geographical name

City (pop., 2002 prelim.: 371,000), capital of Biobío region, south-central Chile. One of Chile's largest cities, it was founded in 1550 on the Pacific coast, where it was twice burned by Araucanian Indians. It has also been struck by numerous earthquakes, some of which were followed by tsunamis, and in 1754 it was moved inland to its present site near the mouth of the Biobío River. Despite its severe seismic activity, it has become a major commercial and industrial centre and a distribution point for southern Chile. Local industries include textiles, food products, and steel.

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