Humberstone Entrance

Into the Pampa

Humberstone is one of two locations, 1 kilometre apart, of this World Heritage Site.

Santa Laura conserves industrial installations used for saltpeter processing such as a saltpeter grinder that remain intact today,

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Humberstone demonstrates the settlements, such as the living quarters, public spaces and the regular grid pattern of the Camp, with a main square around which communal buildings are clustered. There was such a dense congregation of people it formed an urban environment.

We traveled the 34 miles from the Port of Iquique to explore Humberstone then continue on 32 miles on the Pan American highway, the world’s longest “motorable road”, to view ancient geoglphs at Pintados within Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve. Tamarugal is the least populated Chilean province with 2 people per square kilometer, the bulk of the population in scattered settlements and the capital city, Pozo Altamonte, 15,711 souls compared to 22,531 for the province.

A human touch, handwritten signs are part of Humberstone’s charm.

“Of. Salitrera S. Humberstone” means Santiago Humberstone Saltpeter Village

“Of. Salitrera S. Humberstone” means Santiago Humberstone Saltpeter Village named for James Thomas Humberstone, the founder of the mine. Santiago means Saint James int the Spanish language. “Iago” is Spanish for James “Sant” is saint..

Wait a second, $2000 for seniors (“Tercera Edad”)?? It caught our eye and as is obvious from the opening photographs, everyone in the party was in this category.

Oh, They omitted a decimal. What’s with three decimal places? This and the hand drawn border are wonderful. “To err is human, to forgive divine.” –Alexander Pope.

Click me for the first post of this series.



Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

5 thoughts on “Humberstone Entrance

      1. Shakespeare cribbed freely from other sources. The ancient Sphinx riddle implying three stages of human existence: “Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?”.


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