
word “aonikenk”, in which “koi”
means water and “aiken” means
encampment. The word "aiken" forms
part of several place name in Patagonia.
Guaitecas where the southern
wind blows, Mapudungun.
Raúl Marín Balmaceda
in memory of a Chilean politician who died
from a heart attack after speaking before
Puerto Sánchez in
memory of the engineer Eulogio Sánchez,
who was in charge of mining operations at
Lake General Carrera.
Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez
in memory of a miner who worked on the shores
of Lake General Carrera. In giving his name
to the port, the title of “engineer”
was mistakenly added.
Puyuhuapi meaning island
of the “puyes”, from a bush plant
common to the area. Mapudungun
Quitralco meaning warm water
Queulat possibly of Chono
origin meaning the sound of waterfalls, although
some say it is Mapudungun and means distant
Balmaceda in honor of José
Manuel Balmaceda, President of Chile, who
refused to resign and committed suicide in
the Argentine embassy in Santiago after his
side lost the Civil War of 1891.
Ñirehuao the ñire
is a tree found in the region and “huao”
means valley in Mapudungun.
Jeinimeni could come from
a mispronunciation of the Spanish name Jiménez
by the Tehuelche chief.
Lake Yulton named after the
Chilean aviator who discovered the lake, Captain
Herbert Youlton. A descendent wrote in an
Internet site that the Youlton’s family
tried to correct the spelling error in the
name of the lake with Military Geographic
Institute, but without success.
Mañihuales an area
where the local mañío tree is
Mallín swampy area
with good grasses in the summer, Mapudungun.
Melinka was named by Felipe
Westhoff and means “loved” in
Russian. Several authors define Westhoff was
Russian or Lithuanian despite his evidently
German name. The Russian historian Olga Ulianova,
who had settled in Chile, wrote that this
name comes from the Russian word malinki,
which means small. In the internet edition
of the newspaper Eldivisadero.cl from November
6 2008, a descendent of Westhoff, Philip Westhoff
Rodius, stated that Westhoff was a German
Russian and that his grandmother’s name
Messier Channel in memory
of the French astronomer Charles Messier.
Mount Melimoyu (volcanic
mountain), four peaks in Mapudungun. There
are now only two as the result of a volcanic
explosion that blow two of the peaks away.
Mount Hudson is a volcano
named in memory of the Chilean navy lieutenant
Francisco Hudson Cárdenas, who was
born in Chiloé.
Moraleda Channel in memory
of the Spanish seafarer José de Moraleda,
who explored the region in 1786.
Ofqui from the Chono language,
which means place with drinking water. Other
authors attribute the name to the Mapudungun
word for sip.
O´Higgins is named
after General Bernardo O´Higgins, the
hero of the War of Independence and the first
Supreme Director of Chile.
Fachinal this shore, Mapudungun.
Taitao from “tai tai",
a waterfall. A noisy place, Mapudungun.
The Baker River was named
by Captain FitzRoy after Sir Thomas Baker,
Commander of the English South Pacific Fleet.
The Palena River was named
by the Jesuit priest Nicolás Mascardi
after his hometown.
Tapera rustic constructions
of logs and tree bark for horsemen who lived
with herds of horses in the Pampas.
Villa Amengual is named after
General Santiago Amengual (1815-1898), a hero
of the Pacific War.