1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Concepción (province)

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CONCEPCIÓN, a province of southern Chile, lying between the provinces of Maule and Ñuble on the N. and Bio-Bio on the S., and extending from the Pacific to the Argentine boundary. Its outline is very irregular, the Itata river forming its northern boundary, and the Bio-Bio and one of its tributaries a part of its southern boundary. Area (estimated) 3252 sq. m.; pop. (1895) 188,190. Concepción is the most important province of southern Chile because of its advantageous commercial position, fertility and productive industries. Its coast is indented by two large well-sheltered bays, Talcahuano and Arauco, the former having the ports of Talcahuano, Penco and El Tomé, and the latter Coronel and Lota. Its railway communications are good, and the Bio-Bio, which crosses its S.W. corner, has 100 m. of navigable channel. The province produces wheat and manufactures flour for export; its wines are reputed the best in Chile, cattle are bred in large numbers, wool is produced, and considerable timber is shipped. Near the coast are extensive deposits of coal, which is shipped from Lota and Coronel, the former being the site of the most productive coal-mine in South America. The climate is mild and the rainfall is abundant. Large copper-smelting and glass works have been established at Lota because of its coal resources. The valley of the Itata is largely devoted to vine cultivation, and the port of this district, El Tomé, is noted for its wine vaults and trade. It also possesses a small woollen factory. The principal towns are on the coast and had in 1895 the following populations: Talcahuano, 10,431; Lota, 9797 (largely operatives in the mines and smelting works); Coronel, 4575; and El Tomé, 3977.