Jump to content


Coordinates: 36°36′S 72°07′W / 36.600°S 72.117°W / -36.600; -72.117
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Clockwise, from top: Chillán Cathedral, Nelson Oyarzún Arenas Stadium, puente ferroviario de Ñuble, Statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, panoramic view of the city at sunset.
Clockwise, from top: Chillán Cathedral, Nelson Oyarzún Arenas Stadium, puente ferroviario de Ñuble, Statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, panoramic view of the city at sunset.

Coat of arms of Chillán
Location of the Chillán commune in the Ñuble Region
Chillán is located in Chile
Location in Chile
Coordinates: 36°36′S 72°07′W / 36.600°S 72.117°W / -36.600; -72.117
Founded byMartín Ruiz de Gamboa
 • TypeMunicipality
 • AlcaldeCamilo Benavente (PPD)
 • Total511.2 km2 (197.4 sq mi)
124 m (407 ft)
 (2012 Census)[3]
 • Total174,777
 • Density340/km2 (890/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Rural
DemonymChillanejo or Chillanense
 • Men77,007
 • Women84,946
Time zoneUTC−4 (CLT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−3 (CLST)
Postal code
Area codecountry + city = 56 + 42[4]
WebsiteOfficial website (in Spanish)

Chillán (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃiˈʝan]) is the capital city of Ñuble Region, Diguillín Province, Chile, located about 400 km (249 mi) south of the country's capital, Santiago,[5] near the center of the country. It has been the capital of the new Ñuble Region since 6 September 2015. Within the city is a railway station, an intercity bus terminal named María Teresa, and a regimental military base. The city features a modern, enclosed shopping centre in addition to the Chillán Market, an iconic multi-block, open-air farmers' market and street fair where fruits, vegetables, crafts, clothing and other goods are sold. The nearby mountains, such as in Laguna del Laja National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja) and the Nevados de Chillán (English: 'snowy peaks of Chillán') are popular destinations for skiing, hiking and hot springs.

Founded by the Spanish in 1580, the city withstood numerous early attacks by the indigenous Mapuche andPehuenche, among other peoples, who were vehemently opposed to Spanish colonialism. Over time, Chillán became an important marketplace and meeting-point for the descendants of these Mapuche and Pehuenche, along with Mestizos and Criollos, to meet. Many goods from Patagonia and the Argentine Pampas were brought into Chillán across the mountain passes of the area. In the early 19th century, the countryside of Chillán was ravaged by the Chilean War of Independence and a subsequent banditry epidemic.[6] In 1939, the city was devastated by a large earthquake, prompting the government to initiate an extensive reconstruction program.



The zone where Chillán was built was previously inhabited by indigenous people called Chiquillanes.[7]

According to Friar Ernesto Wilhelm de Moesbach Chillán is etymologically derived from "chilla", an indigenous word for the South American gray fox.[8]

Chillán was founded in 1580 at the site of Chillán Viejo as San Bartolomé de Chillán by Martín Ruiz de Gamboa,[9] who was campaigning against the local indigenous peoples at the time, but this moniker did not fare well, and was replaced by the current name, which in the local Indian language means "where the Sun is sitting".

During the Mapuche uprising of 1655, the city was besieged by Mapuche warriors.[10] The Spanish defended the city from trenches and a palisade fort.[10][11] Hoping for a miracle, the Spaniards put an image of Mary near the trenches, against which Mapuches are said to have shot arrows.[10] In early March, about one month after the onset of uprising, distress was such that the Spaniards abandoned the city and headed north, escaping the conflict zone.[11] The Real Audiencia of Santiago declared the evacuation an act of cowardice, and prohibited refugees from Chillán to go beyond the Maule River north.[12] As an outbreak of smallpox occurred among the refugees, this was. in effect. a quarantine, as trespassing north was punished with death sentences.[12]

From its foundation, Chillán has been at the heart of Chile's rich agricultural region. It is also in a region of seismic activity, suffering from devastating earthquakes throughout its history; the 1939 Chillán earthquake left over 30,000 dead and mobilized international help.

Chile's founding father, Bernardo O'Higgins, was born in Chillán in 1778. He was the force behind Chile's Independence from Spain, being elected supreme director and declaring independence after the Battle of Chacabuco against the Spaniards in 1817. His later victory at the Maipo battlefield cemented the country's freedom. He died in exile in Peru in 1842.



Chillán has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb).[13] Winters are cool but mild, with a July average of 7.9 °C (46.2 °F). Most of the precipitation falls during this time of the year, with May to July being the wettest months, averaging over 200 mm (8 in).[14] Summers, though, are dry and warm, with a January average of 20.1 °C (68.2 °F), and during this time, precipitation is rare, averaging only 2–3 days per month from December to February. Temperatures can occasionally exceed 30 °C (86.0 °F) from October to April. The average annual precipitation is 1,058 mm (42 in), but it is highly variable from year to year, with 1982 being the wettest year at 1,813 mm (71 in) and 1998 being the driest year at only 473 mm (19 in).[14]

Climate data for Chillan (General Bernardo O'Higgins Airport) 1991–2020, extremes 1950–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 41.5
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 29.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 20.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 11.4
Record low °C (°F) 1.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 1.1 1.5 2.0 4.9 8.9 12.3 10.6 9.8 6.5 5.7 2.7 2.2 68.2
Average relative humidity (%) 50 53 58 68 80 85 83 78 72 67 60 54 67
Mean monthly sunshine hours 359.6 296.6 260.4 177.0 120.9 87.0 105.4 142.6 183.0 229.4 282.0 334.8 2,578.7
Mean daily sunshine hours 11.6 10.5 8.4 5.9 3.9 2.9 3.4 4.6 6.1 7.4 9.4 10.8 7.1
Source 1: Dirección Meteorológica de Chile (humidity 1970–2000)[15][16][14]
Source 2: NOAA (precipitation days 1991–2020),[17] Universidad de Chile (sunshine hours only)[18]

The air in Chillán is the fourth-most polluted in Chile, after Santiago, Temuco, and Concepción. "As in Temuco, the main cause of air pollution in Chillán is the use of wood-burning stoves; about 62% of all households in Chillán use firewood as their main source of heating."[19]



According to the 2002 census by the National Statistics Institute, the commune of Chillán spans an area of 511.2 km2 (197 sq mi) and has 161,953 inhabitants (77,007 men and 84,946 women). Of these, 148,015 (91.4%) lived in urban areas and 13,938 (8.6%) in rural areas. The population grew by 8.3% (12,442 persons) between the 1992 and 2002 censuses.[3]

The demonym for a person from Chillán, used for more than 400 years by local residents, is Chillanejo, yet this is not found in the Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary, which only recognizes Chillanense.[20]

Notable people

Claudio Arrau in 1974, by Allan Warren

Isabel Riquelme, mother of Chilean independence leader Bernardo O'Higgins, was born in Chillán in 1758. María Cornelia Olivares, one of the national heroines of the Chilean War of Independence, was also from the city. In addition, Chillán has produced a number of artists. A notable example is Claudio Arrau, a pianist. Additionally, Ramón Vinay is the tenor who played Otello in the 1950s, his recording of the role with Toscanini. He was a regular at the New York City Metropolitan Opera, where he sang both tenor and baritone roles. One of his last performances at this house was as the Barber of Seville's Basilio, a bass role. He retired from the stage in 1969.

Other "Chillanejos" include writer Marta Brunet, sculptor Marta Colvin, painter Pacheco Altamirano, and Juan de Dios Aldea, who, however, did not reach the international acclaim achieved by Arrau and Vinay. Super Smash Bros. player Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios who had a record-breaking 56-tournament winning streak is also from Chillán.



As a commune, Chillán is a third-level administrative division of Chile administered by a municipal council, headed by an alcalde, who is directly elected every four years. The 2008-2020 alcalde is Sergio Zarzar Andonie (ILE).[1][2]

Within the electoral divisions of Chile, Chillán is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Carlos Abel Jarpa (PRSD) and Rosauro Martínez (RN) as part of the 41st electoral district, together with Coihueco, Pinto, San Ignacio, El Carmen, Pemuco, Yungay and Chillán Viejo. The commune is represented in the Senate by Victor Pérez Varela (UDI) and Felipe Harboe (PPD) as part of the 13th senatorial constituency (Biobío-Coast).



The city of Chillán is connected to Chile's capital Santiago by both a modern highway and a rebuilt railway system TerraSur that makes the trip in less than five hours. TerraSur, which terminates in Chillán station, and the Alameda-Temuco train both operate on the railway connecting Chillan with Rancagua and Santiago.


See also



  1. ^ a b c "Municipality of Chillán" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Asociación Chilena de Municipalidades" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "National Statistics Institute" (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  4. ^ Call prefix for Chillán
  5. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Chillán" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 161.
  6. ^ Villalobos, Sergio; Silva, Osvaldo; Silva, Fernando; Estelle, Patricio (1974). Historia De Chile (14th ed.). Editorial Universitaria. ISBN 956-11-1163-2, pp. 406–413
  7. ^ "- Chiquillanes, pehuenches y tehuelches, pueblos aborígenes chilenos". Archived from the original on 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  8. ^ de Moesbach, Ernesto Wilhelm (2016) [1944]. Voz de Arauco (in Spanish). Santiago: Ceibo. p. 56. ISBN 978-956-359-051-7.
  9. ^ - El destino infausto de una ciudad
  10. ^ a b c Barros Arana 2000, p. 352.
  11. ^ a b Barros Arana 2000, p. 357.
  12. ^ a b Barros Arana 2000, p. 360.
  13. ^ Kottek, M.; J. Grieser; C. Beck; B. Rudolf; F. Rubel (2006). "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated" (PDF). Meteorol. Z. 15 (3): 259–263. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c "Estadistica Climatologica Tomo II" (PDF) (in Spanish). Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil. March 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  15. ^ "Datos Normales y Promedios Históricos" (in Spanish). Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil. September 2018. Archived from the original on 23 May 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  16. ^ "Temperatura Histórica de la Estación General Bernardo O'Higgins, Chillán Ad. (360011)" (in Spanish). Dirección Meteorológica de Chile. Archived from the original on 23 May 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  17. ^ "General Bernardo O'Higgins Chillán Climate Normals 1991–2020". World Meteorological Organization Climatological Standard Normals (1991–2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 6 August 2023. Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  18. ^ "Tabla 4.6: Medias mensuales de horas de sol diarias extraídas del WRDC ruso (en (hrs./dia))" (PDF). Elementos Para La Creación de Un Manual de Buenas Prácticas Para Instalaciones Solares Térmicas Domiciliarias (in Spanish). Universidad de Chile. September 2007. p. 81. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  19. ^ Severe air pollution plagues Chilean cities Friday, June 29th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
  20. ^ Chillanense - DRAE (Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary)