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Alternative meaning: Chilli pepper

The Republic of Chile is a republic located on the southwestern coast of South America. It is a long and narrow piece of land between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It shares borders with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. >
República de Chile
(Republic of Chile)
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Por la razón o la fuerza (Spanish: By reason or by force)
Official language Spanish
Capital Santiago
President Ricardo Lagos Escobar
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 37th
756,950 km² ¹
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 61st
 - Initiated
 - Formally declared
From Spain
September 18, 1810
February 12, 1818
Currency Peso
Time zone UTC -4
National anthem Himno Nacional
Internet TLD .cl
Calling Code 56
(1) Chile claims 1,250,000 km² of Antarctica

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Regions
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 National symbols
9 Miscellaneous topics
10 Reference
11 See also
12 External link


Main article: History of Chile

In 1531 the Spanish conquered Peru from the Incas. One of the Conquistadors in that voyage was Diego de Almagro. He left in 1535 to the South of Peru after territorial disputes. He is credited with being the first European to explore the coast of Chile. However he did not leave any lasting marks on the territory. It wasn't until the voyage of Pedro de Valdivia 1540-1541 that a permanent Spanish presence was established. Valdivia founded a string of villages on his way south. Finally, on 12th of February 1541 he founded Santiago.

A Spanish colony until the 1810s, after gaining its independence, Chile has had a remarkably stable institutional life, with only a handful of interruptions, the longest and most recent being the government of Augusto Pinochet.


Main article: Politics of Chile

The country's current constitution was adopted in 1980 during the military government led by Augusto Pinochet and increased the power of the president and institutionalized the participation of the commanders in chief of the armed forced in the institutional life. After Pinochet's defeat on the 1988 referendum, several amendments have been made, decreasing the power of the president and toning down the voice of the armed forces. As of 2004, discussions about further reforms continue, but have a low priority.

Executive Branch is headed by the president of the republic. As of 2004 the president was the socialist Ricardo Lagos. The president also appoints the cabinet members. The president is chosen for 6 year terms and cannot be immediately re-elected.

Judicial Branch has the Supreme court as its highest institution. For questions related to the constitution there is the Constitutional Court, which also has the right to veto laws that it considers go against the constitution.

Legislative Branch is made up of 2 chambers.

For any law to be passed, a law has to pass through both chambers and be approved by the president of the republic (who has a limited veto right). The chambers and the president can all propose new laws, but there are matters where only the president can start a law.

Although there are some known cases of corruption in Chile, there is no rampant abuse of power by public officials.


Main article: Regions of Chile

Chile is divided into 13 regions, each of which is headed by an intendente. Every region is further divided into provinces with a Gobernador provincial. Finally each province is divided into various Comunas each with its own mayor. Intendentes and gobernadores are appointed by the president, mayors are elected by popular vote.

Each region is designated by a name and a Roman numeral. Numbers are assigned from north to south. In general the Roman numeral is used, rather than the name. The only exception is the region where Santiago is situated, which is designated RM, that stands for Región Metropolitana, Metropolitan Region.


Main article: Geography of Chile

The climate varies widely from subtropical in the north, passing by the most arid desert in the world, the Atacama desert, through a fertile valley in the center, to a cold and damp south, originally covered by forest. The Mediterranean quality of the central valley made it ideal for the cultivation of table fruits, which are one of Chile's main exports, and the production of wine, also a growing export.


Main article: Economy of Chile

The economy is mostly export driven. Its main export product still continues to be copper, followed by agribusiness products. However this is not nearly as important (40% of total value exported) as it was 30 years ago (70% of exports). Recently Chile has also started exporting products such as fine wines from various regions, salmon and wood pulp. Though the country is not as industrialized as developed countries, it's one of the most industrialized nations of Latin America.

While the main industry of the northern part of Chile is mostly mining related, the southern half has quite an extensive agricultural and dairy industry. The Central-zone is dedicated mostly to services and industry, with the main harbor, Valparaíso, also situated in this part of the country.

Chile has a large service sector and has one of the world's most liberalized and modern telecommunications infrastructures. Tourist industry is also still growing in Chile. People are attracted to the country's rugged beauty of the southern woodlands, the emptiness of the northern desert plains and the May to September skiing season in the Andes mountains.

In the boom years of the 1990s yearly economic growth was in the 7 to 12% range. After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, economic growth has slowed to a steady 3% per year.


Main article: Demographics of Chile

The population of Chile is mostly white and mestizo, with some of the original ethnic groups remaining in the south, on Easter Island, and in the mountains in the north. European immigration soared in the 1800's, although not as much as neighbors Argentina and Brazil, from mostly Italy, Germany, and smaller numbers from Eastern Europe and Ireland.

The level of education is high, and Chileans are proud of having two winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature: Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda.


Main article: Culture of Chile

See also: Music of Chile

National symbols

The national flower is the copihue (Lapageria rosea, Chilean bellflower), that lives in the woods in the southern part of 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).

Miscellaneous topics


See also

External link

[ Edit {}] Countries in South America
Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | Guyana | Paraguay | Peru | Suriname | Uruguay | Venezuela
Dependencies: Falkland Islands | French Guiana