Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works, Chile






The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works are mining facilities for the extraction of the largest saltpeter deposit in the world. The workers came from Chile, Peru and Bolivia. They work in the harsh environment which is one of the driest deserts in the world, and there, they created their own pampinos culture. Their struggle for social justice had a strong influence on social history.

The saltpeter extracted is used to produce the fertilizer sodium nitrate, which had a great impact on agriculture throughout the Americas as well as Europe, and as a result, earning much wealth for Chile. The mines, started in 1880, were in use for over 60 years.

Due to their outstanding significance, the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites during the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Durban, South Africa, on 10 - 17 July, 2005.

The inscription of Humerstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works commemorates the skills, knowledge and ingenuity of people brought together from different parts of South America. The saltpeter works became a place where ideas were exchanged and exploited. The mines transformed the Pampa from the fertilisers that were produced.

Due to the fragility of the structures and the damage brought upon by a recent earthquake, the Humberstone and Santa Laura works were also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2005. This is so that it receives the publicity for help to be brought in to conserve it.

Photos of Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works

Worker's house in Humberstone Saltpeter Works, Chile
Worker's house in Humberstone Saltpeter Works, Chile
Author: Hermann Luyken (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Swimming pool at Humberstone Saltpeter Works, Chile
Swimming pool at Humberstone Saltpeter Works, Chile
Author: Hermann Luyken (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: S 20 12 20.9 W 69 47 38.6
Inscription Year: 2005
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: II, III, IV

Location Map of the Saltpeter Works


View Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works in a larger map

Visiting Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works




Local Tours of Chile

Here are a few local tours of Chile that you may wish to add to your itinerary. These tours are arranged by Viator, one of the most reputable tour agencies in the market.

Return to Chile's World Heritage Sites
Return to UNESCO World Heritage Sites

[an error occurred while processing this directive]



[an error occurred while processing this directive]






Point - Click - Discover!

Thanks for visiting this webpage. To continue exploring, choose another destination!


My World Travel Guides - celebrating a beautiful world beautifully.


Travel Business