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The Crown Prince at Isla Negra

Saturday was the final day of His Royal Highness The Crown Prince’s official visit to Chile. Crown Prince Haakon visited Isla Negra, home of the poet Pablo Neruda, and attended a reception for Norwegian citizens living in Chile.
29.01.2008

Isla Negra is one of three former Neruda residences that have been turned into museums run by the Pablo Neruda Foundation.

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto) was born in 1904 and is one of Chile’s most renowned poets. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1971, and is by many considered to be the national poet of Chile. Canto General – The great song – consisting of approximately 250 poems, is today considered one of the most important works of 20th century literature.

Pablo Neruda became politically active after the outbreak of the Spanish civil war. He joined the Communist party in 1945, and was an important figure in Chilean politics for many years. Neruda also represented Chile as a diplomat in several countries, and was Chile’s ambassador to France 1970 – 1972. Neruda died in Santiago shortly after the coup in 1973. He is buried by the house at Isla Negra.

Neruda in Norwegian

Norwegian author Kjartan Fløgstad has recreated the poems of Pablo Neruda in Norwegian, and recited some of these during the visit to Isla Negra.

Fløgstad’s writing is inspired by Latin American magical realism, and two of his books have been translated into Spanish. In 2004, Fløgstad was awarded the Chilean Order of Bernardo O’Higgins for his contribution to enhancing knowledge of Chilean politics and culture through his books and his retelling of Pablo Neruda’s works.

Norwegians in Chile

In the afternoon, Pål Moe, the Norwegian ambassador in Santiago, gave a reception for The Crown Prince and Norwegians living in Chile. There are currently 274 Norwegiansliving locally, most of whom reside in the Santiago and Puerto Montt areas. Many are former refugees who have returned to Chile and today form the core of the Norwegian colony.

There are also many Chileans of Norwegian descent, who can trace their origins back to Norwegian whalers, sailors, engineers and shipping industry employees who emigrated to Chile more than a century ago.

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