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Arica is a port city of 180,000 in Tarapacá Province, in the sparsely populated Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The first Europeans to pass through the region were those of the Diego de Almagro expedition. The town was founded by Spaniards in 1570 as San Marcos de Arica. The entrance to the bay is marked by El Morro peak.

During colonial times Arica was a main conduit between Lima and the silver mines of Upper Peru. In the 1680s piracy along the Pacific coast threatened shipping, causing Arica's importance to decline. Proclamation of intra-imperial free trade in 1778 gave Arica renewed vigor as a commercial way station.

Following independence, Arica was initially part of Peru and provided Bolivia a conduit to the sea. During the War of the Pacific (1879–1884), the city surrendered to the attacking Chileans on 7 June 1880, following a bloody siege. The Treaty of Ancón, signed on October 20, 1883, left Arica in Chilean hands; a future plebiscite was to determine Arica's ultimate disposition. Peru and Chile disputed ownership of the province until the United States mediated the Treaty of 1929, which confirmed Chilean possession and gave neighboring Tacna to Peru. The treaty also stipulated that transfer of Arica or other territory in the region to Bolivia required approval of both Peru and Chile, a condition that has led to ongoing and unsuccessful trinational negotiations ever since. Arica's cathedral was designed by Gustave Eiffel. The city is connected by railroad with Tacna in Peru and La Paz; it remains a free port for Bolivia.

See alsoAncón, Treaty of (1883); Chile: The Nineteenth Century; Peru: From the Conquest Through Independence; War of the Pacific.


Anaya, Ricardo. Arica trinacional: Bolivia, Chile, Perú: Una fórmula de paz, integración y desarrollo. La Paz: Los Amigos del Libro, 1987.

Dagnino, Vicente. El correjimiento de Arica: 1535–1784. Arica, Chile: Imprenta La Época, 1909.

St. John, Ronald Bruce. Boundaries, Trade, and Seaports: Power Politics in the Atacama Desert. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.

                                     Kendall W. Brown

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A psychophysical system developed by Oscar Ichazo and named after the town in Chile where Ichazo first trained members. The system includes meditation and exercises connected with vibrations, sounds, and movements to produce a state of enhanced consciousness called "Permanent 24." Arica is a body-mind system adapted from a variety of Eastern and Western mystical teachings of a Gurdjieff type. Teaching centers have been established in a number of American cities, with headquarters at the Arica Institute, 150 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011.


Ichazo, Oscar. The Human Process for Enlightenment and Freedom. New York: Arica Institute, 1976.

Interviews with Oscar Ichazo. New York: Arica Institute Press, 1982.

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Arica (ärē´kä), city (1992 pop. 170,064), N Chile, on the Pacific Ocean, just south of the Peruvian border and at the northern limit of the Atacama Desert. Peru ceded Arica to Chile after the War of the Pacific (see Pacific, War of the). With the settlement of the Tacna-Arica Controversy in 1929, Chile retained sovereignty over the city but was required to furnish complete port facilities to Peru. The district of Arica is now a free zone where both Chile and Peru maintain customshouses. The city is a resort and a port through which the mineral exports (chiefly copper, tin, and sulfur) of both countries are shipped. Like much of Chile, Arica is subject to powerful earthquakes; particularly devastating earthquakes and tsunamis occurred in 1868 and 1877.