Talcahuano is a municipality and port city in the Biobio Region of Chile. It is part of the Greater Concepcion conurbation.
Talcahuano is located in the south of the central zone of Chile. Together with ten other municipalities, it forms part of the Province of Concepcion, which in turn is one of four provinces that forms the VIII Region or Biobio Region.
The municipality of Talcahuano has an area of 148.29 km and, according to the 2002 Census, has a population of 250,348 inhabitants. With a population density of 1,873 inhabitants per square kilometre, it is the seventh most populated city of the country.
The official foundation date of Talcahuano is November 5, 1764 when Antonio Guill y Gonzaga declared an official port. However, Talcahuano began to appear in history books as early as 1544 when Genoese captain Juan Bautista Pastene discovered the mouth of the Biobio river while exploring the coast in his ships San Pedro and Santiaguillo. In 1601 Alonso de Ribera built Fort Talcahueno to defend remaining Spanish settlements near Concepcion.
The city is named after an Araucanian chief, Talcahuenu, who inhabited the region at the arrival of the Spanish. In Mapudungun, the language of the indigenous Mapuches, Talcahuano means Thundering Sky.
The port was well known to American whaleships of the 19th century. They often put in for fresh water, food, and various forms of entertainment for the crews.
8.8 magnitude 27 February 2010 earthquake
On February 27, 2010 Talcahuano was devastated by the 8.8 magnitude 2010 Chile Earthquake and its subsequent tsunami. These back-to-back disasters left 80% of the city's residents homeless.The tsunami is estimated to have been more than 7.5 feet high. Time Magazine, "Chile: Prepared for the Quake but Not the Tsunami", Tim Padget, 1 March 2010 (accessed 4 March 2010) After a week, there are only 20 reported deaths, and 18 missing. The city government estimates that it will take 10 years to recover from the quake and 2.5m tsunami. The local government has been turning away tent aid, as they want to make permanent shelters rather than have permanent tent camps. Xinhua, "Destruction seen everywhere in tsunami-hit Chilean port", Alexander Manda, 7 March 2010 (accessed 8 March 2010)
Talcahuano contains Chile's main naval base which is home of the historical relic, the Huascar, a Peruvian ironclad ship (British-made), which was captured in 1879 during the War of the Pacific. It is also the base of the Chilean submarine fleet and the ASMAR shipyard.
Talcahuano entered football history when Ramon Unzaga Asla, a player for the local club Estrella del Mar, invented the famous bicycle kick (also known as "chilena") there in 1914.
The city is home to Club Deportivo Huachipato, a football club in Chile's [[Liga Chilena de Futbol: Primera Division|Primera Division]], playing at Estadio Las Higueras.
It featured prominently in Miles Smeeton's book Once Is Enough, a sailor's classic.Once Is Enough, by Miles Smeeton. International Marine Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-07-141431-2
It is mentioned by the character Charlie Marlow in Joseph Conrad's book Lord Jim.
Satellite view of Talcahuano (Google Maps)