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Chile Facts


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What is the capital of Chile?
Chile’s capital is Santiago. Founded by Spanish Conquistadors on February 12, 1541, Santiago is Chile’s largest city, and is located in Chile’s central valley.

How big is Chile?
Chile covers around 756,000 square kilometers.

Where is Chile located?
Chile is located on South America’s southwest coast, bordering the South Pacific Ocean. Chile borders Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia. Chile’s territory also includes Easter Island and other Pacific islands, like Sala y Gomez.

What is the population of Chile?
Chile’s population is estimated at 17 million.

Who is President of Chile?
President Sebastian Piñera
Who are the indigenous people of Chile?

The major group indigenous people of Chile are the Mapuche, a term that encompasses the northern Picunches, the southern Huilliches, and the Moluche native groups. Once occupying most of Chile’s territory, the Mapuche people managed to resist takeover by the Inca Empire, though the Inca Empire did extend into Chile for some time. After the arrival of Spaniards, the Mapuche resisted subjugation, refusing to be enslaved, but they were ultimately pushed northwards by Spanish colonization.

When was Chile colonized?
Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal made first contact with the region in 1520, followed by Spanish conquistadors in 1535, after which Chile became part of the Spanish Empire. Chile remained under Spanish rule until the 1800s.

When did Chile gain independence from Spain?
Chile formed its independent republic on September 18, 1810, with the First Government Junta, or the first step toward Chilean independence. September 18 is celebrated as the National Day of Chile. Several years of struggle and warfare followed.

Chile only achieved its victory over Spain in 1818, with Chile’s Declaration of Independence,
which was signed on February 12, 1818.

Who is Augusto Pinochet?
Augusto Pinochet was a military leader and President of Chile who had a major impact on the country, in both good and bad ways.

The 1900s saw years of political instability and an economic depression in Chile, after Salvador Allende’s socialist programs began during his presidency in the 1970s. A bloody military coup on September 11, 1973, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, resulted in the death of Allende, and the takeover of Pinochet as president. Pinochet was President of Chile from 1973 to 1990, when he was replaced by a democratically elected president. During his 17 year presidency, Pinochet and his government was responsible for both the economic rise of Chile, and the torture and death of many Chileans.

What are the geographical features of Chile?
Chile is a long and narrow country with varied geography from north to south. In the north, the Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world. Chile’s southern region has forests, volcanoes and mountains, glaciers and fjords. The world’s highest lake is Crater Island, located at Ojos del Salado. Central Chile holds most of the country’s population, including the capital, Santiago. The central region enjoys a Mediterranean climate, beaches, and agriculture. Easter Island and Sala y Gomez are islands off Chile’s coast, and are part of Chile.

Mountains cover about 80% of the country, with the Andes Mountains running along eastern Chile. Chile is a seismic zone, located along the Pacific Ring of Fire. There are more than 30 active volcanoes in Chile, notably Lascar and Llaima. Many major earthquakes have hit Chile in recent history, including the February 27, 2010 earthquake in Chile, which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale. The 2010 Chilean earthquake was felt over 80% of the country, and triggered a tsunami that resulted in billions of dollars worth of damage in Chile, Japan, and California.

What currency is used in Chile?
The Chilean peso (CLP)

What languages are spoken in Chile?
Spanish is the official language of Chile, but Native languages such as the Mapuche language Mapudungun, as well as Quechua, Aymara, and Rapa Nui are also spoken. German and English are spoken in some parts of Chile.