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City flag and seal
City motto: "La Capital del Sur de Chile"

The Capital of the South of Chile

Also called
"Biobío's Pearl"
Founded October 5, 1550

Original name La Concepción de María Purísima del Nuevo Extremo
Region Biobío Region

 - City Proper

 222 km²

 - City (2006)
 - Density (city proper)

292,589 Inhabitants

955 /km²
Metropolitan Area

 - City (2006)
 - Density (city proper)

1,322,581 Inhabitants

Time zone Santiago Time Zone, UTC- 4
Telephone prefix 41
Postal code 3349001
Gentilic Penquista
Day October 5
Mayor Jacqueline van Rysselberghe (UDI)

Official site

The map of the Concepción in the Biobío Region.
Concepción ( ) is a city in Chilemarker, capital of Concepción Province and of the Bío-Bío Region or Region VIII. Greater Concepciónmarker (Gran Concepción, including Talcahuanomarker, San Pedro de la Pazmarker, Hualpén, Chiguayantemarker, Pencomarker, Tomémarker, Lotamarker, Coronel, Hualquimarker and Concepción) is the second-largest conurbation in the country, with 889,725 inhabitants (2002 census). Individually, it is the 11th largest commune in the country, with a population of 212,003.


Concepción was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1550 north of the Bío-Bío River, at the site which is today known as Pencomarker. At that time it was given the name Concepción del Nuevo Extremo. The new settlement of Concepcion was just a few kilometers north of La Fronteramarker (The Frontier), the limit between the Chilean-Spanishmarker territory and the land of the Mapuche, an American Indian ethnic group that was not subjugated until the 1870s. The settlement was formally recognized by the Spanish authorities as a town two years later by a royal decree. It was given a coat-of-arms that is still in use today.

Concepción was a significant military settlement for the Kingdom of Chile, but it was still overrun and destroyed in 1554, and once again after being reestablished in 1555, by Mapuche armies during the Arauco War in the early period of Spanish colonialism. Concepción was restored during the governorship of García Hurtado de Mendoza when he landed there and built a fort on the Alto de Pinto in 1557. The town was reestablished January 6, 1558, by captain Jerónimo de Villegas. It became the headquarters of the military forces engaged against the Mapuche in Araucanía over the next two centuries growing to a population of 10,000 despite suffering a siege in 1564 and other attacks by the Mapuche. Concepción was the home of the Real Audiencia from 1565 to 1575, the most important government organization during Spanish colonial times.

Due to earthquakes and tsunamis, which razed the town in 1570, 1657, 1687, 1730 and another on May 25, 1751marker, the authorities decided to move the town to its current location to the Valle de la Mocha, alongside the Bío-Bío River and prohibited the occupation of the old location, which remained unsettled until March 29, 1842, when the present town of Penco was founded.

The new site for the town of Concepción became the main town of the Intendancy of Concepción, whose jurisdiction extended from the Maule River to La Frontera. The first Intendant of Concepción was the Irishman Ambrose O'Higgins, Marquis of Osorno, who later became Royal Governor of Chile and Viceroy of Peru.

When the First National Government Board met in Santiagomarker on September 18, 1810, citizens of Concepción joined up. Concepcion was used as the point of entry by the Spanish Army in the attempt by the Viceroyalty of Peru to re-conquer Chile. Concepción politicians and soldiers became a significant political force in the newly-independent country.

On January 1, 1818, Ambrose O'Higgins's son, Bernardo O'Higgins, proclaimed and took the oath of the Chilean War of Independence in the main square of Concepción, which since then has been known as "Plaza de la Independencia". On February 20, 1835, the town again was largely destroyed by an earthquake and had to be rebuilt.

Today, Concepción is the second largest city of Chile. The Universidad de Concepciónmarker, founded in 1919, became the first private university in Chile. The neighboring harbor of Talcahuano is the site of the largest naval base in Chile.

Natural features

The vicinity is seismically active, with a major earthquake having a nearby epicenter in the year 1960.

The following provides a climate summary for Concepción:

Cultural life

To an outsider, there may be confusion between the demonyms of the inhabitants of Concepción and the nearby city of Penco. Due to the previous location of Concepción being where Penco currently stands, inhabitants of Concepción are called penquistas while inhabitants of Penco are known as pencones.

Concepción is one of the most active cities in Chilean rock music and many famous rock groups in Chile started up in Concepción.

Concepción has the second largest concentration of universities in Chile, and is home to three major universities. Concepción currently has four traditional universities:


Concepción is home of five professional football teams:

Basketball is also played at a high professional level. The most notable team is:
Concepción Downtown

Notable persons

Twin cities


  • Ida Stevenson Weldon Vernon (1969) Pedro de Valdivia, Conquistador of Chile, Greenwood Press
  • John Milton Nickles, Marie Siegrist (1965) Bibliography and Index of Geology Exclusive of North America, Geological Society of America, v.28

Line notes

  1. I.S.W. Vernon, 1969
  2. J.M. Nickles, 1965


Image:Arco de Medicina UdeC.jpg|Arco de Medicina (Medicine Arch) in the campus Concepción of Universidad de Concepciónmarker.Image:Moderno Edificio en Concepción.jpg|Andes TowerImage:Mercado Central de Concepción.jpg|Concepción is the second commercial nucleus of Chilemarker. In the image, the Concepción Central Market

Image:Desembocadura del Biobío.jpg|End of the Bío-Bío River, in the sea.Image:Plaza de la Indepedencia (1910).jpg|Plaza de la Independencia, the Plaza de Armas of Concepción, in 1910Image:Ex Catedral de Concepción.jpg|Cathedral of Concepción. It was demolished in 1939 after an earthquakeImage:Biobus01.jpg|BioBus, transport to a train station

Image:Plaza de Armas Concepción.jpg|Plaza de la Independencia, the Plaza de Armas of Concepcion

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