Coordinates: 30°S 71°W / 30°S 71°W / -30; -71
Republic of Chile
República de Chile (Spanish)
Coat of arms
Por la razón o la fuerza (Spanish)
(English: "By Right or Might") 
National Anthem of Chile
Location of Chile (dark green)
in South America (grey)
and largest city
33°26′S 70°40′W / 33.433°S 70.667°W / -33.433;
Ethnic groups (2012)
Unitary presidential constitutional republic
• Senate President
Carlos Montes Cisternas
• President of the Chamber of Deputies
• Upper house
• Lower house
Chamber of Deputies
Independence from Spain
• Government Junta
18 September 1810
12 February 1818
25 April 1844
• Current constitution
11 September 1980
756,096.3 km2 (291,930.4 sq mi) (37th)
• Water (%)
• 2017 census
24/km2 (62.2/sq mi) (198th)
$472.413 billion (42nd)
• Per capita
$265.224 billion (38th)
• Per capita
very high · 38th
CLT and EASTc (UTC−3 and −5)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
Legislature is based in Valparaíso.
Easter Island and Isla Sala y Gómez; does not include
1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of territory
claimed in Antarctica.
Chile (/ˈtʃɪli/; Spanish: [ˈtʃile]), officially the
Chile (Spanish: República de
Chile (help·info)), is a South American country occupying a
long, narrow strip of land between the
Andes to the east and the
Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders
Peru to the north,
Argentina to the east, and the
Drake Passage in the far
south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan
Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and
Easter Island in
Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres
(480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are
suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
Atacama Desert in northern
Chile contains great mineral
wealth, principally copper. 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
Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and
features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a
labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and
Spain conquered and colonized the region in the mid-16th century,
replacing Inca rule in the north and centre, but failing to conquer
Mapuche who inhabited what is now south-central Chile.
After declaring its independence from
Spain in 1818,
Chile emerged in
the 1830s as a relatively stable authoritarian republic. In the 19th
Chile saw significant economic and territorial growth, ending
Mapuche resistance in the 1880s and gaining its current northern
territory in the
War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific (1879–83) after defeating Peru
and Bolivia. In the 1960s and 1970s the country experienced severe
left-right political polarization and turmoil. This development
culminated with the
1973 Chilean coup d'état
1973 Chilean coup d'état that overthrew Salvador
Allende's democratically elected left-wing government and instituted a
16-year-long right-wing military dictatorship that left more than
3,000 people dead or missing. The regime, headed by Augusto
Pinochet, ended in 1990 after it lost a referendum in 1988 and was
succeeded by a center-left coalition which ruled through four
presidencies until 2010.
Chile is today one of South America's most economically and socially
stable and prosperous nations, with a high-income economy and high
living standards. It leads Latin American nations in rankings
of human development, competitiveness, income per capita,
globalization, state of peace, economic freedom, and low perception of
corruption. It also ranks high regionally in sustainability of the
state, and democratic development.
Chile is the only South
American member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD), joining in 2010. Currently it also has the lowest
homicide rate in South America.
Chile is a founding member of the
United Nations, the
Union of South American Nations
Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
2.1 Early history
2.2 Spanish colonization
2.3 Independence and nation building
2.4 20th century
2.4.1 Pinochet era (1973–1990)
2.5 21st century
3 Government and politics
3.1 Foreign relations
3.2 Administrative divisions
3.3 National symbols
5 Geography, climate, and environment
5.2.1 Flora and Fauna
6.1 Ancestry and ethnicity
9.1 Music and dance
9.7 Cultural heritage
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile.
According to 17th-century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales, the
Incas called the valley of the
Aconcagua "Chili" by corruption of the
name of a
Picunche tribal chief ("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 in Peru, where there was a town and
valley named Chili.
Other theories say
Chile may derive its name from a Native American
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 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.
The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, and
the few survivors of Diego de Almagro's first Spanish expedition south
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 valley as such. The older spelling
"Chili" was in use in English until at least 1900 before switching to
Main article: History of Chile
Stone tool evidence indicates humans sporadically frequented the Monte
Verde valley area as long as 18,500 years ago. About 10,000 years
ago, migrating Native Americans settled in fertile valleys and coastal
areas of what is present-day Chile. Settlement sites from very early
human habitation include Monte Verde,
Cueva del Milodón
Cueva del Milodón and the
Pali-Aike Crater's lava tube. The
Incas briefly extended their empire
into what is now northern Chile, but the
Mapuche (or Araucanians as
they were known by the Spaniards) successfully resisted many attempts
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
Battle of the Maule
Battle of the Maule was that the Inca conquest of the territories
Chile ended at the Maule river.
Conquest of Chile
Conquest of Chile and Colonial Chile
Lautaro, toqui and hero of the Arauco war
Pedro de Valdivia, conqueror of Chile
In 1520, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, Ferdinand
Magellan discovered the southern passage now named after him (the
Strait of Magellan) thus becoming the first European to set foot on
what is now Chile. The next Europeans to reach
Chile were Diego de
Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors, who came from
1535 seeking gold. The Spanish encountered various cultures that
supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture
The conquest of
Chile began in earnest in 1540 and was carried out by
Pedro de Valdivia, one of Francisco Pizarro's lieutenants, who founded
the city of
Santiago on 12 February 1541. Although the Spanish did not
find the extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the
agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and
part of the Spanish Empire.
Conquest took place gradually, and the Europeans suffered repeated
setbacks. A massive
Mapuche 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 and other native groups
revolted, the southern border of the colony was driven northward. The
abolition of slavery by the Spanish crown in 1683 was done in
recognition that enslaving the
Mapuche intensified resistance rather
than cowing them into submission. Despite royal prohibitions,
relations remained strained from continual colonialist
Cut off to the north by desert, to the south by the Mapuche, 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, the colony found
itself with the mission of forestalling encroachment by both the
Mapuche and Spain's European enemies, especially the British and the
Dutch. Buccaneers and English adventurers menaced the colony in
addition to the Mapuche, 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.
The first general census was conducted by the government of Agustín
de Jáuregui between 1777 and 1778; it indicated that the population
consisted of 259,646 inhabitants: 73.5 percent of European descent,
7.9 percent mestizos, 8.6 percent indigenous peoples and 9.8 percent
blacks. Francisco Hurtado, Governor of the province of Chiloé,
conducted a census in 1784 and found the population consisted of
26,703 inhabitants, 64.4 percent of whom were whites and 33.5 percent
of whom were natives.
The Diocese of Concepción conducted a census in areas south of the
Maule river 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 percent of whom were Spanish or of European
descent, 10 percent of whom were indigenous and 3.7 percent of whom
were mestizos, blacks and mulattos.
Independence and nation building
See also: Chilean War of Independence, War of the Pacific, and
Argentine–Chilean naval arms race
Bernardo O'Higgins, Libertador and the Supreme Director of Chile
In 1808, Napoleon's enthronement of his brother Joseph as the Spanish
King 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 18 September 1810. The Government Junta of Chile
Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy
(in memory of this day,
Chile celebrates its National Day on 18
September each year).
After these events, a movement for total independence, under the
José Miguel Carrera
José Miguel Carrera (one of the most renowned patriots)
and his two brothers Juan José and Luis Carrera, soon gained a wider
following. Spanish attempts to re-impose arbitrary rule during what
was called the Reconquista led to a prolonged struggle, including
infighting from Bernardo O'Higgins, who challenged Carrera's
Intermittent warfare continued until 1817. With Carrera in prison in
Argentina, O'Higgins and anti-Carrera cohort José de San Martín,
hero of the Argentine War of Independence, led an army that crossed
Chile and defeated the royalists. On 12 February 1818,
Chile was proclaimed an independent republic. 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. A strong presidency eventually emerged, but
wealthy landowners remained powerful.
Chile slowly started to expand its influence and to establish its
borders. By the Tantauco Treaty, the archipelago of Chiloé was
incorporated in 1826. The economy began to boom due to the discovery
of silver ore in Chañarcillo, and the growing trade of the port of
Valparaíso, which led to conflict over maritime supremacy in the
Pacific with Peru. At the same time, attempts were made to strengthen
sovereignty in southern
Chile intensifying penetration into Araucanía
and colonizing Llanquihue with German immigrants in 1848. Through the
Fort Bulnes by the
Schooner Ancud under the command of
John Williams Wilson, the Magallanes region joined the country in
1843, while the
Antofagasta region, at the time part of Bolivia, began
to fill with people.
Battle of Iquique
Battle of Iquique on 21 May 1879. The victory of
Chile in the War
of the Pacific allowed its expansion into new territories.
Toward the end of the 19th century, the government in Santiago
consolidated its position in the south by the Occupation of
Araucanía. The Boundary treaty of 1881 between
Chile and Argentina
confirmed Chilean sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan. As a result
War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific with
Bolivia (1879–83), Chile
expanded its territory northward by almost one-third, eliminating
Bolivia's access to the Pacific, and acquired valuable nitrate
deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of national
Chile had joined the stand as one of the high-income
South America by 1870.
1891 Chilean Civil War
1891 Chilean Civil War 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. Soon after, the
country engaged in a vastly expensive naval arms race with Argentina
that nearly led to war.
See also: Parliamentary Era in Chile, 1960
Valdivia earthquake, and
South American dreadnought race
Chile's Almirante Latorre dreadnought in 1921
The Chilean economy partially degenerated into a system protecting the
interests of a ruling oligarchy. By the 1920s, the emerging middle and
working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president,
Arturo Alessandri, whose program was frustrated by a conservative
congress. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support
A military coup led by General
Luis Altamirano in 1924 set off a
period of political instability that lasted until 1932. Of the ten
governments that held power in that period, the longest lasting was
that of General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, 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
dominance (1932–52), the state increased its role in the economy. In
1952, voters returned Ibáñez del Campo to office for another six
Jorge Alessandri succeeded Ibáñez del Campo in 1958, bringing
Chilean conservatism back into power democratically for another term.
The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei
Montalva 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, 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
In the 1970 election, Senator
Salvador Allende of the Socialist Party
Chile (then part of the "Popular Unity" 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 percent of votes.
The Chilean Congress 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, plummeting private investment, and withdrawal of bank deposits
in response to Allende's socialist program. Production fell and
unemployment 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
projects helped reduce unemployment.[page needed] Much of the
banking sector was nationalized. Many enterprises within the copper,
coal, iron, nitrate, and steel industries were expropriated,
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
As a result, the
Richard Nixon administration organized and
inserted secret operatives in Chile, in order to swiftly destabilize
Allende’s government. In addition, US 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 backed by the United
States. By early 1973, inflation was out of control. The
crippled economy was further battered by prolonged and sometimes
simultaneous strikes 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 soon-to-be seizure of
Pinochet era (1973–1990)
Fighter jets bombing the Presidential Palace of La Moneda during the
Chilean coup of 1973
Main articles: Military government of
Chile (1973–90), Miracle of
Chile, and Beagle conflict
A military coup overthrew Allende on 11 September 1973. As the armed
forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende apparently committed
suicide.[page needed][page needed] After the coup,
Henry Kissinger told U.S. president
Richard Nixon that the United
States had "helped" the coup.
A military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet, took 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. According to the
Rettig Report and Valech
Commission, at least 2,115 were killed,
and at least 27,265 were tortured (including 88 children younger
than 12 years old). In 2011,
Chile recognized an additional 9,800
victims, bringing the total number of killed, tortured or imprisoned
for political reasons to 40,018. At the national stadium, filled
with detainees, one of those tortured and killed was internationally
Víctor Jara (see "Music and Dance", below). The
stadium was renamed for Jara in 2003.
A new Constitution was approved by a controversial plebiscite on 11
September 1980, and General Pinochet became president of the republic
for an eight-year term. After Pinochet obtained rule of the country,
several hundred committed Chilean revolutionaries joined the
Sandinista army in Nicaragua, guerrilla forces in
training camps in Cuba, Eastern Europe and Northern Africa.
In the late 1980s, largely as a result of events such as the 1982
economic collapse and mass civil resistance in 1983–88, the
government gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech,
and association, to include trade union and political activity.
The government launched market-oriented reforms with
Hernán Büchi as
Minister of Finance.
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 5 October 1988, Pinochet was
denied a second eight-year term as president (56% against 44%).
Chileans elected a new president and the majority of members of a
bicameral congress on 14 December 1989. Christian Democrat Patricio
Aylwin, the candidate of a coalition of 17 political parties called
the Concertación, received an absolute majority of votes (55%).
President Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994, in what was considered a
See also: 2010
Five presidents of
Transition to democracy (1990–2018),
celebrating the Bicentennial of Chile
In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, the son
of previous president Eduardo Frei Montalva, led the Concertación
coalition to victory with an absolute majority of votes (58%).
Frei Ruiz-Tagle was succeeded in 2000 by Socialist Ricardo Lagos, who
won the presidency in an unprecedented runoff election against
Joaquín Lavín of the rightist Alliance for Chile. In January
Chileans elected their first female president, Michelle Bachelet
Jeria, of the Socialist Party, defeating Sebastián Piñera, of the
National Renewal party, extending the
Concertación governance for
another four years. In January 2010,
Sebastián Piñera as the first rightist President in 20 years,
defeating former President
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle of the
Concertación, for a four-year term succeeding Bachelet. Due to term
Sebastián Piñera did not stand for re-election in 2013, and
his term expired in March 2014 resulting in Michelle Bachelet
returning to office.
On 27 February 2010,
Chile was struck by an 8.8 Mw earthquake, the
fifth largest ever recorded at the time. More than 500 people died
(most from the ensuing tsunami) and over a million people lost their
homes. The earthquake was also followed by multiple aftershocks.
Initial damage estimates were in the range of US$15–30 billion,
around 10 to 15 percent of Chile's real gross domestic product.
Chile achieved global recognition for the successful rescue of 33
trapped miners in 2010. On 5 August 2010 the access tunnel collapsed
at the San José copper and gold mine in the
Atacama Desert near
Copiapó in northern Chile, trapping 33 men 700 metres (2,300 ft)
below ground. A rescue effort organized by the Chilean government
located the miners 17 days later. All 33 men were brought to the
surface two months later on 13 October 2010 over a period of almost 24
hours, an effort that was carried on live television around the
Government and politics
Politics of Chile
Politics of Chile and Law of Chile
Palacio de La Moneda
Palacio de La Moneda in downtown Santiago
The Palace of Justice in Santiago
Constitution of Chile
Constitution of Chile was approved in a national
plebiscite—regarded as "highly irregular" by some observers—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.
Congress of Chile
Congress of Chile has a 38-seat Senate and a 120-member Chamber of
Deputies. Senators serve for eight years with staggered terms, while
deputies are elected every 4 years. The last congressional elections
were held on 17 November 2013, concurrently with the presidential
election. The current Senate has a 21–15 split in favor of the
governing coalition and 2 independents. The current lower house, the
Chamber of Deputies, contains 67 members of the governing center-left
coalition, 48 from the center-right opposition and 5 from small
parties or independents. The Congress is located in the port city of
Valparaíso, about 140 kilometres (87 miles) west of the capital,
National Congress building in Valparaíso
Chile's congressional elections are governed by a binomial system
that, for the most part, rewards the two largest representations
equally, often regardless of their relative popular support. Parties
are thus forced to form wide coalitions and, historically, the two
largest coalitions (
Concertación and Alianza) split most of the
seats. 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, which tends to lock the legislature in a roughly
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. 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
In the 2001 congressional elections, the conservative Independent
Democratic Union (UDI) surpassed the Christian Democrats for the first
time to become the largest party in the lower house. In the 2005
parliamentary election, both leading parties, the Christian Democrats
and the UDI lost representation in favor of their respective allies
Socialist Party (which became the biggest party in the Concertación
block) and National Renewal in the right-wing alliance. In the 2009
legislative elections in Chile, the Communist Party won 3 out of 120
seats in the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in 30 years (the
Communist Party was not allowed to exist as such during the
Chileans voted in the first round of presidential elections on 17
November 2013. None of the nine presidential candidates got more than
50 percent of the vote. As a result, the top two candidates,
Nueva Mayoría coalition's
Michelle Bachelet and
center-right Alianza coalition's Evelyn Matthei, competed in a run-off
election on 15 December 2013, which Bachelet won. This was Chile's
sixth presidential election since the end of the Pinochet era. All six
have been judged free and fair. The president is constitutionally
barred from serving consecutive terms.
Main article: Foreign relations of Chile
State of Chile’s international relations in the world:
Country with diplomatic relations and Chilean embassy in
Country with diplomatic relations and an embassy in Chile,
but no Chilean embassy.
Country with diplomatic relations but without ambassadors.
Country with no diplomatic relations currently.
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
preeminence in the Pacific trade routes, defeating the short-lived
Peru and Bolivia, the Peru-Bolivian Confederation
(1836–39) in the War of the Confederation. The war dissolved the
confederation while distributing power in the Pacific. A second
international war, the
War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific (1879–83), further
increased Chile's regional role, while adding considerably to its
During the 19th century, Chile's commercial ties were primarily with
Britain, a nation that had a major influence on the formation of the
Chilean 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 20th century.
German influence came from the organization and training of the army
On 26 June 1945,
Chile participated as a founding member of the United
Nations being among 50 countries that signed the United Nations
Charter in San Francisco, California. 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
Organization of American States in May 2005 and
confirmed in his position, being re-elected in 2009.
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 was re-elected as a member of the UN Human
Rights Council in 2011 for a three-year term. It was also elected
to one of five non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council in
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 a major player in
international economic issues and hemispheric free trade.
The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries.
It settled all its territorial disputes with
Argentina during the
1990s except for part of the border at Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
Bolivia severed diplomatic ties in 1978 over Bolivia's
desire to regain sovereign access to the
Pacific Ocean it lost to
Chile in 1879–83 War of the Pacific. The two countries maintain
consular relations and are represented at the Consul General
Main article: Administrative divisions of Chile
Chile was administratively divided into regions, and in
1979 subdivided into provinces and these into communes. In
total the country has 15 regions, 54 provinces and 348
Each region is designated by a name and a roman numeral assigned from
north to south, although in the case of
Santiago Metropolitan Region
is not used. The creation of two new regions in 2007,
Parinacota (XV) and Los Ríos (XIV), made this numbering lose its
Administrative divisions of Chile
Arica y Parinacota
Arica and Parinacota (XV)
Santiago Metropolitan (RM)
Los Ríos (XIV)
Los Lagos (X)
1 790 219
7 036 792
Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins
1 033 197
2 018 803
Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica
17 373 831
(1) Including the Chilean Antarctic Territory, its surface reaches
1 382 554,8 km²
(2) Including the Chilean Antarctic Territory, its surface reaches
2 006 360 km²
The national flower is the copihue (Lapageria rosea, Chilean
bellflower), which grows in the woods of southern Chile.
The coat of arms depicts the two national animals: the condor (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 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
Chile is similar to the Flag of Texas, although the Chilean flag is
21 years older. However, like the Texan flag, the flag of
modeled after the Flag of the United States.
Main article: Military of Chile
The Armed Forces of
Chile 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 is General Humberto Oviedo
Chilean Army is 45,000 strong and is organized
with an Army headquarters in Santiago, six divisions throughout its
territory, an Air Brigade in Rancagua, and a
Special Forces Command in
Chilean Army is one of the most professional and
technologically advanced armies in Latin America.
Admiral Julio Leiva Molina directs around 25,000-person Chilean
Navy, 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.
Air Force General (four star) Jorge Rojas Ávila heads the 12,500
strong Chilean Air Force. 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 two of ten 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) 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. Gustavo González Jure
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
Leopard 2A4 of the Chilean Army
Karel Doorman-class frigate
Karel Doorman-class frigate of the Chilean Navy
F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Chilean Air Force
Geography, climate, and environment
Natural regions of Chile.
Geography of Chile
Natural regions of Chile
Natural regions of Chile and Environmental issues in Chile
A long and narrow coastal
Southern Cone country on the west side of
Chile stretches over 4,300 km
(2,670 mi) north to south, but only 350 km (217 mi) at
its widest point east to west. This encompasses a remarkable
variety of climates and landscapes. It contains 756,950 square
kilometres (292,260 sq mi) of land area. It is situated
within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Excluding its Pacific islands and
Chile lies between latitudes 17° and 56°S, and
longitudes 66° and 75°W.
Chile is among the longest north-south countries in the world. If one
considers only mainland territory,
Chile is unique within this group
in its narrowness from east to west, with the other long north-south
countries (including Brazil, Russia, Canada, and the United States,
among others) all being wider from east to west by a factor of more
Chile also claims 1,250,000 km2
(480,000 sq mi) of
Antarctica as part of its territory
(Chilean Antarctic Territory). However, this latter claim is suspended
under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, of which
Chile is a
signatory. It is the world's southernmost country that is
geographically on the mainland.
Easter Island and
Sala y Gómez
Sala y Gómez Island, the easternmost
islands of Polynesia, which it incorporated to its territory in 1888,
and Robinson Crusoe Island, more than 600 km (370 mi) from
the mainland, in the Juan Fernández Islands. Also controlled but only
temporarily inhabited (by some local fishermen) are the small islands
of San Ambrosio and San Felix. These islands are notable because they
extend Chile's claim to territorial waters out from its coast into the
Atacama Desert 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 is also the historical center from
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
Climate of Chile
Chile map of Köppen climate classification.
The diverse climate of
Chile ranges from the world's driest desert in
the north—the Atacama Desert—through a
Mediterranean climate in
the center, humid subtropical in Easter Island, to an oceanic climate,
including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south.
According to the Köppen system,
Chile within its borders hosts at
least ten major climatic subtypes. 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).
Main article: Wildlife of Chile
The flora and fauna of
Chile are characterized by a high degree of
endemism, due to its particular geography. In continental Chile, the
Atacama Desert in the north and the
Andes mountains to the east are
barriers that have led to the isolation of flora and fauna. Add to
that the enormous length of
Chile (over 4,300 km (2,672 mi))
and this results in a wide range of climates and environments that can
be divided into three general zones: the desert provinces of the
north, central Chile, and the humid regions of the south.
Flora and Fauna
The native flora of
Chile consists of relatively fewer species
compared to the flora of other South American countries. The
northernmost coastal and central region is largely barren of
vegetation, approaching the most absolute desert in the world. On
the slopes of the Andes, in addition to the scattered tola desert
brush, grasses are found. The central valley is characterized by
several species of cacti, the hardy espinos, the Chilean pine, the
southern beeches and the copihue, 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
Patagonia). Much of the Chilean flora is distinct from that of
neighboring Argentina, indicating that the Andean barrier existed
during its formation.
Some of Chile's flora has an Antarctic origin due to land bridges
which formed during the Cretaceous ice ages, allowing plants to
Antarctica to South America.
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 percent 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
Chile's geographical isolation 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 are
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.
Araucaria araucana trees in Conguillío National Park
Pudú in Chile
Chilla fox, common in the region
Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), the national bird of Chile
Lycalopex culpaeus, a culpeo or Andean fox
A guanaco in northern Chile
Torres del Paine from Lake Pehoé, Torres del Paine National Park,
Topographic map of Chile. To view maps based on
relief of the country, see here.
Ojos del Salado
Ojos del Salado from the Chilean side.
Salar de Atacama
Salar de Atacama and the
Volcano and the Petrohué River
Nef Glacier and the Plomo Lake
Chile is located along a highly seismic and volcanic zone, part of the
Pacific Ring of Fire, due to the subduction of the Nazca and Antarctic
plates in the South American plate.
Late Paleozoic, 251 million years ago,
Chile belonged to the
continental block called Gondwana. It was just a depression
accumulated marine sediments began to rise at the end of the Mesozoic,
66 million years ago, due to the collision between the Nazca and South
American plates, resulting in the Andes. The territory would be shaped
by millions of years due to the folding of the rocks, forming the
The Chilean relief consists of the central depression, which crosses
the country longitudinally, flanked by two mountain ranges that make
up about 80% of the territory: the
Andes mountains to the east-natural
Argentina in the region of Atacama and the
Coastal Range west-minor height from the Andes. Chile's highest peak
is the Nevado Ojos del Salado, at 6891.3 m, which is also the highest
volcano in the world. The highest point of the Coastal Range is
Vicuña Mackenna, at 3114 meters, located in the Sierra Vicuña
Mackenna, the south of Antofagasta. Among the coastal mountains and
the Pacific is a series of coastal plains, of variable length, which
allow the settlement of coastal towns and big ports. Some areas of the
plains territories encompass territory east of the Andes, and the
Patagonian steppes and Magellan, or are high plateaus surrounded by
high mountain ranges, such as the Altiplano or Puna de Atacama.
The Far North is the area between the northern boundary of the country
and the parallel 26° S, covering the first three regions. It is
characterized by the presence of the Atacama desert, the most arid in
the world. The desert is fragmented by streams that originate in the
area known as the pampas Tamarugal. The Andes, split in two and whose
eastern arm runs Bolivia, has a high altitude and volcanic activity,
which has allowed the formation of the Andean altiplano and salt
structures as the Salar de Atacama, due to the gradual accumulation of
sediments over time.
Ten highest peaks of Chile
Nevado Ojos del Salado1
Nevado Tres Cruces1
Cerro El Muerto1
Note:1 shared with Argentina, 2 shared with Bolivia.
To the south is the Norte Chico, extending to the
Aconcagua river. Los
Andes begin to decrease its altitude to the south and closer to the
coast, reaching 90 km away at the height of Illapel, the
narrowest part of the Chilean territory. The two mountain ranges
intersect, virtually eliminating the intermediate depression. The
existence of rivers flowing through the territory allows the formation
of transverse valleys, where agriculture has developed strongly in
recent times, while the coastal plains begin to expand.
The Central area is the most populated region of the country. The
coastal plains are wide and allow the establishment of cities and
ports along the Pacific. The
Andes maintains altitudes above 6000m but
descend slowly starts approaching the 4000 meters on average. The
intermediate depression reappears becoming a fertile valley that
allows agricultural development and human settlement, due to sediment
accumulation. To the south, the Cordillera de la Costa reappears in
the range of Nahuelbuta while glacial sediments originate a series of
lakes in the area of La Frontera.
Patagonia extends from within Reloncavi, at the height of parallel 41
° S, to the south. During the last glaciation, this area was covered
by ice that strongly eroded Chilean relief structures. As a result,
the intermediate depression sinks in the sea, while the coastal
mountains rise to a series of archipelagos, such as Chiloé and the
Chonos, disappearing in Taitao peninsula, in the parallel 47 ° S. The
Andes mountain range loses height and erosion caused by the action of
glaciers has caused fjords.
East of the Andes, on the continent, or north of it, on the island of
Tierra del Fuego are located relatively flat plains, which in the
Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan cover large areas.
The Andes, as he had done previously Cordillera de la Costa, begins to
break in the ocean causing a myriad of islands and islets and
disappear into it, sinking and reappearing in the Southern Antilles
arc and then the Antarctic Peninsula, where it is called Antartandes,
in the Chilean Antarctic Territory, lying between the meridians 53 °
W and 90 ° W.
In the middle of the Pacific, the country has sovereignty over several
islands of volcanic origin, collectively known as Insular Chile. Of
these, we highlight the archipelago of Juan Fernandez and Easter
Island, which is located in the fracture zone between the Nazca plate
and the Pacific plate known as East Pacific Rise.
General Carrera lake, the largest in the country.
Ten longest rivers of Chile
Note: All lengths exclusively through Chilean territory.
Due to the characteristics of the territory,
Chile is crossed by
numerous rivers generally short in length and with low torrential
flow. They commonly extend from the
Andes to the Pacific Ocean,
flowing in an East to West
Because of the desert, in the Norte Grande there are only short
endorheic character streams, except for the river Loa, the longest in
the country 440 km. In the high valleys, wetland areas
generate Chungará Lake, located at 4500 meters above sea level. It
and the river Lauca are shared with Bolivia, as well as the Lluta.
In the center-north of the country, the number of rivers that form
valleys of agricultural importance increases. Noteworthy are the Elqui
with 75 km long, 142 km Aconcagua, Maipo with
250 km and its tributary, the Mapocho with 110 km, and
Maule with 240 km. Their waters mainly flow from Andean snowmelt
in the summer and winter rains. The major lakes in this area are the
artificial lake Rapel, the Colbun Maule lagoon and the lagoon of La
Main article: Demographics of Chile
Chile from 1820, projected up to 2050
Chile's 2017 census reported a population of 17,574,003. Its rate of
population growth has been decreasing since 1990, due to a declining
birth rate. By 2050 the population is expected to reach
approximately 20.2 million people. About 85 percent of the
country's population lives in urban areas, with 40 percent living in
Greater Santiago. The largest agglomerations according to the 2002
census are Greater
Santiago with 5.6 million people, Greater
Concepción with 861,000 and Greater
Valparaíso with 824,000.
Ancestry and ethnicity
Indigenous peoples in Chile
Indigenous peoples in Chile and Immigration to Chile
Mapuche women of Tirúa
German immigrants in southern Chile
The most recent study in the Candela Project establishes that the
genetic composition of
Chile is 61% of European origin, with 35% of
the genome coming from Native Americans (Amerindians), and 4% coming
from Africa, making
Chile a primarily mestizo country with traces of
African descent present in half of the population. Another genetic
study conducted by the
University of Brasilia
University of Brasilia in several American
countries shows a similar genetic composition for Chile, with a
European contribution of 51.6%, an Amerindian (Native) contribution of
42.1%, and an African contribution of 6.3%.
A public health booklet from the
University of Chile
University of Chile states that 60%
of the population is of Caucasian origin; "predominantly White"
Mestizos are estimated to amount a total of 35%, while Native
Americans (Amerindians) comprise the remaining 5%.
Despite the genetic considerations, many Chileans, if asked, would
self-identify as White. The 2011
Latinobarómetro survey asked
Chile what race they considered themselves to belong
to. Most answered "White" (59%), while 25% said "Mestizo" and 8%
self-classified as "indigenous". A 2002 national poll revealed
that a majority of
Chileans believed they possessed some (43.4%) or
much (8.3%) "indigenous blood", while 40.3% responded that they had
The 1907 census reported 101,118 Indians, or 3.1% of the total
population. Only those that practiced their native culture or spoke
their native language were considered to be Indians, irrespective of
their "racial purity".
In 2002 a census took place, directly asking the public whether they
considered themselves as part of any of the eight Chilean ethnic
groups, regardless of whether or not they maintained their culture,
traditions and language, and 4.6 percent of the population (692,192
people) fitted that description of indigenous peoples in Chile. Of
that number, 87.3% declared themselves Mapuche. Most of the
indigenous population shows varying degrees of mixed ancestry.
Chile is one of 22 countries to have signed and ratified the only
binding international law concerning indigenous peoples, the
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989. It was adopted in
1989 as the
International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169.
Chile ratified it in 2008. A Chilean court decision in November 2009
considered to be a landmark ruling on indigenous rights and made use
of the convention. The Supreme Court decision on Aymara water rights
upheld rulings by both the Pozo Almonte tribunal and the
of Appeals, and marks the first judicial application of ILO Convention
169 in Chile.
Chile was never a particularly attractive destination for migrants,
owing to its remoteness and distance from Europe. Europeans
preferred to stay in countries closer to their homelands instead of
taking the long journey through the Straits of Magellan or crossing
the Andes. European migration did not result in a significant
change in the ethnic composition of Chile, except in the region of
Magellan. Spaniards were the only major European migrant group to
Chile, and there was never large-scale immigration such as that
Argentina or Uruguay. Between 1851 and 1924,
received 0.5% of European immigration to Latin America, compared to
46% to Argentina, 33% to Brazil, 14% to Cuba, and 4% to Uruguay.
However, it is undeniable that immigrants have played a significant
role in Chilean society.
Other groups of Europeans have followed but are found in smaller
numbers, like the descendants of Austrians and Dutch people.
Currently, these are estimated at about 50,000 people. After the
failed liberal revolution of 1848 in the German states, a
noticeable German immigration took place, laying the foundation for
the German Chileans. Sponsored by the Chilean government to
"unbarbarize" and colonize the southern region, these Germans
(notably the Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and Austrians) settled mainly
in Valdivia, Osorno and Llanquihue.
Descendants of different European ethnic groups often intermarried in
Chile. This intermarriage and mixture of cultures and races have
helped to shape the present society and culture of the Chilean middle
and upper classes.
Due in part to its economic fortunes,
Chile has recently become a new
magnet for immigrants, mostly from neighboring Argentina,
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. Roughly 500,000 of Chile’s population is of full or
partial Palestinian origin.
Main article: Religion in Chile
Religious background in
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago
As of 2012[update], 66.6% of Chilean population over 15 years of
age claimed to adhere to the Roman Catholic church, a decrease from
the 70% reported in the 2002 census. In the same census of 2012,
Chileans reported adherence to an Evangelical church
("Evangelical" in the census referred to all Christian denominations
other than the Roman Catholic and Orthodox—Greek, Persian, Serbian,
Ukrainian, and Armenian—churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints or Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's
Witnesses: essentially, those denominations generally still termed
"Protestant" in most English-speaking lands, although
often considered an Evangelical denomination as well). Approximately
90% of Evangelical Christians are Pentecostal. but Wesleyan, Lutheran,
Anglican, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, other Reformed, Baptist, and
Methodist churches also are present amongst Chilean Evangelical
churches. Irreligious people, atheists, and agnostics account for
around 12% of the population.
By 2015, the major religion in
Chile remained Christianity (68%), with
an estimated 55% of
Chileans belonging to the Roman Catholic church,
13% to various Evangelical churches, and just 7% adhering to any other
religion. Agnostics and atheist were estimated at 25% of the
The Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion, and
other laws and policies contribute to generally free religious
practice. The law at all levels fully protects this right against
abuse by either governmental or private actors.
Church and state are officially separate in Chile. A 1999 law on
religion prohibits religious discrimination. However, the Roman
Catholic church for mostly historical and social reasons enjoys a
privileged status and occasionally receives preferential
treatment. Government officials attend Roman Catholic
events as well as major Evangelical and Jewish ceremonies.
The Chilean government treats the religious holidays of Christmas,
Good Friday, the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen, the Feast of Saints
Peter and Paul, the Feast of the Assumption, All Saints' Day, and the
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the Immaculate Conception as national holidays.
Recently, the government declared October 31st, Reformation Day, to be
an additional national holiday, in honor of the Evangelical churches
of the country.
The patron saints of
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint
James the Greater (Santiago). In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI
canonized Alberto Hurtado, who became the country's second native
Roman Catholic saint after Teresa de los Andes.
The Spanish spoken in
Chile is distinctively accented and quite unlike
that of neighboring South American countries because final syllables
are often dropped, and some consonants have a soft
pronunciation.[clarification needed] Accent varies only very slightly
from north to south; more noticeable are the 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
There are several indigenous languages spoken in Chile: Mapudungun,
Quechua, Aymara and Rapa Nui. After the Spanish invasion, Spanish took
over as the lingua franca and the indigenous languages have become
minority languages, with some now extinct or close to extinction.
German 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 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.
Education in Chile
Education in Chile and List of universities in Chile
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
University of Chile
University of Concepción
In Chile, education begins with preschool until the age of 5. Primary
school is provided for children between ages 6 and 13. Students then
attend secondary school until graduation at age 17.
Secondary education is divided into two parts: During the first two
years, students receive a general education. Then, they choose a
branch: scientific humanistic education, artistic education, or
technical and professional education.
Secondary school ends two years
later on the acquirement of a certificate (licencia de enseñanza
Chilean education is segregated by wealth in a three-tiered system —
the quality of the schools reflect socioeconomic backgrounds:
city schools (colegios municipales) that are mostly free and have the
worse education results, mostly attended by poor students;
subsidized schools that receive some money from the government which
can be supplemented by fees paid by the student's family, which are
attended by mid-income students and typically get mid-level results;
entirely private schools that consistently get the best results. Many
private schools charge attendance fees of 0,5 to 1 median household
Upon successful graduation of secondary school, students may continue
into higher education. The higher education schools in
Chilean Traditional Universities and are divided into public
universities or private universities. There are medical schools and
Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile and
Universidad Diego Portales
Universidad Diego Portales offer law
schools in a partnership with Yale University.
Main article: Healthcare in Chile
The Ministry of Health (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 (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 percent of their monthly income to the
Fonasa is part of the NHSS and has executive power through the
Ministry of Health (Chile). Its headquarters are in
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.
Chile are mainly located in the
Main article: Economy of Chile
Chilean (blue) and average Latin American (gray)
GDP per capita
The financial district in
Santiago de Chile
Santiago Stock Exchange
Chuquicamata, the largest open pit copper mine in the world
Central Bank of Chile
Central Bank of Chile in
Santiago serves as the central bank for
the country. The Chilean currency is the
Chilean peso (CLP).
one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, leading
Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income
per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of
corruption. Since July 2013,
Chile is considered by the World Bank
as a "high-income economy".
Chile has the highest degree of economic freedom in South America
(ranking 7th worldwide), owing to its independent and efficient
judicial system and prudent public finance management. In May
Chile became the first South American country to join the
OECD. In 2006,
Chile became the country with the highest nominal
GDP per capita
GDP per capita in Latin America.
Copper mining makes up 20% of Chilean
GDP and 60% of exports.
Escondida is the largest copper mine in the world, producing over 5%
of global supplies. Overall,
Chile produces a third of the
world’s copper. Codelco, the state mining firm, competes with
Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have
contributed to steady economic growth in
Chile and have more than
halved poverty rates.
Chile began to experience a moderate
economic downturn in 1999. The economy remained sluggish until 2003,
when it began to show clear signs of recovery, achieving 4.0% GDP
growth. The Chilean economy finished 2004 with growth of 6
GDP growth reached 5.7 percent in 2005 before falling
back to 4 percent in 2006.
GDP expanded by 5 percent in 2007.
Faced with an international economic downturn the government announced
an 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. Real
GDP growth in 2012 was 5.5%. Growth
slowed to 4.1% in the first quarter of 2013.
The unemployment rate was 6.4% in April 2013. There are reported
labor shortages in agriculture, mining, and construction. The
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 percent in 1987 to 11.5
percent in 2009, according to government surveys. Critics in
Chile, however, argue that true poverty figures are considerably
higher than those officially published. Using the relative
yardstick favoured in many European countries, 27% of
be poor, according to Juan Carlos Feres of the ECLAC.
As of November 2012, about 11.1 million people (64% of the population)
benefit from government welfare programs,[clarification needed]
via the "Social Protection Card", which includes the population living
in poverty and those at a risk of falling into poverty.
The privatized national pension system (AFP) has encouraged domestic
investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate
of approximately 21 percent of GDP. Under the compulsory private
pension system, most formal sector employees pay 10 percent of their
salaries into privately managed funds. However, by 2009, it has
been reported that had been lost from the pension system to the global
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. 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 percent since then. Chile's total trade
with China reached US in 2006, representing nearly 66 percent of the
value of its trade relationship with Asia. Exports to Asia
increased from US in 2005 to US in 2006, a 29.9 percent increase.
Year-on-year growth in imports was especially strong from a number of
Ecuador (123.9%), Thailand (72.1%),
South Korea (52.6%),
and China (36.9%).
Chile's approach to foreign direct investment is codified in the
country's Foreign Investment Law. 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. The Chilean Government has formed a Council on Innovation
and Competition, hoping to bring in additional FDI to new parts of the
Standard & Poor's gives
Chile a credit rating of AA-. The
Government of Chile
Government of Chile continues to pay down its foreign debt, with
public debt only 3.9 percent of
GDP at the end of 2006. The
Chilean central government is a net creditor with a net asset position
of 7% of
GDP at end 2012. The current account deficit was 4% in
the first quarter of 2013, financed mostly by foreign direct
investment. 14% of central government revenue came directly from
copper in 2012.
Agriculture in Chile
Vineyard in the Casablanca Valley
Agriculture in Chile
Agriculture in Chile encompasses a wide range of different activities
due to its particular geography, climate and geology and human
factors. Historically agriculture is one of the bases of Chile's
economy, now agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and
fishing accounts only for 4.9% of the
GDP as of 2007[update] and
employed 13.6% of the country's labor force. Some major agriculture
Chile includes grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn,
oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans, beef, poultry, wool, fish,
timber and hemp. Due to its geographical isolation and strict
Chile is free from diseases such as Mad Cow Disease,
fruit fly and Phylloxera. This, plus being located in the Southern
Hemisphere which has quite different harvesting times from the
Northern Hemisphere, and its wide range of agriculture conditions are
considered Chile's main comparative advantages. However, Chile's
mountainous landscape limits the extent and intensity of agriculture
so that arable land corresponds only to 2.62% of the total territory.
Main article: Tourism in Chile
Tourism in Chile
Tourism in Chile has experienced sustained growth over the last few
decades. In 2005, tourism grew by 13.6 percent, generating more than
4.5 billion dollars of which 1.5 billion was 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;
followed by a growing number from the United States, Europe, and
Brazil with a growing number of Asians from
South Korea and PR
The main attractions for tourists are places of natural beauty
situated in the extreme zones of the country: San Pedro de Atacama, 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. In Putre, also in the north, there is the
Chungará Lake, as well as the Parinacota and the
with altitudes of 6,348 m and 6,282 m, respectively. Throughout the
Andes there are many ski resorts of international
repute, including Portillo,
Valle Nevado and Termas
The main tourist sites in the south are national parks (the most
Conguillío National Park
Conguillío National Park in the Araucanía)[citation
needed] and the coastal area around
Tirúa and Cañete with the Isla
Mocha and the Nahuelbuta National Park,
Chiloé Archipelago and
Patagonia, which includes Laguna San Rafael National Park, with its
many glaciers, and the Torres del Paine National Park. The central
port city of Valparaíso, which is World Heritage with its unique
architecture, is also popular. Finally, Easter Island
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,
Iquique, Antofagasta, La Serena and
Coquimbo are the main summer
centers in the north, and
Pucón on the shores of
Lake Villarrica is
the main center 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, Valparaíso's
northern affluent neighbor, is popular because of its beaches, casino,
and its annual song festival, the most important musical event in
Latin America.
Pichilemu in the
O'Higgins Region is
widely known as South America's "best surfing spot" according to
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. Museums in Chile
such as the
Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts
Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts built in 1880,
feature works by Chilean artists.
Salar de Atacama
Salar de Atacama in the Atacama Desert
Elqui Valley, wine and pisco region
Pío XI or Brüggen Glacier
San Pedro de Atacama
El Tatio geyser fields
Viña del Mar
Conguillío National Park
Palafitos in the archipelago of Chiloé
Torres del Paine National Park
Rapa Nui National Park
Churches of Chiloé
Main article: Transport in Chile
Mataveri International Airport
Mataveri International Airport in Easter Island
Santiago Metro is South America's most extensive metro system
Due to Chile's topography a functioning transport network is vital to
its economy. Buses are now the main means of long distance
transportation in Chile, following the decline of its railway
network. The bus system covers the entire country, from
Santiago (a 30-hour journey) and from
Punta Arenas (about
40 hours, with a change at Osorno).
Chile has a total of 372 runways (62 paved and 310 unpaved). Important
Chacalluta International Airport
Chacalluta International Airport (Arica),
Diego Aracena International Airport
Diego Aracena International Airport (Iquique), Andrés Sabella Gálvez
International Airport (Antofagasta), Carriel Sur International Airport
El Tepual International Airport
El Tepual International Airport (Puerto Montt),
Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (Punta
La Araucanía International Airport (Temuco), Mataveri
International Airport (Easter Island), the most remote airport in the
world[dubious – discuss], and the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez
International Airport (Santiago) with a traffic of 12,105,524
passengers in 2011.
Santiago is headquarters of Latin America's
largest airline holding company and Chilean flag carrier LAN Airlines.
Torre Entel in
Santiago de Chile, with the
Andes mountains in the
Chile has a telecommunication system which covers much of the country,
including Chilean insular and Antarctic bases. Privatization of the
telephone system began in 1988;
Chile has one of the most advanced
telecommunications infrastructure in
South America with a modern
system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities and
domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations. In 2012, there
were 3.276 million main lines in use and 24.13 million mobile cellular
telephone subscribers. According to a 2012 database of the
International Telecommunications Union
International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 61.42% of the Chilean
population uses the internet, making
Chile the country with the
highest internet penetration in South America. The Chilean
internet country code is ".cl".
Main articles: Culture of Chile, Music of Chile, and Chilean cuisine
From the period between early agricultural settlements and up 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. Throughout 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, French, 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, Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Osorno, Temuco, Puerto
Octay, Llanquihue, Faja Maisan, Pitrufquén, Victoria,
Music and dance
La Zamacueca, by Manuel Antonio Caro.
Chile ranges from folkloric, popular and classical music. Its
large geography generates different musical styles in the north,
center and south of the country, including also
Easter Island and
Mapuche music. The national dance is the cueca. 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
Between 1950 and 1970 appears a rebirth in folk music leading by
groups such as Los de Ramón, Los Cuatro Huasos and Los Huasos
Quincheros, among others with composers such as Raúl de Ramón,
Violeta Parra and others. In the mid-1960s native musical forms were
revitalized by the
Parra family with the
Nueva canción Chilena, which
was associated with political activists and reformers such as Víctor
Jara, Inti-Illimani, and Quilapayún. Other important folk singer and
researcher on folklore and Chilean ethnography, is Margot Loyola. Also
many Chilean rock bands like Los Jaivas, Los Prisioneros, La Ley, and
Los Tres have reached international success. In February, annual music
festivals are held in Viña del Mar.
Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, Nobel Prize recipients in
Chile is a country of poets.
Gabriela Mistral was the first
Latin American to receive a
Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature (1945). Chile's
most famous poet is Pablo Neruda, who received 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 in Isla Negra,
Valparaíso are popular tourist
Among the list of other Chilean poets are Carlos Pezoa Véliz, Vicente
Huidobro, Gonzalo Rojas, Pablo de Rokha,
Nicanor Parra and Raúl
Isabel Allende is the best-selling Chilean novelist, with 51
millions of her novels sold worldwide. Novelist José Donoso's
The Obscene Bird of Night
The Obscene Bird of Night is considered by critic Harold Bloom
to be one of the canonical works of 20th-century Western literature.
Another internationally recognized Chilean novelist and poet is
Roberto Bolaño whose translations into English have had an excellent
reception from the critics.
Asado (Barbecue) and Marraqueta
Chilean cuisine is a reflection of the country's topographical
variety, featuring an assortment of seafood, beef, fruits, and
vegetables. Traditional recipes include asado, cazuela, empanadas,
humitas, pastel de choclo, pastel de papas, curanto and
Crudos 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 Andean cuisine, (although now beef brought to
Europeans is also used in place of the llama meat), lemon and onions
were brought by the Spanish colonists, and the use of mayonnaise and
yogurt was introduced by German immigrants, as was beer.
The folklore of Chile, cultural and demographic characteristics of the
country, is the result of mixture of Spanish and Amerindian elements
that occurred during the colonial period. Due to cultural and
historical reasons, they are classified and distinguished four major
areas in the country: northern areas, central, southern and south.
Most of the traditions of the culture of
Chile have a festive purpose,
but some, such as dances and ceremonies, have religious
Main article: Chilean mythology
Chilean mythology, is the mythology and beliefs of the
This includes Chilote mythology,
Rapa Nui mythology
Rapa Nui mythology and Mapuche
Main article: Cinema of Chile
The film originated in
Valparaíso on 26 May 1902 with the premiere of
the documentary Exercise General Fire Brigade, the first film
completely filmed and processed in the country. In the following
decades, marked milestones The deck of Death (or The Enigma of Lord
Street) (1916), considered the first film Chilean story, The
transmission of presidential (1920), the first animated film in the
country, and North and South (1934), the first sound film of Chile.
Main article: Sport in Chile
Estadio Nacional de Chile
Chile's most popular sport is association football.
Chile has appeared
in nine FIFA World Cups which includes hosting the 1962 FIFA World Cup
where the national football team finished third. Other results
achieved by the national football team include two Copa América
titles (2015 and 2016), and two runners up positions, one silver and
two bronze medals at the Pan American Games, a bronze medal at the
2000 Summer Olympics
2000 Summer Olympics and two third places finishes in the FIFA
under-17 and under-20 youth tournaments. The top league in the Chilean
football league system is the Chilean Primera División, which is
named by the IFFHS as the ninth strongest national football league in
The main football clubs are Colo-Colo,
Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile and
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
Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile was the last international
Copa Sudamericana 2011).
Tennis is Chile's most successful sport. Its national team won the
World Team Cup
World Team Cup clay tournament twice (2003 & 2004), and played the
Davis Cup final against
Italy in 1976. At the
2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics the
country captured gold and bronze in men's singles and gold in men's
Marcelo Ríos became the first Latin American man to reach
the number one spot in the ATP singles rankings in 1998. Anita Lizana
won the US Open in 1937, becoming the first woman from Latin America
to win a Grand Slam tournament. Luis Ayala was twice a runner-up at
the French Open and both Ríos and
Fernando González reached the
Australian Open men's singles finals. González also won a silver
medal in singles at the
2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
At the Summer Olympic Games
Chile boasts a total of two gold medals
(tennis), seven silver medals (athletics, equestrian, boxing, shooting
and tennis) and four bronze medals (tennis, boxing and football). In
Chile won its first Paralympic Games medal (gold in Athletics).
The Chilean national polo team with President
Michelle Bachelet and
the trophy of the 2015 World
Rodeo is the country's national sport and is practiced in the more
rural areas of the nation. A sport similar to hockey called chueca was
played by the
Mapuche people during the Spanish conquest.
snowboarding are practiced at ski centers located in the Central
Andes, and in southern ski centers near to cities as Osorno, Puerto
Temuco and Punta Arenas. surfing is popular at some coastal
Polo is professionally practiced within Chile, with the country
achieving top prize in the 2008 and 2015 World
Basketball is a popular sport in which
Chile has earned a bronze medal
in the first men's
FIBA World Championship
FIBA World Championship held in 1950 and winning a
second bronze medal when
Chile hosted the 1959 FIBA World
Chile hosted the first
FIBA World Championship
FIBA World Championship for Women
in 1953 finishing the tournament with the silver medal. San Pedro de
Atacama is host to the annual "Atacama Crossing", a six-stage,
250-kilometre (160 mi) footrace which annually attracts about 150
competitors from 35 countries. The
Dakar Rally off-road automobile
race has been held in both
Argentina since 2009.
The historical district of the port city of Valparaíso
The cultural heritage of
Chile consists, first, of their intangible
heritage, composed of various cultural events, such as visual arts,
crafts, dances, holidays, cuisine, games, music and traditions, and,
secondly, by its tangible, consists of those buildings, objects and
sites of archaeological, architectural, traditional, artistic,
ethnographic, folkloric, historical, religious or technological
scattered through Chilean territory, among them, those goods are
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in accordance with the
provisions of the Convention concerning the Protection of World
Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, ratified by
Chile in 1980.
These cultural sites are the
Rapa Nui National Park
Rapa Nui National Park (1995), the
Churches of Chiloé
Churches of Chiloé (2000), the historical district of the port city
Valparaíso (2003), Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works
(2005) and the mining city Sewell (2006).
In 1999 the Cultural Heritage Day was established as a way to honour
and commemorate Chiles cultural heritage. It is an official national
holiday celebrated in May every year.
Latin America portal
Index of Chile-related articles
International rankings of Chile
List of Chileans
Outline of Chile
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