The exact date of its foundation has been questioned by several historians, though all of them agree on the fact that it was in 1544. Its first founder was Captain Juan Bohón, who called it Villanueva de La Serena. This is the second largest city in Chile.
In January 1549, only 5 years after its foundation, the natives uprose and caused the death of almost all the Spaniards who had stepped on the land of La Serena. It was in August of the same year when Pedro de Valdivia ordered Captain Francisco de Aguirre to found the city again and call it San Bartolomé de La Serena.
With the passing of time and the zenith reached by the region due to mining exploitation in the Andes Mountain Range, King Carlos I of Spain granted it the title of city.
Years later, the city experienced continuous pirate attacks. It was Francis Drake who opened the road of the Pacific for privateers. Bartolomé Sharp, in 1680, and Edward Davis, in 1686, caused great fear in the population forcing to build a fort around the city in 1700.
In spite of various inconveniences, such as fires, earthquakes and civilian and military uprisings, years passed and in 1920 a new economic boom was triggered by iron mining, which attracted investments and new dwellers to La Serena. This remarkable growth gave way to a new change in the urban structure, which in the mid 1950s was called Plan Serena. The so-called “Colonial Renaissance” style was the adopted architectural style.
At present, La Serena is one of the most popular bathing-resort cities in the country. Its varied natural and cultural resources, as well as its vast beaches of fine sand on the Pacific Ocean turn this place into a tourist destination par excellence, mostly used as a place to rest or as a second residence for well-known politicians, businessmen and sportsmen in Chile.