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Prior to the coming of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while Araucanian Indians (also known as Mapuches) 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. A three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president was installed in 1990. Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 16,284,741 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Chilean(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Chilean

Official Language(s): Spanish

Major Languages Spoken: Spanish

Map of Chile

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of Chile

Country Name (short form): Chile

Country Name (local long form): Republica de Chile

Country Name (local short form): Chile

Name of Capital: Santiago

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Chile: Peru, Argentina, Bolivia

Land Area: 748800 sq km

Water Area: 8150 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana

Total Land Boundry: 6,339 km

Coastline: 6,435 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

International Phone Code: 56

Currency Code: Chilean peso (CLP)

Internet Country Code: .cl

US Embassy Location: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago

US Embassy Mailing Address: APO AA 34033


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