COQUIMBO, an important city and port of the province and department of Coquimbo, Chile, in 29° 57' 4" S., 71° 21' 12" W. Pop. (1895) 7322. The railway connexions are with Ovalle to the S., and Vicuña (or Elqui) to the E., but the proposed extension northward of Chile's longitudinal system would bring Coquimbo into direct communication with Santiago. The city has a good well-sheltered harbour, reputed the best in northern Chile, and is the port of La Serena, the provincial capital, 9 m. distant, with which it is connected by rail. There are large copper-smelting establishments in the city, which exports a very large amount of copper, some gold and silver, and cattle and hay to the more northern provinces.
The province of Coquimbo, which lies between those of Aconcagua and Atacama and extends from the Pacific inland to the Argentine frontier, has an area of 13,461 sq. m. (official estimate) and a population (1895) of 160,898. It is less arid than the province of Atacama, the surface near the coast being broken by well-watered river valleys, which produce alfalfa, and pasture cattle for export. Near the mountains grapes are grown, from which wine of a good quality is made. The mineral resources include extensive deposits of copper, and some less important mines of gold and silver. The climate is dry and healthy, and there are occasional rains. Several rivers, the largest of which is the Coquimbo (or Elqui) with a length of 125 m., cross the province from the mountains. The capital is La Serena, and the principal cities are Coquimbo, Ovalle (pop. 5565), and Illapel (3170).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)