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MAULE, a coast province of central Chile, bounded N. by Talca, E. by Linares and Nuble, and S. by Conception, and lying between the rivers Maule and Itata, which form its northern and southern boundaries. Pop. (1895), 119,791; area, 2475 sq. m. Maule is traversed from north to south by the coast range and its surfaces are much broken. The Buchupureo river flows westward across the province. The climate is mild and healthy. Agriculture and stock-raising are the principal occupations, and hides, cattle, wheat and timber are exported. Transport facilities are afforded by the Maule and the Itata, which are navigable, and by a branch of the government railway from Cauquenes to Parral, an important town of southern Linares. The provincial capital, Cauquenes (pop., in 1895, 8574; 1902 estimate, 9895), is centrally situated on the Buchupureo river, on the eastern slopes of the coast Cordilleras. The town and port of Constitution (pop., in 1900, about 7000) on the south bank of the Maule, one mile above its mouth, was formerly the capital of the province. The port suffers from a dangerous bar at the mouth of the river, but is connected witi Talca by rail and has a considerable trade.

The Maule river, from which the province takes its name, is historic interest because it is said to have marked the southern limits of the Inca Empire. It rises in the Laguna del Maule, an Andean lake near the Argentine frontier, 7218 ft. above sea-level, and flows westward about 140 m. to the Pacific, into which it discharges in 35 18' S. The upper part of its drainage basin, to which the Anuario Hydrografico gives an area of 8000 sq. m., contains the volcanoes of San Pedro (n,8ooft.), the Descabezado (12,795 ft.), and others of the same group of lower elevations. The upper course and tributaries of the Maule, principally in t province of Linares, are largely used for irrigation.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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