Coqudibo. I. A N. Province Of Chili, lying between lat. 29° and 32° S., and lon. 69° 30' and 71° 35' W., bounded N. by Atacama, E. by the Argentine Republic, S. by Aconcagua, and W. by the Pacific; area, 13,300 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 159,698. The surface is mountainous, but there is only one volcano within its limits, that of Limari. The Chuapa, on its S. boundary, the Illapel, Coquimbo, Barrazo, and Tongoy, are the principal streams, all of which are small and from the rapidity of their descent unnavigable. The banks of most of them are high and steep, and they can be crossed only by means of hanging bridges of rope. The climate is healthy and delightful, and the soil, where capable of cultivation, is productive. Fruit is abundant, especially figs and grapes, but not enough grain is raised for consumption. The province is rich in minerals, particularly in silver and copper. Gold, lead, and quicksilver are also found. The copper mines are numerous and extensively worked. The chief industry is the smelting of this metal, which is carried on to such an extent that much ore is imported from the north of Chili and from Bolivia, in addition to what is mined in the district.
Its ports are Coquimbo, Guay-acan, Tongoy, and Totoralillo., II. The capital of the province, also called La Serena, on the river Coquimbo, not far from its mouth, 255 m. K K W. of Santiago; lat. 29° 54' S., lon. 71° 16' W.; pop. about 15,000. The city is regularly built, with streets generally at right angles, and in the S. part there is a large plaza. The houses, which are mostly of one story, stand apart surrounded by gardens. Among the principal buildings are several churches and convents, a public school, and a hospital. It has also water and gas works. It is a bishop's see. - The town was founded in 1542, by Francisco de Aguirre, who called it La Serena from his native town in Spain. The port of Coquimbo, which is several miles distant on the bay, is one of the best harbors of Chili. It is spacious and safe in all seasons, and, notwithstanding the scarcity of wood and water, is much frequented. The exports are, chiefly copper in bars, ingots, regulus, and ores, some silver and cobalt, and hides.
The imports are mostly coal, mining materials, and provisions.