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La Concepción de María Purísima
del Nuevo Extremo (original name)
Flag of Concepcion
Coat of arms
Biobío's Pearl
La Capital del Sur de Chile
The Capital of the South of Chile
Comuna de Concepción
Location of Concepción commune in the Biobío Region
Concepción is located in Chile
Location in Chile
Country Chile
Region Biobío
Province Concepción
Founded October 5, 1550
Founded by Pedro de Valdivia
 • Type Municipality
 • City and Commune 222 km2 (86 sq mi)
 • City and Commune 292,589
 • Density 1,318/km2 (3,410/sq mi)
 • Metro
Demonym(s) Penquista
Time zone UTC−4 (CLT)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−3 (CLST)
Post code
Telephone prefix 56 + 41
Website Municipality of Concepción

Concepción is the second city in importance of the Republic of Chile with 889,725 inhabitants (2002 census).


Plaza de la Independencia (1910)
Plaza de la Independencia, the Plaza de Armas of Concepción, 1910

Concepción was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1550 north of the Bío-Bío River, at the site which is today known as Penco. At that time it was given the name Concepción del Nuevo Extremo. The new settlement of Concepción was just a few kilometers north of La Frontera (The Frontier), the boundary between Spanish territory and the land of the Mapuche, an American Indian ethnic group that remained independent until the 1870s. The settlement was formally recognized by the Spanish authorities as a town two years later by a royal decree. It was given a coat-of-arms that is still in use today.

Earthquakes and tsunamis, which razed the town in 1570, 1657, 1687, 1730 and 1751, led the authorities to move the town to its current site in the Valle de la Mocha, alongside the Bío-Bío River.

27 February 2010 Earthquake

2010 Chile earthquake - Building destroyed in Concepción
20-story building building Alto Río overturned and collapsed at February 2010 Chile earthquake.

On February 27, 2010, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Concepción, killing more than 700 people and injuring thousands nationwide. Following the earthquake, geologists relying on global positioning satellite (GPS) data concluded that the city had been displaced roughly 3 meters (10 feet) to the west as a result of the event. Fortunately, the city avoided the tsunami that followed the earthquake.


The climate of Concepción is classified as Köppen climate classification csb, with a dry summer nadir in February. It has an oceanic influence which keeps temperatures mild throughout the year. Wet snows are possible in winter, but snow does not remain for long. The chart at right provides a climate summary for Concepción.

Cultural life

To an outsider, there may be confusion between the demonyms of the inhabitants of Concepción and the nearby city of Penco. Due to the previous location of Concepción being where Penco currently stands, inhabitants of Concepción are called penquistas while inhabitants of Penco are known as pencones.

Concepción is one of the most active cities in Chilean rock music and many famous rock groups in Chile started up in Concepción. cepción has the second largest concentration of universities in Chile, and is home to three major universities. Concepción currently has four traditional universities:


Twin Towns

  • Ida Stevenson Weldon Vernon (1969) Pedro de Valdivia, Conquistador of Chile, Greenwood Press
  • John Milton Nickles, Marie Siegrist (1965) Bibliography and Index of Geology Exclusive of North America, Geological Society of America, v.28

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Concepción para niños

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