city, northern Chile. Founded in 1850, it is the main port in the area. Situated 7 miles (11 km) southwest of La Serena on Coquimbo Bay, its roadstead and dock area, among the best sheltered in Chile, are a winter haven for the Chilean navy as well as a loading port for cement, phosphate fertilizer, agricultural products, and various ores and concentrates. The Pan-American Highway and the main north-south railway pass through the city. Pop. (2002) city, 148,434; La Serena-Coquimbo urban agglom., 296,253.

 región, northern Chile, bordering Argentina to the east and fronting the Pacific Ocean to the west. It lies in an arid to semiarid area of east-west valleys and brush-covered ridges called the Norte Chico (“Little North”). It was one of the eight original Chilean provinces created in 1826; its present boundaries date from 1929, and internal administrative structure dates from 1974. It comprises Elqui, Limarí, and Choapa provinces.

      Goats, sheep, and cattle are raised, but more important economically are irrigation and dry farming, concentrated primarily on marine terraces and in the Elqui, Limarí, and Choapa river valleys. Subtropical fruits, wine grapes, cereals, and alfalfa are cultivated, primarily for the national market. Mining of iron, gold, manganese, and copper, among other minerals, is scattered, but large-scale operations exist near La Serena (q.v.), the regional capital. Both the Pan-American Highway and the north-south railroad run the length of the región, passing through both Coquimbo city and La Serena. Area 15,697 square miles (40,656 square km). Pop. (1993 est.) 505,916.

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Universalium. 2010.

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