Elqui River

Coordinates: 29°53′40″S 71°16′30″W / 29.89444°S 71.27500°W / -29.89444; -71.27500
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Elqui River
The Elqui River on the map
Physical characteristics
 • locationJunction of Turbio River and Claro River (Elqui)
 • elevation815 m (2,674 ft)[1]
 • location
Pacific Ocean
Basin size9,826 km2 (3,794 sq mi)[1]

The Elqui River starts in the west Andes and flows into the Pacific Ocean near the Chilean city of La Serena. It is a wine and pisco producing area.[2] Vicuña, the main town of the middle valley, was the home of Nobel Laureate poet Gabriela Mistral.[citation needed]

The invasive plant species Limnobium laevigatum is present in the river which is its northernmost locale in Chile.[3]

Indigenous cultures of the Elqui Valley[edit]

About a quarter of the toponymy in Elqui Valley is of indigenous origin, overwhelmingly Quechua and Mapuche.[4] There is scant Diaguita (Kakan) toponimy known in the area despite it being considered a homeland of that people by various authors.[4] Quechua toponimy is related to valleys incorporation to the Inca Empire in the late 15th and early 16th-century. Some Mapuche toponimy posdates Inca rule, but other may be coeval or even precede it.[4] Toponyms recognised as Nahua, Kunza, Diaguita, Aymara and Taino make together up less than 10% of the all placenames in Elqui Valley.[4]

It is generally accepted that incorporation of north-central Chile to the Inca Empire was through warfare which caused a severe depopulation in the Transverse Valleys of Norte Chico, the wider Diaguita homeland.[5] Chilean toponimy in Tarija, Bolivia, including "Erqui" along with other evidence have been interpreted to suggest that Incas deported defeated tribes from Elqui Valley to southern Bolivia.[6][7] After or during conquest Incas would have settled foreign tribes in Elqui Valley,[7] and ended up imposing Quechua placenames on the local geography.[4] There is uncertainty about the date of these transfers.[4][7] Chronicler Diego de Rosales tells of an anti-Inca rebellion in the Diaguita lands of Coquimbo and Copiapó concurrent with the Inca Civil War.[8] This rebellion would have been brutally repressed by the Incas who gave rebels "great chastise".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (in Spanish) Cuenca del río Elqui Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Elqui Valley Wine Region". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  3. ^ San Martín, Cristina; Contreras, Domingo; Vidal, Osvaldo; Solís, José Luis; Ramírez, Carlos (2021). "Distribución en Chile y colonización del río Cayumapu (Valdivia) por el macrófito acuático invasor Limnobium laevigatum" [Distribution in Chile and colonization in Cayumapu river (Valdivia) of the invasive aquatic macrophyte Limnobium laevigatum]. Gayana. Botánica (in Spanish). 78 (1).
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carvajal Lazo, Herman. "Toponimia indigena del valle de Elqui". Academia.edu (in Spanish). pp. 1–16. Archived from the original on 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2022-05-18.
  5. ^ Ampuero Brito, Gonzalo (1978). Cultura diaguita (in Spanish). Departamento de Extensión Cultural del Ministerio de Educación. p. 45.
  6. ^ Patiño, Roberto (January 20, 2019). "Churumatas y tomatas, la conexión chilena en Tarija". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Cortés Larravide, Enrique (2016). "¿Existió un grupo llamado Copiapó en el valle homónimo? Reflexiones a partir de los testimonios coloniales". Revista Tiempo Histórico (in Spanish). 7 (12): 17–32.
  8. ^ a b Silva Galdames, Osvaldo (1983). "¿Detuvo la batalla del Maule la expansión inca hacia el sur de Chile?". Cuadernos de Historia (in Spanish). 3: 7–25. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
29°53′40″S 71°16′30″W / 29.89444°S 71.27500°W / -29.89444; -71.27500