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Country of Chile Flag

Capital: Santiago

Population: 18,952,038

Brief History of Chile:

Chile was first settled as many as 10,000 years ago. Tribal people gathered in Chile's fertile valleys and on the country's long Pacific Coast. For a short period of time, the Incan civilization entered Chile, but the north was too barren and they did not expand into Chile for long.

In 1536 the Europeans discovered Chile. The first to arrive was the Spanish headed by Diego de Almagro. There were already hundreds of thousands of native peoples living in Chile at the time. Soon the Spanish began to conquer Chile and Pedro de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago on February of 1941. Unlike Peru, Chile was not rich with gold and silver, but its central valley held the riches of agriculture. Soon Chile was part of the Spanish Empire.

In 1810, the Chileans decided to fight for their independence from Spain. The war that followed was called the Reconquista. In 1817 armies led by famed Chilean patriot Bernardo O'Higgins and the hero of Argentina, Jose de San Martin defeated the Spanish. They crossed over the Andes to attack. Chile declared independence on February 12, 1818. Bernardo O'Higgins was the first leader of independent Chile.

One of the most famous recent events to occur in Chile was when 33 miners were trapped deep within a gold mine in San Jose. Rescuers searched for the miners for 17 days and finally found them trapped 2,300 feet below the ground. All 33 men were eventually brought to the surface. The rescue was shown on live television and viewed by people all around the world.

Country of Chile Map

The Geography of Chile

Total Size: 756,950 square km

Size Comparison: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana

Geographical Coordinates: 30 00 S, 71 00 W

World Region or Continent: South America

General Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east

Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point: Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,880 m

Climate: temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south

Major cities: SANTIAGO (capital) 5.883 million; Valparaiso 865,000 (2009), Concepcion

The People of Chile

Type of Government: republic

Languages Spoken: Spanish

Independence: 18 September 1810 (from Spain)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

Nationality: Chilean(s)

Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish NEGL%

National Symbol: huemul (mountain deer); Andean condor

National Anthem or Song: Himno Nacional de Chile (National Anthem of Chile)

Economy of Chile

Major Industries: copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles

Agricultural Products: grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber

Natural Resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower

Major Exports: copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine

Major Imports: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas

Currency: Chilean peso (CLP)

National GDP: $299,500,000,000

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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