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Pisagua

Trip Planner South America  /  Chile  /  Tarapaca Region  /  Pisagua
Pisagua is a Chilean port on the Pacific Ocean, located in Huara comuna (municipality), in Tarapacá Region, northern Chile. In 2007, the new province of El Tamarugal was established and the comuna of Huara, previously within the province of Iquique, was incorporated to the newly created province.Early historyThe name Pisagua comes from the Spanish words "pis" and "agua", roughly translating into "pisswater". Possibly dervived from bad-tasting water contaminated with nitric acid.Pisagua was founded in 1611 after an edict by the Viceroy of Peru which established a base from which it could be possible to stem the illegal traffic of gold and silver flowing from the important mines of Potosí and Oruro, in the Highlands of the "Audiencia of Charcas", to the British and Dutch pirates operating in the Corregimiento de Arica. Thus, Pisagua became a minor port, subjected to the major Port of San Marcos de Arica.This settlement, known today as 'Pisagua Viejo' (Old Pisagua) developed at the south side of the Quebrada Tiliviche, on part of an extensive ancient midden deposit. Some adobe ruins remain.The "Nitrate boom"It was not until 1810 when large nitrate ("salitre" or saltpeter) deposits were discovered in the Corregimiento de Tarapacá that Pisagua became an important port due to its major role in the export of this product. Tidal waves forced the transfer of Pisagua to the place where it lies today, in 1836. This site is a small plain located between the peninsulas of Punta Pichalo and Punta Pisagua, about 3 km South of Pisagua Viejo.
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