The situation of this place was admirably adapted for commerce, from the excellence of its harbour; as the bay extends six miles from east to west and nine miles from north to south, defended at its entrance from the sea by the pleasant island of Quiriquina. The passage into the bay on the north side of this island, called the bocca grande, is about half a league broad, and has sufficient water for the largest ships. That on the other side of the island, or bocca chica, is very narrow, and is only navigable by small vessels. The soil around this place, under the influence of an admirable climate, produces abundance of timber, excellent wine, and all the necessaries of life, and is not deficient in the valuable minerals; and both the sea and the adjoining rivers afford great quantities of fine fish. But owing to the lowness of the situation which was chosen for this city, it was much exposed to inundations of the sea during earthquakes, which are frequent in Chili. On the 8th of July 1730, this city was nearly destroyed by an earthquake and inundation; and experienced a similar calamity on the 24th of May 1751. In consequence of these repeated calamities, the inhabitants established themselves on the 24th of November 1764 in the valley of Mocha, nine miles south from Penco, between the rivers Andalian and Biobio, where they founded a city to which they gave the name of New Conception. The harbour named Talgacuano, situated at the south-east extremity of the bottom of the bay, is between six and seven miles from the new city; and a fort is all that now remains of the old city, now called Penco.
Narrative of the War between the Spaniards and Araucanians, from the year 1550, to the Defeat and Death of Pedro de Valdivia on the 3d of December 1553.
Perceiving the intentions of Valdivia to occupy the important post of Penco by a permanent settlement, the adjacent tribes of the Pencones gave notice of this invasion to the great nation of the Araucanians, their neighbours and friends, whose territories began on the southern shore of the Biobio; who, foreseeing that the strangers would soon endeavour to reduce their own country to subjection, determined to succour their distressed allies for their own security. Accordingly, in a butacoyog, or general assembly of the Araucanian confederacy, Aillavalu was nominated supreme toqui, and was instructed to march immediately with an army to the assistance