Chillán (chēyänˈ) [key], city (1990 est. pop. 145,972), Bío-Bío region, S central Chile. It was formerly the capital of Ñuble prov. Located in Chile's central valley, the city is a leading agricultural and commercial center as well as a gateway to Andean ski resorts. Agricultural products include wine, grain, fruit, vegetables, lumber, flour, and farm animals; footwear is manufactured. Founded in the 16th cent., it was destroyed by earthquake and flood in 1751 but was rebuilt and played a prominent role in the revolution against Spain. Bernardo O'Higgins, the liberator of Chile, was born in Chillán. One of the world's worst earthquakes leveled Chillán in 1939, claiming 10,000 lives. Subsequently rebuilt, the city suffered significant damage in the 2010 earthquake.
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