IQUIQUE, a city and port of Chile, capital of the province of Tarapaca, 820 m.
To the level of the great desert plain of Tarapaca, celebrated for its rich deposits of nitrate of soda.
It is connected by rail with the inland town of Tarapaca and various mining centres, and through them with the ports of Pisagua on the N., and Patillos on the S.
Chile saltpetre, cubic nitre or sodium nitrate, NaNO,, occurs under the same conditions as ordinary saltpetre in deposits covering immense areas in South America, which are known locally as caliche or terra salitrosa, and abound especially in the provinces of Tarapaca and Antofagasta in Chile.
Chief among them are the snowy peak of Lirima (19,128 ft.) over the ravine of Tarapaca, the volcano of Isluga overhanging Camilla, the Bolivian peak of Sajama, and Tocora (19,741 ft.) near the Bolivian frontier.
They were developed commercially during the administration (1845-1851) of President Ramon Castilla, at the same time that the nitrate deposits of Tarapaca became a commercial asset of the republic. The large revenues derived from these sources undoubtedly became a cause ofweakness and demoralization and eventually resulted in bankruptcy and the loss of Tarapaca.
In 1876 interest payments on account of this debt were suspended and in1879-1882the war with Chile deprived Peru of her principal sources of income - the guano deposits and the Tarapaca nitrates.
The true object of Chile was the conquest of the rich Peruvian province of Tarapaca, the appropriation of its valuable guano and nitrate deposits, and the spoliation of the rest of the Peruvian coast.
The principal conditions imposed by Chile were the absolute cession by Peru of the province of Tarapaca, and the occupation for a period of ten years of the territories of Tacna and Arica, the ownership of these districts to be decided by a popular vote of the inhabitants of Tacna and Arica at the expiration of the period named.
Natural sulphate occurs in an anhydrous condition as thenardite, Na2SO 4, at Tarapaca, Chile, and in the rock-salt deposits at Espartinas near Aranjuez, Spain.
Hydrated sulphates occur at several localities in the province of Madrid and in other provinces of Spain, and at Miihlingen in Aargau, and copious deposits of glauberite, the double sulphate of sodium and calcium, are met with in the salt-mines of Villarrubia in Spain, at Stassfurt, and in the province of Tarapaca, Chile, &c. A native nitrate of soda is obtained in great abundance in the district of Atacama and the province of Tarapaca, and is imported into Europe in enormous quantities as cubic nitre for the preparation of saltpetre.
By Tarapaca, and W.
By subsequent agreements the Bolivian department of the Litoral, or Atacama, and the Peruvian department of Tarapaca, were formally ceded to Chile, and the northern frontier was removed to the river Camarones, which enters the Pacific at 19° 12' S.
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.
By the terms of this treaty Peru ceded to Chile unconditionally the province of Tarapaca, and the provinces of Tacna and Arica were placed under Chilean authority for the term of ten years, the inhabitants having then to decide by a general vote whether they remained a part of Chile or elected to belong once more to Peru.
The majority of the members of the chambers sided with this movement, and on the 7th of January Senores Waldo Silva, Barros Luco and a number of senators and deputies embarked on board the Chilean warship " Blanco Encalada," accompanied by the " Esmeralda " and " O'Higgins " and other vessels, sailing out of Valparaiso harbour and proceeding northwards to Tarapaca to organize armed resistance against the president (see Chilean Civil War).
Provisions were made in 1895 for the cession of the port of Mejillones del Norte and a right of way across the province of Tarapaca, but Peru protested, and negotiations followed for the cession of Cobija, in the province of Antofagasta.
The existence of the secret treaty, well known to the Chilean government, rendered the intervention of Peru more than questionable, and the law passed by the latter in 1875, which practically created a monopoly of the Tarapaca nitrate beds to the serious prejudice of Chilean enterprise, offered no guarantee of her good faith.
Severe fighting took place before Tarapaca surrendered, but the end of 1879 saw the Chileans in complete possession of the province.