Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chile - Coquimbo

Partial view of the city from the fisherman's harbour.

Sent by Hernán, my great friend from Santiago in Chile.

This is from Wikipedia : Coquimbo is a port city, commune and capital of the Elqui Province, located on the Pan-American Highway, in the Coquimbo Region of Chile. Coquimbo lies in a valley 10 km (6 mi) south of La Serena, with which it forms Greater La Serena with more than 400,000 inhabitants. The commune spans an area around the harbor of 1,429.3 km2 (552 sq mi). The average temperature in the city lies around 14 °C, and precipitation is sparse.

The natural harbor in Coquimbo was taken over by Pedro de Valdivia from Spain in 1550. The gold and copper industry in the region led to the city's importance as a port around 1840 and many Europeans especially from England settled in Coquimbo. In 1867, it was recognized as a town.

According to the 2002 census of the National Statistics Institute, Coquimbo had 163,036 inhabitants (79,428 men and 83,608 women). Of these, 154,316 (94.7%) lived in urban areas and 8,720 (5.3%) in rural areas. The population grew by 32.8% (40,270 persons) between the 1992 and 2002 censuses.

As a commune, Coquimbo is a third-level administrative division of Chile administered by a municipal council, headed by an alcalde who is directly elected every four years. The 2008-2012 alcalde is Oscar Enrique Pereira Tapia.

The regional intendant, appointed by the president, is Sergio Gahona Salazar.

Within the electoral divisions of Chile, Coquimbo is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Pedro Velásquez (Ind.) and Matías Walker (PDC) as part of the 8th electoral district, (together with Ovalle and Río Hurtado). The commune is represented in the Senate by Evelyn Matthei Fornet (UDI) and Jorge Pizarro Soto (PDC) as part of the 4th senatorial constituency (Coquimbo Region).

The city itself, a gritty industrial and shipping center, is growing quickly, registering a 32.8% growth rate from 1992 to 2002. Tourism has started to develop recently. It is an access point for popular beach towns to the south, such as Guanaqueros and Tongoy. The port is still important for shipping, especially fruit and copper from mines in the region. Wine is also grown in the region.

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