Copiapó was officially founded in 1744 by Don Francisco Cortés, who called it Villa San Francisco de La Selva. Originally a tambo, or resting place, Copiapó was where Diego de Almagro recuperated after his grueling journey south from Peru in 1535. The 19th-century silver strikes solidified Copiapó's status as an important city in the region. The town has a lovely central park, Plaza Prat, lined with 100-year-old pepper trees.
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