|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2012)|
|City and Commune|
|Coordinates (city): Coordinates:|
|Foundation||October 5, 1743|
|• Alcalde||Eduardo Soto|
|• Total||260.3 km2 (100.5 sq mi)|
|Elevation||572 m (1,877 ft)|
|Population (2002 Census)|
|• Density||820/km2 (2,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CLT (UTC−4)|
|• Summer (DST)||CLST (UTC−3)|
|Area code(s)||56 (country) + 72 (city)|
|Website||Official website (Spanish)|
Rancagua (Spanish pronunciation: [raŋˈkaɣwa]) is a city and commune in central Chile and part of the Rancagua conurbation. It is the capital of the Cachapoal Province and of the O'Higgins Region, located 87 km (54 mi) south of the national capital of Santiago.Its first name was Santa Cruz de Triana. In 2002, its population was 214,344. The main economic activities range from mining, tourism, agriculture, timber, food production and services to minor industrial activities. The city also serves as the administrative and legal center of the region.
Rancagua was founded by José Antonio Manso de Velasco, who founded several cities in the central area of Chile. The city's original name was Villa Santa Cruz de Triana. However, before the Spaniards arrived the area was inhabited by local Picunche tribes and had also fallen briefly under the control of the Inca Empire, whose traces can still be found near the city today.
The city is famous in Chilean history as the scene of the Disaster of Rancagua of 1814, when Chilean forces fighting for independence from Spain were defeated, marking the beginning of the period known as the Reconquista (Reconquest, an attempt by Spain to regain control of Chile).
In recent years the city has become one of the most attractive cultural and tourist centers in the O'Higgins Region, mainly due to the vineyards in the area. There are also some archeological sites such as Pukara de La Compañia and the nearby Rio Cipreses nature reserve, both of which can be visited by private vehicle or with local tour companies. Rancagua also offers sports centers and easy access to smaller villages and towns.
Rancagua is home of the University of Rancagua, the first private university to be established in the O'Higgins Region.
Rancagua is also known for El Teniente, the "largest underground copper mine in the world", located about 40 km (25 mi) to the east of the city in the Andes mountain range. El Teniente is a division of the state-owned mining enterprise, Codelco.
The city's Braden Copper Stadium was one of the four venues of the 1962 football (soccer) World Cup. More recently, it houses the O'Higgins professional soccer club, one of the leading teams in Chilean professional soccer. Every year, the National Championship of Chilean rodeo is held in the Medialuna Monumental de Rancagua.
The population of Rancagua is primarily either of Spanish descent or mestizo, with a particularly strong Basque influence. However, there are also Chileans of German, Croatian, Italian, Greek, Levantine Arab, Swiss, French, English or Irish ancestry living in the city, as well as indigenous Mapuche migrant workers from the south  and some Roma gypsies. Furthermore, the city has seen increasing immigration from neighbouring South American countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. According to the 2002 census of the National Statistics Institute, Rancagua spans an area of 260.3 km2 (101 sq mi) and has 214,344 inhabitants (104,879 men and 109,465 women). Of these, 206,971 (96.6%) lived in urban areas and 7,373 (3.4%) in rural areas. The population grew by 14.4% (27,020 persons) between the 1992 and 2002 censuses.
Notable people born in Rancagua
- Germán Riesco (1854–1916), President of Chile between 1901 and 1906.
- Lucho Gatica, bolero singer.
- Óscar Castro Zúñiga (1910–1947), renowned poet, novelist and short story writer.
- José Victorino Lastarria (1817–1888), writer and politician.
- Mariano Díaz, photographer, graphic designer, and writer.
Within the electoral divisions of Chile, Rancagua is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Mr. Alejandro García-Huidobro (UDI) and Mr. Juan Luis Castro (PS) as part of the 32nd electoral district, which consists entirely of the Rancagua commune. The commune is represented in the Senate by Andrés Chadwick Piñera (UDI) and Juan Pablo Letelier Morel (PS) as part of the 9th senatorial constituency (O'Higgins Region).
Twin towns — Sister cities
Rancagua is twinned with:
- (Spanish) "National Statistics Institute". Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- Miranda Salas, Felix. Historia de Rancagua.
- Morning Star, "", March 8, 2010 (accessed March 9, 2010)
- "Copper Mining in Chile". Copper Investment News. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "About Chile & Its People". O'Higgins Tours.
- "Bielsko-Biała - Partner Cities". © 2008 Urzędu Miejskiego w Bielsku-Białej. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- (Spanish) Municipality of Rancagua
- (Spanish) Official Newspaper`s City Website
- (Spanish) Non-Official Website of Rancagua`s Soccer Team