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region, northern Chile, bordering Argentina to the east and fronting the Pacific Ocean to the west. It lies in an arid to semiarid area of east-west valleys and brush-covered ridges called the Norte Chico ("Little North"). It was one of the eight original Chilean provinces created in 1826; its present boundaries date from 1929, and internal administrative structure dates from 1974. It comprises Elqui, Limari, and Choapa provinces.