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Republic of Chile
República de Chile  (Spanish)
Motto: Por la razón o la fuerza
"By reason or by force" (in Spanish)[1]
Anthem: Himno Nacional de Chile (in Spanish)
and largest city
National languageSpanish
Other languages
  • English
  • French
  • German
GovernmentUnitary presidential constitutional republic
• President
Gabriel Boric
Álvaro Elizalde
Raúl Soto
María Elisa Quinteros
Guillermo Silva
LegislatureNational Congress
Chamber of Deputies
from Spain
18 September 1810
• Declared
12 February 1818
• Recognized
25 April 1844
11 September 1980
• Total
756,096.3[2] km2 (291,930.4 sq mi) (37th)
• Water (%)
2.1 (as of 2015)[3]
• 2017 census
17,574,003[4] (64th)
• Density
24/km2 (62.2/sq mi) (198th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $550.450 billion[5] (43rd)
• Per capita
Increase $27,629[5] (57th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $352.664 billion[5] (45th)
• Per capita
Increase $17,702[5] (55th)
Gini (2021)Negative increase 46[6]
HDI (2019)Increase 0.851[7]
very high · 43rd
CurrencyPeso (CLP)
Time zoneUTC−4 to −6 (CLT or EAST 3)
• Summer (DST)
UTC−3 to −5 (CLST or EASST)
Driving sideright
Calling code+56
ISO 3166 codeCL
Internet TLD.cl
  1. The legislature is based in Valparaíso
  2. Includes Easter Island and Isla Sala y Gómez; does not include 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of territory claimed in Antarctica
  3. The mainland uses UTC−4 (in summer: UTC−3) ; Easter Island uses UTC−6 (in summer: UTC−5).

Chile (officially called Republic of Chile) is a country on the south-western side of South America. Most people there speak Spanish.

Chile, which claims a part of the Antarctic continent, is the longest country on earth. The Atacama Desert, in the north of the country, is the driest place on earth. The average rainfall there is less than 0.05 mm (0.0020 in) per year. The center of Chile, with the two cities Santiago and Valparaíso, has a Mediterranean climate with an average temperature of 28 °C (82 °F) in January and 11 °C (52 °F) in July. In the middle of Chile, the country is very good for growing things.

There are about 16.9 million people living in Chile in 2009. About 10 million people live in the center of Chile around Valparaíso and Santiago, on about 20% of the total land.

Chile is a well-educated country. Only 2.7% are not able to read or write. Some believe that Chile has one of the best school systems in South America.

About 95% of Chileans are people with a combination of European descent, mostly Spanish, but also German, English, Italian and Arab people. Around 2% of the population is Native American, but most people have native ancestors. Immigrants are 7% of the population. including Peruvians, Bolivians, Colombians, Haitians, Chinese and Europeans. The majority of people are Roman Catholic (62.8%), but many do not go to church. About 10% are Protestant, and there are some Jews and Muslims as well. The country's official language is Spanish. Chili peppers, first cultivated by Native Americans from other Latin American countries and the United States, did not come from this country, although it has a similar name.

Chile's currency is the Chilean peso.


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Parinacota volcano in northern Chile

Chile borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. It is over 4,630 kilometres (2,880 mi) north to south, but only 430 kilometres (270 mi) at its widest point east to west.

The northern Atacama Desert has great mineral wealth, mostly copper and nitrates. Chile is the largest producer of copper.[8] The Andes Mountains are on the eastern border.

Chile controls Easter Island and Sala y Gómez Island, the easternmost islands of Polynesia.

Animals and plants

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A glacier at Beagle Channel in southern Chile
Juan Fernández Firecrown

Only a few of the many distinctive South American animals are found in Chile. 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 found.

There are many species of small birds, but not most of the larger common Latin American types. Few freshwater fish are from Chile, but North American trout have been successfully introduced into the Andean lakes. The coast of Chile is close to the Humboldt Current, so ocean waters have many fish and other forms of marine life. This in turn supports a rich variety of waterfowl, including several penguins. There are many whales, and six species of seals in the area.

Just over 3,000 species of fungi are recorded in Chile.[9][10] This number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species in Chile is likely to be far higher. The generally accepted estimate is that only about 7 percent of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered.[11]

The northernmost coastal and central region is largely empty of vegetation. It is the most close to an absolute desert in the world. On the slopes of the Andes, besides the scattered tola desert brush, grasses are found. The central valley has several species of cacti, the hardy espinos (a kind of acacia tree), 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 lots of rain has made dense forests of laurels, magnolias, and various species of conifers and beeches, which become smaller and more stunted to the south.[12]

The cold temperatures and winds of the extreme south make it impossible for heavy forestation. Grassland is found in Atlantic Chile (in Patagonia).

Much of the Chilean plant life is different from that of neighboring Argentina. This shows that the Andean barrier existed during the formation of Chile.[12]

Chile is divided into 16 regions. The regions are then divided into provinces. Each province is divided into communes.[13]

Flag Name
Capital Area (km2) Population
(2017 census)
Arica and Parinacota
Región de Arica y Parinacota
Arica 16,873.3 226,068
Región de Tarapacá
Iquique 42,225.8 330,558
Región de Antofagasta
Antofagasta 126,049.1 607,534
Región de Atacama
Copiapó 75,176.2 286,168
Región de Coquimbo
La Serena 40,579.9 757,586
Región de Valparaíso
Valparaíso 16,396.1 1,815,902
Región Metropolitana de Santiago
Santiago 15,403.2 7,112,808
Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins
Rancagua 16,387.0 914,555
Región del Maule
Talca 30,296.1 1,044,950
Región de Ñuble
Chillán 13,178.5 480,609
Región del Biobío
Concepción 23,890.2 1,556,805
Región de La Araucanía
Temuco 31,842.3 957,224
Los Ríos
Región de Los Ríos
Valdivia 18,429.5 384,837
Los Lagos
Región de Los Lagos
Puerto Montt 48,583.6 828,708
Región Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Coihaique 108,494.4 103,158
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena
Punta Arenas 132,291.1 166,533


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Chileans call their country país de poetas-country of poets.[14] Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature (1945). Chile's most famous poet, however, is Pablo Neruda. He also received the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971).

Among the list of other Chilean poets are Lily Garafulic, Vicente Huidobro, Pablo Simonetti, and Paulo Coloane. Isabel Allende is the best-selling Chilean novelist, with 51 millions of her novels sold worldwide.[15] Novelist José Donoso's novel The Obscene Bird of the Night is said by critic Harold Bloom to be one of the important works of 20th century Western literature. Another internationally recognized Chilean novelist is Roberto Bolaño. His translations into English have had an excellent reception from the critics.[16][17][18]

Food and drink

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Chilean Cazuela and assorted salads.

Chilean food shows the differences in the land across the country. There is an assortment of seafood, beef, fruits, and vegetables. Traditional recipes include asado, cazuela, empanadas, humitas, pastel de choclo, pastel de papas, curanto and sopaipillas.[19]

Crudos is an example of food from the various ethnic groups in Chile. Onions were brought by the Spanish colonists, and the use of mayonnaise and yogurt was introduced by German immigrants, as was beer.

Estadio Nacional de Chile

Chile's most popular sport is association football. Chile has been in eight FIFA World Cups which includes hosting the 1962 FIFA World Cup. Other results by the national football team include four finals at the Copa América, one silver and two bronze medals at the Pan American Games, a bronze medal at the 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. It was named by the IFFHS in 2011 as the ninth strongest national football league in the world.[20]

Tennis is one of Chile's most successful sports. Its national team won the World Team Cup clay tournament twice (2003 & 2004). They played the Davis Cup final against Italy in 1976. At the 2004 Summer Olympics the country took gold and bronze in men's singles and gold in men's doubles. 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. She was 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, Nicolas Massu Friedt and Fernando González Ciuffardi reached the Australian Open men's singles finals. González also won a silver medal in singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

At the Summer Olympic Games Chile has 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 2012 Chile won its first Paralympic Games medal (gold in Athletics).

Rodeo is the country's national sport. It is practiced in the more rural areas of the country. A sport similar to hockey. Skiing and snowboarding are practiced at ski centers in the Central Andes. Surfing is popular at some coastal towns. Polo is professionally practiced in Chile. In 2008 Chile won top prize in the World Polo Championship.

Basketball is a popular sport. Chile earned a bronze medal in the first men's FIBA World Championship held in 1950. They won a second bronze medal when Chile hosted the 1959 FIBA World Championship. Chile hosted the first FIBA World Championship for Women in 1953 finishing the tournament with the silver medal. Other sports such as marathons and ultramarathons are also increasing in popularity. San Pedro de Atacama is host to the yearly "Atacama Crossing," a six-stage, 250-kilometer footrace which has about 150 competitors from 35 countries each year. The Dakar Rally off-road automobile race has been held in both Chile and Argentina since 2009.

Immigration to Chile

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A few European immigrants settled in Chile during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mainly from Spain. The general picture is as follows:

Year Total population Immigrant population  Source:[21]
Total % Europeans Latin Americans Others
1865 1.819.223 21.982 1,21% 53,7% 41,4% 4,9%
1875 2.075.971 25.199 1,21% 62,3% 33,0% 4,7%
1885 2.057.005 87.077 4,23% 30,1% 67,2% 2,7%
1907 3.249.279 134.524 4,5% 53,3% 42,7% 4,0%
1920 3.731.593 114.114 3,06% 60,0% 31,2% 8,9%
1930 4.287.445 105.463 2,46% 60,0% 24,6% 15,4%
1940 5.023.539 107.273 2,14% 67,2% 21,7% 11,1%
1952 5.932.995 103.878 1,75% 55,9% 23,4% 20,7%
1960 7.374.115 104.853 1,42% 60,9% 26,1% 13,0%
1970 8.884.768 90.441 1,02% 53,3% 34,4% 12,3%
1982 11.275.440 84.345 0,75% 31,8% 54,5% 13,7%
1992 13.348.401 114.597 0,86% 20,1% 65,1% 14,8%
2002 15.116.435 184.464 1,22% 17,2% 71,8% 11,0%

National symbols

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The Andean Condor is the national bird of Chile

The national flower is the copihue (Lapageria rosea, Chilean bellflower), which grows in the woods of southern Chile.

The coat of arms shows 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 saying Por la razón o la fuerza (By reason or by force).

The flag of Chile has two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red. There is a blue square the same height as the white band. The square has a white five-pointed star in the center. The star is a guide to progress and honor. Blue is for the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red stands for the blood spilled to get independence.

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  1. "Chilean Government". The Coat of Arms. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
  2. Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (October 2006). "Compendio estadístico 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  3. "Surface water and surface water change". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  4. "RESULTADOS CENSO 2017" (PDF). RESULTADOS DEFINITIVOS CENSO 2017. National Statistics Institute. 1 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Chile". World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  6. "Inequality - Income inequality". OECD. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  7. "Human Development Report 2020" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  8. "Chile's Copper Giant Codelco to Trim 2015 Refined Supply". Bloomberg.com. 25 November 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  9. Oehrens, E.B. "Flora Fungosa Chilena". Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile, 1980
  10. "Cybertruffle's Robigalia – Observations of fungi and their associated organisms". cybertruffle.org.uk. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  11. Kirk, P.M., Cannon, P.F., Minter, D.W. and Stalpers, J. "Dictionary of the Fungi". Edn 10. CABI, 2008
  12. 12.0 12.1 Smith-Ramírez, Cecilia (August 2007). "Distribution patterns of flora and fauna in southern Chilean Coastal rain forests: Integrating Natural History and GIS". Biodiversity and Conservation. 16 (9). Springer Netherlands: 2627–2648. Bibcode:2007BiCon..16.2627S. doi:10.1007/s10531-006-9073-2. S2CID 6879631. Retrieved 26 June 2019.[permanent dead link]
  13. "Organigrama". Gobierno de Chile. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  14. "UN MAPA POR COMPLETAR: LA JOVEN POESIA CHILENA – żPor qué tanta y tan variada poesía?". Uchile.cl. Archived from the original on 10 May 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  15. "Latin American Herald Tribune – Isabel Allende Named to Council of Cervantes Institute". Laht.com. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  16. Grossman, Lev (10 November 2008). "Bolaño's 2666: The Best Book of 2008". Time. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  17. Sarah Kerr (18 December 2008). "The Triumph of Roberto Bolaño | The New York Review of Books". Nybooks.com. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  18. Wood, James (15 April 2007). "The Visceral Realist". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  19. Kijac, Maria Baez (2003). The South American Table: The Flavor and Soul of Authentic Home Cooking from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro, with 450 Recipes. Harvard Common Press. ISBN 978-1-55832-249-3.
  20. "The strongest National League in the World 2011". IFFHS. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  21. Doña-Reveco, Cristián & Levinson, Amanda 2012. Chile: a growing destination country in search of a coherent approach to migration. MPI. [1]