Antofagasta Atacama 5.
It is reached from the Pacific by way of Challapata, a station on the Antofagasta & Oruro railway.
Respectively by the provinces of Antofagasta and Coquimbo, and extending from the Pacific coast E.
COBIJA, or Puerto La Mar (the official title given to it by the Bolivian government), a port and town of the Chilean province of Antofagasta, about Boo m.
It was formerly capital of the Bolivian department of Atacama and the only port possessed by Bolivia, but the seizure of that department in 1879 by Chile and the construction of the Antofagasta and Oruro railway deprived it of all importance, and its population, estimated at 6000 in 1858, has fallen to less than 500.
ANTOFAGASTA, a town and port of northern Chile and capital of the Chilean province of the same name, situated about 768 m.
Antofagasta is the seaport for a railway running to Oruro, Bolivia, and is the only available outlet for the trade of the south-western departments of that republic. The smelting works for the neighbouring silver mines are located here, and a thriving trade with the inland mining towns is carried on.
Like the other provinces of this region, Antofagasta produces for export copper, silver, silver ores, lead, nitrate of soda, borax and salt.
Besides Antofagasta the principal towns are Taltal, Mejillones, Cobija (the old capital) and Tocopilla.
It is broken to some extent in crossing the province of Antofagasta, the southern division being known as the Sierra de Huatacondo.
South of Antofagasta the old rocks form a nearly continuous band along the coast, extending as far as Cape Horn and Staten Island, and occupying the greater part of the islands of southern Chile.
One of these, running from Antofagasta to the Caracoles district, was afterwards extended to Oruro, Bolivia, and has become a commercial route of international importance, with a total length of 574 m., 224 of which are in Chile.
Gold is found in nearly all the provinces from Antofagasta to Concepcion, and in Llanquihue, Chiloe and Magallanes territory, but the output is not large.
The second most important mining industry in Chile, however, is that of copper, which is found in the provinces of Antofagasta, Atacama, Coquimbo, Aconcagua, Valparaiso, Santiago, O'Higgins, Colchagua, Curico and Talca, but the richest deposits are in the three desert provinces.
Extensive deposits of the salt (called caliche in its crude, impure state) in the provinces of Tacna, Tarapaca, Antofagasta and Atacama owe their existence to the rainless character of the climate.
The ecclesiastical organization includes one archbishop, who resides at Santiago, three bishops residing at La Serena, Concepcion and Ancud, and two vicars residing in Antofagasta and Tarapaca.
Among the smaller towns prominent because of an industry or commercial position, may be mentioned the Huanchaca mining centre of Pulacayo (pop. 6512), where 3200 men are employed in the mines and surface works of this great silver mining company; Uyuni (pop. 1587), the junction of the Pulacayo branch with the Antofagasta and Oruro railway, and also the converging point for several important highways and projected railways; and Tupiza (pop. 1644), a commercial and mining centre near the Argentine frontier, and the terminus of the Argentine railway extension into Bolivia.
Up to 1903 the only railways in Bolivia were the Antofagasta and Oruro line, with a total length of 574 m., of which 350 m.
The latter includes the lines belonging to the Antofagasta and Oruro railway, which are partly within Chilean territory.
These figures, however, do not correctly represent the aggregates of Bolivian trade, as her imports and exports passing through Antofagasta, Arica and Mollendo are to a large extent credited to Chile and Peru.
The first includes the departments of Chuquisaca, Oruro, Potosi, Tarija and the Chilean province of Antofagasta, with its seat at Sucre, and is known as the archbishopric of La Plata.
As an answer to these demands, and in order to protect the property of Chilean subjects, the Chilean fleet was sent to blockade the ports of Antofagasta, Cobija and Tocapilla.
On the 14th February 1879 the Chilean colonel Sotomayor occupied Antofagasta, and on 1st March, a fortnight later, the Bolivian government declared war.