City and Commune
Montaje de Arica.jpg
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Map of Arica y Parinacota Region
Map of Arica y Parinacota Region
Location in Chile
Location in Chile
Location in Chile
Nickname(s): "City of the eternal spring"
Coordinates (city): 18°29′S 70°20′W / 18°29′S 70°20′W / -18.483; -70.333
Country Chile
Region Arica y Parinacota
 • TypeMunicipality
 • AlcaldeSalvador Urrutia (PRO)
 • Total4,799.4 km2 (1,853.1 sq mi)
Elevation2 m (7 ft)
Population (2012)[2]
 • Total210,216
 • Density44/km2 (110/sq mi)
 • Urban175,441
 • Rural9,827
 • Male91,742
 • Female93,526
Time zoneCLT (UTC−4)
 • Summer (DST)CLST (UTC−3)
Postal code1000000
Area code(s)+56 58
WebsiteOfficial website (in Spanish)

Arica (ə/ REE-kə; Spanish: [aˈɾika]) is a commune and a port city with a population of 196,590 in the Arica Province of northern Chile's Arica y Parinacota Region. It is Chile's northernmost city, being located only 18 km (11 mi) south of the border with Peru. The city is the capital of both the Arica Province and the Arica and Parinacota Region. Arica has a mild, temperate climate with some of the lowest annual rainfall rates anywhere in the world, consequently there are rarely any clouds over Arica.[3] Arica is located at the bend of South America's western coast known as the Arica Bend or Arica Elbow. At the location of the city are two lush valleys that dissect the Atacama Desert converge: Azapa and Lluta. These valleys provide fruit for export.[4]

Arica is an important port for a large inland region of South America. The city serves a free port for Bolivia and manages a substantial part of that country's trade.[4] In addition it is the end station of the Bolivian oil pipeline beginning in Oruro.[4] The city's strategic position is enhanced by being next to the Pan-American Highway, being connected to both Tacna in Peru and La Paz in Bolivia by railroad and being served by an international airport.

Its mild weather has made Arica known as the "city of the eternal spring" in Chile while its beaches are frequented by Bolivians.[4] The city was an important port already during Spanish colonial rule. Chile seized the city from Peru in 1880 following the War of the Pacific and was recognized as Chilean by Peru in 1929. A substantial part of African Chileans live in or trace their origins to Arica.


Archaeological findings indicate that Arica was inhabited by different native groups dating back 10,000 years.

Colonial period

Spaniards settled the land under captain Lucas Martinez de Begazo in 1541, and in 1570, the area was grandly retitled as "La Muy Ilustre y Real Ciudad San Marcos de Arica" (the very illustrious and royal city of San Marcos of Arica). By 1545, Arica was the main export entrepot for Bolivian silver coming down from Potosí, which then possessed the world's largest silver mine. Arica thus held the crucial role as one of the leading ports of the Spanish Empire. The envious riches made Arica the target for pirates, buccaneers, and privateers, among whom Francis Drake,[5] Thomas Cavendish, Richard Hawkins, Joris van Spilbergen, John Watling, Simon de Cordes, Leandro de Valencia, Bartholomew Sharp, William Dampier, and John Clipperton all took part in looting the city.

Peruvian period (1821–1880)

Following the collapse of Spanish rule, in 1821, Arica was part of the recently independent Peruvian Republic. The Peruvian Constitution of 1823 regards it as a province of the Department of Arequipa.

In 1855, Peru inaugurated the Arica-Tacna railroad (53 km long), one of the first in Latin America. The rail line still functions today.

The 1868 earthquake devastated the city, leaving it in ruins under the Morro de Arica.

The earthquake of August 13, 1868 struck near the city with an estimated magnitude of 8.0 to 9.0 Estimates on the death toll vary greatly, some estimates have the number at 25,000 to 70,000 people.[6] Others estimate that the population of Arica was less than 3,000 people and the death toll was around 300.[citation needed] It triggered a tsunami, measurable across the Pacific in Hawaii, Japan and New Zealand. As Arica lies very close to the subduction zone known as the Peru–Chile Trench where the Nazca Plate dives beneath the South American Plate, the city is subject to megathrust earthquakes.

Chilenization period (1880–1929)

Depiction of the Battle of Arica, 7 June 1880

Chilean forces occupied the region following the War of the Pacific. The Treaty of Ancón in 1883 formally acceded the region to Chilean control. The 1929 Tacna-Arica compromise in the Treaty of Lima subsequently restored Tacna to Peru but Arica remained part of Chile.

Modern Arica (1929–present)

In 1958, the Chilean Government established the "Junta de Adelanto de Arica" (Board of Development for Arica), which promulgated many tax incentives for the establishment of industries, such as vehicle assembly plants, a tax-free zone, and a casino, among others.[7] Many car manufacturers opened plants in Arica, such as Citroën, Peugeot, Volvo, Ford and General Motors, which produced the Chevrolet LUV pickup until 2008.

In 1975, together with Chile's new open economy policies, the "Junta de Adelanto de Arica" was abolished.

The Arica and Parinacota Region was created on October 8, 2007 under Law 20.175, promulgated on March 23, 2007 by President Michelle Bachelet in the city of Arica.

Other Languages
Acèh: Arica
Afrikaans: Arica
Akan: Arica
Alemannisch: Arica
Ænglisc: Arica
Аҧсшәа: Арика
العربية: أريكا
asturianu: Arica
Avañe'ẽ: Arica
Aymar aru: Arica
Bân-lâm-gú: Arica
беларуская: Арыка
български: Арика
Boarisch: Arica
català: Arica
čeština: Arica
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Arica
dansk: Arica
Deutsch: Arica
eesti: Arica
Ελληνικά: Αρίκα
español: Arica
euskara: Arica
فارسی: آریکا
français: Arica (Chili)
한국어: 아리카
Հայերեն: Արիկա
हिन्दी: एरिका
hrvatski: Arica
Ido: Arica
Ilokano: Arica
Bahasa Indonesia: Arica, Chili
íslenska: Arica
italiano: Arica
עברית: אריקה
kalaallisut: Arica
ქართული: არიკა
Kiswahili: Arica
Kreyòl ayisyen: Arica
Latina: Arica
latviešu: Arika
lietuvių: Arika
magyar: Arica
مصرى: أريكا
Nederlands: Arica (stad)
norsk: Arica
occitan: Arica
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਆਰੀਕਾ
پنجابی: آریکا
Piemontèis: Arica
polski: Arica
português: Arica
română: Arica, Chile
rumantsch: Arica
Runa Simi: Arika
русский: Арика
Scots: Arica
shqip: Arica
Simple English: Arica
سنڌي: اريڪا
slovenčina: Arica (mesto)
slovenščina: Arica
српски / srpski: Арика
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Arica
suomi: Arica
svenska: Arica
Taqbaylit: Arica
Türkçe: Arica
українська: Аріка
اردو: آریکا
Tiếng Việt: Arica
Volapük: Arica
文言: 阿里卡
Winaray: Arica, Chile
ייִדיש: אריקא
粵語: 阿列卡
Zazaki: Arica
žemaitėška: Arėka
中文: 阿里卡