1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Serena
SERENA, or La Serena, a city of Chile, capital of the province of Coquimbo, on the S. bank of the Coquimbo river about 5 m. from the sea. Pop. (1895) 15,712; (1902, estimate) 19,536. As the see of a bishop and the most important town politically of the semi-arid region, it contains a number of important public edifices, including a cathedral (1844–1860; 216 ft. long, 66 ft. wide) built of a light porous stone, an episcopal residence, several convents, a large hospital, an orphans’ asylum, a beggars asylum and a lazaretto. It is the seat of a court of appeal for Atacama and Coquimbo, and has an excellent lyceum and other schools, including a school of mines. It has a good water supply, well-paved streets, gas illumination, tramway service and several small industries, including brewing and the making of fruit conserves. The annual rainfall is only 1·6 in. and its mean annual temperature is 59·2°. Its railway connexions include a line to Coquimbo (9 m.), its port, one to the Tamaya copper mines, and a narrow-gauge line up the valley of the Elqui to Guanta, through a region celebrated for its fruit. It is also in direct railway communication with the national capital.
Serena was founded by Juan Bohon in 1544, on the opposite side of the river, and was named after Pedro Valdivia’s birthplace in Estremadura, Spain. It was destroyed by the Indians soon after, and was rebuilt on its present site in 1549 by Francisco de Aguirre.