Chile Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Chile Map Economy History

Santiago
Vina Del Mar

Facts About Chile

Background: A three-year-old Marxist government was overthrown in 1973 by a dictatorial military regime led by Augusto PINOCHET, which ruled until a freely elected president was installed in 1990. Sound economic policies, first implemented by the PINOCHET dictatorship, led to unprecedented growth in 1991-97 and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Growth slowed in 1998-99, but recovered strongly in 2000.
Government type: republic
Capital: Santiago
Currency: 1 Chilean peso (Ch$) = 100 centavos

Geography of Chile

Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
Geographic coordinates: 30 00 S, 71 00 W
Area:
total: 756,950 sq km
land: 748,800 sq km
water: 8,150 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez
Land boundaries:
total: 6,171 km
border countries: Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km
Coastline: 6,435 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200/350 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,962 m
Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 18%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 55% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 12,650 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
Environment - current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:  Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions

More Geography

People of Chile

About 85% of Chile's population live in urban centers, with 40% living in greater Santiago. Most have Spanish ancestry. A small, yet influential number of Irish and English immigrants came to Chile during the colonial period. German immigration began in 1848 and lasted for 90 years; the southern provinces of Valdivia, Llanquihue, and Osorno show a strong German influence. Other significant immigrant groups are Italian, Croatian, French, and Middle Eastern. About 800,000 Native Americans, mostly of the Mapuche tribe, reside in the south-central area.

Population: 15,980,912 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  27.25%
15-64 years:  65.39%
65 years and over:  7.36%
Population growth rate: 1.13% 
Birth rate: 16.8 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.55 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 9.36 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  75.94 years
male:  72.63 years
female:  79.42 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.16 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean
Ethnic groups: white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%
Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish NEGL%
Languages: Spanish
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.2%
male: 95.4%
female: 95% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Chile Map Economy History