Tacna Region

Tacna Region


Location of the Tacna Region in Peru
Coordinates: 17°36′S 70°12′W / 17.6°S 70.2°W / -17.6; -70.2Coordinates: 17°36′S 70°12′W / 17.6°S 70.2°W / -17.6; -70.2
Country Peru
Subdivisions 4 provinces and 26 districts
Capital Tacna
  President Tito Chocano (AP)
  Total 16,075.89 km2 (6,206.94 sq mi)
Elevation(Capital) 562 m (1,844 ft)
Highest elevation 3,415 m (11,204 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2005 Census)
  Total 274,496
  Density 17/km2 (44/sq mi)
Dialing code 052
ISO 3166 code PE-TAC
Principal resources Grapevine, cotton, copper.
Poverty rate 32.8%
Percentage of Peru's GDP 1.7%
Website www.regiontacna.gob.pe

Tacna is the southernmost region Peru. Its name originates from the Quechua words taka ("hit") and na ("something to do"), which would mean "a place to hit". This expression is thought to be related to the Quechua conquest of the Aymara people. Its capital is the city of Tacna.

Present-day Tacna Region was occupied by forces from neighboring Chile as a result of the War of the Pacific. Tacna was reincorporated into Peruvian sovereignty in 1929 and today it is known for being one of the most patriotic areas in the country.


The Tacna Region is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Moquegua Region on the north, the Puno Region on the northeast, the Bolivian La Paz Department on the east, and the Arica-Parinacota Region of Chile on the south. The border between the Tacna Region and Chile is known as La Línea de la Concordia.

The region is located below the Titicaca plateau, and has a diverse geography, including volcanoes, deserts and mountainous zones, from which arise rivers that go over the punas and the plateaus, thus forming the hydrographical system of this zone. The region is small in size, but has a great mining and agriculture potential. It has various climates and a diverse production.


This area has a large amount of sunshine year round due to its stable descending air and high pressure. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Tacna has a mild desert climate, abbreviated "Bwh" on climate maps.[1]


Inca Trail (Qhapaq Ñan) and terraces in Tarata (Pacific Rim).
Monument to the Battle of Tacna in the Alto de la Alianza, Cerro Intiorko in Tacna.
Miculla Petroglyphs, in the district of Pachía.
Fountain in Tacna.

Prehistoric era

There is evidence of the presence of a very early culture that goes back more than 10 000 years. The archaeological investigations in the region have proved that a civilization dwelled in this zone in the Stone Age. The Toquepala Caves (7630 BC) and Abrigo de Caru (6240 BC) belong to this age. There are other sites such as Girata Complex, Mullini, and Queñavichinca, where investigations have not been concluded.

Spanish conquest

The first groups of Spanish conquerors arrived to the region in 1535. These groups were formed by members of the Almagro expedition, organized to conquer Chile. During this time, the city of Tacna was called Villa San Pedro de Tacna. In 1615 and 1784 Tacna experienced violent earthquakes and many towns were reduced to ruins. However, they were rebuilt by their people who decided to stay in the same place.

Nineteenth century

Tacna has a seat of honor in the emancipation process. Since 1810, the local patriots, following the example of their Argentine neighbors, who had already declared their independence, started to conspire. In 1811, Francisco Antonio De Zela, sent forth the first libertarian outcry in Tacna. Once the Peruvian independence was consummated, the heroism of this city was honored by promoting it to the rank of villa on 1823. On May 26, 1828, President José de La Mar promulgated a law given by Congress by which the city of Tacna was given the title of Ciudad Heroica (Heroic City).

During the War of the Pacific against Chile, the tacneños placed themselves in the front line, offering their lives defending the nation.

On May 26, 1880, after the Battle of Alto de la Alianza, the Chilean army occupied the Tacna province and remained there for five decades. Despite this long occupation, the Tacneños kept their national pride high and, finally under the terms of the 1929 Treaty of Lima, the city was reincorporated into Peru.

Maritime dispute

On January 26, 2007, Peru’s government issued a protest against Chile’s demarcation of the coastal frontier the two countries share. Peruvian President Alan García recalled his ambassador to Chile, Hugo Otero, to Lima to consult about the controversy over the maritime boundary the two countries share. According to the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, the Chilean legislatures endorsed a plan regarding the Arica and Parinacota region which does not comply with the current, established demarcation of the border. Moreover, they allege that the proposed Chilean law includes an assertion of sovereignty over 19,000 square metres of land in Peru's Department of Tacna.

According to the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, Chile had defined a new region "without respecting the Concordia demarcation." The Peruvian government maintained that the dispute over the Chilean plan is part of an ongoing maritime dispute whereby Chile has tried to use the demarcation process to extend its maritime frontier. Over the past 50 years, Peru has maintained claims over roughly 40,000 square kilometers of ocean territory. The Chilean government has asserted that the region in dispute is not a coastal site named Concordia, but instead refers to boundary stone No. 1, which is located to the northeast and 200 meters inland.[2]

Given that the proposed Chilean law does not recognize the borderline established by both nations in the 1929 agreement, Peru lodged diplomatic protests with Chile. In the complex territorial dispute, Chile is asserting the border near the Pacific Ocean to fit in the geographical parallel, which Lima asserts will cut off at least 19,000 squares meters ? of the Peruvian territory.[3]

A possible border dispute was averted when the Chilean Constitutional Court ruled on January 26, 2007 unconstitutional legislation. Peru said "could be seen as a move by Chile to encroach on its maritime territorial sovereignty". While agreeing with the court's ruling, the Chilean government reiterated its stance that the maritime borders between the two nations were not in question and have been formally by the international community.[4]

Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia has expressed that his country may turn to the international court at The Hague but has said that the necessary documents for that action are not ready.[5]

On January 28, 2007 Peru’s leading newspaper El Comercio reported that the President of the Cabinet of Ministers (Consejo de Ministros del Perú), Jorge del Castillo, expressed his grave concern over the pending maritime dispute with Chile.[6]

Political division

Map of the Tacna region showing its provinces

The Tacna Region is divided into four provinces (Spanish: provincias, singular: provincia), which are composed of 26 districts (distritos, singular: distrito).


The provinces, with their capitals in parenthesis, are:


Tacna's main income earner is copper mining. Agriculturally, Tacna produces 53.15% of the whole olive crop in Peru. It also produces maize, potatoes, wheat, cotton, oregano, alfalfa and grapevine (for the production of wine and pisco). It also has a sizable herd of dairy cattle and lamb.

In addition to mining and agriculture fishing is also important, Tacna's sea is abundant in fish resources.

Local customs

Typical dishes and beverages

Tacna offers visitors colorful dishes exquisitely combined and abundantly served. The picante a la Tacneña and patazca Tacneña belong to this region.

Corn and cheese, chicharrones with toasted corn, cuy or guinea pig chactado, corn cake with peanuts and raisins, baked pork, grilled lamb, are also local specialties.

To drink, Tacna has macerated Brussels apricot, frutilla or tumbo, and wines produced in the local vineyards.


Carnivals. They are celebrated in different towns and villages with typical local dances that can go on for entire days and nights.


  1. Climate Summary for Tacna, Peru
  2. Peru protests against Chile's new definition of territory Xinhua People’s Daily online. (accessed January 27, 2007)
  3. Prensa Latina
  4. Chilean court ruling averts looming border dispute with Peru - International Herald Tribune
  5. “Peru-Chile Sea Dispute May Go to The Hague” Lima, Jan 27, 2007 Prensa Latina (accessed Jan 28 2007)
  6. El Comercio /Politica/Lunes, 29 de enero de 2007
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