Valdivia, city (1990 est. pop. 113,500), capital of Valdivia prov., S central Chile, on the Valdivia River. It is a leading commercial and industrial center. Founded in 1552, it was a fortress in the defense against the Araucanians and was a royalist center during the war of liberation. The city did not grow until the arrival in the mid-19th cent. of German immigrants who founded the first industries (beer and shoes). Valdivia was devastated by an earthquake in 1960 but has been largely rebuilt. Valdivia has a university and an airport.