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Norte Chico history

Norte Chico is a semi-arid territory with vegetation few and far between. It marks the transition from the fertile heartland to the arid deserts in Norte Grande which eventually stretch across the borders into Bolivia and Peru. The Choapa, Limarí, Copiapó, Elqui and Huasco rivers flow from the Andes to the coast which allow nearby earth to be irrigated and cultivated. Beautiful green areas that produce olives and apricots wind among the dry, brown arid lands. But is mining more so than agriculture that defines this region. The industry has propelled the growth of various towns, railways and roads as Chileans rushed to strike it rich. The Incas originally mined gold before the Spaniards. The silver rush occurred in the 19th century when settlers found the mineral. Copper then allowed more wealth to flow through the region as it became the largest producer in the world from the 1840s to the 1870s.

By Chris Hughes
Traveling South America to give Viva readers the most up-to-date information...
30 Apr 2009

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