Rancagua is home of the University of Rancagua, the first private university to be established in the O'Higgins Region.Rancagua is also known for El Teniente, the "largest underground copper mine in the world", located about 40 km (25 mi) to the east of the city in the Andes mountain range.
The city is connected to Santiago by the Panamerican Highway (Chile Route 5), and the Metrotren connects the metro service in Santiago to Rancagua by train.
Rancagua was founded by José Antonio Manso de Velasco, who founded several cities in the central area of Chile.
The city's original name was Villa Santa Cruz de Triana.
More recently, it houses the O'Higgins professional soccer club, one of the leading teams in Chilean professional soccer.
However, before the Spaniards arrived the area was inhabited by local Picunche tribes and had also fallen briefly under the control of the Inca Empire, whose traces can still be found near the city today.
The city is famous in Chilean history as the scene of the Disaster of Rancagua of 1814, when Chilean forces fighting for independence from Spain were defeated, marking the beginning of the period known as the Reconquista (Reconquest, an attempt by Spain to regain control of Chile).