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Chillan Viejo

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Chillán Viejo is a city and commune (Spanish: comuna) in the Ñuble Province of Chile's eighth region of Biobío (VIII Región de Biobío). According to the 2002 census, the population of the commune was 22,084 and it has an area of 292sqkm.HistoryOriginally Chillán Viejo was the location of a Spanish fort with the name of San Ildefonso, established in 1565, during the campaign of Pedro de Villagra against Loble and the Mapuche north of the Biobío River. Ordered in 1579 to establish a city at the site by Governor Rodrigo de Quiroga, Martin Ruiz de Gamboa founded the city on June 25, 1580 after replacing Quiroga as governor following his death. He gave it the name San Bartolomé de Chillán y Gamboa and populated it with 50 Spaniards and 60 more in the fort. It suffered a number of attacks before it was destroyed by the Mapuche in 1599 after the Disaster of Curalaba. Governor Francisco de Quiñónez immediately repaired it in April 1599. Later, in 1655, the same Mapuche and the neighboring Pehuenches forced the citizens to abandon it again. When it was again reoccupied, it was demolished by an earthquake on March 15, 1657. It was repopulated again in 1663, under Ángel de Saldia. The earthquake of May 25, 1751, that ruined old Concepcion, also damaged the city, aggravated considerably by a simultaneous extraordinary flooding of the Chillán River. This forced its transfer two years later to the site that it occupies today.
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