A W. Central And The Smallest Province Of Chili, bounded N. by Aconcagua, E. and S. by Santiago, and W. by the Pacific; area, including the islands of Juan Fernandez, which belong to it, 1,670 sq. m.; pop. in 1875,176,682. The surface is mountainous, and the soil, where not irrigated, is poor, excepting in some of the valleys, which are very fertile and produce excellent crops of the cereals, grasses, and fruits. Wine and brandy are made in considerable quantities. Mines of copper and silver are worked, but agriculture is the principal industry. It is divided into the departments of Valparaiso, Quillota, Limache, and Casablanca, named after their chief towns. The department of Valparaiso is divided into 24 subdelegations, of which the city comprises 20, the rural suburbs three, and the islands of Juan Fernandez one.
A City, capital of the province, on a bay of the same name, in lat. 33° 1' 56" S., lon. 71° 41' 45" W., 70 m. N. W. of Santiago; pop. about 110,000. Back of the city is a high chain of hills, which nearly surround the bay, opening only toward the north. The older part of the city, called the port, extends along the shore at the base of the hills. It contains the principal public and commercial buildings. Beyond it is San Juan de Dios, which extends to the plaza de la Victoria, and beyond that is the Almendral, the most thickly populated quarter, where most of the retail business is done. Still further on is El Baron, on a hill of the same name, and next is La Cabriteria, on the road leading to Quillota. The other principal quarters, named from the hills on which they are situated, are Cordillera, Santo Domingo, San Francisco, Carretas, Artilleria, Toro, Arrayan, Alegre, and Concepcion. The last two contain the residences of most of the foreign merchants. The streets are generally narrow and irregular, excepting in the newer parts, where they are broad and laid out at right angles to each other. There are six plazas.
Among the principal buildings are the government palace, the custom house and government warehouses, the post office, built in 1869, the exchange, the city hall, and two theatres, one of which, the Victoria, will seat 2,000 persons, and is remarkable for its interior decorations. Besides three parish churches, there are several others, of which the Franciscan, a Gothic edifice, is the finest; several chapels and oratorios, and three Protestant churches. Among the charitable institutions is the English, French, and United States hospital, attended by resident physicians. The city is lighted with gas, and has lines of horse cars and steam fire engines. Of the inhabitants of Valparaiso about 75,000 are natives, 15,000 Germans, 6,500 British, 3,750 French, 1,500 Italians, 250 Americans, and the remainder mostly natives of other South American states. - The bay is well sheltered excepting on the north, is capacious, and has plenty of water. It is defended by a chain of 15 forts, mostly built since 1866, mounting in the aggregate 142 guns.
Its position gives it great commercial advantages, and it is the chief port in the South Pacific. It is the headquarters of foreign men-of-war in the Pacific, and is connected with Panama and intermediate ports by an English and a Chilian line of steamers, and with Hamburg by a German line. It is connected with Santiago by railway. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1874, the port was entered by 1,585 vessels, of 973,090 aggregate tonnage. Of these 611 were British, 276 Chilian, 161 Nicaraguan, 103 German, 101 French, 99 Guatemalan, 87 American, 67 oriental, and 46 Italian. The total value of exports to the United States during that year was $1,041,697; of imports from the United States, $1,999,476. - Valparaiso was founded in 1544; taken by Drake in 1578, and again in 1596 by Hawkins's expedition; and sacked in 1600 bythe Dutch corsair Oliver van Noort. It was nearly destroyed by earthquakes in 1730 and 1822. On March 31, 1866, it was bombarded by a Spanish squadron under Admiral Nunez, and a large part of it ruined. (See Chili).