1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Concepción (Chile)

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22020221911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 6 — Concepción (Chile)

CONCEPCIÓN, a city of southern Chile, capital of a province and department of the same name, on the right bank of the Bio-Bio river, 7 m. above its mouth, and 355 m. S.S.W. of Santiago by rail. Pop. (1895) 39,837; (1902, estimated) 49,351. It is the commercial centre of a rich agricultural region, but because of obstructions at the mouth of the Bio-Bio its trade passes in great part through the port of Talcahuano, 8 m. distant by rail. The small port of Penco, situated on the same bay and 10 m. distant by rail, also receives a part of the trade because of official restrictions at Talcahuano. Concepción is one of the southern termini of the Chilean central railway, by which it is connected with Santiago to the N., with Valdivia and Puerto Montt to the S., and with the port of Talcahuano. Another line extends southward through the Chilean coal-producing districts to Curanilhué, crossing the Bio-Bio by a steel viaduct 6000 ft. long on 62 skeleton piers; and a short line of 10 m. runs northward to Penco. The Bio-Bio is navigable above the city for 100 m. and considerable traffic comes through this channel. The districts tributary to Concepción produce wheat, wine, wool, cattle, coal and timber, and among the industrial establishments of the city are flour mills, furniture and carriage factories, distilleries and breweries. The city is built on a level plain but little above the sea-level, and is laid out in regular squares with broad streets. It is an episcopal see with a cathedral and several fine churches, and is the seat of a court of appeal. The city was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1550, and received the singular title of “La Concepción del Nuevo Extremo.” It was located on the bay of Talcahuano where the town of Penco now stands, about 9 m. from its present site, but was destroyed by earthquakes in 1570, 1730 and 1751, and was then (1755) removed to the margin of the Bio-Bio. In 1835 it was again laid in ruins, a graphic description of which is given by Charles Darwin in The Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. The city was twice burned by the Araucanians during their long struggle against the Spanish colonists.