24 February 1881
| University of La Frontera, Temuco Catholic University|
Temuco is a city and commune, capital of the Cautin Province and of the Araucania Region in southern Chile. The city is located 670 kilometres (416 miles) south of Santiago at the heart of the modern Araucania Region and historic Araucania—the land of the Mapuche who resisted Spanish conquest.
Temuco was founded by Chilean military in Mapuche territory 1881 during the occupation of Araucania and grew quickly into one of Chiles main cities. Temuco grew as a consequence of the livestock, wheat and forestry boom that its surrounding countryside experienced between 1890 up to the 1940s. Nobel Poets Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda both lived in Temuco for some time.
Temucos central place in Araucania with easy access to the Andean valleys and the coast makes it a hub for agricultural, livestock and forestry operations as well as communication and trade centre for the numerous small towns of Araucania.
The city was founded on February 24, 1881 as a fort during the Occupation of the Araucania. Manuel Recabarren, in charge of the project, named the place Fuerte (Fort) Recabarren.
Formed as a military encampment, Temuco had in its origins the attributes of a camp, and a year after its founding, the first major streets started to form in the downtown area.
On April 15, 1888, the first city officers were elected including the first mayor Jose del Rosario Munoz. The city grew quickly; a census in 1895 indicated a population of 7,708 people, and when Cautin was declared a province, Temuco became its capital, with its population by that time of 16,037 people.
Chilean poetry has deep roots in Temuco. Nobel Poets Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda (Neftali Reyes) both lived in Temuco. Mistral was the principal of an all-girls school where Neruda would visit her and show her his first verses when he was around 15 years old.
In 2010 Temuco was affected by the earthquake on February 27 centered 400 km (250 mi) to the north. It was one of the most affected regions of Chile besides Santiago, Concepcion, Valparaiso and others. The earthquake registered 8.8 Mw on the moment magnitude scale. Though landlocked Temuco avoided the tsunamis the earthquake caused, many very strong aftershocks throughout the country followed, including a 7.1 MW earthquake 70 km (43 mi) northwest of the city. Temuco continues to rebuild from the disaster, and the alpine region hopes to be awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics, though the host city is Santiago or the alternative site, Chillan, with plans for an Olympic ceremony stadium under way.
Temuco, capital of the Araucania Region, is located in the center-south of Chile, equidistant between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes. Morphologically, the city placement corresponds to Cautin River-originated fluvial land masses that developed in a crushed form between two hills, Nielol (350m) and Conunhueno (360m).
The city is surrounded by an environment typical to central-southern Chile, consisting mostly of plantations of coniferous forests in the midst of a central prairie of deciduous forests, moraines and cones next to the foothills of the Andes. The zone produces many crops and fruits, and has an abundance of forests, particularly alerce, roble and lingue. Despite all this, air quality has deteriorated because burning wood is the primary source of heat for most of the city. Air pollution is diminished in winter by the frequent rains. Nevertheless, air in Temuco remains the second most polluted in Chile, after Santiago.