Vicuña is a Chilean commune and city in Elqui Province, Coquimbo Region, founded during the government of Bernardo O'Higgins to secure sovereignty over the Elqui Valley. Poet Gabriela Mistral was born there in 1889, it shares borders to the west with the communes of La Higuera, La Serena and Andacollo, to the east with Argentina and to the south with Paihuano and Rio Hurtado. The commune is administered by the municipality of Vicuña, the principal city of the Valle de Elqui; the Vicuña commune covers an area of 7,609.8 km2, making it the largest commune in both the province and the Coquimbo Region, the second-largest commune in the country. Vicuña occupies the major part of the mid and upper Elqui River basin, the entire length of the Turbio river; the area is dominated by a mountainous backdrop, extensive plains on the valley floor, where high-quality grapes for pisco are grown, along with other fruits and vegetables. The La Punilla, Balalita, Los Tilos mountain ranges contain several peaks with altitudes over 4,000 m.
According to the 2002 census by the National Statistics Institute, the commune covers an area of 7,609.8 km2 and has a population of 24,010 inhabitants. The population grew 10.8% between 1992 and 2002. There are 12,910 inhabitants in the urban area of 11,100 in rural areas. Vicuña is a major center for pisco production. Cooperativa Agrícola Pisquera Elqui Limitada runs the main pisco distillery in the zone. Economic activity centers on the culture of grapes, fruits and vegetables. Other industries include iron and copper mining. Tourism has grown in the last few years due to quality hotels and restaurants; the area around Vicuña experiences 300 clear days and nights annually, several large astronomical observatories are located nearby, including the touristic Mammalluca Observatory. The urban area is made up of buildings from around 1900; the city has a square of ancient trees, which displays sculptures that honor Gabriela Mistral, awarded the Nobel prize in literature. Other points of interest include the Temple of the Immaculate Conception.
A few kilometres outside town is the Route of the Grappa, visiting the factories known as pisqueras: Ruta Norte, Mistral, Tres Erres and Artesanos de Cochiguaz. The Mammalluca Observatory located 9 km north of Vicuña, has education programs. At the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, daily tourist visits are offered; the commune is administered by the alcalde Fernando Guamán Guamán, advised by a municipal council of six members: René Ahumada Tapia Simón Alquinta Sirvent Carmen Luz Rojas Araya Silvia Piñones Rivera Mario Aros Carvajal Leonor Ortega Wanders Within the electoral divisions of Chile, Vicuña is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by deputies Marcelo Díaz and Mario Bertolino as a part of the 7th electoral district. The commune is represented in the Senate by senators Evelyn Matthei and Jorge Pizarro as part of the 4th senatorial constituency. Julio Alberto Mercado Illanes Municipality of Vicuña Portal de Elqui Vicuña's Map
American Industrial Ballads is a studio album by American folk singer Pete Seeger. It was released in 1956 by Folkways Records, it was reissued in 1992 by Smithsonian Folkways. Seeger sings songs of struggle which emerged from the coal mines, textile mills and acres of farmland, spoke of issues important to the American laborer. Twenty-four songs written about the unprecedented industrialization of the 19th century, including "Peg and Awl", "The Farmer is the Man", "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues". Irwin Silber's notes provide its role in American popular music; the cover design for the 1992 reissue was done by Carol Hardy. Writing for Allmusic William Ruhlman wrote "Seeger presents the songs straightforwardly with only occasional flourishes, intent on getting the meanings across." He continued, "Taken together, they chronicle a century and a half of the efforts of farmers, textile workers, miners to get what they deserve from rich and powerful captains of industry."