Talcahuano (Spanish pronunciation: [talkaˈwano]) is a port city and commune in the Biobío Region of Chile. It is part of the Greater Concepción conurbation. Talcahuano is located in the south of the Central Zone of Chile.
The official foundation date of Talcahuano is November 5, 1764 when Antonio Guill y Gonzaga declared an official port. However, Talcahuano began to appear in history books as early as 1544 when Genoese captain Juan Bautista Pastene discovered the mouth of the Biobío river while exploring the coast in his ships “San Pedro” and “Santiaguillo”. In 1601 Alonso de Ribera built Fort Talcahueno to defend remaining Spanish settlements near Concepción.
The city is named after an Araucanian chief, Talcahueñu, who inhabited the region at the arrival of the Spanish. In Mapudungun, the language of the indigenous Mapuches, Talcahuano means “Thundering Sky”.
The port was well known to American whaleships of the 19th century. They often put in for fresh water, food, and various forms of entertainment for the crews.
On the 24th January 1939 at around 23.33 the city was hit by a major earthquake of 8.3 which had an epicenter close to the city of Chillán. The Chilean Government requested from the British Government the help of two British cruisers HMS Ajax (22) and HMS Exeter (68) then visiting the city of Valparaíso to head south to investigate. The ships arrived at Talcahuano on 25th, many of the city’s main buildings had been destroyed with little power, food or water available to the survivors. The two ships crews helped with rubble clearing, rescuing those still trapped, recovering bodies as well as the ships taking trips north to Valparaiso with those injured and refugees .
This is an inland valley between the cities of Concepción and Los Angeles, and it felt the greatest impact of the earthquake of 27 February 2010. The Department of Rere was a vital settlement area of Chileans and the three-hundred-year struggle (until the 1870s) to defeat the strong indigenous tribe of the Mapuches.
Chilean settlers of Spanish California from the present Region of the Bio Bío (especially from Concepción, Talcahuano, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and the Department of Rere) may have played a part in the establishment of Los Angeles and the rest of southern California in the period between 1775 and 1820.
Thousands of Chilean miners, ranchers, and shopkeepers from the Biobío Region are thought to have settled the coasts, mountains, and valleys of what became American California, both before and after the Mexican–American War, and to have helped create the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and San Diego, California.
For decades, the characteristic feature of the Biobío Region has been its manufacturing industry, which contributes 35.6% of its GDP and operates mainly around the ports of Talcahuano, San Vicente, Lirquén, and Coronel, the greatest concentration of ports in Chile. The range of activities is broad, extending from iron and steel making to foodstuffs manufacture, petrochemicals, metalworking, oil refining, and shipyards.
The region’s dynamism is also rooted in its large rivers. The important hydroelectric power complex on the Laja River is composed of the El Toro, Abanico, and Antuco power plants, and the Pangue and Ralco plants on the upper Biobío River. These facilities supply 26.6% of the energy used from Taltal in the north to Chiloé Archipelago 2,500 km (1,553 mi) to the south.
The region contains almost 44% of Chile’s forest plantations, of which around 82% are radiata pine. It is the largest exporter of forestry products and supplies raw materials for pulp and paper plants, sawmills, and related activities.
The fishing industry is another dynamic sector. The region possesses 32% of the country’s total fishing fleet, while approximately 50% of the national catch is unloaded at its ports. Moreover, this region alone is responsible for 4% of the world’s catch of seafood. Main items include shellfish and conger eel, sardines, anchovy, mackerel, hake, mollusks, crustaceans, and algae.
High-quality fertile soils support a wide variety of crops, principally produce, grains, vegetables, artificial and improved pastures.
In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, the son of previous president Eduardo Frei Montalva, led the Concertación coalition to victory with an absolute majority of votes (58%). Frei Ruiz-Tagle was succeeded in 2000 by Socialist Ricardo Lagos, who won the presidency in an unprecedented runoff election against Joaquín Lavín of the rightist Alliance for Chile. In January 2006, Chileans elected their first female president, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, of the Socialist Party, defeating Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, extending the Concertación governance for another four years. In January 2010, Chileans elected Sebastián Piñera as the first rightist President in 20 years, defeating former President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle of the Concertación, for a four-year term succeeding Bachelet. Due to term limits, Sebastián Piñera did not stand for re-election in 2013, and his term expired in March 2014 resulting in Michelle Bachelet returning to office.
On 27 February 2010, Chile was struck by an 8.8 Mw earthquake, the fifth largest ever recorded at the time. More than 500 people died (most from the ensuing tsunami) and over a million people lost their homes. The earthquake was also followed by multiple aftershocks. Initial damage estimates were in the range of US$15–30 billion, around 10 to 15 percent of Chile's real gross domestic product.
Chile achieved global recognition for the successful rescue of 33 trapped miners in 2010. On 5 August 2010 the access tunnel collapsed at the San José copper and gold mine in the Atacama Desert near Copiapó in northern Chile, trapping 33 men 700 metres (2,300 ft) below ground. A rescue effort organized by the Chilean government located the miners 17 days later. All 33 men were brought to the surface two months later on 13 October 2010 over a period of almost 24 hours, an effort that was carried on live television around the world.
Late Paleozoic, 251 million years ago, Chile belonged to the continental block called Gondwana. It was just a depression accumulated marine sediments began to rise at the end of the Mesozoic, 66 million years ago, due to the collision between the Nazca and South American plates, resulting in the Andes. The territory would be shaped by millions of years due to the folding of the rocks, forming the current relief.
The Chilean relief consists of the central depression, which crosses the country longitudinally, flanked by two mountain ranges that make up about 80% of the territory: the Andes mountains to the east-natural border with Bolivia and Argentina in the region of Atacama and the Coastal Range west-minor height from the Andes. Chile's highest peak is the Nevado Ojos del Salado, at 6891.3 m, which is also the highest volcano in the world. The highest point of the Coastal Range is Vicuña Mackenna, at 3114 meters, located in the Sierra Vicuña Mackenna, the south of Antofagasta. Among the coastal mountains and the Pacific is a series of coastal plains, of variable length, which allow the settlement of coastal towns and big ports. Some areas of the plains territories encompass territory east of the Andes, and the Patagonian steppes and Magellan, or are high plateaus surrounded by high mountain ranges, such as the Altiplano or Puna de Atacama.
The Far North is the area between the northern boundary of the country and the parallel 26° S, covering the first three regions. It is characterized by the presence of the Atacama desert, the most arid in the world. The desert is fragmented by streams that originate in the area known as the pampas Tamarugal. The Andes, split in two and whose eastern arm runs Bolivia, has a high altitude and volcanic activity, which has allowed the formation of the Andean altiplano and salt structures as the Salar de Atacama, due to the gradual accumulation of sediments over time.