For other uses see Chile (disambiguation).
|Native Name:||República de Chile|
|Conventional Long Name:||Republic of Chile|
|National Motto:||Por la razón o la fuerza|
"By right or might"
|National Anthem:||Himno Nacional de Chile|
|Ethnic Groups:||65% Castizo, 30% White, 5% Amerindian|
|Government Type:||Representative democracy|
|Leader Name1:||Michelle Bachelet|
|Area Sq Mi:||292,183|
|Area Magnitude:||1 E11|
|Population Estimate Year:||June 2009|
|Population Estimate Rank:||60th|
|Population Census Year:||2002|
|Population Density Km2:||22|
|Population Density Sq Mi:||57|
|Population Density Rank:||194th|
|Gdp Nominal Year:||2008|
|Gdp Nominal:||$181.464 billion|
|Gdp Nominal Rank:||45st|
|Gdp Nominal Per Capita:||$10,813|
|Gdp Nominal Per Capita Rank:||53rd|
|Gdp Ppp Year:||2008|
|Gdp Ppp:||$246.482 billion|
|Gdp Ppp Per Capita:||$14,688|
|Gdp Ppp Per Capita Rank:||59th|
|Exports 2007:||US$ 66.43 billion|
|Imports 2007:||US$ 41.80 billion|
|Sovereignty Note:||from Spain|
|Established Event1:||First National|
September 18, 1810
|Established Date2:||February 12, 1818|
|Established Date3:||April 25, 1844|
|Established Event4:||Current constitution|
September 11, 1980
|Time Zone Dst:||n/a|
|Utc Offset Dst:||-3|
|Footnote1:||The legislative body operates in Valparaíso.|
|Footnote2:||Includes Easter Island and Isla Sala y Gómez; does not include of territory claimed in Antarctica.|
Chile, officially the Republic of Chile (Spanish:), is a country in South America occupying a long and narrow coastal strip wedged between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage at the country's southernmost tip. It is one of only two countries in South America that does not have a border with Brazil. The Pacific forms the country's entire western border, with a coastline that stretches over 6,435 kilometres. Chilean territory extends to the Pacific Ocean which includes the overseas territories of Juan Fernández Islands, the Salas y Gómez islands, the Desventuradas Islands and Easter Island located in Polynesia. Chile claims of territory in Antarctica.
Chile's unusual, ribbon-like shape — long and on average wide — has given it a hugely varied climate, ranging from the world's driest desert — the Atacama — in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south, with glaciers, fjords and lakes. The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border.
Prior to the coming of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Araucanians inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Araucanian Indians were completely subjugated. The country, which had been relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted the South American continent, endured a 17 year military dictatorship (1973-1990), one of the bloodiest in 20th-century Latin America that left more than 3,000 people dead and missing.
Currently, Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations. Within the greater Latin American context it leads in terms of human development, competitiveness, quality of life, political stability, globalization, economic freedom, low perception of corruption and comparatively low poverty rates. It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press and democratic development. Its status as the region's richest country in terms of gross domestic product per capita (at market prices and purchasing power parity) is however countered by its high level of income inequality, as measured by the Gini index.
There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile. According to a theory proposed by 18th century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales, the Incas of Peru called the valley of the Aconcagua "Chili" by corruption of the name of a Picunche tribal chief ("cacique") called Tili, who ruled the area at the time of the Incan conquest in the 15th century. Another theory points to the similarity of the valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley in Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili. Other theories say Chile may derive its name from the indigenous Mapuche word chilli, which may mean "where the land ends," "the deepest point of the Earth," or "sea gulls;" or from the Quechua chin, "cold," or the Aymara tchili, meaning "snow."  Another meaning attributed to chilli is the onomatopoeic cheele-cheele—the Mapuche imitation of a bird call. The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, and the few survivors of Diego de Almagro's first Spanish expedition south from Peru in 1535-36 called themselves the "men of Chilli." Ultimately, Almagro is credited with the universalization of the name Chile, after naming the Mapocho valley as such.
See main article: History of Chile.
About 10,000 years ago, migrating Native Americans settled in fertile valleys and coastal areas of what is present day Chile. Example settlement sites from the very early human habitation are Cueva del Milodon and the Pali Aike Crater's lava tube.