La Serena (lä sārāˈnä) [key], city (1990 est. pop. 105,600), capital of Coquimbo region, N central Chile, on the Elqui River. A commercial and agricultural center in a region of orchards and vineyards, it is a popular resort. La Serena was founded in 1543, destroyed by indigenous peoples in 1549, and sacked by the English in 1680. It was the site of Chile's declaration of independence in 1818. Often damaged by earthquakes, La Serena is a city of Old World charm, noted for its cathedral, fine buildings, and gardens.
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