Concepción was founded by Pedro de Valdivia, conqueror and governor of Chile for Spain, in 1550 north of the Bío Bío River, at the site which is today known as Penco. At the time, it was given the name Concepción de María Purísima del Nuevo Extremo (Mary Immaculate Conception of the New End).
Concepcion was burned twice by Araucanian Indians. It’s been struck by numerous earthquakes, two of them followed by tidal waves (1730, 1751), and in 1754 it was moved inland to its present site, 6 miles from the river’s mouth and 43 feet (13 meters), above sea level. Concepción had continued to be damaged by earthquakes, notably in 1835, 1960, and 2010.
Concepción has become a major commercial and industrial centre, owing to particular site advantages. Concepción Bay, to the north, is large and protected; and the Biobío River provides a corridor through the coastal mountains to the Central Valley region, where agricultural and forest industries are well developed. The river’s volume and hydroelectric potential is plenty for the region’s foreseeable requirements.
Most of Chile’s coal is mined south of the city in Arauco Bay. The railway serving the major mines ends in Concepción, as do the railways that follow the Biobío and Itata rivers into the interior. The Itata railway links the industrial and resort towns on the eastern shore of Concepción Bay, while a local railway serving the southwestern side of the bay joins the outport of Talcahuano, Huachipato, and San Vicente with Concepción. San Vicente is both a resort and a source of fresh and preserved seafood for Santiago, the nation’s capital, 260 miles northeast. The Huachipato steel mill, a petroleum refinery, and the San Vicente chemical complex were major additions to Concepción’s industries, which include textiles, food processing, woodworking, glassmaking, and brewing, including a paper factory and a cotton mill lie on the river shore.
The people of Concepcion are just as interesting as the history and establishment of Concepcion. Linda Hardy, who was a resident for a few years, explained that the people were very open and kind. They were friendly and giving.
“The people are the same now that they were twenty years ago. They are people of good morals and high virtue, and were often very social.”
As well as being a social and loving people, they are also very educated and smart. The education system is well funded, and everybody has the chance to be part of it.
“The people there are very sharp. There’s a really big and successful education system, it helps with being a good society.”
The economical stance of Concepcion is also very successful and in continual growth to being a modern world. The facilities, buildings, and homes twenty years ago were already fairly significant and successful — and now there’s an entire city of similar, booming structures. The success of the growing city brought in lots of diversity as well, which only helped Concepcion’s advancements.
“Concepcion is a progressive country, and is no where near a third world country. When I was there, facilities had just started growing, but they were very pretty buildings and the area was overall very beautiful. The people were happy with what they had, and were able to look forward to more that would eventually come.”
“The economic situations throughout Concepcion are the same as anywhere else, there are poor people and there are rich people — but everyone was happy and worked for what they knew they wanted.”
In other aspects of their culture, soccer (fútbol) and patriotism has been, and continues to be a really big deal.
“Soccer there is always a celebration. People drive with flags on their cars and there’s big parades and excitement throughout the streets. They wear their supporting colors and wear face paint. It was always a good day when it was a soccer day.”
“The people are also very patriotic. They love their country a lot, and they were never afraid to voice how they felt. I’m sure it’s still the same way now. They loved a big demonstration, a strike, an outburst.”
Concepcion’s foundation, growth, and success of 475 years has resulted in a population of over 220,746 people.
It seems I’ll be adding this country to my “To Visit” bucket list.
Pedro De Valdivia, founder of the cities of Santiago and Concepción.
Biobío River, Biobío also spelled Bío-Bío, river in south-central Chile.
Araucanian, any member of a group of South American Indians that are now concentrated in the fertile valleys and basins of south-central Chile.
Central Valley Region, geological depression in central Chile between the Western Andes and the Coastal Range.
The Huachipato steel mill (operational since 1950).
Petroleum refinery (operational since 1966).
San Vicente chemical complex (established in the early 1970s).
Talcahuano, city, south-central Chile. It lies on a small peninsula that forms the southwestern shore.
San Vicente, city, south-central El Salvador.
Santiago, capital of Chile.