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Republic of Chile

República de Chile  (Spanish)
Motto: Por la razón o la fuerza
(English: "By reason or by force")
Anthem: "Himno Nacional de Chile"

(English: "National Anthem of Chile")

Chilean territory in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green
Chilean territory in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green
and largest city
33°26′S 70°40′W / 33.433°S 70.667°W / -33.433; -70.667
National language Spanish
Ethnic groups
  • 88.9% White or Mestizo
  • 10.8% Indigenous
  • —9.1% Mapuche
  • —0.7% Aymara
  • —1.0% Other indigenous groups
  • 0.3% Other / Unspecified
  • 63% Christianity
  • —45% Roman Catholic
  • —15% Protestant
  • —3% Other Christian
  • 36% No religion
  • 1% Other
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Sebastián Piñera
Ximena Rincón
Diego Paulsen
Legislature National Congress
Chamber of Deputies
from Spain
• Government Junta
18 September 1810
• Declared
12 February 1818
• Recognized
25 April 1844
11 September 1980
• Total
756,096.3 km2 (291,930.4 sq mi) (37th)
• Water (%)
2.1 (as of 2015)
• 2017 census
17,574,003 (64th)
• Density
24/km2 (62.2/sq mi) (198th)
GDP (PPP) 2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease \$456.394 billion (43rd)
• Per capita
Decrease \$23,455 (57th)
GDP (nominal) 2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease \$245.414 billion (45th)
• Per capita
Decrease \$12,612 (55th)
Gini (2021)  46
HDI (2019) Increase 0.851
very high · 43rd
Currency Chilean peso (CLP)
Time zone UTC−4 and −6 (CLT and EASTc)
• Summer (DST)
UTC-3 and −5
April to September
Date format dd/mm/yyyy
Driving side right
Calling code +56
ISO 3166 code CL
Internet TLD .cl
  1. Legislature is based in Valparaíso.
  2. Includes Easter Island and Isla Salas y Gómez; does not include 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of territory claimed in Antarctica.

Chile (officially called Republic of Chile) is a country on the south-western side of South America. The majority of 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 per year. The center of Chile, with the two cities Santiago and Valparaíso, has a Mediterranean climate with an average temperatures of 28 °C in January and 11 °C in July. In the middle of Chile, the country is very fertile.

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 territory.

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 Caucasian (including some people of Arab ancestry), or people with a combination of European descent, mostly (Spanish, Basque, Italian and German). Around 2% of the population is Native American, about 2% European immigrants and around 1% have a strong degree of Asians descent. The majority of people are Roman Catholic (62.8%). About 10% are Protestant, and there are some Jews 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.


Parinacota volcano
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 (265 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. The Andes Mountains are on the eastern border.

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


A glacier at Beagle Channel in southern Chile
Sephanoides fernandensis
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. It 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. 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.


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, 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.

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 flora is different from that of neighboring Argentina. This shows that the Andean barrier existed during the formation of Chile.


The regions of Chile

Chile is divided into 15 regions. The regions are then divided into provinces. Each province is divided into communes.

Key Name Spanish Capital
XV Arica y Parinacota, Chile Arica y Parinacota Región de Arica y Parinacota Arica
I Tarapacá, Chile Tarapacá Región de Tarapacá Iquique
II Antofagasta, Chile Antofagasta Región de Antofagasta Antofagasta
III Atacama, Chile Atacama Región de Atacama Copiapó
IV Coquimbo, Chile Coquimbo Región de Coquimbo La Serena
V Valparaíso, Chile Valparaíso Región de Valparaíso Valparaíso
RM Metropolitana de Santiago, Chile Región Metropolitana de Santiago Santiago
VI Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins Rancagua
VII Maule, Chile Maule Región del Maule Talca
VIII Bío Bío, Chile Bío Bío Región del Biobío Concepción
IX La Araucanía, Chile La Araucanía Región de la Araucanía Temuco
XIV Los Ríos, Chile Los Ríos Región de Los Ríos Valdivia
X Los Lagos, Chile Los Lagos Región de Los Lagos Puerto Montt
XI Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, Chile Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Región Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Coihaique
XII Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena, Chile Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena Punta Arenas


Chile Product Exports (2019)
A proportional representation of Chile exports, 2019
Gran Torre Santiago (39693576311)
The financial district in Santiago de Chile
Chuquicamata, the largest open pit copper mine in the world

The Central Bank of Chile in Santiago serves as the central bank for the country. The Chilean currency is the Chilean peso (CLP).

Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. Since July 2013, Chile is considered by the World Bank as a "high-income economy".

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 private copper mining companies.


Chileans call their country país de poetas-country of poets. 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. 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.


Chilean Cazuela
Chilean Cazuela and assorted salads.

Chilean cuisine shows the country's topographical variety. 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.

Crudos is an example of the mixture of culinary additions 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 2
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.

Bachelet y campeones de polo
Chile, the current world champion polo team, with President Michelle Bachelet and the trophy of the 2008 World Polo Championship.

Tennis is Chile's most successful sport. 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.

National symbols

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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