Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations. It has been relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that have blighted the continent.
The exception was the 17-year rule of General Augusto Pinochet, whose 1973 coup was one of the bloodiest in 20th-Century Latin America and whose dictatorship left more than 3,000 people dead and missing.
Chile’s unusual, ribbon-like shape – 4,300km long and on average 175km wide – has given it a hugely varied climate.
This ranges 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.
REPUBLIC OF CHILE: FACTS
- Capital: Santiago
- Area: 756,096 sq km
- Population: 18.4 million
- Language: Spanish
- Life expectancy: 78 years (men) 83 years (women)
President: Gabriel Boric
Leftist candidate Gabriel Boric won the presidential election in December 2021, defeating his right-wing rival José Antonio Kast to become the country’s youngest head of state.
The former student protest leader has promised curbs on the market economy, after mass protests against inequality and corruption.
Source : BBC