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city, northern Chile. It is located on a rocky peninsula in the rainless Atacama Desert, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Its anchorage is protected from the open sea by the low, barren offshore island of Serrano, which is connected to the mainland by a stone causeway. Founded in the 16th century, the city was partially destroyed in 1868 and 1875 by earthquakes, but some wooden houses from that time still stand. During the desert's nitrate boom of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Iquique was Chile's major export port. Following the decline in nitrate prices during the 1930s and 1940s, the city stagnated.