Chile, country situated along the western seaboard of South America. It extends approximately 2,700 miles (4,300 km) from its boundary with Peru, at latitude 17°30′ S, to the tip of South America at Cape Horn, latitude 56° S, a point only about 400 miles north of Antarctica. A long, narrow country, it has an average width of only about 110 miles, with a maximum of 217 miles at the latitude of Antofagasta and a minimum of 9.6 miles near Puerto Natales. Chile bounded on the north by Peru and Bolivia, on its long eastern border by Argentina, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Chile exercises sovereignty over Easter Island, the Juan Fernández Archipelago, and the volcanic islets of Sala y Gómez, San Félix, and San Ambrosio, all of which are located in the South Pacific. Chile also claims a 200-mile offshore limit. The capital is Santiago.
Chile’s relief is for the most part mountainous, with the Andes range dominating the landscape. Because of the country’s extreme length it has a wide variety of climates, from the coastal desert beginning in the tropical north to the cold subantarctic southern tip. Chile is also a land of extreme natural events: volcanic eruptions, violent earthquakes, and tsunamis originating along major faults of the ocean floor periodically beset the country. Fierce winter storms and flash floods alternate with severe summer droughts.
Chile is a republic. The current constitution was adopted in 1980; in a rather unique occurence, the constitution was approved by a national referendum. The first two decades afterward were a period of transition to democracy from the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Since the turn of the new millennium, the democratic process has been much stronger.
Until the most recent election, Chilean elections were based around a system known as binomialism. This system was designed to create a stable government from election to election. In effect binomialism meant that unless the most popular party was more than twice as popular as the next most popular party, each district of the country would elect one representative from each of the two biggest political parties. Critics claimed that this was an undemocratic feature of the government that made it harder for small parties to gain seats, and didn’t reflect the opinions of the general public. For the 2017 general election, the binomial system was abandoned.
Chile has historically undergone major booms and busts based on the performance of its copper industries. The economy did expand greatly during the years under Pinochet, coming out of a recession caused in part by strict U.S. trade restrictions against the Allende administration. Since the return to democracy, Chile has continued to have a strong (largely services-based) economy.
Working Population: 8.881 million (2017 est.)
Employment by Occupation: Agriculture: 9.2%, Industry: 23.7%, Services: 67.1% (2013 est.)
Unemployment: 7% (2017 est.)
Population Below the Poverty Line: 14.4% (2013 est.)
In the arts world, Chile is known for its incredible literary tradition. Some of the world’s most widely acclaimed poets come from Chile, including Nobel Prize winners Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda; the poetry scene in Chile is also a major venue for Mapuche artists, who often work in both Mapudungun and Spanish. Chilean novelists have achieved global success. Authors Roberto Bolaño and José Donoso are literary darlings. Isabel Allende (cousin to the late President Salvador Allende) is perhaps the most popular Spanish-language writer in the world, even above literary titans like Marquez and Borges. Allende was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Chile is also relatively well-known for its music, as one of the most prominent nations during the Nueva Canción movement. Chilean bands reached particular importance during the presidency of Salvador Allende, as part of his broader cultural policies of bringing art and culture to all levels of Chilean society.
Facts About CHILE :
- The majority of the Chilean population ages from 55+. It is considered an ‘ageing society’ with a declining birth rate and low mortality rate.
- Santiago is the capital of Chile and also the largest city that Chile has.
- The national flag of Chile was adopted in 1817 and bears a resemblance to the flag of U.S state of Texas.
- The main language of Chile is Spanish with the second main language being English.
- On Independence Day, it is obligatory that all public buildings exhibit the national flag, or they could risk paying a fine of 40,000 Pesos.
- It is one of the South American countries that is the most stable and flourishing due to high income and high living standards.
- Chile was the host of the World Cup in 1962 and they also finished 3rd that year.
- The national drink is known as ‘Pisco’ (a clear liquid) with the most famous version being the ‘Pisco Sour’ which consists of lemon juice, ice, sugar and beaten egg whites.
- Chile is the largest producer of Copper and produces over a third of the world’s copper.
- Chile is the 5th largest exporter of wine and holds over 100 wineries over the country, after the first wine grape was produced in 1554.
- It is the largest exporter of salmon.
- Chile is known as the ‘country of poets’ as two Nobel Prize winners in literature originated here.
- The education system is unfortunately dependant on wealth and the ‘poor’ students produce the worst education results with those in the private schools producing the best results.