From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arica is a commune and a port city with a population of 192,300 in the Arica
and Parinacota Region in northern Chile, located only 18 km (11 miles) south
of the border with Peru.
Archaeological research has indicated the site of Arica was inhabited by
different native groups for at least ten thousand years. The city was
founded by Spanish captain Lucas Martinez de Begazo in 1541, and in 1570 was
entitled as "La Muy Ilustre y Real Ciudad San Marcos de Arica" (the very
illustrious and royal city of San Marcos of Arica). This city was since 1545
the port for exporting the silver of Potosí.
The Potosi silver mine was the largest such mine in world history. Because
of it, Arica became a crucial port for the Spanish Empire. This port was
looted by such famous pirates, buccaneers, and privateers as Francis Drake,
Thomas Cavendish, Richard Hawkins, Joris van Spilbergen, John Watling, Simon
de Cordes, Leandro de Valencia, Bartholomew Sharp, William Dampier, and John
Arica was occupied by Bolivia once between 1836-1839 and again between
1841-1842 after the Battle of Ingavi.
In 1855 the Peruvian government inaugurated the Arica-Tacna railroad (53 km
long), one of the first in Latin America. The rail line still functions.
In 1958, the Chilean Government established the "Junta de Adelanto de Arica"
(Board of Development for Arica), which promulgated many tax incentives for
the establishment of industries, such as vehicles assembly plants, a
tax-free zone, a casino, among others. Many car manufacturers opened plants
in Arica, such as Citroen, Peugeot, Volvo, Ford and General Motors, which
produced the Chevrolet LUV pick-up until 2008.
In 1975, together with Chile's new open Economy policies, the "Junta de
Adelanto de Arica" was derogated.
The city is the capital of the recently created Arica and Parinacota Region
(October 2007). It has a population of approximately 200,000 and is known as
the "city of the eternal spring".
The Morro de Arica is a steep and tall hill located in the city. Its height
is 139 meters above sea level. It was the last bulwark of defence for the
Peruvian troops who garrisoned the city. It was assaulted and captured on
June 7, 1880 by Chilean troops in the last part of their Campaña del
Desierto (Desert Campaign) during the War of the Pacific.
Near the city is the Azapa Valley, an oasis where vegetables and Azapa
olives are grown. Economically, it is an important port for Chilean ore, and
its tropical latitude, dry climate, and the city's beach, have made Arica a
popular tourist destination. It is also a center of rail communication with
Bolivia and has its own international airport. Arica has strong ties with
the city of Tacna, Peru; many people cross the border daily to travel
between the cities, partly because many services (for example, dentists) are
cheaper on the Peruvian side. Arica is connected to Tacna and to La Paz,
Bolivia by separate railroad lines.
Arica is also known as one of the driest inhabited places on Earth, at least as measured by rainfall: average annual precipitation is 0.76 mm (0.03 inches), as measured at the airport meteorological station. Oxford geographer Nick Middleton's book on people who live in extreme climates, Going to Extremes (ISBN 0-330-49384-1), discusses his visit to this city.