La Serena, city of 154,521 inhabitants (2002), on the mouth of the Elqui River and on the Pan-American Highway some 265 miles north of Santiago, Chile, and capital of the Coquimbo region (2002 population 627,622). The city was founded in 1544 by Juan Bohón, one of Pedro de Valdivia's lieutenants, to secure the land route toward southern Peru. It became a center of the mining activities conducted in the southern part of the Norte Chico and of the fruit and brandy industry of the Elqui Valley. The well-protected port of Coquimbo, 10 miles to the south, has served as its outlet to the sea. Overwhelmed by the political hegemony of Santiago and the commercial prowess of Valparaíso, La Serena has become a placid provincial city without major ambitions, beautified by the public works with which past president Gabriel González Videla commemorated his city of birth.
See alsoChile, Geography .
Guido Veliz Cantuarias, "Conurbación La Serena—Coquimbo," in Revista Geográfica (Mexico) 111 (1990): 219-258.
Cavieres Figueroa, Eduardo. La Serena en el s. XVIII: Las dimensiones del poder local en una sociedad regional. Valparaíso: Ediciones Universitarias de Valparaíso, Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, 1993.
Villarejo, Avencio. La Serena, de Cenicienta a princesa: Monografía de la IV Región de Coquimbo desde la prehistoria hasta nuestro días. Santiago: Ediciones Agustinianas, 1995.
CÉsar N. Caviedes
La Serena (lä sārā´nä), city (1990 est. pop. 105,600), capital of Coquimbo region, N central Chile, on the Elqui River. A commercial and agricultural center in a region of orchards and vineyards, it is a popular resort. La Serena was founded in 1543, destroyed by indigenous peoples in 1549, and sacked by the English in 1680. It was the site of Chile's declaration of independence in 1818. Often damaged by earthquakes, La Serena is a city of Old World charm, noted for its cathedral, fine buildings, and gardens.