Copiapo is a city in northern Chile, located about 40 miles east of the coastal town of Caldera. Founded on December 8, 1744, it is the capital of Copiapo Province and Atacama Region. Copiapo lies about 800 km north of Santiago by the Copiapo River, in the valley of the same name. In recent years, the river has dried up due to mining and agricultural activity in the region. The town is surrounded by the Atacama Desert and receives little rain (12 mm per year). The population of Copiapó was 9,128 in 1903, 11,617 in 1907 and, as of 2002, there are 129,091 inhabitants.