|Chile, republic, south-western South America, bordered on the north by Peru, on the east by Bolivia and Argentina, and on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean. It has an extreme north-south length of around 4,272 km, but its average width is less than 180 km. Archipelagos extend along the southern Chilean coast from Chiloé Island to Cape Horn, the southernmost point of the South American continent. Among these are the Chonos Archipelago, Wellington Island, and the western portion of Tierra del Fuego. Other islands belonging to Chile include the Juan Fernández Islands, Easter Island, and Sala y Gómez, all of which lie in the South Pacific. The nation has a total area of 756,636 sq km. Chile also claims a section of Antarctica. The capital and largest city is Santiago.
When the first Spanish arrived, Quechua tribes inhabited the northern region, and Araucanian tribes inhabited the central region and the northern part of the sothern region. The Incas were in control of the northern area and part of central Chile . Warlike Araucanian tribes, who held the Incas back, dominated much of the rest of the country . The first Spanish settlements were established in the mid-sixteenth century: Santiago in 1541 and Concepcion in 1550. The settlers had to face repeated assults from the Araucanians.
In 1541, a Spaniard, Pedro de Valdivia, founded Santiago. Chile won its independence from Spain in 1818 under Bernardo O'Higgins and an Argentinian, José de San Martin. O'Higgins, dictator until 1823, laid the foundations of the modern state with a two-party system and a centralized government.
The dictator from 1830 to 1837, Diego Portales, fought a war with Peru in 1836–1839 that expanded Chilean territory. Chile fought the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia from 1879 to 1883, winning Antofagasta, Bolivia's only outlet to the sea, and extensive areas from Peru. Pedro Montt led a revolt that overthrew José Balmaceda in 1891 and established a parliamentary dictatorship lasting until a new constitution was adopted in 1925. Industrialization began before World War I and led to the formation of Marxist groups. Juan Antonio Ríos, president during World War II, was originally pro-Nazi but in 1944 led his country into the war on the side of the Allies
A presidential candidate of the left-wing parties, Salvador Allende, won the elections in 1970. Upon ussuming office, he nationalized the mines, industries, and public services. Allende was deposed and died in a military coup in September 1973, which was followed by 16 years of military dictatorship by General Augusto Pinochet. Democratic elections were held in 1989.Democracy was restored in 1990 with the asumption of the presidency by Patricio Alwin Azocar, following free elections.
Ranges from hot and arid in the north to very cold in the far south. The central areas have a mild Mediterranean climate with a wet season (May to August). Beyond Puerto Montt in the south is one of the wettest and stormiest areas in the world.
Lightweight cottons and linens in northern and central areas. Rainwear is advised during rainy seasons. Mediumweights and waterproofing are needed in the south.
Chile has two lively and contrasting cultures: the cosmopolitan culture of the affluent urban population, and the popular culture of the peasants, which is mainly Spanish but contains traces of Araucanian heritage. The culture of peasants is heavily reflected in their music and dance. The country also has a flourishing literary tradition and has produced two Nobel Prize winners in literature, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, both poets.