Originally named La Palma, this office was built in 1872 by the Peruvian Nitrate Company. By the late 1880s, it was already one of the main nitrate producers in the Tarapacá region. Following the Great Depression, La Palma stopped functioning, to resume its works in 1934, when private companies shared the administration with the Chilean state. During this period, the office was restructured and changed its name to Santiago Humberstone, honouring the British chemical engineer who made important contributions to the nitrate industry in Chile. Until 1940, Humberstone reached its development peak, with a population of 3,700. However, following a severe crisis, it stopped functioning in 1960.
Nowadays, although the industrial installations have been mostly dismantled, the site boasts the remains of the urban settlement. This area constitutes an invaluable evidence of human adaptation to the environment and the unique culture developed by its inhabitants.