Up to 1879 the province belonged to Bolivia, and was known as the department of Atacama, or the Litoral.
By subsequent agreements the Bolivian department of the Litoral, or Atacama, and the Peruvian department of Tarapaca, were formally ceded to Chile, and the northern frontier was removed to the river Camarones, which enters the Pacific at 19° 12' S.
A roughly-taken census of 1900 gives the total population as 1,816,271, including the Litoral department, now belonging to Chile (49,820), and estimates the number of wild Indians of the forest regions at 91,000.
In 1904 an official estimate made the population 2,181,415, also including the Litoral (59,784), but of course all census returns and estimates in such a country are subject to many allowances.
long) of her Litoral department passed under Chilean control.