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Chile Index page

Map of Chile        Chile facts and history in brief

Chile is a long, narrow country that stretches about 4,265 kilometres from Peru in the north to the southern tip of the continent, on the west coast of South America.
The name probably comes from chilli, a native word meaning where the land ends.
The country is a land of great variety with a breathtaking landscape with snow-capped volcanoes, thick forests, and huge glaciers.
Many rocky, windswept islands line the rugged Pacific shores.
Chile's climate varies from the very dry in the north to the very wet in the south.

In 1533 the Spanish defeated the Inca' of Peru and seized their gold and silver.

Spain ruled Chile from the 1500's to the early 1800's as the Viceroyalty of Peru, while the Roman Catholic Church sent missionaries to Chile to convert the indigenous people to Christianity.

In 1810 Chile declared it's independence.
Spanish forces from Peru regained control for Spain.

In 1818, Bernardo O'Higgins defeated the Spanish, introduced a constitution and established many new institutions to set Chile on a path to nationhood.

In the 1890s, Civil War broke out over the struggle for power between the President and Congress.
Congress remained the strongest force in Chilean politics until 1925.

Chile remained neutral during World War I (1914-1918).

In 1970 Salvador Allende Gossens, the first Marxist to be elected democratically in the Western Hemisphere came to power.

In 1973, a military leaders formed a junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte overthrew the Allende's government.

The Araucanian, the Quechua and the Aymara people are the largest indigenous Indian groups in Chile.
Their ancestors fought the Spaniards and their descendants for about 350 years.

Chileans are of mixed Spanish and native ancestry (Called mestizos and form about 75% of the population), or of European descent and about 3% native 'Indians'.

Most Chileans are well educated with free state primary education, and children must attend eight years of primary school.
There are many public and private high schools and 23 Universities.

Soccer is Chile's most popular spectator sport by far.

Railways, roads, and airlines connect cities and towns in northern and central Chile, in the south, ships are still a major means of transport.

The official language is Spanish, and most Chileans are Roman Catholics.

Santiago is Chile's largest and capital City, with about 80% (more than 4 million) Chileans living in its metropolitan area.

Santiago was founded in 1551, burnt down by natives six months later, to be rebuilt soon afterwards and has been the principal settlement and capital since.

Santiago have many modern skyscrapers in busy commercial districts and many Spanish-style buildings with red tile roofs and patios.

Monuments and public buildings border tree-lined streets, with many parks, gardens, and large plazas.

The city receives a total of about 35 centimetres of rain annually.

Temperatures average about 20 C in January and about 9 C in July.

Hui Chin and I've enjoyed our stay very much at the Easter Islands.
What we expected as boring 3 days stay turned out to be a very exciting experience.

Our visit to Santiago was similarly enjoyable with many hilarious moments, like our encounter at a McDonald's.

With total lack of Spanish we wanted to get some burgers.
Hui Chin pointing to the pictures on the wall and showing we wanted two, plus two Sundaes and two white coffees.
Alright! It sounds simple, you try it.
The funny part came, when the young girl lifted and turned the cash register up and around to show Hui Chin how much will it all cost us.

We still laugh about this, every now and again.

List of my photo pages in this Chile series.

Easter Island or Isla de Pascua or Rapa Nui



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