A Central Province Of Chili, bordering on the Pacific and the Argentine Republic, and the provinces of Aconcagua, Colchagua, and Valparaiso; area, 7,800 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 380,419. It is extremely mountainous, the Andes here including some of the most elevated peaks in America. The chief river is the Maypu. Silver and copper abound, and many mines are in operation. There are many mineral springs. In the lower regions the climate is mild and the soil extremely fertile, and agriculture is here in a higher state of perfection than elsewhere in South America. Cattle rearing is an important industry, and jerked beef is exported. The culture of tobacco, for which the soil is well adapted, is prohibited, its importation being a government monopoly. The province is divided into the departments of Santiago, Melipilla, Rancagua, and Victoria; the chief towns, besides the capital, are Rancagua and Melipilla.
A City, capital of the province and of Chili, on the Rio Mapocho, about 70 m. S. E. of Valparaiso; lat. 33° 27' S., lon. 70° 40' W.; pop. given in 1865 at 115,377, but by Asta-Burruaga, in hi3 Diccionario de Chile (1867), at 150,000. It lies between two cordilleras, about 1,800 ft. above the sea, 8 m. W. of the foot of the Andes. The streets are spacious and regular, well paved, and lighted with gas. The houses are of brick, with ornamented courtyards. The public squares and several of the avenues are profusely embellished with fountains and statues. The river is crossed by handsome bridges. The cathedral, founded in 1750, on the W. side of the Plaza Mayor, is 351 ft. long by 92 ft. wide, with a superb frontispiece. On the same square are the post office and treasury (formerly the casa de la audiencia), the city hall, criminal courts, the former residence of the presidents, now converted into a barrack, and the archiepiscopal palace, in the Moorish style. The mint is a beautiful edifice 460 ft. long by 350 ft. wide, a portion of which serves as the president's palace and for the offices of the ministry. The congress building was erected in 1858, contiguous to the old church of the Jesuits, destroyed by fire Dec. 8, 1863, when 1,600 persons, chiefly women, perished in the flames.
The hill of Santa Lucia rises in the centre of the city to a height of 254 ft., and on its N. and S. flanks stand two fortresses. The theatre ranks among the finest in America. The city has a powder magazine, a vast artillery barrack, a penitentiary, a house of correction for children, a military and two fine general hospitals, an insane asylum, a house of refuge, and many other benevolent institutions. The educational establishments include the academy of science, the university or national institute with 1,200 students, a military academy, schools of design,' a school of agriculture with a model farm, two normal schools, the seminario conciliar, and about 40 primary and grammar schools, public and private, the former being gratuitous. The national library contains 40,000 volumes and many rare manuscripts. The mean temperature is 68° F. in summer and 49° in winter, when rains are frequent and heavy. Santiago is the commercial centre for the province. There are tanneries, flour mills, silver refineries, three banks, and a fire insurance and a life insurance company.
The city is connected by telegraph with the principal ports of the republic, and by rail with Valparaiso and Talca; and a transandine railway to Buenos Ayres was projected in 1874. - Santiago was founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, under the name of Santiago del Nuevo Extremo, and erected into a bishopric in 1561. It was visited by disastrous earthquakes in 1570, 1647, 1657, 1688, 1730, 1751, and 1822, and has frequently suffered from inundations. An international exhibition was opened here on Sept. 16, 1875.