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Atacama Desert


Located in the longest region of the North of Chile. Antofagasta, one of the oldest cities of the country, is the most important marine port in the north of Chile; it was used as a unload port for the Chilean nitrate; this region was founded by Chileans in 1870 to exploit the nitrate in the Atacama Desert. Its occupation by Bolivians troops began the Pacific War (Guerra Del Pacífico) in 1879. After the war the city came back to the Chilean administration.

The people which gave the origin and founded the known "Cultura of San Pedro" were the atacameños whom were established in the Loa river and in the main places in the extensive Atacama desert.

The first inhabitants arrived to the bleak and ravines to the north extreme of Chile, specifically to the Atacama Desert.

With Diego de Almagro and Pedro de Valdivia expeditions arrived at the middle of XVI century; the atacameños showed themselves as a quite town.

The Atacameños were, in this way, the first sedentary town in Chile and at the same time the first one that practiced the agriculture. They builded terraces at the foot of the hills for making their crops in this difficult land, the terraces were watered in artificial way and fertilized with guano of alpaca and llama. In this way the agriculture became the main source of the economic activity in the region; among its crops emphasize maize, beans, pumpkin, potatoes, cotton and others.

Other important economic source was the cattle, they used the meta and the wool of alpacas and llamas; these animals were at the same time the main mean of transportation for the locals which let them to make the "trueque" (exchange) with the neighbour towns.

Their notable art was expressed in their weaves, pottery and wood carve, copper and bronze.

Very similar to other internationals cultures they believed in the life after death, for that reason the corpses were buried with their possessions such as clothes and food. They were believer of the nature strongs. In the place there is not temples or adoration places.

The Atacameños are known to international level for being the most develop pre-Columbian town in Chile.