Humberstone’s Primary School

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works2005

UNESCO World Heritage

UNESCO World Heritage

A great number of children migrated to the Pampa with their parents. Due to high poverty rates existing among mine-workers and their families, most of them had to work at the nitrate industry as well, receiving a lower salary than their adult counterpart. Their education was directly affected by this situation; although some attended school after working hours, most did not receive formal education at all. This scene started to change after the proclamation of the compulsory primary education law in 1920, which resulted in an increase of schools in company-towns. In addition, attending school on a regular basis became a minimal requirement for children to work.
Nowadays, the recently restored classrooms of San Mauricio School (Humberstone’s primary school) attest to the effort of teachers and parents to grant children the right to basic education despite extreme conditions in the middle of the Atacama Desert.


  • Title: Humberstone’s Primary School
  • Creator: Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works
  • Date Created: 2005
  • Location Created: Chile
  • Rights: Jorge López, SNPC
  • Location: Chile
  • Inscription Criteria: Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
  • Date of Inscription: 2005
  • Category of Site: List of World Heritage in Danger

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