Chile

Chile

Overview
Chile ,
officially the Republic of Chile ( reˈpuβlika ðe ˈtʃile), is a country in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 to the west. It borders Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 to the north, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 to the northeast, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 to the east, and the Drake Passage
Drake Passage
The Drake Passage or Mar de Hoces—Sea of Hoces—is the body of water between the southern tip of South America at Cape Horn, Chile and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica...

 in the far south. Along with Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, it is one of two countries in South America that do not border Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. The Pacific coastline of Chile is 78,563.2 kilometres.
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Timeline

1550   Foundation of Concepción, city in Chile.

1553   Battle of Tucapel: Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeats the Spanish conquistadors and executes the governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia.

1574   Discovery of the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile.

1810   First Government Junta in Chile. Though supposed to rule only in the absence of the king, it is in fact the first step towards independence from Spain, and is commemorated as such.

1811   José Miguel Carrera, Chilean founding father, is sworn in as President of the executive Junta of the government of Chile.

1813   Instituto Nacional, is founded by the Chilean patriot José Miguel Carrera. It is Chile's oldest and most prestigious school. Its motto is ''Labor Omnia Vincit'', which means "Work conquers all things".

1814   Battle of Rancagua: Spanish Royalists troops under Mariano Osorio defeated rebel Chilean forces of Bernardo O'Higgins and Jose Miguel Carrera.

1817   An army of 5,423 soldiers, led by General José de San Martín, crosses the Andes from Argentina to liberate Chile and then Peru.

1817   The Argentinian San Martín crosses the Andes with an army in order to liberate Chile from Spanish rule.

1817   Las Heras crosses the Andes with an army to join San Martín and liberate Chile from Spain.

 
Encyclopedia
Chile ,
officially the Republic of Chile ( reˈpuβlika ðe ˈtʃile), is a country in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 to the west. It borders Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 to the north, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 to the northeast, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 to the east, and the Drake Passage
Drake Passage
The Drake Passage or Mar de Hoces—Sea of Hoces—is the body of water between the southern tip of South America at Cape Horn, Chile and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica...

 in the far south. Along with Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, it is one of two countries in South America that do not border Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. The Pacific coastline of Chile is 78,563.2 kilometres. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández
Juan Fernández Islands
The Juan Fernández Islands are a sparsely inhabited island group reliant on tourism and fishing in the South Pacific Ocean, situated about off the coast of Chile, and is composed of three main volcanic islands; Robinson Crusoe Island, Alejandro Selkirk Island and Santa Clara Island, the first...

, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas
Desventuradas Islands
thumb|Map of Desventuradas Islands The Desventuradas Islands, also known as Islas de los Desventurados, is a group of four small islands located off the coast of Chile, northwest of Santiago in the Pacific Ocean...

 and Easter Island
Easter Island
Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people...

. Chile also claims about 1250000 square kilometres (482,627.7 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

The shape of Chile is a distinctive ribbon of land 4300 kilometres (2,671.9 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (108.7 mi) wide. Its climate
Climate of Chile
The climate of Chile comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale, extending across 38 degrees in latitude, making generalisations difficult...

 varies, ranging from the world's driest desert – the Atacama – in the north, through a Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 in the centre, to a rainy temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 climate in the south. The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

es and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 inhabited central and southern Chile. Chile declared its independence
Chilean Declaration of Independence
The Chilean Declaration of Independence is a document declaring the independence of Chile from the Spanish Empire. It was drafted in January 1818 and approved by Supreme Director Bernardo O'Higgins on February 12, 1818 at Talca, despite being dated in Concepción on January 1, 1818...

 from Spain on February 12, 1818. In the War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific
The War of the Pacific took place in western South America from 1879 through 1883. Chile fought against Bolivia and Peru. Despite cooperation among the three nations in the war against Spain, disputes soon arose over the mineral-rich Peruvian provinces of Tarapaca, Tacna, and Arica, and the...

 (1879–83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its current northern territory. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 were completely subjugated. Although relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted South America, Chile endured the 17-year long military dictatorship (1973–1990) of Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

 that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing.

Today, Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations and a recognized middle power
Middle power
Middle power is a term used in the field of international relations to describe states that are not superpowers or great powers, but still have large or moderate influence and international recognition. There is no single specific definition of which countries are middle powers.-Definition:There is...

. It leads Latin American nations in human development
Human development (humanity)
Human development in the scope of humanity, specifically international development, is an international and economic development paradigm that is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. People are the real wealth of nations...

, competitiveness
Competitiveness
Competitiveness is a comparative concept of the ability and performance of a firm, sub-sector or country to sell and supply goods and/or services in a given market...

, income per capita, globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

, economic freedom
Economic freedom
Economic freedom is a term used in economic and policy debates. As with freedom generally, there are various definitions, but no universally accepted concept of economic freedom...

, low perception of corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 and state of peace. It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

 and democratic development. However, it has a high economic inequality
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

, as measured by the Gini index. In May 2010 Chile became the first South American nation to join the OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

. Chile is a founding member of both the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and the Union of South American Nations.

Etymology


There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile. According to a theory by 17th century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales
Diego de Rosales
Diego de Rosales was a Spanish chronicler and author of Historia General del Reino de Chile.He studied in his hometown, where he also joined the Society of Jesus. He came to Chile in the year 1629, without having taken his last vows still being sent to the residence that the Jesuits had in Arauco...

, the Incas of Peru called the valley of the Aconcagua
Aconcagua
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas at . It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the Argentine province of Mendoza and it lies west by north of its capital, the city of Mendoza. The summit is also located about 5 kilometres from San Juan Province and 15 kilometres from the...

 "Chili" by corruption of the name of a Picunche
Picunche
The Picunche , also referred to as picones by the Spanish, were a mapudungun speaking Chilean people living to the north of the Mapuches or Araucanians and south of the Choapa River and the Diaguitas...

 tribal chief
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...

 ("cacique") called Tili, who ruled the area at the time of the Incan conquest in the 15th century. Another theory points to the similarity of the valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley
Casma Valley
The Casma Valley, a coastal valley situated about north of Lima, Peru, lies between the towns of Chimbote and Huarmey. It is notable for the grand scale of numerous archaeological sites, including stone-faced pyramids and the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo. Sechin Alto is the largest American...

 in Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili.

Other theories say Chile may derive its name from a Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 word meaning either "ends of the earth" or "sea gulls;" from the Mapuche word chilli, which may mean "where the land ends;" or from the Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

 chiri, "cold," or tchili, meaning either "snow" or "the deepest point of the Earth." Another origin attributed to chilli is the onomatopoeic cheele-cheele—the Mapuche imitation of the warble of a bird locally known as trile
Yellow-winged Blackbird
The Yellow-winged Blackbird is a species of bird in the Icteridae family.It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.Its natural habitats are swamps, intertidal marshes, and pastureland....

. The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, and the few survivors of Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro, , also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo , was a Spanish conquistador and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal...

's first Spanish expedition south from Peru in 1535–36 called themselves the "men of Chilli." Ultimately, Almagro is credited with the universalization of the name Chile, after naming the Mapocho
Mapocho River
The Mapocho River flows from the Andes mountains onto the west and divides Chile's capital Santiago in two.-Course:...

 valley as such.

Early history and colonization



About 10,000 years ago, migrating Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 settled in fertile valleys and coastal areas of what is present-day Chile. Example settlement sites from the very early human habitation are Monte Verde
Monte Verde
Monte Verde is an archaeological site in southern Chile, located in the northern Patagonia near Puerto Montt, Chile, which has been dated to 14,800 years BP . This dating adds to the evidence showing that settlement in the Americas pre-dates the Clovis culture by roughly 1000 years...

, Cueva del Milodon and the Pali Aike Crater
Pali Aike Crater
The Pali Aike Crater is an extinct volcano cone within a series of such craters in the Pali-Aike National Park. The locale of this crater is a semi-desert. This crater within the Pali-Aike Volcanic Field has an extant lava tube which has yielded archaeological traces termed by C...

's lava tube
Lava tube
Lava tubes are natural conduits through which lava travels beneath the surface of a lava flow, expelled by a volcano during an eruption. They can be actively draining lava from a source, or can be extinct, meaning the lava flow has ceased and the rock has cooled and left a long, cave-like...

. The Incas briefly extended their empire into what is now northern Chile, but the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 (or Araucanians as they were known by the Spaniards) successfully resisted many attempts by the Inca Empire to subjugate them, despite their lack of state organization. They fought against the Sapa Inca Tupac Yupanqui and his army. The result of the bloody three-day confrontation known as the Battle of the Maule
Battle of the Maule
The Battle of the Maule was fought between the Mapuche people and the Inca Empire in what is now Chile. The three-day battle, which is generally believed to have occurred in the reign of Tupac Inca Yupanqui , marked the end of the Incas' southward expansion.In a six-year campaign with an army that...

 was that the Inca conquest of the territories of Chile ended at the Maule river
Maule river
The Maule river is one of the most important rivers of Chile and is inextricably linked to this country's pre-Hispanic times, the country's conquest, colonial period, wars of Independence, modern history, agriculture , culture , religion, economy and politics...

.

In 1520, while attempting to circumnavigate the earth, Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 discovered the southern passage now named after him, the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

. The next Europeans to reach Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors, who came from Peru in 1535 seeking gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

. The Spanish encountered various cultures that supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

. The conquest of Chile began in earnest in 1540 and was carried out by Pedro de Valdivia
Pedro de Valdivia
Pedro Gutiérrez de Valdivia or Valdiva was a Spanish conquistador and the first royal governor of Chile. After serving with the Spanish army in Italy and Flanders, he was sent to South America in 1534, where he served as lieutenant under Francisco Pizarro in Peru, acting as his second in command...

, one of Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

's lieutenants, who founded the city of Santiago on February 12, 1541. Although the Spanish did not find the extensive gold and silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 they sought, they recognized the agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part of the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

.

Conquest of the land took place gradually, and the Europeans suffered repeated setbacks at the hands of the local population. A massive Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 insurrection that began in 1553 resulted in Valdivia's death and the destruction of many of the colony's principal settlements. Subsequent major insurrections took place in 1598 and in 1655. Each time the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 and other native groups revolted, the southern border of the colony was driven northward. The abolition of slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 by the Spanish crown in 1683 was done in recognition that enslaving the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 intensified resistance rather than cowing them into submission. Despite the royal prohibitions relations remained strained from continual colonialist interference.

Cut off to the north by desert, to the south by the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

, to the east by the Andes Mountains, and to the west by the ocean, Chile became one of the most centralized, homogeneous colonies in Spanish America. Serving as a sort of frontier garrison
Garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

, the colony found itself with the mission of forestalling encroachment by both the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 and Spain's European enemies, especially the British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. Buccaneers and English adventurers menaced the colony in addition to the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

, as was shown by Sir Francis Drake's 1578 raid on Valparaíso, the colony's principal port. Chile hosted one of the largest standing armies in the Americas, making it one of the most militarized of the Spanish possessions, as well as a drain on the treasury of the Viceroyalty of Peru
Real Situado
The Real Situado was an annual payment of silver from the Viceroyalty of Peru to finance the Spanish army of Chile that as result of the Arauco War. Most of the silver came from Potosí in present day Bolivia....

.

The first general census was performed by the government of Agustín de Jáuregui
Agustín de Jáuregui
Agustín de Jáuregui y Aldecoa was a Spanish politician and soldier who served as governor of Chile and viceroy of Peru .-Early life:...

 between 1777 and 1778; it indicated that the population consisted of 259,646 inhabitants: 73.5% of European descent
White Latin American
White Latin Americans are the people of Latin America who are white in the racial classification systems used in individual Latin American countries. Persons who are classified as White in one Latin American country may be classified differently in another country...

, 7.9% mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s, 8.6% Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 and 9.8% black
Black
Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light...

s. Francisco Hurtado, Governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 of the province of Chiloé
Chiloé Province
Chiloé Province is one of the four provinces in the southern Chilean region of Los Lagos . It encompasses all of Chiloé Archipelago with the exception of the Desertores Islands. The province spans a surface area of...

, conducted a census there in 1784 and found the population consisted of 26,703 inhabitants, 64.4% of which were whites and 33.5% of which were natives.

The Diocese of Concepción
Concepción, Chile
Concepción is a city in Chile, capital of Concepción Province and of the Biobío Region or Region VIII. Greater Concepción is the second-largest conurbation in the country, with 889,725 inhabitants...

 conducted a census of areas south of the Maule river
Maule river
The Maule river is one of the most important rivers of Chile and is inextricably linked to this country's pre-Hispanic times, the country's conquest, colonial period, wars of Independence, modern history, agriculture , culture , religion, economy and politics...

 in 1812, but did not include the indigenous population or the inhabitants of the province of Chiloé. The population is estimated at 210,567, 86.1% of which were Spanish
Spanish Chilean
Spanish Chileans are Chileans, of Spanish origin, even though most of the original colonial settlers have mixed with the other Europeans that have settled in the country after Independence up to the 20th century....

 or of European descent, 10% of which were Indians and 3.7% of which were mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s, blacks
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 and mulatto
Mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

s.

Independence


The usurpation of the Spanish throne
Spanish monarchy
The Monarchy of Spain, constitutionally referred to as The Crown and commonly referred to as the Spanish monarchy or Hispanic Monarchy, is a constitutional institution and an historic office of Spain...

 by Napoleon's
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 brother Joseph
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

 in 1808 precipitated the drive by the colony for independence from Spain. A national junta in the name of Ferdinand – heir to the deposed king – was formed on September 18, 1810. The Government Junta of Chile
Government Junta of Chile (1810)
Government Junta of the Kingdom of Chile , also known as the First Government Junta, was the organ established to rule Chile following the deposition and imprisonment of King Ferdinand VII by Napoleon Bonaparte...

 proclaimed Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 (in memory of this day Chile celebrates its National Day
Fiestas Patrias (Chile)
The Fiestas Patrias of Chile consists of two days:*September 18, in commemoration of the proclamation of the First Governing Body of 1810, and marking the beginning of the Chilean independence process....

 on September 18 each year). After these events, a movement for total independence, under the command of José Miguel Carrera
José Miguel Carrera
José Miguel Carrera Verdugo was a Chilean general, member of the prominent Carrera family, and considered one of the founders of independent Chile. Carrera was the most important leader of the Chilean War of Independence during the period of the Patria Vieja...

 (one of the most renowned patriots) and his two brothers Juan José and Luis Carrera
Luis Carrera
Colonel Luis Florentino Juan Manuel Silvestre de los Dolores de la Carrera y Verdugo was a Chilean military officer who fought in the Chilean War of Independence. Together with his brothers José Miguel and Juan José, they were some of most important leaders of Chilean struggle for independence...

, soon gained a wider following. Spanish attempts to re-impose arbitrary rule during what was called the Reconquista
Reconquista (Spanish America)
In colonial Spanish America, the Reconquista refers to the period following the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 during which royalist armies were able to gain the upper hand in the Spanish American wars of independence...

 led to a prolonged struggle, including infighting from Bernardo O'Higgins
Bernardo O'Higgins
Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme was a Chilean independence leader who, together with José de San Martín, freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile , he is considered one of Chile's founding fathers, as he was the first holder...

, who challenged Carrera's leadership.

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817. With Carrera in prison in Argentina, O'Higgins and anti-Carrera cohort José de San Martín
José de San Martín
José Francisco de San Martín, known simply as Don José de San Martín , was an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America's successful struggle for independence from Spain.Born in Yapeyú, Corrientes , he left his mother country at the...

, hero of the Argentine War of Independence
Argentine War of Independence
The Argentine War of Independence was fought from 1810 to 1818 by Argentine patriotic forces under Manuel Belgrano, Juan José Castelli and José de San Martín against royalist forces loyal to the Spanish crown...

, led an army
Army of the Andes
The Army of the Andes was a military force created by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata and mustered by general José de San Martín in his campaign to free Chile from the Spanish Empire...

 that crossed the Andes
Crossing of the Andes
The Crossing of the Andes was one of the most important feats in the Argentine and Chilean wars of independence, in which a combined army of Argentine soldiers and Chilean exiles invaded Chile leading to Chile's liberation from Spanish rule...

 into Chile and defeated the royalists. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic
Chilean Declaration of Independence
The Chilean Declaration of Independence is a document declaring the independence of Chile from the Spanish Empire. It was drafted in January 1818 and approved by Supreme Director Bernardo O'Higgins on February 12, 1818 at Talca, despite being dated in Concepción on January 1, 1818...

. The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial social structure, which was greatly influenced by family politics and the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. A strong presidency eventually emerged, but wealthy landowners remained powerful.
Toward the end of the 19th century, the government in Santiago consolidated its position in the south by suppressing the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 during the Occupation of Araucanía. A treaty with Argentina confirming Chilean sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan was signed in 1881. As a result of the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia (1879–83), Chile expanded its territory northward by almost one-third, eliminating Bolivia's access to the Pacific, and acquired valuable nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

 deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence.

The Chilean Civil War
Chilean Civil War
The Chilean Civil War of 1891 was an armed conflict between forces supporting Congress and forces supporting the sitting President, José Manuel Balmaceda. The war saw a confrontation between the Chilean Army and the Chilean Navy, which had sided with the president and the congress, respectively...

 in 1891 brought about a redistribution of power between the President and Congress, and Chile established a parliamentary style democracy. However, the Civil War had also been a contest between those who favored the development of local industries and powerful Chilean banking interests, particularly the House of Edwards who had strong ties to foreign investors.

20th century


The Chilean economy partially degenerated into a system protecting the interests of a ruling oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

. By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

es were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, Arturo Alessandri
Arturo Alessandri
Arturo Fortunato Alessandri Palma was a Chilean political figure and reformer, who served twice as the President of Chile, first between 1920 and 1924, and then again in 1925, and finally from 1932 until 1938....

, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. In the 1920s, Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 groups with strong popular support arose.

A military coup led by General Luis Altamirano
Luis Altamirano
Division General Luis Altamirano Talavera was a Chilean military officer, minister, Vice President of the Republic and finally President of the Government Junta of Chile between 1924 and 1925....

 in 1924 set off a period of great political instability that lasted until 1932. The longest lasting of the ten governments between those years was that of General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo was a Chilean Army officer and political figure. He served as dictator between 1927 and 1931 and as constitutional President from 1952 to 1958.- The coups of 1924 and 1925 :...

, who briefly held power in 1925 and then again between 1927 and 1931 in what was a de facto dictatorship, although not really comparable in harshness or corruption to the type of military dictatorship that has often bedeviled the rest of Latin America .
By relinquishing power to a democratically elected successor, Ibáñez del Campo retained the respect of a large enough segment of the population to remain a viable politician for more than thirty years, in spite of the vague and shifting nature of his ideology. When constitutional rule was restored in 1932, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party
Radical Party (Chile)
The Radical Party of Chile was a Chilean political party. It was formed in 1863 by a split in the Liberal Party. Not coincidently, it was formed shortly after the organization of the Grand Lodge of Chile, and it has maintained a close relationship with Chilean Freemasonry throughout its life...

 dominance (1932–52), the state increased its role in the economy. In 1952, voters returned Ibáñez del Campo to office for another six years. Jorge Alessandri
Jorge Alessandri
Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez was the 27th President of Chile from 1958 to 1964, and was the candidate of the Chilean right in the crucial presidential election of 1970...

 succeeded Ibáñez del Campo in 1958, bringing Chilean conservatism back into power democratically for another term.

The 1964 presidential election
Chilean presidential election, 1964
A presidential election was held in Chile on September 4, 1964. Christian Democratic candidate Eduardo Frei Montalva won the election by an absolute majority....

 of Christian Democrat
Christian Democrat Party of Chile
The Christian Democratic Party is a political party in Chile and governs as part of the Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. In the 2009 election it won 19 congress seats and 9 senate seats....

 Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

 by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty", the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform
Agrarian reform
Agrarian reform can refer either, narrowly, to government-initiated or government-backed redistribution of agricultural land or, broadly, to an overall redirection of the agrarian system of the country, which often includes land reform measures. Agrarian reform can include credit measures,...

, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.

In the 1970 election, Senator Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 of the Socialist Party of Chile
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

 (part of the "Popular Unity
Popular Unity
Unidad Popular was a coalition of left wing, socialist and communist political parties in Chile that stood behind the successful candidacy of Salvador Allende for the 1970 Chilean presidential election....

" coalition which included the Communists, Radicals, Social-Democrats, dissident Christian Democrats, the Popular Unitary Action Movement, and the Independent Popular Action), achieved a partial majority in a plurality of votes in a three-way contest, followed by candidates Radomiro Tomic for the Christian Democrat Party and Jorge Alessandri for the Conservative Party. Allende was not elected with an absolute majority, receiving fewer than 35% of votes. It became a war of classes, motivated by the central government.
Despite pressure from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 government, the Chilean Congress
National Congress of Chile
The National Congress is the legislative branch of the government of the Republic of Chile.The National Congress of Chile was founded on July 4, 1811...

 conducted a runoff vote between the leading candidates, Allende and former president Jorge Alessandri and keeping with tradition, chose Allende by a vote of 153 to 35. Frei refused to form an alliance with Alessandri to oppose Allende, on the grounds that the Christian Democrats were a workers party and could not make common cause with the right-wing.

An economic depression that began in 1972 was exacerbated by capital flight
Capital flight
Capital flight, in economics, occurs when assets and/or money rapidly flow out of a country, due to an economic event and that disturbs investors and causes them to lower their valuation of the assets in that country, or otherwise to lose confidence in its economic...

, plummeting private investment, and withdrawal of bank deposits in response to Allende's socialist program. Production fell and unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 rose. Allende adopted measures including price freezes, wage increases, and tax reforms, to increase consumer spending and redistribute income downward. Joint public-private public works
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

 projects helped reduce unemployment. Much of the banking sector was nationalized
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

. Many enterprises within the copper, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

, and steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 industries were expropriated
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

, nationalized, or subjected to state intervention. Industrial output increased sharply and unemployment fell during the Allende administration's first year.
Allende's program included advancement of workers' interests, replacing the judicial system with "socialist legality", nationalization of banks and forcing others to bankruptcy, and strengthening "popular militias" known as MIR. Started under former President Frei, the Popular Unity platform also called for nationalization of Chile's major copper mines in the form of a constitutional amendment. The measure was passed unanimously by Congress.
As a result, the Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 administration organized and inserted secret operatives
United States intervention in Chile
The United States intervention in Chilean politics started during the War of Chilean Independence. The influence of the United States of America in both the economic and the political arenas of Chile has gradually increased over the almost two centuries since, and continues to be...

 in Chile, in order to quickly destabilize Allende’s government. In addition, American financial pressure restricted international economic credit to Chile.
The economic problems were also exacerbated by Allende's public spending which was financed mostly by printing money and poor credit ratings given by commercial banks.
Simultaneously, opposition media, politicians, business guilds and other organizations helped to accelerate a campaign of domestic political and economical destabilization, some of which was helped by the United States. By early 1973, inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 was out of control. The crippled economy was further battered by prolonged and sometimes simultaneous strikes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

 by physicians, teachers, students, truck owners, copper workers, and the small business class.
On 26 May 1973, Chile’s Supreme Court, which was opposed to Allende's government, unanimously denounced the Allende disruption of the legality of the nation. Although illegal under the Chilean constitution, the court supported and strengthened Pinochet's seizure of power.

Finally, a military coup
Chilean coup of 1973
The 1973 Chilean coup d'état was a watershed event of the Cold War and the history of Chile. Following an extended period of political unrest between the conservative-dominated Congress of Chile and the socialist-leaning President Salvador Allende, discontent culminated in the latter's downfall in...

 overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973. As the armed forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende apparently committed suicide. A military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, took over control of the country. The first years of the regime were marked by human rights violations. On October 1973, at least 72 people were murdered by the Caravan of Death
Caravan of Death
The Caravan of Death was a Chilean Army death squad that, following the Chilean coup of 1973, flew by helicopters from south to north of Chile between September 30 and October 22, 1973. During this foray, members of the squad ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75...

. According to the Rettig Report
Rettig Report
The Rettig Report, officially The National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation Report, is a 1991 report by a commission designated by then President Patricio Aylwin encompassing human rights abuses resulting in death or disappearance that occurred in Chile during the years of military rule...

 and Valech Commission, at least 2,115 were killed, and at least 27,265 were tortured (including 88 children younger than 12 years old). A new Constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 was approved by a controversial plebiscite on September 11, 1980, and General Pinochet became president of the republic for an 8-year term. After Pinochet obtained rule of the country, several hundred committed Chilean revolutionaries joined the Sandinista army in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, guerrilla forces in Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 or training camps in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and Northern Africa.

In the late 1980s, largely as a result of events such as the 1982 economic collapse and mass civil resistance
Civil resistance
The term civil resistance, alongside the term nonviolent resistance, is used to describe political action that relies on the use of non-violent methods by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and...

 in 1983–88, the government gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

, and association, to include trade union and political activity. The government launched market-oriented reforms with Hernán Büchi
Hernán Büchi
Hernán Büchi Buc is a Chilean economist and politician. He served as Minister of the Treasury under the government of Augusto Pinochet between 1985 and 1989.After the recession of the early 1980s, Büchi's appointment as Finance Minister in 1985:...

 as Minister of Finance, but poverty levels continued growing. Chile moved toward a free market economy that saw an increase in domestic and foreign private investment, although the copper industry and other important mineral resources were not opened for competition. In a plebiscite on October 5, 1988, General Pinochet was denied a second 8-year term as president (56% against 44%). Chileans elected a new president and the majority of members of a two-chamber congress on December 14, 1989. Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin Azócar was the first president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990, following the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.- Early life :...

, the candidate of a coalition of 17 political parties called the Concertación
Coalition of Parties for Democracy
The Concert of Parties for Democracy , more often known as the Concertación, is a coalition of center-left political parties in Chile, founded in 1988...

, received an absolute majority of votes (55%). President Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994, in what was considered a transition period.

In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle is a Chilean politician and civil engineer who was President of Chile from 1994 to 2000. He is currently Senator for Los Ríos and was President of the Senate from 2006 to 2008. He attempted a comeback as the candidate of the ruling Concertación...

, the son of previous president Eduardo Frei Montalva, led the Concertación coalition to victory with an absolute majority of votes (58%).

21st century


Frei Ruiz-Tagle was succeeded in 2000 by Socialist Ricardo Lagos
Ricardo Lagos
Ricardo Froilán Lagos Escobar is a lawyer, economist and social democrat politician, who served as president of Chile from 2000 to 2006. He won the 1999-2000 presidential election by a narrow margin in a runoff over Independent Democrat Union candidate Joaquín Lavín...

, who won the presidency in an unprecedented runoff election against Joaquín Lavín
Joaquín Lavín
Joaquín José Lavín Infante is a Chilean politician and economist. He is a member of the Independent Democrat Union party and former mayor of Santiago and Las Condes municipalities of capital Santiago...

 of the rightist Alliance for Chile
Alliance for Chile
The Alliance for Chile , also known simply as The Alliance , was a coalition of right-wing Chilean political parties.The Alliance was replaced in 2009 by the Coalition for Change....

. In January 2006, Chileans elected their first female president, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, of the Socialist Party, defeating Sebastián Piñera
Sebastián Piñera
Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique is a Chilean businessman and politician. He was elected President of Chile in January 2010, taking office in March 2010.- Education :...

, of the National Renewal
National Renewal (Chile)
National Renewal , is a liberal conservative political party belonging to the Chilean right-wing political coalition Coalition for Change in conjunction with the Independent Democratic Union and the Chile First movement...

 party, extending the Concertación governance for another four years. In January 2010, Chileans elected Sebastián Piñera
Sebastián Piñera
Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique is a Chilean businessman and politician. He was elected President of Chile in January 2010, taking office in March 2010.- Education :...

, of the National Renewal
National Renewal (Chile)
National Renewal , is a liberal conservative political party belonging to the Chilean right-wing political coalition Coalition for Change in conjunction with the Independent Democratic Union and the Chile First movement...

 party, as the first rightist President in 20 years, defeating former President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle is a Chilean politician and civil engineer who was President of Chile from 1994 to 2000. He is currently Senator for Los Ríos and was President of the Senate from 2006 to 2008. He attempted a comeback as the candidate of the ruling Concertación...

 of the Concertación, for a four-year term succeeding Bachelet.

On February 27, 2010, Chile was struck by an 8.8 MW earthquake
2010 Chile earthquake
The 2010 Chile earthquake occurred off the coast of central Chile on Saturday, 27 February 2010, at 03:34 local time , having a magnitude of 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale, with intense shaking lasting for about three minutes. It ranks as the sixth largest earthquake ever to be recorded by a...

, one of the largest ever recorded in the world. As many as 500 people died; hundreds of thousands of buildings were damaged. The earthquake was also followed by multiple aftershocks. Initial damage estimates were in the range of US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

15–30 billion, around 10% to 15% of Chile real gross domestic product. On March 11, 2010, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake
2010 Pichilemu earthquake
The 2010 Pichilemu earthquake , also known as the Libertador O'Higgins earthquake, was a 6.9 MW earthquake that struck Chile's O'Higgins Region on 11 March 2010 at 11:39 local time...

 occurred southwest of Pichilemu
Pichilemu
Pichilemu , originally known as Pichilemo, is a beach resort city and commune in central Chile, and capital of Cardenal Caro Province. It is located southwest of Santiago, the capital of Chile, and comprises an urban center and twenty-three villages, such as Ciruelos, Cáhuil, and Espinillo...

, O'Higgins Region
O'Higgins Region
The VI O'Higgins Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It is subdivided into three provinces. It is named in honour of Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, one of Chile's founding fathers....

. The earthquake was felt across much of Chile.

On August 5, 2010 an access tunnel caved in at the San José copper and gold mine
2010 Copiapó mining accident
The 2010 Copiapó mining accident, also known as the "Chilean mining accident", began in the afternoon of Thursday, 5 August 2010 as a significant cave-in at the troubled 121-year-old San José copper–gold mine. The mine is located deep in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest and harshest...

. 33 miners were trapped 700 meters underground. The miners were discovered alive on August 22; it took nearly two more months before an escape path could be created to rescue the miners. In a 24-hour period between October 12 and 13, more than 1 billion people watched the culmination of the two-month rescue live on television networks around the world. The survival of the San José miners surpasses a 25-day rescue of three coal miners from a flooded mine in Guizhou, China, in 2009.

Politics





The current Constitution of Chile was approved in a national plebiscite in September 1980, under the military government of Augusto Pinochet. It entered into force in March 1981. After Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the constitution was amended to ease provisions for future amendments to the Constitution. In September 2005, President Ricardo Lagos signed into law several constitutional amendments passed by Congress. These include eliminating the positions of appointed senators and senators for life, granting the President authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces, and reducing the presidential term from six to four years.

Chileans voted in the first round of presidential elections on December 13, 2009. None of the four presidential candidates got more than 50% of the vote. As a result, the top two candidates, center-left Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia coalition's Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle is a Chilean politician and civil engineer who was President of Chile from 1994 to 2000. He is currently Senator for Los Ríos and was President of the Senate from 2006 to 2008. He attempted a comeback as the candidate of the ruling Concertación...

 and center-right Coalición por el Cambio coalition's Sebastián Piñera
Sebastián Piñera
Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique is a Chilean businessman and politician. He was elected President of Chile in January 2010, taking office in March 2010.- Education :...

, competed in a run-off election on January 17, 2010, which Sebastián Piñera
Sebastián Piñera
Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique is a Chilean businessman and politician. He was elected President of Chile in January 2010, taking office in March 2010.- Education :...

 won. This was Chile's fifth presidential election since the end of the Pinochet era. All five have been judged free and fair. The president is constitutionally barred from serving consecutive terms.

The Congress of Chile has a 38-seat Senate
Senate of Chile
The Senate of the Republic of Chile is the upper house of Chile's bicameral National Congress, as established in the current Constitution of Chile.-Composition:...

 and a 120-member Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies of Chile
The Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Chile is the lower house of Chile's bicameral Congress. Its organisation and its powers and duties are defined in articles 42 to 59 of Chile's current constitution....

. Senators serve for 8 years with staggered terms, while deputies are elected every 4 years. The current Senate has a 20–18 split in favor of the opposition coalition. The last congressional elections were held on December 13, 2009, concurrently with the presidential election. The current lower house-the Chamber of Deputies-contains 58 members of the governing center-right coalition, 54 from the center-left opposition and 8 from small parties or independents. The Congress is located in the port city of Valparaíso, about 140 kilometres (84 mi) west of the capital, Santiago.

Chile's congressional elections are governed by a binomial system that rewards the two largest representations. Therefore, there are only two senate and two deputy seats apportioned to each electoral district, parties are forced to form wide coalitions and, historically, the two largest coalitions (Concertación and Alianza) split most of the seats in a district. Only if the leading coalition ticket out-polls the second place coalition by a margin of more than 2-to-1 does the winning coalition gain both seats.

In the 2001 congressional elections, the conservative Independent Democratic Union surpassed the Christian Democrats for the first time to become the largest party in the lower house. In the 2005 parliamentary election
Chilean parliamentary election, 2005
The 2005 Chilean parliamentary election took place on December 11, 2005, in conjunction with the presidential election. All of the 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies were contested, while 20 out of 38 seats in the Senate were up for election . Deputies serve for a period of four years, while...

, both leading parties, the Christian Democrats and the UDI
Independent Democrat Union
The Independent Democrat Union is a Chilean right-wing, conservative political party, founded in 1983. Its main inspirer was the lawyer, politician and law professor Jaime Guzmán, a former senator of the Republic of Chile from 1990 until his assassination on April 1, 1991.Its ideological origins...

 lost representation in favor of their respective allies Socialist Party
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

 (which became the biggest party in the Concertación block) and National Renewal
National Renewal (Chile)
National Renewal , is a liberal conservative political party belonging to the Chilean right-wing political coalition Coalition for Change in conjunction with the Independent Democratic Union and the Chile First movement...

 in the right-wing alliance. In the last legislative elections in Chile, the Communist Party
Communist Party of Chile
The Communist Party of Chile is a Chilean political party inspired by the thoughts of Karl Marx and Lenin. It was founded in 1922, as the continuation of the Socialist Workers Party, and in 1934 it established its youth wing, the Communist Youth of Chile .In the last legislative elections in Chile...

 won 3 out of 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in 30 years (the Communisty Party was not allowed to exist as such during the dictatorship).

Chile's judiciary is independent and includes a court of appeal, a system of military courts, a constitutional tribunal, and the Supreme Court of Chile
Supreme Court of Chile
The Supreme Court of Chile is the highest court in Chile. It also administrates the lower courts in the nation. It is located in the capital Santiago....

. In June 2005, Chile completed a nationwide overhaul of its criminal justice system. The reform has replaced inquisitorial proceedings with an adversarial system more similar to that of the United States.

Defense



Chile's Armed Forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the president through the Minister of Defense. The president has the authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces.

The commander in chief of the Chilean Army
Chilean Army
The Chilean Army is the land arm of the Military of Chile. This 45,000-person army is organized into seven divisions, a special operations brigade and an air brigade....

 is General Juan Miguel Fuente-Alba Poblete. The Chilean Army is 45,000 strong and is organized with an Army headquarters in Santiago, seven divisions throughout its territory, an Air Brigade in Rancagua, and a Special Forces Command in Colina. The Chilean Army is one of the most professional and technologically advanced armies in Latin America.

Admiral Edmundo Gonzalez Robles directs the 21,773-person Chilean Navy
Chilean Navy
-Independence Wars of Chile and Peru :The Chilean Navy dates back to 1817. A year before, following the Battle of Chacabuco, General Bernardo O'Higgins prophetically declared "this victory and another hundred shall be of no significance if we do not gain control of the sea".This led to the...

, including 2,500 Marines. Of the fleet of 29 surface vessels, only eight are operational major combatants (frigates). Those ships are based in Valparaíso. The Navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol; there are no Navy fighter or bomber aircraft. The Navy also operates four submarines based in Talcahuano.

Gen. Ricardo Ortega Perrier heads the 12,500 strong Chilean Air Force
Chilean Air Force
The Chilean Air Force is the air force of Chile, a branch of the Chilean military.-History:The first step towards the current FACh was taken by Teniente Coronel Pedro Pablo Dartnell, when he founded the Servicio de Aviación Militar de Chile on December 20, 1910, being trained as a pilot in France...

. Air assets are distributed among five air brigades headquartered in Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. The Air Force also operates an airbase on King George Island, Antarctica. The Air Force took delivery of the final 2 of 10 F-16s, all purchased from the U.S., in March 2007 after several decades of U.S. debate and previous refusal to sell. Chile also took delivery in 2007 of a number of reconditioned Block 15 F-16s from the Netherlands, bringing to 18 the total of F-16s purchased from the Dutch.

After the military coup in September 1973, the Chilean national police
Carabineros de Chile
thumb|250px|Carabineros de Chile, patrolling a street in [[Santiago, Chile|Santiago]]The Carabiniers of Chile, are the uniformed Chilean national police force and gendarmerie, created on April 27, 1927. Their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country...

 (Carabineros) were incorporated into the Defense Ministry. With the return of democratic government, the police were placed under the operational control of the Interior Ministry but remained under the nominal control of the Defense Ministry. Gen. Eduardo Gordon is the head of the national police force of 40,964 men and women who are responsible for law enforcement, traffic management, narcotics suppression, border control, and counter-terrorism throughout Chile.

Foreign relations


Since the early decades after independence, Chile has always had an active involvement in foreign affairs. In 1837 the country aggressively challenged the dominance of Peru's port of Callao
Callao
Callao is the largest and most important port in Peru. The city is coterminous with the Constitutional Province of Callao, the only province of the Callao Region. Callao is located west of Lima, the country's capital, and is part of the Lima Metropolitan Area, a large metropolis that holds almost...

 for preeminence in the Pacific trade routes, defeating the short-lived alliance between Peru and Bolivia, the Peru-Bolivian Confederation
Peru-Bolivian Confederation
The Peru–Bolivian Confederation was a short-lived confederate state that existed in South America between 1836 and 1839. Its first and only head of state, titled Supreme Protector, was the Bolivian president, Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz....

 (1836–39) in the War of the Confederation
War of the Confederation
The War of the Confederation , was a conflict between the Peru-Bolivian Confederation on one side and Chile, Peruvian dissidents and Argentina, on the other, fought mostly in the actual territory of Peru and which ended with a Confederate defeat and the dissolution of the...

. The war dissolved the confederation while distributing power in the Pacific. A second international war, the War of the Pacific (1879–83), further increased Chile's regional role, while adding considerably to its territory.

During the 19th century, Chile's commercial ties were primarily with Britain, a country that had a decisive influence on the organization of the navy. The French influenced Chile's legal and educational systems and had a decisive impact on Chile, through the architecture of the capital in the boom years at the turn of the century. German influence came from the organization and training of the army by Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

ns.

On June 26, 1945, Chile participated as a founding member of the United Nations being among 50 countries that signed the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 in San Francisco, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. With the military coup of 1973, Chile became isolated politically as a result of widespread human rights abuses.

Since its return to democracy in 1990, Chile has been an active participant in the international political arena. Chile completed a 2-year non-permanent position on the UN Security Council in January 2005. Jose Miguel Insulza, a Chilean national, was elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States in May 2005 and confirmed in his position, being re-elected in 2009. Chile is currently serving on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, and the 2007–2008 chair of the board is Chile's ambassador to the IAEA, Milenko E. Skoknic. The country is an active member of the UN family of agencies and participates in UN peacekeeping activities. It is currently bidding for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Chile hosted the Defense Ministerial of the Americas in 2002 and the APEC summit and related meetings in 2004. It also hosted the Community of Democracies ministerial in April 2005 and the Ibero-American Summit in November 2007. An associate member of Mercosur and a full member of APEC, Chile has been an important actor on international economic issues and hemispheric free trade.

The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries. It settled its territorial disputes with Argentina during the 1990s. Chile and Bolivia severed diplomatic ties in 1978 over Bolivia's desire to reacquire territory it lost to Chile in 1879–83 War of the Pacific. The two countries maintain consular relations and are represented at the Consul General level.

Administrative divisions




Chile is divided into 15 regions, each headed by an intendant
Intendant
The title of intendant has been used in several countries through history. Traditionally, it refers to the holder of a public administrative office...

 appointed by the president. The regions are further divided into provinces, with provincial governors also appointed by the president. Finally each province is divided into communes which are administered by municipalities, each with its own mayor and council elected for four year terms. Each region is designated by a name and a Roman numeral, assigned from north to south. The only exception is the Santiago Metropolitan Region which is designated RM (Región Metropolitana). Two new regions were created in 2006 and became operative in October 2007; Los Ríos in the south (Region XIV), and Arica y Parinacota in the north (Region XV). The numbering scheme skipped Region XIII
Triskaidekaphobia
Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number ; it is a superstition and related to a specific fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.The term was first used by Isador Coriat in Abnormal...

.
KeyNameSpanishCapital
XV Arica and Parinacota Región de Arica y Parinacota Arica
Arica, Chile
Arica is a commune and a port city with a population of 185,269 in the Arica Province of northern Chile's Arica and Parinacota Region, located only south of the border with Peru. The city is the capital of both the Arica Province and the Arica and Parinacota Region...

I
Tarapacá
Tarapacá Region
The I Tarapacá Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It borders the Chilean Arica and Parinacota Region to the north, Bolivia's Oruro Department on the east, the Antofagasta Region on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The port city of Iquique The I Tarapacá...

Región de Tarapacá Iquique
Iquique
Iquique is a port city and commune in northern Chile, capital of both the Iquique Province and Tarapacá Region. It lies on the Pacific coast, west of the Atacama Desert and the Pampa del Tamarugal. It had a population of 216,419 as of the 2002 census...

II
Antofagasta
Antofagasta Region
The II Antofagasta Region is one of Chile's fifteen first-order administrative divisions. It comprises three provinces, Antofagasta, El Loa and Tocopilla...

Región de Antofagasta Antofagasta
Antofagasta
Antofagasta is a port city in northern Chile, about north of Santiago. It is the capital of Antofagasta Province and Antofagasta Region. According to the 2002 census, the city has a population of 296,905...

III Atacama
Atacama Region
The Atacama Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It comprises three provinces, Chañaral, Copiapó and Huasco. It is bordered to the north by Antofagasta, to the south by Coquimbo, to east with Provinces of Catamarca, La Rioja and San Juan of Argentina, and to west with...

Región de Atacama Copiapó
IV
Coquimbo
Coquimbo Region
The IV Coquimbo Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It is some 400 km north of the capital, Santiago.The capital and largest city is La Serena, other important cities include the seaport Coquimbo and the agricultural centre...

Región de Coquimbo La Serena
V
Valparaíso
Valparaíso Region
The V Valparaíso Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions.Valparaíso Region, 2006 With the country's third highest population of 1,539,852 million in 2002 and third smallest area of , the region is Chile's second most densely populated after the Santiago Metropolitan Region...

Región de Valparaíso Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

VI
O'Higgins
O'Higgins Region
The VI O'Higgins Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It is subdivided into three provinces. It is named in honour of Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, one of Chile's founding fathers....

Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins Rancagua
Rancagua
Rancagua is a city and commune in central Chile, part of the Rancagua conurbation. It is the capital of the Cachapoal Province and of the O'Higgins Region, located south of the national capital of Santiago. It had a 2002 population of 214,344...

VII
Maule
Maule Region
The VII Maule Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. Its capital is Talca. The region takes its name from the Maule River which, running westward from the Andes, bisects the region and spans a basin of about 20,600 km2...

Región del Maule Talca
Talca
Talca is a city and commune in Chile located about south of Santiago, and is the capital of both Talca Province and Maule Region . As of the 2002 census, the city had a population of 193,755....

VIII
Biobío
Región del Biobío Concepción
Concepción, Chile
Concepción is a city in Chile, capital of Concepción Province and of the Biobío Region or Region VIII. Greater Concepción is the second-largest conurbation in the country, with 889,725 inhabitants...

IX
Araucanía
Araucanía Region
The IX Araucanía Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south....

Región de la Araucanía Temuco
Temuco
Temuco is a city and commune, capital of the Cautín Province and of the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. The name comes from the Mapudungun language, meaning "temu water"; "temu" is a tree used by Mapuches for medicinal purposes. The city is located 670 km south of Santiago...

XIV Los Ríos
Los Ríos Region
The XIV Los Ríos Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. Its capital is Valdivia. Pop. 356,396 . It began to operate as region on October 2, 2007. It was created by subdividing the Los Lagos Region in southern Chile...

Región de Los Ríos Valdivia
Valdivia, Chile
Valdivia is a city and commune in southern Chile administered by the Municipality of Valdivia. The city is named after its founder Pedro de Valdivia and is located at the confluence of the Calle-Calle, Valdivia and Cau-Cau Rivers, approximately east of the coastal towns of Corral and Niebla...

X
Los Lagos
Los Lagos Region
Los Lagos Region is one of Chile's 15 regions, which are first order administrative divisions, and comprises four provinces: Chiloé, Llanquihue, Osorno and Palena. The region contains the country's second largest island, Chiloé, and the second largest lake, Llanquihue.Its capital is Puerto Montt;...

Región de Los Lagos Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt is a port city and commune in southern Chile, located at the northern end of the Reloncaví Sound in the Llanquihue Province, Los Lagos Region. The commune spans an area of and had a population of 175,938 in 2002. It is located 1,055 km to the south of the capital, Santiago...

XI
Aisén
Región Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Coihaique
XII
Magallanes
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena Punta Arenas
RM
Santiago
Santiago Metropolitan Region
Santiago Metropolitan Region or simply Metropolitan Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It is the country's only landlocked administrative region and contains the nation's capital, Santiago...

Región Metropolitana de Santiago Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...


Geography




A long and narrow coastal Southern Cone
Southern Cone
Southern Cone is a geographic region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Although geographically this includes part of Southern and Southeast of Brazil, in terms of political geography the Southern cone has traditionally comprised Argentina,...

 country on the west side of the Andes Mountains, Chile stretches over 4,630 kilometres (2,880 mi) north to south, but only 430 kilometres (265 mi) at its widest point east to west. This encompasses a remarkable variety of landscape
Landscape
Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of...

s. It contains 756950 square kilometres (292,260 sq mi) of land area. It is situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

. Including its offshore islands, but excluding its Antarctic claim, Chile lies between latitudes 17°
17th parallel south
The 17th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 17 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean and South America....

 and 56°S
56th parallel south
The 56th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 56 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. No land lies on the parallel—it crosses nothing but ocean.Starting at the Prime Meridian and heading eastwards, the parallel 56° south passes through:...

, and longitudes 66°
66th meridian west
The meridian 66° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, South America, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 81°W
81st meridian west
The meridian 81° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, South America, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.The 81st meridian west...

.

The northern Atacama Desert
Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world...

 contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper and nitrates. The relatively small Central Valley, which includes Santiago, dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the historical center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it integrated the northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests, grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border. Chile is the longest north-south country in the world, and also claims 1250000 km² (482,627.7 sq mi) of Antarctica as part of its territory. However, this latter claim is suspended under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, of which Chile is a signatory.

Chile controls Easter Island and Sala y Gómez
Sala y Gómez
Isla Salas y Gómez, also known as Isla Sala y Gómez, is a small uninhabited Chilean island in the Pacific Ocean. It is the easternmost point in the Polynesian Triangle...

 Island, the easternmost islands of Polynesia, which it incorporated to its territory in 1888, and Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island , formerly known as Más a Tierra , or Aguas Buenas, is the largest island of the Chilean Juan Fernández archipelago, situated 674 kilometres west of South America in the South Pacific Ocean...

, more than 600 kilometres (372.8 mi) from the mainland, in the Juan Fernández Islands
Juan Fernández Islands
The Juan Fernández Islands are a sparsely inhabited island group reliant on tourism and fishing in the South Pacific Ocean, situated about off the coast of Chile, and is composed of three main volcanic islands; Robinson Crusoe Island, Alejandro Selkirk Island and Santa Clara Island, the first...

. Easter Island
Easter Island
Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people...

 is today a province of Chile. Also controlled but only temporarily inhabited (by some local fishermen) are the small islands of Sala y Gómez, San Ambrosio and San Felix. These islands are notable because they extend Chile's claim to territorial waters out from its coast into the Pacific.

Climate


The climate of Chile comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale, extending across 38 degrees in latitude, making generalisations difficult. According to the Köppen system
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

, Chile within its borders hosts at least seven major climatic subtypes, ranging from desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 in the north, to alpine tundra
Alpine tundra
Alpine tundra is a natural region that does not contain trees because it is at high altitude. Alpine tundra is distinguished from arctic tundra, because alpine soils are generally better drained than arctic soils...

 and glaciers in the east and south east, humid subtropical in Easter Island, Oceanic
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 in the south and Mediterranean climate in central Chile. There are four seasons in most of the country: summer (December to February), autumn (March to May), winter (June to August), and spring (September to November).

Biodiversity



Fauna


Chile's geographical isolation also has restricted the immigration of faunal life, so that only a few of the many distinctive South American animals are found. Among the larger mammals are the puma or cougar, the llama-like guanaco and the fox-like chilla. In the forest region, several types of marsupials and a small deer known as the pudu
Pudú
The pudús are two species of South American deer from the genus Pudu; the world's smallest deer. The name is a loanword from Mapudungun the language of the indigenous Mapuche people of southern Chile...

 are found.
There are many species of small birds, but most of the larger common Latin American types are absent. Few freshwater fish are native, but North American trout have been successfully introduced into the Andean lakes. Owing to the vicinity of the Humboldt Current, ocean waters abound with fish and other forms of marine life, which in turn support a rich variety of waterfowl, including several penguins. Whales are abundant, and some six species of seals are found in the area.

Fungi


Just over 3,000 species of fungi are recorded in Chile, but this number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species occurring in Chile is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Although the amount of available information is still very small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to Chile, and 1995 species have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the country.

Flora


The northernmost coastal and central region is largely barren of vegetation, approaching the most closely an absolute desert in the world.
On the slopes of the Andes, besides the scattered tola desert brush, grasses are found. The central valley is characterized by several species of cacti, the hardy espinos
Acacia caven
Acacia caven is an ornamental tree in the Fabaceae family. Acacia caven is native to Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay...

, the Chilean pine
Araucaria araucana
Araucaria araucana is an evergreen tree growing to tall with a trunk diameter. The tree is native to central and southern Chile, western Argentina and south Brazil. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria...

, the southern beech
Nothofagus
Nothofagus, also known as the southern beeches, is a genus of 35 species of trees and shrubs native to the temperate oceanic to tropical Southern Hemisphere in southern South America and Australasia...

es and the copihue
Copihue
Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue (co-pee-way Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue (co-pee-way...

, a red bell-shaped flower that is Chile's national flower.

In southern Chile, south of the Biobío River, heavy precipitation has produced dense forests of laurels, magnolias, and various species of conifers and beeches, which become smaller and more stunted to the south.

The cold temperatures and winds of the extreme south preclude heavy forestation. Grassland is found in Atlantic Chile (in Patagonia). Much of the Chilean flora is distinct from that of neighboring Argentina, indicating that the Andean barrier existed during its formation.

Economy


Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in human development
Human development (humanity)
Human development in the scope of humanity, specifically international development, is an international and economic development paradigm that is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. People are the real wealth of nations...

, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. However, it has a high economic inequality
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

, as measured by the Gini index. In May 2010 Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

. In 2006, Chile became the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America.

During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin Azócar was the first president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990, following the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.- Early life :...

, who took over from the military in 1990, deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% from 1991–1997, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies (implemented to keep the current account deficit in check) and because of lower export earnings, the latter which was a product of the Asian financial crisis. Chile's economy has since recovered and has seen growth rates of 5–7% over the past several years.

After a decade of impressive growth rates, Chile began to experience a moderate economic downturn in 1999, brought on by unfavorable global economic conditions related to the Asian financial crisis, which began in 1997. The economy remained sluggish until 2003, when it began to show clear signs of recovery, achieving 4.0% real GDP growth. The Chilean economy finished 2004 with growth of 6%. Real GDP growth reached 5.7% in 2005 before falling back to 4% in 2006. GDP expanded by 5% in 2007.

Unemployment hovered at 8%–10% after the start of the economic slowdown in 1999, above the 7% average for the 1990s. Unemployment finally dipped to 7.8% in 2006, and continued to fall in 2007, averaging 6.8% monthly (up to August). Wages have risen faster than inflation as a result of higher productivity, boosting national living standards
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

. The percentage of Chileans with per capita household incomes below the poverty line—defined as twice the cost of satisfying a person's minimal nutritional needs—fell from 45.1% in 1987 to 11.5% in 2009, according to government surveys. Critics in Chile, however, argue that true poverty figures are considerably higher than those officially published. (The government constructs the poverty line based on an outdated 1987 household consumption survey, instead of more recent surveys from 1997 or 2007). According to these critics, using data from the 1997 survey increases the poverty rate to 29%. Using the relative yardstick favoured in many European countries, 27% of Chileans would be poor, according to Juan Carlos Feres of the ECLAC.

High domestic savings and investment rates helped propel Chile's economy to average growth rates of 8% during the 1990s. The privatized national pension system
Chile pension system
The Chile Pension system refers to old-age, disability and survivor pensions for workers in Chile. The pension system was changed by José Piñera, during Augusto Pinochets military government on November 4, 1980 from a PAYGO-system to a fully funded capitalization system run by private sector...

 (AFP) has encouraged domestic investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate of approximately 21% of GDP.

Total foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 (FDI) was only $3.4 billion in 2006, up 52% from a poor performance in 2005. However, 80% of FDI continues to go to only four sectors: electricity, gas, water and mining. Much of the jump in FDI in 2006 was also the result of acquisitions and mergers, but has done little to create new employment in Chile.

Economic policies



Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady economic growth in Chile and have more than halved poverty rates. The 1973–90 military government sold many state-owned companies, and the three democratic governments since 1990 have continued privatization, though at a slower pace. The government's role in the economy is mostly limited to regulation, although the state continues to operate copper giant CODELCO and a few other enterprises (there is one state-run bank). Chile is strongly committed to free trade and has welcomed large amounts of foreign investment. Chile has signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with a whole network of countries, including an FTA with the United States that was signed in 2003 and implemented in January 2004.

Chile's independent Central Bank
Central bank
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is a public institution that usually issues the currency, regulates the money supply, and controls the interest rates in a country. Central banks often also oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries...

 pursues an inflation target of between 2% and 4%. Inflation has not exceeded 5% since 1998. Chile registered an inflation rate of 3.2% in 2006. The Chilean peso's rapid appreciation against the U.S. dollar in recent years has helped dampen inflation. Most wage settlements and loans are indexed, reducing inflation's volatility. Under the compulsory private pension system, most formal sector employees pay 10% of their salaries into privately managed funds.

As of 2006, Chile invested only 0.6% of its annual GDP in research and development (R&D). Even then, two-thirds of that was government spending. Beyond its general economic and political stability, the government has also encouraged the use of Chile as an "investment platform" for multinational corporations planning to operate in the region, but this will have limited value given the developing business climate in Chile itself. Chile's approach to foreign direct investment is codified in the country's Foreign Investment Law, which gives foreign investors the same treatment as Chileans. Registration is reported to be simple and transparent, and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official foreign exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital.

Faced with an international economic downturn the government announced a $4 billion economic stimulus plan to spur employment and growth, and despite the global financial crisis, aimed for an expansion of between 2 percent and 3 percent of GDP for 2009. Nonetheless, economic analysts disagreed with government estimates and predicted economic growth at a median of 1.5 percent. According to the CIA World FactBook, the GDP contracted an estimated −1.7% in 2009.

The Chilean Government has formed a Council on Innovation and Competition, which is tasked with identifying new sectors and industries to promote. It is hoped that this, combined with some tax reforms to encourage domestic and foreign investment in research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

, will bring in additional FDI to new parts of the economy.

Chile maintains one of the best credit ratings (S&P A+) in Latin America. There are three main ways for Chilean firms to raise funds abroad: bank loans, issuance of bonds, and the selling of stocks on U.S. markets through American Depository Receipts (ADRs). Nearly all of the funds raised through these means go to finance domestic Chilean investment. The government is required by law to run a fiscal surplus of at least 1% of GDP. In 2006, the Government of Chile ran a surplus of $11.3 billion, equal to almost 8% of GDP. The Government of Chile continues to pay down its foreign debt, with public debt only 3.9% of GDP at the end of 2006.

Foreign trade



2006 was a record year for Chilean trade. Total trade registered a 31% increase over 2005. During 2006, exports of goods and services totaled US $58 billion, an increase of 41%. This figure was somewhat distorted by the skyrocketing price of copper. In 2006, copper exports reached a historical high of US $33.3 billion. Imports totaled US $35 billion, an increase of 17% compared to the previous year. Chile thus recorded a positive trade balance of US $23 billion in 2006.

The main destinations for Chilean exports were the Americas (US $39 billion), Asia (US $27.8 billion) and Europe (US $22.2 billion). Seen as shares of Chile's export markets, 42% of exports went to the Americas, 30% to Asia and 24% to Europe. Within Chile's diversified network of trade relationships, its most important partner remained the United States. Total trade with the U.S. was US $14.8 billion in 2006. Since the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement went into effect on January 1, 2004, U.S.-Chilean trade has increased by 154%. Internal Government of Chile figures show that even when factoring out inflation and the recent high price of copper, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Chile has grown over 60% since then.

Total trade with Europe also grew in 2006, expanding by 42%. The Netherlands and Italy were Chile's main European trading partners. Total trade with Asia also grew significantly at nearly 31%. Trade with Korea and Japan grew significantly, but China remained Chile's most important trading partner in Asia. Chile's total trade with China reached U.S. $8.8 billion in 2006, representing nearly 66% of the value of its trade relationship with Asia.
The growth of exports in 2006 was mainly caused by a strong increase in sales to the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. These three markets alone accounted for an additional US $5.5 billion worth of Chilean exports. Chilean exports to the United States totaled US $9.3 billion, representing a 37.7% increase compared to 2005 (US $6.7 billion). Exports to the European Union were US $15.4 billion, a 63.7% increased compared to 2005 (US $9.4 billion). Exports to Asia increased from US $15.2 billion in 2005 to US $19.7 billion in 2006, a 29.9% increase.

During 2006, Chile imported US $26 billion from the Americas, representing 54% of total imports, followed by Asia at 22%, and Europe at 16%. Mercosur members were the main suppliers of imports to Chile at US $9.1 billion, followed by the United States with US $5.5 billion and the European Union with US $5.2 billion. From Asia, China was the most important exporter to Chile, with goods valued at US $3.6 billion. Year-on-year growth in imports was especially strong from a number of countries-Ecuador (123.9%), Thailand (72.1%), Korea (52.6%), and China (36.9%).

Chile's overall trade profile has traditionally been dependent upon copper exports. The state-owned firm CODELCO is the world's largest copper-producing company, with recorded copper reserves of 200 years. Chile has made an effort to expand nontraditional exports. The most important non-mineral exports are forestry and wood products, fresh fruit and processed food, fishmeal and seafood, and wine
Chilean wine
Chilean wine is wine made in the South American country of Chile. The region has a long viticultural history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French...

.

Trade agreements


Over the last several years, Chile has signed free trade agreements (FTA's) with the European Union, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, China, and Japan. It reached a partial trade agreement with India in 2005 and began negotiations for a full-fledged FTA with India in 2006. Chile conducted trade negotiations in 2007 with Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as with China to expand an existing agreement beyond just trade in goods. Chile concluded FTA negotiations with Australia and an expanded agreement with China in 2008. The members of the P4 (Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, and Brunei) also plan to conclude a chapter on finance and investment in 2008.

Successive Chilean governments have actively pursued trade-liberalizing agreements. During the 1990s, Chile signed free trade agreements FTA with Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Chile also concluded preferential trade agreements with Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. An association agreement with Mercosur-Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay-went into effect in October 1996. Continuing its export-oriented development strategy, Chile completed landmark free trade agreements in 2002 with the European Union and South Korea. Chile, as a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, is seeking to boost commercial ties to Asian markets. To that end, it has signed trade agreements in recent years with New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, India, China, and most recently Japan. In 2007, Chile held trade negotiations with Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and China. In 2008, Chile hopes to conclude an FTA with Australia, and finalize an expanded agreement (covering trade in services and investment) with China. The P4 (Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, and Brunei) also plan to expand ties through adding a finance and investment chapter to the existing P4 agreement. Chile's trade talks with Malaysia and Thailand are also scheduled to continue in 2008.
After two years of negotiations, the United States and Chile signed an agreement in June 2003 that will lead to completely duty-free bilateral trade within 12 years. The U.S.-Chile FTA entered into force January 1, 2004, following approval by the U.S. and Chilean congresses. The bilateral FTA has inaugurated greatly expanded U.S.-Chilean trade ties, with total bilateral trade jumping by 154% during the FTA's first three years.

Chile unilaterally lowered its across-the-board import tariff for all countries with which it does not have a trade agreement to 6% in 2003. Higher effective tariffs are charged only on imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar as a result of a system of import price bands. The price bands were ruled inconsistent with Chile's World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 (WTO) obligations in 2002, and the government has introduced legislation to modify them. Under the terms of the U.S.-Chile FTA, the price bands will be completely phased out for U.S. imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar within 12 years.

Chile is a strong proponent of pressing ahead on negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas
Free Trade Area of the Americas
The Free Trade Area of the Americas , , ) was a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas but Cuba. In the last round of negotiations, trade ministers from 34 countries met in Miami, United States, in November 2003 to discuss the proposal...

 (FTAA) and is active in the WTO's Doha round of negotiations, principally through its membership in the G-20
G20 developing nations
The G20 is a bloc of developing nations established on 20 August 2003. Distinct and separate from the G-20 major economies, the group emerged at the 5th Ministerial WTO conference, held in Cancún, Mexico, from 10 September to 14 September 2003...

 and Cairns Group
Cairns Group
The Cairns Group is an interest group of 19 agricultural exporting countries, composed of Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Uruguay.-History...

.

Finance



Chile's financial sector has grown quickly in recent years, with a banking reform law approved in 1997 that broadened the scope of permissible foreign activity for Chilean banks. The Chilean Government implemented a further liberalization of capital markets in 2001, and there is further pending legislation proposing further liberalization. Over the last ten years, Chileans have enjoyed the introduction of new financial tools such as home equity loans, currency futures and options, factoring, leasing, and debit cards. The introduction of these new products has also been accompanied by an increased use of traditional instruments such as loans and credit cards. Chile's private pension system, with assets worth roughly $70 billion at the end of 2006, has been an important source of investment capital for the capital market. However, by 2009, it has been reported that $21 billion had been lost from the pension system to the global financial crisis.

The countries largest companies are airline LAN
Län
Län and lääni refer to the administrative divisions used in Sweden and previously in Finland. The provinces of Finland were abolished on January 1, 2010....

 and retailers Cencosud and S.A.C.I. Falabella
S.A.C.I. Falabella
Falabella is a Chilean second largest retail company that operates its flagship Falabella department stores in addition to Mall Plaza shopping centers, Tottus supermarket, Banco de Falabella banks, and Sodimac home improvement centers...

.

Tourism




Tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 in Chile has experienced sustained growth over the last few decades. In 2005, tourism grew by 13.6%, generating more than 4.5 billion dollars of which 1.5 billion is attributed to foreign tourists. According to the National Service of Tourism (Sernatur), 2 million people a year visit the country. Most of these visitors come from other countries in the American continent, mainly Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

; followed by a growing number from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 with a growing number of Asians from South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 and PR China.

The main attractions for tourists are places of natural beauty situated in the extreme zones of the country: San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is a Chilean town and commune in El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region. It is located east of Antofagasta, some 106 km southeast of Calama and the Chuquicamata copper mine, overlooking the Licancabur volcano. It features a significant archeological museum, the R. P...

, in the north, is very popular with foreign tourists who arrive to admire the Incaic architecture, the altiplano lakes, and the Valley of the Moon
Valle de la Luna (Chile)
Valle de la Luna is located west of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile in the Cordillera de la Sal, in the Atacama desert of Chile. It has various stone and sand formations which have been carved by wind and water. It has an impressive range of color and texture, looking somewhat similar to the surface...

. In Putre
Putre
Putre is a Chilean town and commune, capital of the Parinacota Province in the Arica-Parinacota Region. It is located east of Arica, at an altitude of...

, also in the North, there is the Chungará Lake, as well as the Parinacota and the Pomerape
Pomerape
Pomerape is a stratovolcano lying on the border of Chile and Bolivia . It is part of the Nevados de Payachata complex of volcanoes together with Parinacota Volcano to the south. It is of Pleistocene age.Climbing the volcano is alpine AD grade, sometimes on 50+ degree snow/rubble slope...

 volcanoes, with altitudes of 6,348 m and 6,282 m, respectively. Throughout the central Andes there are many ski resorts of international repute, including Portillo
Portillo, Chile
Portillo is a ski resort located from Santiago, Chile, near the city of Los Andes. It rises 2880 meters above sea level and its highest point reaches 3332 meters above sea level. Ski Portillo has 23 ski trails and 12 lifts....

, Valle Nevado
Valle Nevado
Valle Nevado is a popular ski resort located 46 kilometers east of Santiago, Chile.Valle Nevado is one of South America's most modern ski resorts...

 and Termas de Chillán
Termas de Chillán
Termas de Chillán is a town located 82 km east of the Chilean city of Chillán. It has a ski center and three hotels.-Ski center:The ski resort is located 1,650 meters above sea level and has 11 lifts serving 28 marked trails, and a total of 35 km runs over 10,000 hectares of...

. The main tourist sites in the south are the coastal area around Tirúa and Cañete with the Isla Mocha and the Nahuelbuta National Park
Nahuelbuta National Park
Nahuelbuta National Park is one of the few parks located in Araucanía Region of Chile's Coastal Mountain Range. It sits atop the highest part of the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta. Created in 1939, it consists of 6,832 hectares situated just 162 km northeast of Temuco. Nahuelbuta is a sanctuary for...

, Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago consists of several islands lying off the coast of Chile. It is separated from mainland Chile by Chacao Channel in the north, the Sea of Chiloé in the east and Gulf of Corcovado to the southeast. All of the archipelago except Desertores Islands, which are part of Palena...

 and Patagonia
Patagonia
Patagonia is a region located in Argentina and Chile, integrating the southernmost section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific ocean and from the east of the cordillera to the valleys it follows south through Colorado River towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean...

, which includes Laguna San Rafael National Park
Laguna San Rafael National Park
Laguna San Rafael National Park is a park located on the Pacific coast of southern Chile. The park is named for the San Rafael Lagoon formed by the retreat of the San Rafael Glacier. Created in 1959, it covers an area of and includes the Northern Patagonian Ice Field...

, with its many glaciers, and the Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park is a national park encompassing mountains, a glacier, a lake, and river-rich areas in southern Chilean Patagonia. The Cordillera del Paine is the centerpiece of the park. It lies in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes...

. The central port city of Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

, which is World Heritage with its unique architecture, is also popular. Finally, Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean is one of the main Chilean tourist destinations.

For locals, tourism is concentrated mostly in the summer (December to March), and mainly in the coastal beach towns. Arica
Arica
Arica is a city in northern Chile. "Arica" may also refer to:Places* Arica and Parinacota Region, Chile* Arica Airport , Chile* Arica, Amazonas, town in Colombia* Rio Aricá-açu, tributary of the Cuiabá River south of Cuiabá, BrazilOther...

, Iquique
Iquique
Iquique is a port city and commune in northern Chile, capital of both the Iquique Province and Tarapacá Region. It lies on the Pacific coast, west of the Atacama Desert and the Pampa del Tamarugal. It had a population of 216,419 as of the 2002 census...

, Antofagasta
Antofagasta
Antofagasta is a port city in northern Chile, about north of Santiago. It is the capital of Antofagasta Province and Antofagasta Region. According to the 2002 census, the city has a population of 296,905...

, La Serena and Coquimbo
Coquimbo
Coquimbo is a port city, commune and capital of the Elqui Province, located on the Pan-American Highway, in the Coquimbo Region of Chile. Coquimbo lies in a valley south of La Serena, with which it forms Greater La Serena with more than 400,000 inhabitants. The commune spans an area around the...

 are the main summer centres in the north, and Pucón on the shores of Lake Villarrica
Lake Villarrica
Lake Villarrica, also known as Mallolafquén , is located about 700 kilometers south of Santiago in Chile’s Lake District in the southeast area of the Province of Cautín...

 is the main centre in the south. Because of its proximity to Santiago, the coast of the Valparaíso Region, with its many beach resorts, receives the largest number of tourists. Viña del Mar
Viña del Mar
Viña del Mar , is a city and commune on central Chile's Pacific coast. Its long stretches of white sandy beaches are a major attraction for national and international tourists. The city is Chile's main tourist attraction. Known as "La Ciudad Jardín" , Viña del Mar is a Chilean Municipality located...

, Valparaíso's northern affluent neighbor, is popular because of its beaches, casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

, and its annual song festival
Viña del Mar International Song Festival
The Viña del Mar International Song Festival is a music festival held annually during February since 1960 in Viña del Mar, Chile. It is considered the most important musical event in Latin America....

, the most important musical event in Latin America. Pichilemu
Pichilemu
Pichilemu , originally known as Pichilemo, is a beach resort city and commune in central Chile, and capital of Cardenal Caro Province. It is located southwest of Santiago, the capital of Chile, and comprises an urban center and twenty-three villages, such as Ciruelos, Cáhuil, and Espinillo...

 in the O'Higgins Region
O'Higgins Region
The VI O'Higgins Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It is subdivided into three provinces. It is named in honour of Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, one of Chile's founding fathers....

 is widely known as South America's "best surfing
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

 spot," according to Fodor's
Fodor's
Fodor's is the world's largest publisher of English language travel and tourism information, and the first relatively professional producer of travel guidebooks...

.

In November 2005, the government launched a campaign under the brand "Chile: All Ways Surprising," intended to promote the country internationally for both business and tourism.

Demographics



Chile's 2002 census reported a population of 15,116,435 people. Its rate of population growth has been decreasing since 1990, because of a declining birth rate
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

. By 2050 the population is expected to reach approximately 20.2 million people. About 85% of the country's population lives in urban areas, with 40% living in Greater Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

. The largest agglomeration
Agglomeration
In the study of human settlements, an urban agglomeration is an extended city or town area comprising the built-up area of a central place and any suburbs linked by continuous urban area. In France, INSEE the French Statistical Institute, translate it as "Unité urbaine" which means continuous...

s according to the 2002 census are Greater Santiago with 5.6 million people, Greater Concepción
Greater Concepción
Gran Concepción is the second largest conurbation in Chile, after Greater Santiago with 1,013,856 inhabitants. According to the National Statistics Institute , the population projection for 2012 is 1,019,775 inhabitants....

 with 861,000
and Greater Valparaíso
Greater Valparaíso
Greater Valparaíso is the third largest metropolitan area in Chile, after Greater Santiago, and Greater Concepción. It takes this name after the city of Valparaíso, the oldest city of the group and the most important harbour in Chile...

 with 824,000.

Chile is a multiethnic society
Multiethnic society
A multiethnic society is one with members belonging to more than one ethnic group, in contrast to societies which are ethnically homogenous. In practice, virtually all contemporary national societies are multiethnic...

, which means that it is home to people of many different ethnical backgrounds. As a result, the people there usually treat their nationality as a citizenship, but not an ethnicity.

One study conducted by Francisco Lizcano from UNAM
Unam
UNAM or UNaM may refer to:* National University of Misiones, a National University in Posadas, Argentina*National Autonomous University of Mexico , the large public autonomous university based in Mexico City...

 suggested that people of European origin made up 52.7% of the population and that Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s made up 44% of the population. A study conducted by the University of Chile found that within the Chilean population, 30% are of European descent and Mestizos with majority European
Castizo
Castizo is a Spanish word with a general meaning of "pure" or "genuine". The feminine form is castiza. From this meaning it evolved other meanings, such as "typical of an area" and it was also used for one of the colonial Spanish race categories, the castas, that evolved in the seventeenth...

 ancestry are estimated to be 65% of the population. Other studies have found a white majority
White Latin American
White Latin Americans are the people of Latin America who are white in the racial classification systems used in individual Latin American countries. Persons who are classified as White in one Latin American country may be classified differently in another country...

 that would exceed 60% of the Chilean population
Chilean people
Chilean people, or simply Chileans, are the native citizens and long-term immigrants of Chile. Chileans are mainly of Spanish and Amerindian descent, with small but significant traces of 19th and 20th century European immigrant origin...

.

The European portion of Chile's population consists mainly of people descended from Spanish
Spanish Chilean
Spanish Chileans are Chileans, of Spanish origin, even though most of the original colonial settlers have mixed with the other Europeans that have settled in the country after Independence up to the 20th century....

 settlers (predominantly Castilian
Castilian people
The Castilian people are the inhabitants of those regions in Spain where most people identify themselves as Castilian. They include Castile-La Mancha, Madrid, and the major part of Castile and León. However, not all regions of the medieval Kingdom of Castile think of themselves as Castilian...

, Andalusian
Andalusian people
The Andalusians are the people of the southern region in Spain approximated by what is now called Andalusia. They are generally not considered an ethnically distinct people because they lack two of the most important markers of distinctiveness: their own language and an awareness of a presumed...

 and Basque
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

), with minorities having German, Italian, Irish
Irish Chilean
Irish Chileans are the inhabitants of Chile who either came from some part of the island of Ireland or are descendants of immigrants from there...

, French
French Chilean
A French Chilean is an Chilean citizen of full or partial French ancestry. Between 1840 and 1940, 20,000 to 25,000 French people immigrated to Chile...

, British
British Chilean
The British Chileans are people of British ancestry, in full or in part, who reside in Chile. The British have been very important in the formation of the Chilean nation. They include Chileans of English, Scottish and Welsh ancestry. The numbers of Scottish and Welsh are higher in the Patagonia and...

, Swiss
Swiss Chilean
There are currently 5,000 Swiss citizens residing in Chile and 90,000 with Swiss descendants.- Immigration :The number of Swiss in Chile is minor, despite having a relatively large number of members. This is because their linguistic and cultural characteristics are commonly confused with Germans,...

, and Croatian
Croatian Chilean
Chileno-croatas are an important ethnic group in Chile; they are citizens of Chile who were either born in Europe or are Chileans of Croatian descent deriving their Croatian ethnicity from one or both parents...

 ancestry, singly or combined. The Mestizo segment, in this respect, would derive its European component from colonial Spanish settlers (mainly Andalusians and Castilians
Castilian people
The Castilian people are the inhabitants of those regions in Spain where most people identify themselves as Castilian. They include Castile-La Mancha, Madrid, and the major part of Castile and León. However, not all regions of the medieval Kingdom of Castile think of themselves as Castilian...

), while its Amerindian component would be from various tribes or groups, mainly Picunches and Mapuches.

The Afro-Chilean
Afro-Chilean
Afro Chileans are citizens of Chile, descended from African slaves who were brought to the New World with the arrival of the conquistadors toward the end of the slave trade.-Slavery in Arica:...

 population has always been tiny, reaching a high of 2,500 people during the colonial period; their current percentage of the population is less than one percent. According to the 2002 Census, 4.6% of the Chilean population considered themselves indigenous.

Indigenous communities


The 1907 census reported 101,118 Indians, or 3.1% of the total country population. Only those that practiced their native culture or spoke their native language were considered, irrespective of their "racial purity."

According to the 2002 census, only indigenous people that still practiced a native culture or spoke a native language were surveyed, and 4.6% of the population (692,192 people) fit that description. Of that 4.6%, 87.3% declared themselves Mapuche. Most of the indigenous population show varying degrees of mixed ancestry.

Chile is one of 22 countries to have signed and ratified the only binding international law concerning indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 is an International Labour Organization Convention, also known as ILO-convention 169, or C169. It is the major binding international convention concerning indigenous peoples, and a forerunner of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.It...

. It was adopted in 1989 as the International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

 (ILO) Convention 169. Chile ratified it in 2008. A Chilean court decision in November 2009, considered to be a landmark ruling in indigenous rights concerns, made use of the convention. The Supreme Court decision on Aymara water rights upheld rulings by both the Pozo Almonte tribunal and the Iquique Court of Appeals, and marks the first judicial application of ILO Convention 169 in Chile.

Immigration


An important number of non-Spanish immigrants have arrived in Chile from various countries and regions, including Italy, Ireland
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

, France
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

, Greece
Greeks in Chile
The Greek community in Chile are estimated to number from 90,000 to 120,000 and reside either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area, mostly.-Immigration:...

, Germany, England
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

, the Netherlands
Dutch Chilean
In 1600 , the Chilean city of Valdivia was conquered by Dutch pirate Sebastian de Cordes. He left the city after some months. Then in 1642 the VOC and the WIC sent a fleet of some ships to Chile to conquer the city of Valdivia and the goldmines of the Spanish. The expedition was conducted by...

, Scotland
Scottish Chilean
Scottish Chileans are Chileans of Scottish descent who came from Scotland and in some cases, Scots-Irish people from Northern Ireland. A large proportion of Scottish Chileans are sheep farmers in the Magallanes region of the far south of the country, and the city of Punta Arenas has a large...

, Croatia
Croatian Chilean
Chileno-croatas are an important ethnic group in Chile; they are citizens of Chile who were either born in Europe or are Chileans of Croatian descent deriving their Croatian ethnicity from one or both parents...

, and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. The largest contingent of people to arrive in Chile came from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, mainly the Basque country, beginning in the 16th century. Estimates of the number of people in Chile who can trace descent from Basques range from 10% (1,600,000) to as high as 27% (4,500,000).
Louis Thayer Ojeda estimates that during the 17th and 18th centuries fully 45% of all immigrants in Chile were Basques.

In 1848 an important and substantial German immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 took place, laying the foundation for the German-Chilean
German-Chilean
German Chileans are an important ethnic group in Chile; they are Chileans of German descent deriving their German ethnicity from one or both parents – they also include a minority of German citizens holding permanent residency in Chile...

 community. Sponsored by the Chilean government for the colonization of the southern region, the Germans (including German-speaking Swiss, Silesians
Silesians
Silesians , are the inhabitants of Silesia in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. A small diaspora community also exists in Karnes County, Texas in the USA....

, Alsatians
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 and Austrians
Austrians
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....

), strongly influenced the ethnic composition of the southern provinces of Chile. German immigrants have made a cultural impact in many areas of southern Chile
Southern Chile
Southern Chile may refer to different areas of Chile depending on the context. It may refer to:*Any place south of Santiago*All the region south of Biobío River*The Zona Sur region between Biobío and Chacao Channel....

, which is a sparsely populated region. The Consulate of Chile
Demographics of Chile
This article is about the demographic features of Chile, including population density, ethnicity, economic status and other aspects of the population....

 in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 estimates that 500,000 to 600,000 Chileans, or between 3% to 3.5% of the population today, are descended from German immigrants Most of them were located in the Los Ríos Region
Los Ríos Region
The XIV Los Ríos Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. Its capital is Valdivia. Pop. 356,396 . It began to operate as region on October 2, 2007. It was created by subdividing the Los Lagos Region in southern Chile...

.

It is estimated that nearly five percent of the Chilean population, or about 800,000 people, are of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n origin, chiefly from the Middle East (these include, most notably, Palestinians, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

ns, Lebanese
Lebanese people
The Lebanese people are a nation and ethnic group of Levantine people originating in what is today the country of Lebanon, including those who had inhabited Mount Lebanon prior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state....

 and Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

). Note that Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of the nation of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, may be included. Chile
Demographics of Chile
This article is about the demographic features of Chile, including population density, ethnicity, economic status and other aspects of the population....

 is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

. Roughly 500,000 of Chile's population is of full or partial Palestinian origin
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

.
Other historically significant immigrant groups in Chile include Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

ns, whose descendants today have been estimated to number some 380,000 people (or about 2.4% of the population). Other authorities estimate that close to 4.6% of the Chilean population may have some Croatian ancestry
Croatian diaspora
Croatian diaspora refers to the Croatian communities that have formed outside Croatia.Estimates on its size are only approximate because of incomplete statistical records and naturalization, but estimates suggest that the Croatian diaspora numbers between a third and a half of the total number of...

. Over 700,000 Chileans, or about 4.5% of the national population, may have some English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

, Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

, or Welsh
Welsh people
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...

 ancestry.

Chileans of Greek descent are estimated to number between 90,000 and 120,000 people, placing Chile among the five countries in the world with the most Greek descendants. Most live in or near either Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

 or Antofagasta
Antofagasta
Antofagasta is a port city in northern Chile, about north of Santiago. It is the capital of Antofagasta Province and Antofagasta Region. According to the 2002 census, the city has a population of 296,905...

. Swiss descendants add another 90,000 people to the population. Perhaps five percent of the Chilean population
Demographics of Chile
This article is about the demographic features of Chile, including population density, ethnicity, economic status and other aspects of the population....

 has some French ancestry
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Between 600,000 and 800,000 Chileans are descended from Italian immigrants. Other groups of Europeans have followed but are found in smaller numbers, as the descendants of Austrians
Austrians
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....

 and Dutchmen
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 it is currently estimated at about 50,000 people. Altogether, these immigrants with their descendants, they have transformed the country culturally, economically and politically.

European emigration to Chile (and to a lesser extent, the arrivals from the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

), during the second half of the 19th century and throughout the twentieth, was mostly to Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 and then to areas like the Atlantic Coast
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 of the Southern Cone.

Descendants of different European ethnic groups often intermarried in Chile, diluting the cultures and separate identities of the home countries and fusing them together with the descendants of the original Basque-Castilian aristocracy of the colonial period
Colonial Period
Colonial Period may generally refer to any period in a country's history when it was subject to administration by a colonial power.*Korea under Japanese rule*Colonial history of the United States...

, while at the same time preserving some separate aspects. This intermarriage and mixture of cultures and races has help shape the present society and culture of the Chilean middle and upper classes, who now enjoy varied elements of their original European cultures, such as British
British Chilean
The British Chileans are people of British ancestry, in full or in part, who reside in Chile. The British have been very important in the formation of the Chilean nation. They include Chileans of English, Scottish and Welsh ancestry. The numbers of Scottish and Welsh are higher in the Patagonia and...

 afternoon tea, German cakes, and Italian pasta. The fusion is also visible in the architecture of Chilean cities. These classes do, however, frequently deprecate Chilean folk culture, an offshoot of the culture of the Spaniards who settled the country in the colonial period.

Chile has recently become a new magnet for immigrants, mostly from neighboring Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 and mainly Peru. According to the 2002 national census, Chile's foreign-born population has increased by 75% since 1992. According to an estimate by the Migration and Foreign Residency Department, 317,057 foreigners were living in Chile as of December 2008.

Religion


In the most recent census (2002), 70 percent of the population over age 14 identified as Roman Catholic and 15.1 percent as evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

. In the census, the term "evangelical" referred to all non-Catholic Christian churches with the exception of the Orthodox Church (Greek, Persian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Armenian), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons
Mormons
The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while a minority are members of other independent churches....

), Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

. Approximately 90 percent of evangelicals are Pentecostal. Wesleyan
Wesleyan Church
"Wesleyan" has been used in the title of a number of historic and current denominations, although the subject of this article is the only denomination to use that specific title...

, Lutheran, Reformed Evangelical
Reformed churches
The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations characterized by Calvinist doctrines. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli but developed more coherently by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin...

, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 and Methodist churches are also present. Irreligious people, atheists and agnostics, account for around 8% of the population.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

, and other laws and policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors.

Church and state are officially separate
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

 in Chile. The 1999 law on religion prohibits religious discrimination
Religious discrimination
Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe.A concept like that of 'religious discrimination' is necessary to take into account ambiguities of the term religious persecution. The infamous cases in which people have been...

. However, the Catholic Church enjoys a privileged status and occasionally receives preferential treatment. Government officials attend Catholic events as well as major Protestant and Jewish ceremonies.

The Government-observed religious holidays include Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

, Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

, the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries...

, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, or the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, is a liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed on 29 June...

, the Feast of the Assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

, All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated on 8 December, nine months before the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on 8 September. It is the patronal feast day of the United States and the Republic of the...

 as national holidays
Public holiday
A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday generally established by law and is usually a non-working day during the year....

. The government has recently declared October 31, Reformation Day
Reformation Day
Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31 in remembrance of the Reformation, particularly by Lutheran and some Reformed church communities...

, a public national holiday, in honor of the Protestant churches of the country.

Languages


The Spanish spoken in Chile
Chilean Spanish
Chilean Spanish is the variety of Spanish spoken in most of Chile. Though still entirely mutually intelligible with standard Spanish, Chilean Spanish has distinctive pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and slang usage...

 is distinctively accented and quite unlike that of neighbouring South American countries because final syllables and "s" sounds are dropped, and some consonants have a soft pronunciation. Accent varies only very slightly from north to south; more noticeable are the small differences in accent based on social class or whether one lives in the city or the country. That the Chilean population was largely formed in a small section at the center of the country and then migrated in modest numbers to the north and south helps explain this relative lack of differentiation, which was maintained by the national reach of radio, and now television, which also helps to diffuse and homogenize colloquial expressions.

There are several indigenous languages spoken in Chile: Mapudungun
Mapudungun
The Mapuche language, Mapudungun is a language isolate spoken in south-central Chile and west central Argentina by the Mapuche people. It is also spelled Mapuzugun and sometimes called Mapudungu or Araucanian...

, Quechua
Chilean Quechua
Chilean Quechua is Quechua as spoken in northern Chile. It may be South Bolivian Quechua.-External links:***...

, Aymara
Aymara language
Aymara is an Aymaran language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes. It is one of only a handful of Native American languages with over three million speakers. Aymara, along with Quechua and Spanish, is an official language of Peru and Bolivia...

 and Rapa Nui
Rapa Nui language
Rapa Nui , also known as Pascuan or Pascuense, is an Eastern Polynesian language spoken on the island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island....

. After the Spanish invasion, Spanish took over as the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 and the indigenous languages have become minority languages, with some now extinct or close to extinction.

German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 is still spoken to some extent in southern Chile, either in small country side pockets or as a second language among the communities of larger cities.

Through initiatives such as the English Opens Doors
English Opens Doors
English Opens Doors, or Inglés Abre Puertas in Spanish language, is an initiative of the Chilean Ministry of Education to apply technical expertise and improve English as a Foreign Language teaching, making it more accessible to all Chileans...

 program, the government made English mandatory for students in fifth-grade and above in public schools. Most private schools in Chile start teaching English from kindergarten. Common English words have been absorbed and appropriated into everyday Spanish speech.

In 2010, all students from 3rd grade in "Enseñanza Media" (secondary school) will be tested on listening and reading comprehension. The evaluation is compulsory and the instrument is TOIEC Bridge, developed by Educational Testing Service
Educational Testing Service
Educational Testing Service , founded in 1947, is the world's largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization...

.

Culture





During the period between early agricultural settlements and to the late pre-Hispanic period, northern Chile was a region of Andean culture that was influenced by altiplano traditions spreading to the coastal valleys of the north. While southern regions were areas of Mapuche cultural activities. Through the colonial period following the conquest, and during the early Republican period, the country's culture was dominated by the Spanish. Other European influences, primarily English
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

, French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

, and German began in the 19th century and have continued to this day. German migrants influenced the Bavarian style rural architecture and cuisine in the south of Chile in cities such as Valdivia
Valdivia, Chile
Valdivia is a city and commune in southern Chile administered by the Municipality of Valdivia. The city is named after its founder Pedro de Valdivia and is located at the confluence of the Calle-Calle, Valdivia and Cau-Cau Rivers, approximately east of the coastal towns of Corral and Niebla...

, Frutillar
Frutillar
Frutillar is a city and commune located in southern Chile in the Los Lagos Region. The bay of Frutillar is placed on the banks of Lake Llanquihue, the largest lake entirely within Chile.-History:...

, Puerto Varas
Puerto Varas
Puerto Varas is a city and commune located in the southern Chilean province of Llanquihue, in the Los Lagos Region.The city is well known for its German traditions, its food, its fish and seafood, the natural environment, its casino and 5 star hotels. Only from Puerto Montt, located on the shore...

, Osorno
Osorno, Chile
Osorno is a city and commune in southern Chile and capital of Osorno Province in the Los Lagos Region. It had a population of 145,475, as of the 2002 census...

, Temuco
Temuco
Temuco is a city and commune, capital of the Cautín Province and of the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. The name comes from the Mapudungun language, meaning "temu water"; "temu" is a tree used by Mapuches for medicinal purposes. The city is located 670 km south of Santiago...

, Puerto Octay
Puerto Octay
Puerto Octay is a town and commune located on the north shore of Llanquihue Lake in Los Lagos Region in the south of Chile. It was settled by German colonists in 1852. Puerto Octay was an important port with regular traffic to Puerto Varas before the coming of railway in 1912.-History:Its origin...

, Llanquihue
Llanquihue Province
Llanquihue Province is one of four provinces of the Chilean region of Los Lagos . Its capital is Puerto Montt. Chile's second largest lake, Lake Llanquihue, is located in the province as well as four volcanoes: Osorno, Calbuco, Puntiagudo and Cerro Tronador....

, Faja Maisan
Faja Maisan
Faja Maisan is a coastal town located in the commune of Pitrufquén. Formed mostly by descendants of Germans, Dutchs and Swiss, whose grandparents came to the Araucanía between 1905 and 1912.- History :...

, Pitrufquén
Pitrufquén
Pitrufquén is a Chilean city and commune in Cautín Province, Araucanía Region. The city is located 30 km south of Temuco and lies immediately south of the Toltén River, along Chile Highway 5.-History:...

, Victoria
Victoria, Chile
Victoria is a city and commune in Malleco Province of Araucanía Region, Chile. It is the second most populous city in the province of Malleco, and is the gateway to the area known as Araucanía Andina, with attractions such as the Tolhuaca National Park , the Baths of Tolhuaca Malalcahuello National...

, Pucón
Pucón
Pucón is a Chilean city and commune administered by the municipality of Pucón located in the Province of Cautín, Araucanía Region, 100 km to the southeast of Temuco and 780 km to the south of Santiago....

 and Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt is a port city and commune in southern Chile, located at the northern end of the Reloncaví Sound in the Llanquihue Province, Los Lagos Region. The commune spans an area of and had a population of 175,938 in 2002. It is located 1,055 km to the south of the capital, Santiago...

.

Music and dance


Music in Chile ranges from folkloric music, popular music and also to classical music. Its large geography generates different musical expressions in the north, center and south of the country, including also Easter Island and Mapuche music. The national dance is the cueca
Cueca
Cueca is a family of musical styles and associated dances from Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. In Chile, the cueca holds the status of national dance, where it was officially selected on September 18, 1979.- Origins :...

. Another form of traditional Chilean song, though not a dance, is the tonada. Arising from music imported by the Spanish colonists, it is distinguished from the cueca by an intermediate melodic section and a more prominent melody.

Between 1950 and 1970 appears a rebirth in folk music leading by groups such as Los de Ramon
Los de Ramon
Los de Ramón are a Chilean folkloric group of vast trajectory and extended musical diffusion not only in Chile , also in Latin America. Conformed by the family group of Raul de Ramon , his wife Maria Eugenia and his two children Carlos Alberto and Raul Eduardo were of great importance like...

, Los Cuatro Cuartos and Los Huasos Quincheros, among others with composers such as Raul de Ramon
Raul de Ramon
Raúl de Ramón was a Chilean composer, musician and folklorist and author of numerous songs of great diffusion in Chile like The Curanto, Nostalgia Colchaguina, Camino de Soledad, Rosa Colorada, Canción de la Caballería, El Amor del Arriero and a hundred more...

, Violeta Parra
Violeta Parra
Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval was a notable Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and visual artist...

 and others. In the mid-1960s native musical forms were revitalized by the Parra family
Parra family
The Parra family is a Chilean family known for its many artists. Members of the Parra family are noted contributors to Chilean culture with almost every member being a distinguished national artist. The family is not related to the Parra brothers, members of the Chilean rock fusion group Los...

 with the Nueva Canción Chilena
Nueva canción
Nueva canción is a movement and genre within Latin American and Iberian music of folk music, folk-inspired music and socially committed music...

, which was associated with political activists and reformers such as Victor Jara
Víctor Jara
Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, political activist and member of the Communist Party of Chile...

 and Inti-Illimani
Inti-Illimani
Inti-Illimani is an instrumental and vocal Latin American folk music ensemble from Chile. The group was formed in 1967 by a group of university students and it acquired widespread popularity in Chile for their song Venceremos which became the anthem of the Popular Unity government of Salvador...

. Other important folk
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 singer and researcher
Researcher
A researcher is somebody who performs research, the search for knowledge or in general any systematic investigation to establish facts. Researchers can work in academic, industrial, government, or private institutions.-Examples of research institutions:...

 on folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 and Chilean ethnography
Ethnography
Ethnography is a qualitative method aimed to learn and understand cultural phenomena which reflect the knowledge and system of meanings guiding the life of a cultural group...

, is Margot Loyola
Margot Loyola
Margot Loyola Palacios is a musician, folk singer and researcher of the folklore of Chile and Latin America in general.Loyola has been active as a musician and musical ethnographer/anthropologist for many decades...

. Also many Chilean Rock bands like Los Jaivas
Los Jaivas
Los Jaivas are a Chilean musical group who perform in folk, rock, and progressive rock styles.-History:Los Jaivas appeared in Chilean music in 1963 as a progressive-rock-andino group, mixing rock with South American ancestral music...

, Los Prisioneros
Los Prisioneros
Los Prisioneros was a chilean rock band formed in San Miguel, Santiago, Chile in 1982. They began as a local band during the early 1980s, playing small shows in their neighborhood and high school...

, La Ley
La Ley (band)
La Ley was a Grammy Award and two-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Chilean pop rock band formed by Andrés Bobe and Rodrigo Aboitiz with Mauricio Claveria, Beto Cuevas and Luciano Rojas. After a failed first album, Desiertos , they released Doble Opuesto , which appears as the official first album...

, and Los Tres
Los Tres
Los Tres is a Chilean rock band composed of four members: a rock/folk singer and three jazzmen. It was one of the noted bands in the Chilean nineties, together with La Ley and Lucybell....

 have reached international success.

Literature


Chileans call their country país de poetas-country of poets. Gabriela Mistral
Gabriela Mistral
Gabriela Mistral was the pseudonym of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat, and feminist who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945...

 was the first Latin American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature (1945). Chile's most famous poet, however, is Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda....

, who also won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971) and is world-renowned for his extensive library of works on romance, nature, and politics. His three highly personalized homes, located in Isla Negra
Isla Negra
Isla Negra is a coastal area in El Quisco commune in central Chile, some 45 km south of Valparaiso and 95 km west of Santiago.-Pablo Neruda:...

, Santiago and Valparaíso are popular tourist destinations.

Among the list of other Chilean poets are Carlos Pezoa Véliz
Carlos Pezoa Véliz
Carlos Pezoa Véliz was a poet, educator and journalist from Chile. His literary work remained largely unpublished until his death at the young age of 29...

, Vicente Huidobro
Vicente Huidobro
Vicente García-Huidobro Fernández was a Chilean poet born to an aristocratic family. He was an exponent of the artistic movement called Creacionismo , which held that a poet should bring life to the things he or she writes about, rather than just describe them.Huidobro was born into a wealthy...

, Gonzalo Rojas
Gonzalo Rojas
Gonzalo Rojas Pizarro was a Chilean poet. His work is part of the continuing Latin American avant-garde literary tradition of the twentieth century.- Biography :...

, and Nicanor Parra
Nicanor Parra
Nicanor Parra Sandoval is a mathematician and poet born in San Fabián de Alico, Chile, who has been considered to be a popular poet in Chile with enormous influence and popularity in Latin America, and also considered one of the most important poets of the Spanish language literature...

. Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean writer with American citizenship. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the "magic realist" tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts , which have been commercially successful...

 is the best-selling Chilean novelist, with 51 millions of her novels sold worldwide. Novelist José Donoso's
José Donoso
José Donoso Yáñez was a Chilean writer. He lived most of his life in Chile, although he spent many years in self-imposed exile in Mexico, the United States and mainly Spain. Although he had left his country in the sixties for personal reasons, after 1973 he claimed his exile was also a form of...

 novel 'The Obscene Bird of the Night' is considered by critic Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom is an American writer and literary critic, and is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. He is known for his defense of 19th-century Romantic poets, his unique and controversial theories of poetic influence, and his prodigious literary output, particularly for a literary...

 to be one of the canonical works of 20th century Western literature. Another internationally recognized Chilean novelist is Roberto Bolaño
Roberto Bolaño
Roberto Bolaño Ávalos was a Chilean novelist and poet. In 1999 he won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize for his novel Los detectives salvajes , and in 2008 he was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666, which was described by board member Marcela Valdes...

 whose translations into English have had an excellent reception from the critics.

Cuisine


Chilean cuisine is a reflection of the country's topographical variety, featuring an assortment of seafood, beef, fruits, and vegetables. Traditional recipes include asado
Asado
Asado is a term used both for a range of barbecue techniques and the social event of having or attending a barbecue in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and southern Brazil. In the former countries asado is also the standard word for barbecue. An asado usually consists of beef alongside various...

, cazuela
Cazuela
Cazuela is the common name given to a variety of dishes, specially from South America. It receives its name from the cazuela in which is cooked...

, empanada
Empanada
An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Latin America, Southern Europe and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing...

s, humita
Humita
Humita is a Native American dish from pre-Hispanic times, and a traditional food in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. It consists of masa harina and corn, slowly cooked in oil....

s, pastel de choclo
Pastel de choclo
Pastel de choclo is a typical Argentinian, Peruvian and Chilean dish made of fresh ground corn with basil. It is traditionally served in a paila . Commonly mixed in with the choclo is ground beef, chicken, black olives, onions and/or slices of hard boiled eggs....

, pastel de papas, curanto
Curanto
Curanto is a traditional food of Chiloé Archipelago that has spread to the southern areas of Chile and recently Argentina. It is traditionally prepared in a hole, about a meter and a half deep, which is dug in the ground...

 and sopaipillas. Crudos
Crudos
Crudo is a typical German-Chilean dish similar to a steak tartare. It is made by putting finely chopped raw beef mince into a piece of pre-sliced white bread and then adding lemon juice, chopped onions and a sauce made of yogurt and mayonnaise....

 is an example of the mixture of culinary contributions from the various ethnic influences in Chile. The raw minced llama, heavy use of shellfish and rice bread were taken from native Quechua
Quechuas
Quechuas is the collective term for several indigenous ethnic groups in South America who speak a Quechua language , belonging to several ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.The Quechuas of Ecuador call themselves as well as their...

 Andean cuisine, (although now beef brought to Chile by Europeans is also used in place of the llama meat), lemon and onions were brought by the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 colonists, and the use of mayonnaise and yogurt was introduced by German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 immigrants, as was beer.

Sports



Chile's most popular sport is association football (fútbol). Chile has appeared in eight FIFA World Cups which includes hosting the 1962 FIFA World Cup
1962 FIFA World Cup
The 1962 FIFA World Cup, the seventh staging of the World Cup, was held in Chile from 30 May to 17 June. It was won by Brazil, who retained the championship by beating Czechoslovakia 3–1 in the final...

 where the national football team
Chile national football team
The Chilean national football team represents Chile in all major international football competitions. The team is controlled by the Federación de Fútbol de Chile which was established in 1895. They have appeared in eight World Cup tournaments and were hosts of the 1962 FIFA World Cup finishing in...

 finished third. Other results achieved by the national football team include four finals at the Copa América
Copa América
The Copa América —previously known as South American Championship—is an international football competition contested between the men's national teams of CONMEBOL, the sport's continental governing body...

, one silver and two bronze medals at the Pan American Games
Pan American Games
The Pan-American or Pan American Games are a major event in the Americas featuring summer and formerly winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Pan American Games are the second largest multi-sport event after the Summer Olympics...

, a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics
2000 Summer Olympics
The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 and two third places finishes in the FIFA under-17 and under-20 youth tournaments. The main football clubs are Colo-Colo
Colo-Colo
Club Social y Deportivo Colo-Colo is a Chilean football club based in the commune of Macul, Santiago. It competes in the Primera División, the top-flight football league in the country, from which they have never been relegated. Their home ground is the Estadio Monumental David Arellano.Colo-Colo...

, Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica
Club Deportivo Universidad Católica
Club Deportivo Universidad Católica is a professional football club based in Santiago, Chile, which plays in the Primera División.Universidad Católica is one of the most successful and popular football clubs in Chile and considered one of the three "big teams"...

. Colo-Colo is the country's most successful football club, having both the most national and international championships, including the coveted Copa Libertadores South American club tournament. Universidad Católica
Club Deportivo Universidad Católica
Club Deportivo Universidad Católica is a professional football club based in Santiago, Chile, which plays in the Primera División.Universidad Católica is one of the most successful and popular football clubs in Chile and considered one of the three "big teams"...

 was the last international champion (Interamerican Cup 1994).
Tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 is Chile's most successful sport. Its national team
Chile Davis Cup team
The Chile Davis Cup Team represents Chile in Davis Cup tennis tournament and is governed by Chile Tennis Federation. The team is currently captained by former Chilean tennis player Hans Gildemeister.-History:...

 won the World Team Cup
World Team Cup
The World Team Cup is the international team championship of the Association of Tennis Professionals . The tournament has been contested annually since 1978 and is generally considered to be second most prestigious men's team competition in tennis after the Davis Cup.Every year, the eight nations...

 clay tournament twice (2003 & 2004), and played the Davis Cup
Davis Cup
The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men's tennis. It is run by the International Tennis Federation and is contested between teams of players from competing countries in a knock-out format. The competition began in 1900 as a challenge between Britain and the United States. By...

 final against Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 in 1976. At the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

 the country captured gold and bronze in men's singles and gold in men's doubles. Marcelo Ríos
Marcelo Ríos
Marcelo Andrés Ríos Mayorga is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Chile. Nicknamed El Chino and El zurdo de Vitacura , he became the first Latin American player to reach the top position on the Association of Tennis Professionals singles rankings in 1998. He held the World No...

 became the first Latin American man to reach the number one spot in the ATP singles rankings in 1998. Anita Lizana
Anita Lizana
Anita Lizana de Ellis was a World Number 1 tennis player from Chile. She was the first Latin American, and first Hispanic person, to be ranked World Number 1 tennis player. Also, Anita Lizana was the first Latin American to win a Grand Slam singles championship. She won the U.S...

 won the US Open in 1937, becoming the first woman from Latin America to win a grand slam
Grand Slam (tennis)
The four Major tennis tournaments, also called the Slams, are the most important tennis events of the year in terms of world tour ranking points, tradition, prize-money awarded, strength and size of player field, and public attention. They are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and...

 tournament. Luis Ayala
Luis Ayala (tennis)
Luis Alberto Ayala Salinas is a former Chilean world-ranked tennis player who competed in the 1950s and 1960s. When he retired, he became a tennis professional at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. Currently, he is the Director of Tennis at the Forest Club in Houston, Texas.-Grand slams:...

 was twice a runner-up at the French Open and both Ríos and Fernando González
Fernando González
----Fernando Francisco González Ciuffardi is a professional tennis player from Chile. He is known for having one of the hardest forehands on the circuit. In Spanish he is called El Bombardero de La Reina and Mano de Piedra...

 reached the Australian Open
Australian Open
The Australian Open is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament held in the southern hemisphere. The tournament was held for the first time in 1905 and was last contested on grass in 1987. Since 1972 the Australian Open has been held in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1988, the tournament became a hard court...

 men's singles finals. González also won a silver medal in singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

 in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

.

At the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 Chile boasts two gold medals (tennis), seven silver medals (athletics, Equestrian
Equestrian at the Summer Olympics
Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. It disappeared until 1912, but has appeared at every Summer Olympic Games since. The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping...

, boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, shooting
Shooting
Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman...

 and tennis) and four bronze medals (tennis, boxing and football). Rodeo
Chilean rodeo
Rodeo is a traditional sport in Chile. It was declared the national sport in 1962. It has since thrived, especially in the more rural areas of the country. Chilean rodeo is different from the rodeo found in North America...

 is the country's national sport
National sport
A national sport or national pastime is a sport or game that is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Some sports are de facto national sports, as baseball is in the U.S., while others are de jure as lacrosse and ice hockey are in Canada.-De jure national sports:-De facto...

 and is practiced in the more rural areas of the country. A sport similar to hockey
Hockey
Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick.-Etymology:...

 called chueca
Chueca
Chueca is a central neighborhood in Madrid named after Federico Chueca , composer of zarzuelas. It lies just to the north of the old city and is centered around the Plaza de Chueca, with its metro station "Chueca." The neighborhood has become a popular area for Madrid's gay community, which stages...

was played by the Mapuche people during the Spanish conquest. Skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 and snowboarding
Snowboarding
Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the U.S.A...

 are practiced at ski centers located in the Central Andes, and in southern ski centers near to cities as Osorno, Puerto Varas, Temuco and Punta Arenas. While Surfing
Surfing in Chile
Travelers from all over the World visit the wonderful country of Chile that has many beaches for surfing, especially in the northern region where the weather conditions attract many surfers from all over the world....

 is popular at some coastal towns. Polo
Polo
Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Sometimes called, "The Sport of Kings", it was highly popularized by the British. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a...

 is professionally practiced within Chile and in 2008 Chile achieved top prize in the World Polo Championship
World Polo Championship
The World Polo Championship is a polo competition between countries. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the Federation of International Polo , and is contested by the men's national teams. The inaugural tournament was held in 1987, hosted by Argentina, and is now contested every...

 a tournament where the country has earned both second and third places medals in previous editions. Basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 is a popular sport in which Chile has earned a bronze medal in the first men's FIBA World Championship
FIBA World Championship
The FIBA World Championship is an international basketball competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of the International Basketball Federation , the sport's global governing body...

 held in 1950 and winning a second bronze medal when Chile hosted the 1959 FIBA World Championship
1959 FIBA World Championship
The 1959 FIBA World Championship was an international basketball competition hosted by Chile from January 16 to 31 , 1959. Amaury Antônio Pasos was named the MVP....

. Chile hosted the first FIBA World Championship for Women
FIBA World Championship for Women
The FIBA World Championship for Women is a world basketball tournament for women's national teams held quadrennially...

 in 1953 finishing the tournament with the silver medal. Other sports such as marathons and ultramarathons are also increasing in popularity. San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is a Chilean town and commune in El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region. It is located east of Antofagasta, some 106 km southeast of Calama and the Chuquicamata copper mine, overlooking the Licancabur volcano. It features a significant archeological museum, the R. P...

 is host to the annual "Atacama Crossing," a six-stage, 250-kilometer footrace which annually attracts about 150 competitors from 35 countries. The Dakar Rally
Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally is an annual rally raid type of off-road automobile race, organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation...

 off-road automobilie race
Off-road racing
Off-road racing is a format of racing where various classes of specially modified vehicles compete in races through off-road environments.-North America:...

 has been held in both Chile and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 since 2009.

National symbols



The national flower is the copihue
Copihue
Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue (co-pee-way Lapageria rosea, commonly known as the Copihue (co-pee-way...

 (Lapageria rosea, Chilean bellflower
Campanula
Campanula is one of several genera in the family Campanulaceae with the common name bellflower. It takes its name from their bell-shaped flowers—campanula is Latin for "little bell"....

), which grows in the woods of southern Chile.

The coat of arms
Coat of arms of Chile
The coat of arms of Chile dates from 1834 and was designed by the English artist Charles Wood Taylor. It is made up by a figurative background divided in two equal parts: the top one is blue and the bottom, red. A five pointed white star is in the centre of the shield...

 depicts the two national animals: the condor
Condor
Condor is the name for two species of New World vultures, each in a monotypic genus. They are the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere.They are:* The Andean Condor which inhabits the Andean mountains....

 (Vultur gryphus, a very large bird that lives in the mountains) and the huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus, an endangered white tail deer). It also has the legend Por la razón o la fuerza (By Reason or by Force).

The flag of Chile
Flag of Chile
The national flag of Chile, consists of two unequal horizontal bands of white and red and a blue square the same height as the white band in the canton, which bears a white five-pointed star in the center. It was adopted on October 18, 1817...

 consists of two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; there is a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red stands for the blood spilled to achieve independence. The flag of Chile is similar to the Flag of Texas
Flag of Texas
The Flag of the State of Texas is defined by law as follows:The Texas flag is known as the "Lone Star Flag" . This flag was introduced to the Congress of the Republic of Texas on December 28, 1838, by Senator William H. Wharton...

, although the Chilean flag is 21 years older. However, like the Texan flag, the flag of Chile is modeled after the Flag of the United States
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

.

Healthcare



System Affiliates %
Fonasa  12,504,226 73.49
Isapre  2,705,917 15.90
total pop. 17,014,491 100.00


The Ministry of Health
Ministry of Health (Chile)
The Ministry of Health of Chile , also known as MINSAL, is the cabinet-level administrative office in charge of planning, directing, coordinating, executing, controlling and informing the public health policies formulated by the President of Chile...

 (Minsal) is the cabinet-level administrative office in charge of planning, directing, coordinating, executing, controlling and informing the public health policies formulated by the President of Chile.

The National Health Fund
Fondo Nacional de Salud
Fondo Nacional de Salud, also known as FONASA, is the financial entity entrusted to collect, manage and distribute state funds for health in Chile. It is funded by the public . It was created in 1979 by Decree Law No. 2763....

 (Fonasa), created in 1979, is the financial entity entrusted to collect, manage and distribute state funds for health in Chile. It is funded by the public. All employees pay 7% of their monthly income to the fund.

Fonasa is part of the NHSS and has executive power through the Ministry of Health (Chile)
Ministry of Health (Chile)
The Ministry of Health of Chile , also known as MINSAL, is the cabinet-level administrative office in charge of planning, directing, coordinating, executing, controlling and informing the public health policies formulated by the President of Chile...

. Its headquarters are in Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

 and decentralized public service is conducted by various Regional Offices.

More than 12 million beneficiaries benefit from Fonasa. Beneficiaries can also opt for more costly private insurance through Isapre.

See also


  • International rankings of Chile
    International rankings of Chile
    - General :-Cities:*GaWC Inventory of World Cities, 2008: Santiago de Chile is an Alpha-ranked world city-Economic:*International Monetary Fund: GDP per capita 2007, ranked 52 out of 182 countries...

  • List of Chileans

  • South America Life Quality Rankings
  • South America Life Quality Rankings - Economy and Finance
  • South America Life Quality Rankings - Law and Justice


Further reading

  • Simon Collier and William F. Sater, A History of Chile, 1808–1894, Cambridge University Press, 1996
  • Paul W. Drake, and others., Chile: A Country Study, Library of Congress, 1994
  • Luis Galdames, A History of Chile, University of North Carolina Press, 1941
  • Brian Lovemen, Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2001
  • John L. Rector, The History of Chile, Greenwood Press, 2003

External links