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Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works

During the first half of the 19th century up through WWII, in the isolated Pampa desert, thousands of Chlean, Bolivian and Peruvian workers came together to process the largest deposit of saltpeter in the world. The saltpeter, in turn, was produced into fertilizer sodium nitrate used globally to morph agricultural land. During the world wars, the saltpeter was also used in explosives. The works themselves were actually built and operated during a time when northern Chile was part of Peru. This distinctive working circumstance resulted in a rich, unique and communal Pampino culture all its own. Each of the 200 original saltpeter sites were linked by a series of trains and represent the technological progress of an era.

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