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city, central Chile, in the Central Valley near the Maule River. Founded in 1692, it was destroyed by earthquakes in 1742 and 1928; completely rebuilt, it is now a major urban centre midway between Santiago, 160 miles (260 km) to the north-northeast, and Concepcion. It lies in the nation's greatest wine-making zone and contains Chile's largest match industry, as well as shoe, biscuit, bed, chocolate, and noodle factories; paper and flour mills; distilleries; foundries; and a tannery. The University of Talca was founded in 1981. A transportation hub, Talca is on the Pan-American Highway and the main north-south railroad. A branch railroad runs west from the city to the coastal city of Constitucion, and a road crosses the Andes into Argentina. Pop. (2002) city, 189,505.