Antofagasta Region

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The II Antofagasta Region (Spanish: II Región de Antofagasta) is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It comprises three provinces, Antofagasta, El Loa and Tocopilla, It is bordered to the north by Tarapacá and by Atacama to the south and is the second largest region of Chile.

The capital of the region is the port city of Antofagasta, another important city is Calama.



Antofagasta's history is divided, as the territory, in two sections, the coastal region and the highlands plateau or altiplano around the Andes. In pre-Columbian times, the coastline was populated by nomadic fishing clans of Changos Indians, of which very little is known, due to very limited contact with the Spanish conquerors.

The inland section was populated by the Atacaman culture around the great dry salt lake called Salar de Atacama, the Loa River basin and valleys and oasis across the altiplano, with the most important settlement being the village of San Pedro de Atacama.

The Atacaman culture was deeply influenced by Tiwanaku culture and later fell under Inca rule. Atacamans' harvested mainly corn and beans and developed trade as far as the Amazon basin and Pacific shores. The arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century did not destroy the culture but transformed it deeply through the process of mestizaje, in which both cultures mixed. Under the Spanish rule, Atacaman territory (only the inlands), was placed under the administration of Charcas Audience and at the time of independence general Simón Bolívar integrated (both inland and coast regions) into the new Republic of Bolivia, under the name of "Litoral". This decision was disputed by the Chilean Government and has been a source of conflict until present times. Chile claimed that according to the Uti possidetis of the Spanish crown, the coastal region belong to them and their territory bordered directly with Peru.

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