|Republic of Chile
República de Chile (Spanish)
|Motto: "Por la razón o la fuerza"</sup> (Spanish)
"By right or might"
|XV||Arica y Parinacota||Región de Arica y Parinacota||Arica|
|I||Tarapacá||Región de Tarapacá||Iquique|
|II||Antofagasta||Región de Antofagasta||Antofagasta|
|III||Atacama||Región de Atacama||Copiapó|
|IV||Coquimbo||Región de Coquimbo||La Serena|
|V||Valparaíso||Región de Valparaíso||Valparaíso|
|RM||Metropolitana de Santiago||Región Metropolitana de Santiago||Santiago|
|VI||Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins||Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins||Rancagua|
|VII||Maule||Región del Maule||Talca|
|VIII||Bío Bío||Región del Biobío||Concepción|
|IX||La Araucanía||Región de la Araucanía||Temuco|
|XIV||Los Ríos||Región de Los Ríos||Valdivia|
|X||Los Lagos||Región de Los Lagos||Puerto Montt|
|XI||Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo||Región Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo||Coihaique|
|XII||Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena||Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena||Punta Arenas|
A long and narrow coastal Southern Cone country on the west side of the Andes Mountains, Chile stretches over 4,630 kilometres (2,880 mi) north to south, but only 430 kilometres (265 mi) at its widest point east to west. This encompasses a remarkable variety of landscapes. It contains 756,950 square kilometres (292,260 sq mi) of land area. It is situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Including its offshore islands, but excluding its Antarctic claim, Chile lies between latitudes 17° and 56°S, and longitudes 66° and 81°W.
The northern Atacama Desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper and nitrates. The relatively small Central Valley, which includes Santiago, dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the historical center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it integrated the northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests, 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. Chile is the longest north-south country in the world, and also claims 1,250,000 km2 (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica as part of its territory. However, this latter claim is suspended under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, of which Chile is a signatory.
Chile controls Easter Island and Sala y Gómez Island, the easternmost islands of Polynesia, which it incorporated to its territory in 1888, and Robinson Crusoe Island, more than 600 kilometres (370 mi) from the mainland, in the Juan Fernández Islands. Also controlled but only temporarily inhabited (by some local fishermen) are the small islands of San Ambrosio and San Felix. These islands are notable because they extend Chile's claim to territorial waters out from its coast into the Pacific Ocean.
The diverse climate of Chile ranges from the world's driest desert in the north—the Atacama—through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, humid subtropical in Easter Island, to an oceanic climate, including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south. According to the Köppen system, Chile within its borders hosts at least seven major climatic subtypes. There are four seasons in most of the country: summer (December to February), autumn (March to May), winter (June to August), and spring (September to November).
Chile's geographical isolation also has restricted the immigration of faunal life, so that only a few of the many distinctive South American animals are found. Among the larger mammals are the puma or cougar, the llama-like guanaco and the fox-like chilla. In the forest region, several types of marsupials and a small deer known as the pudu are found. There are many species of small birds, but most of the larger common Latin American types are absent. Few freshwater fish are native, but North American trout have been successfully introduced into the Andean lakes. Owing to the vicinity of the Humboldt Current, ocean waters abound with fish and other forms of marine life, which in turn support a rich variety of waterfowl, including several penguins. Whales are abundant, and some six species of seals are found in the area.
Just over 3,000 species of fungi are recorded in Chile, but this number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species occurring in Chile is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7 percent of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Although the amount of available information is still very small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to Chile, and 1995 species have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the country.
The northernmost coastal and central region is largely barren of vegetation, approaching the most closely an absolute desert in the world. On the slopes of the Andes, besides the scattered tola desert brush, grasses are found. The central valley is characterized by several species of cacti, the hardy espinos, the Chilean pine, the southern beeches and the copihue, a red bell-shaped flower that is Chile's national flower.
In southern Chile, south of the Biobío River, heavy precipitation has produced dense forests of laurels, magnolias, and various species of conifers and beeches, which become smaller and more stunted to the south.  The cold temperatures and winds of the extreme south preclude heavy forestation. Grassland is found in Atlantic Chile (in Patagonia). Much of the Chilean flora is distinct from that of neighboring Argentina, indicating that the Andean barrier existed during its formation.
Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. However, it has a high economic inequality, as measured by the Gini index. In May 2010 Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD. In 2006, Chile became the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America.
During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio Aylwin, who took over from the military in 1990, deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8 percent from 1991–1997, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies (implemented to keep the current account deficit in check) and because of lower export earnings, the latter which was a product of the Asian financial crisis. Chile's economy has since recovered and has seen growth rates of 5–7 percent over the past several years.
After a decade of impressive growth rates, Chile began to experience a moderate economic downturn in 1999, brought on by unfavorable global economic conditions related to the Asian financial crisis, which began in 1997. The economy remained sluggish until 2003, when it began to show clear signs of recovery, achieving 4.0 percent real GDP growth. The Chilean economy finished 2004 with growth of 6 percent. Real GDP growth reached 5.7 percent in 2005 before falling back to 4 percent in 2006. GDP expanded by 5 percent in 2007.
Unemployment hovered at 8–10 percent after the start of the economic slowdown in 1999, above the 7 percent average for the 1990s. Unemployment finally dipped to 7.8 percent in 2006, and continued to fall in 2007, averaging 6.8 percent monthly (up to August). Wages have risen faster than inflation as a result of higher productivity, boosting national living standards. The percentage of Chileans with per capita household incomes below the poverty line—defined as twice the cost of satisfying a person's minimal nutritional needs—fell from 45.1 percent in 1987 to 11.5 percent in 2009, according to government surveys. Critics in Chile, however, argue that true poverty figures are considerably higher than those officially published. (The government constructs the poverty line based on an outdated 1987 household consumption survey, instead of more recent surveys from 1997 or 2007. According to these critics, using data from the 1997 survey increases the poverty rate to 29 percent.) Using the relative yardstick favoured in many European countries, 27% of Chileans would be poor, according to Juan Carlos Feres of the ECLAC. About 3.8 million people (22% of the population) are (as of November 2011) on government welfare programs, via the "Social Protection Card", which includes the population living in poverty and those at a risk of falling into poverty.
High domestic savings and investment rates helped propel Chile's economy to average growth rates of 8 percent during the 1990s. The privatized national pension system (AFP) has encouraged domestic investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate of approximately 21 percent of GDP.
Total foreign direct investment (FDI) was only $3.4 billion in 2006, up 52 percent from a poor performance in 2005. However, 80 percent of FDI continues to go to only four sectors: electricity, gas, water and mining. Much of the jump in FDI in 2006 was also the result of acquisitions and mergers, but has done little to create new employment in Chile.
Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady economic growth in Chile and have more than halved poverty rates. The 1973–90 military government sold many state-owned companies, and the three democratic governments since 1990 have continued privatization, though at a slower pace. The government's role in the economy is mostly limited to regulation, although the state continues to operate copper giant CODELCO and a few other enterprises (there is one state-run bank). Chile is strongly committed to free trade and has welcomed large amounts of foreign investment. Chile has signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with a whole network of countries, including an FTA with the United States that was signed in 2003 and implemented in January 2004.
Chile's independent Central Bank pursues an inflation target of between 2 and 4 percent. Inflation has not exceeded 5 percent since 1998. Chile registered an inflation rate of 3.2 percent in 2006. The Chilean peso's rapid appreciation against the U.S. dollar in recent years has helped dampen inflation. Most wage settlements and loans are indexed, reducing inflation's volatility. Under the compulsory private pension system, most formal sector employees pay 10 percent of their salaries into privately managed funds.
As of 2006, Chile invested only 0.6 percent of its annual GDP in research and development (R&D). Even then, two-thirds of that was government spending. Beyond its general economic and political stability, the government has also encouraged the use of Chile as an "investment platform" for multinational corporations planning to operate in the region, but this will have limited value given the developing business climate in Chile itself. Chile's approach to foreign direct investment is codified in the country's Foreign Investment Law, which gives foreign investors the same treatment as Chileans. Registration is reported to be simple and transparent, and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official foreign exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital.
Faced with an international economic downturn the government announced a $4 billion economic stimulus plan to spur employment and growth, and despite the global financial crisis, aimed for an expansion of between 2 percent and 3 percent of GDP for 2009. Nonetheless, economic analysts disagreed with government estimates and predicted economic growth at a median of 1.5 percent. According to the CIA World FactBook, the GDP contracted an estimated −1.7 percent in 2009.
The Chilean Government has formed a Council on Innovation and Competition, which is tasked with identifying new sectors and industries to promote. It is hoped that this, combined with some tax reforms to encourage domestic and foreign investment in research and development, will bring in additional FDI to new parts of the economy.
Chile maintains one of the best credit ratings (S&P A+) in Latin America. There are three main ways for Chilean firms to raise funds abroad: bank loans, issuance of bonds, and the selling of stocks on U.S. markets through American Depository Receipts (ADRs). Nearly all of the funds raised through these means go to finance domestic Chilean investment. The government is required by law to run a fiscal surplus of at least 1 percent of GDP. In 2006, the Government of Chile ran a surplus of $11.3 billion, equal to almost 8 percent of GDP. The Government of Chile continues to pay down its foreign debt, with public debt only 3.9 percent of GDP at the end of 2006.
2006 was a record year for Chilean trade. Total trade registered a 31 percent increase over 2005. During 2006, exports of goods and services totaled US $58 billion, an increase of 41 percent. This figure was somewhat distorted by the skyrocketing price of copper. In 2006, copper exports reached a historical high of US $33.3 billion. Imports totaled US $35 billion, an increase of 17 percent compared to the previous year. Chile thus recorded a positive trade balance of US $23 billion in 2006.
The main destinations for Chilean exports were the Americas (US $39 billion), Asia (US $27.8 billion) and Europe (US $22.2 billion). Seen as shares of Chile's export markets, 42 percent of exports went to the Americas, 30 percent to Asia and 24 percent to Europe. Within Chile's diversified network of trade relationships, its most important partner remained the United States. Total trade with the U.S. was US $14.8 billion in 2006. Since the U.S.–Chile Free Trade Agreement went into effect on 1 January 2004, U.S.-Chilean trade has increased by 154 percent. Internal Government of Chile figures show that even when factoring out inflation and the recent high price of copper, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Chile has grown over 60 percent since then.
Total trade with Europe also grew in 2006, expanding by 42 percent. The Netherlands and Italy were Chile's main European trading partners. Total trade with Asia also grew significantly at nearly 31 percent. Trade with Korea and Japan grew significantly, but China remained Chile's most important trading partner in Asia. Chile's total trade with China reached US$8.8 billion in 2006, representing nearly 66 percent of the value of its trade relationship with Asia.
The growth of exports in 2006 was mainly caused by a strong increase in sales to the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. These three markets alone accounted for an additional US $5.5 billion worth of Chilean exports. Chilean exports to the United States totaled US $9.3 billion, representing a 37.7 percent increase compared to 2005 (US $6.7 billion). Exports to the European Union were US $15.4 billion, a 63.7 percent increased compared to 2005 (US $9.4 billion). Exports to Asia increased from US $15.2 billion in 2005 to US $19.7 billion in 2006, a 29.9 percent increase.
During 2006, Chile imported US $26 billion from the Americas, representing 54 percent of total imports, followed by Asia at 22 percent, and Europe at 16 percent. Mercosur members were the main suppliers of imports to Chile at US $9.1 billion, followed by the United States with US $5.5 billion and the European Union with US $5.2 billion. From Asia, China was the most important exporter to Chile, with goods valued at US $3.6 billion. Year-on-year growth in imports was especially strong from a number of countries-Ecuador (123.9%), Thailand (72.1%), Korea (52.6%), and China (36.9%).
Chile's overall trade profile has traditionally been dependent upon copper exports. The state-owned firm CODELCO is the world's largest copper-producing company, with recorded copper reserves of 200 years. Chile has made an effort to expand nontraditional exports. The most important non-mineral exports are forestry and wood products, fresh fruit and processed food, fishmeal and seafood, and wine.
Over the last several years, Chile has signed free trade agreements (FTA's) with the European Union, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, China, and Japan. It reached a partial trade agreement with India in 2005 and began negotiations for a full-fledged FTA with India in 2006. Chile conducted trade negotiations in 2007 with Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as with China to expand an existing agreement beyond just trade in goods. Chile concluded FTA negotiations with Australia and an expanded agreement with China in 2008. The members of the P4 (Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, and Brunei) also plan to conclude a chapter on finance and investment in 2008.
Successive Chilean governments have actively pursued trade-liberalizing agreements. During the 1990s, Chile signed free trade agreements FTA with Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Chile also concluded preferential trade agreements with Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. An association agreement with Mercosur-Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay-went into effect in October 1996. Continuing its export-oriented development strategy, Chile completed landmark free trade agreements in 2002 with the European Union and South Korea. Chile, as a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, is seeking to boost commercial ties to Asian markets. To that end, it has signed trade agreements in recent years with New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, India, China, and most recently Japan. In 2007, Chile held trade negotiations with Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and China. In 2008, Chile hopes to conclude an FTA with Australia, and finalize an expanded agreement (covering trade in services and investment) with China. The P4 (Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, and Brunei) also plan to expand ties through adding a finance and investment chapter to the existing P4 agreement. Chile's trade talks with Malaysia and Thailand are also scheduled to continue in 2008.
After two years of negotiations, the United States and Chile signed an agreement in June 2003 that will lead to completely duty-free bilateral trade within 12 years. The U.S.-Chile FTA entered into force 1 January 2004, following approval by the U.S. and Chilean congresses. The bilateral FTA has inaugurated greatly expanded U.S.-Chilean trade ties, with total bilateral trade jumping by 154 percent during the FTA's first three years.
Chile unilaterally lowered its across-the-board import tariff for all countries with which it does not have a trade agreement to 6 percent in 2003. Higher effective tariffs are charged only on imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar as a result of a system of import price bands. The price bands were ruled inconsistent with Chile's World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations in 2002, and the government has introduced legislation to modify them. Under the terms of the U.S.-Chile FTA, the price bands will be completely phased out for U.S. imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar within 12 years.
Chile is a strong proponent of pressing ahead on negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and is active in the WTO's Doha round of negotiations, principally through its membership in the G-20 and Cairns Group.
Chile's financial sector has grown quickly in recent years, with a banking reform law approved in 1997 that broadened the scope of permissible foreign activity for Chilean banks. The Chilean Government implemented a further liberalization of capital markets in 2001, and there is further pending legislation proposing further liberalization. Over the last ten years, Chileans have enjoyed the introduction of new financial tools such as home equity loans, currency futures and options, factoring, leasing, and debit cards. The introduction of these new products has also been accompanied by an increased use of traditional instruments such as loans and credit cards. Chile's private pension system, with assets worth roughly $70 billion at the end of 2006, has been an important source of investment capital for the capital market. However, by 2009, it has been reported that $21 billion had been lost from the pension system to the global financial crisis.
Tourism in Chile has experienced sustained growth over the last few decades. In 2005, tourism grew by 13.6 percent, generating more than 4.5 billion dollars of which 1.5 billion is attributed to foreign tourists. According to the National Service of Tourism (Sernatur), 2 million people a year visit the country. Most of these visitors come from other countries in the American continent, mainly Argentina; followed by a growing number from the United States, Europe, and Brazil with a growing number of Asians from South Korea and PR China.
The main attractions for tourists are places of natural beauty situated in the extreme zones of the country: San Pedro de Atacama, in the north, is very popular with foreign tourists who arrive to admire the Incaic architecture, the altiplano lakes, and the Valley of the Moon. In Putre, also in the north, there is the Chungará Lake, as well as the Parinacota and the Pomerape volcanoes, with altitudes of 6,348 m and 6,282 m, respectively. Throughout the central Andes there are many ski resorts of international repute, including Portillo, Valle Nevado and Termas de Chillán. The main tourist sites in the south is a national parks, the most popular is Conguillío National Park in the Araucanía and the coastal area around Tirúa and Cañete with the Isla Mocha and the Nahuelbuta National Park, Chiloé Archipelago and Patagonia, which includes Laguna San Rafael National Park, with its many glaciers, and the Torres del Paine National Park. The central port city of Valparaíso, which is World Heritage with its unique architecture, is also popular. Finally, Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean is one of the main Chilean tourist destinations.
For locals, tourism is concentrated mostly in the summer (December to March), and mainly in the coastal beach towns. Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, La Serena and Coquimbo are the main summer centres in the north, and Pucón on the shores of Lake Villarrica is the main centre in the south. Because of its proximity to Santiago, the coast of the Valparaíso Region, with its many beach resorts, receives the largest number of tourists. Viña del Mar, Valparaíso's northern affluent neighbor, is popular because of its beaches, casino, and its annual song festival, the most important musical event in Latin America. Pichilemu in the O'Higgins Region is widely known as South America's "best surfing spot," according to Fodor's.
In November 2005, the government launched a campaign under the brand "Chile: All Ways Surprising," intended to promote the country internationally for both business and tourism.
Chile's 2002 census reported a population of 15.1 million people. Its rate of population growth has been decreasing since 1990, due of a declining birth rate. By 2050 the population is expected to reach approximately 20.2 million people. About 85 percent of the country's population lives in urban areas, with 40 percent living in Greater Santiago. The largest agglomerations according to the 2002 census are Greater Santiago with 5.6 million people, Greater Concepción with 861,000 and Greater Valparaíso with 824,000.
Chile is a multiethnic society, and a majority of the population can claim some European ancestry, mainly Spanish (Castilian, Andalusian, and Basque), but also German, Italian, Irish, French, British, Swiss, and Croatian, in various combinations. A small yet influential number of Irish and English immigrants came to Chile during the colonial period. German immigration began in the mid-1800s and continued into the 20th century; the southern provinces of Valdivia, Llanquihue, and Osorno show a strong German influence. In addition, there are a significant number of Middle Eastern, mainly Palestinian, immigrants and their descendants. About 800,000 Native Americans, mostly Mapuche, reside in the south-central area. The Aymara, Atacameno, and Diaguita groups can be found mainly in Chile's northern desert valleys and oases. Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is home to the Rapa Nui, an indigenous population.
An important number of non-Spanish immigrants have arrived in Chile from various countries and regions, including Italy, Ireland, France, Greece, Germany, England, the Netherlands, Scotland, Croatia, and the Middle East. The largest contingent of people to arrive in Chile came from Spain, mainly the Basque country, beginning in the 16th century. Estimates of the number of people in Chile who can trace descent from Basques range from 10 percent (1,600,000) to as high as 27 percent (4,500,000).  Louis Thayer Ojeda estimates that during the 17th and 18th centuries fully 45 percent of all immigrants in Chile were Basques.
In 1848 an important and substantial German immigration took place, laying the foundation for the German-Chilean community. Sponsored by the Chilean government for the colonization of the southern region, the Germans (including German-speaking Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and Austrians), strongly influenced the ethnic composition of the southern provinces of Chile. German immigrants have made a cultural impact in many areas of southern Chile, which is a sparsely populated region. The Consulate of Chile in Germany estimates that 500,000 to 600,000 Chileans, or between 3 to 3.5 percent of the population today, are descended from German immigrants Most of them were located in the Los Ríos Region.
It is estimated that nearly five percent of the Chilean population, or about 800,000 people, are of Middle Eastern origin (these include, most notably, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Middle Eastern Armenians). Note that Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of the nation of Israel, may be included. Chile is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant. Roughly 500,000 of Chile's population is of full or partial Palestinian origin.
Other historically significant immigrant groups in Chile include Croatians, whose descendants today have been estimated to number some 380,000 people (or about 2.4% of the population). Other authorities estimate that close to 4.6 percent of the Chilean population may have some Croatian ancestry. Over 700,000 Chileans, or about 4.5 percent of the national population, may have some English, Scottish, or Welsh ancestry.
Chileans of Greek descent are estimated to number between 90,000 and 120,000 people, placing Chile among the five countries in the world with the most Greek descendants. Most live in or near either Santiago or Antofagasta. Swiss descendants add another 90,000 people to the population. Perhaps five percent of the Chilean population has some French ancestry. Between 600,000 and 800,000 Chileans are descended from Italian immigrants. Other groups of Europeans have followed but are found in smaller numbers, as the descendants of Austrians and Dutchmen it is currently estimated at about 50,000 people. Altogether, these immigrants with their descendants, they have transformed the country culturally, economically and politically.
European emigration to Chile (and to a lesser extent, the arrivals from the Middle East), during the second half of the 19th century and throughout the twentieth, was mostly to Latin America and then to areas like the Atlantic Coast of the Southern Cone.
Descendants of different European ethnic groups often intermarried in Chile, diluting the cultures and separate identities of the home countries and fusing them together with the descendants of the original Basque-Castilian aristocracy of the colonial period, while at the same time preserving some separate aspects. This intermarriage and mixture of cultures and races has help shape the present society and culture of the Chilean middle and upper classes, who now enjoy varied elements of their original European cultures, such as British afternoon tea, German cakes, and Italian pasta. The fusion is also visible in the architecture of Chilean cities. These classes do, however, frequently deprecate Chilean folk culture, an offshoot of the culture of the Spaniards who settled the country in the colonial period.
Chile has recently become a new magnet for immigrants, mostly from neighboring Argentina, Bolivia and mainly Peru. According to the 2002 national census, Chile's foreign-born population has increased by 75% since 1992. According to an estimate by the Migration and Foreign Residency Department, 317,057 foreigners were living in Chile as of December 2008.
The 1907 census reported 101,118 Indians, or 3.1 percent of the total country population. Only those that practiced their native culture or spoke their native language were considered, irrespective of their "racial purity."
According to the 2002 census, only indigenous people that still practiced a native culture or spoke a native language were surveyed, and 4.6 percent of the population (692,192 people) fit that description. Of that, 87.3 percent declared themselves Mapuche. Most of the indigenous population show varying degrees of mixed ancestry.
Chile is one of 22 countries to have signed and ratified the only binding international law concerning indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989. It was adopted in 1989 as the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169. Chile ratified it in 2008. A Chilean court decision in November 2009, considered to be a landmark ruling in indigenous rights concerns, made use of the convention. The Supreme Court decision on Aymara water rights upheld rulings by both the Pozo Almonte tribunal and the Iquique Court of Appeals, and marks the first judicial application of ILO Convention 169 in Chile.
|Religious background in Chile|
In the most recent census (2002), 70 percent of the population over age 14 identified as Roman Catholic and 15.1 percent as evangelical. In the census, the term "evangelical" referred to all non-Catholic Christian churches with the exception of the Orthodox Church (Greek, Persian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Armenian), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Approximately 90 percent of evangelicals are Pentecostal. Wesleyan, Lutheran, Reformed Evangelical, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian, Baptist and Methodist churches are also present. Irreligious people, atheists, and agnostics account for around 8 percent of the population.
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors.
Church and state are officially separate in Chile. The 1999 law on religion prohibits religious discrimination. However, the Catholic Church enjoys a privileged status and occasionally receives preferential treatment. Government officials attend Catholic events as well as major Protestant and Jewish ceremonies.
The Government-observed religious holidays include Christmas, Good Friday, the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Feast of the Assumption, All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as national holidays. The government has recently declared 31 October, Reformation Day, a public national holiday, in honor of the Protestant churches of the country.
The patron saints of Chile are Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint James the Greater (Santiago). In 2005, St. Alberto Hurtado was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI and became the country's second saint after St. Teresa de los Andes.
The Spanish spoken in Chile is distinctively accented and quite unlike that of neighbouring South American countries because final syllables and "s" sounds are dropped, and some consonants have a soft pronunciation. Accent varies only very slightly from north to south; more noticeable are the small differences in accent based on social class or whether one lives in the city or the country. That the Chilean population was largely formed in a small section at the center of the country and then migrated in modest numbers to the north and south helps explain this relative lack of differentiation, which was maintained by the national reach of radio, and now television, which also helps to diffuse and homogenize colloquial expressions.
There are several indigenous languages spoken in Chile: Mapudungun, Quechua, Aymara and Rapa Nui. After the Spanish invasion, Spanish took over as the lingua franca and the indigenous languages have become minority languages, with some now extinct or close to extinction.
German is still spoken to some extent in southern Chile, either in small country side pockets or as a second language among the communities of larger cities.
Through initiatives such as the English Opens Doors program, the government made English mandatory for students in fifth-grade and above in public schools. Most private schools in Chile start teaching English from kindergarten. Common English words have been absorbed and appropriated into everyday Spanish speech.
In 2010, all students from 3rd grade in "Enseñanza Media" (secondary school) will be tested on listening and reading comprehension. The evaluation is compulsory and the instrument is TOIEC Bridge, developed by Educational Testing Service.
During the period between early agricultural settlements and to the late pre-Hispanic period, northern Chile was a region of Andean culture that was influenced by altiplano traditions spreading to the coastal valleys of the north. While southern regions were areas of Mapuche cultural activities. Through the colonial period following the conquest, and during the early Republican period, the country's culture was dominated by the Spanish. Other European influences, primarily English, French, and German began in the 19th century and have continued to this day. German migrants influenced the Bavarian style rural architecture and cuisine in the south of Chile in cities such as Valdivia, Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Osorno, Temuco, Puerto Octay, Llanquihue, Faja Maisan, Pitrufquén, Victoria, Pucón and Puerto Montt.
Music and danceEdit
Music in Chile ranges from folkloric music, popular music and also to classical music. Its large geography generates different musical expressions in the north, center and south of the country, including also Easter Island and Mapuche music. The national dance is the cueca. Another form of traditional Chilean song, though not a dance, is the tonada. Arising from music imported by the Spanish colonists, it is distinguished from the cueca by an intermediate melodic section and a more prominent melody.
Between 1950 and 1970 appears a rebirth in folk music leading by groups such as Los de Ramon, Los Cuatro Huasos and Los Huasos Quincheros, among others with composers such as Raul de Ramon, Violeta Parra and others. In the mid-1960s native musical forms were revitalized by the Parra family with the Nueva Canción Chilena, which was associated with political activists and reformers such as Victor Jara and Inti-Illimani. Other important folk singer and researcher on folklore and Chilean ethnography, is Margot Loyola. Also many Chilean Rock bands like Los Jaivas, Los Prisioneros, La Ley, and Los Tres have reached international success.
Chileans call their country país de poetas-country of poets. Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature (1945). Chile's most famous poet, however, is Pablo Neruda, who also received the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971) and is world-renowned for his extensive library of works on romance, nature, and politics. His three highly personalized homes, located in Isla Negra, Santiago and Valparaíso are popular tourist destinations.
Among the list of other Chilean poets are Carlos Pezoa Véliz, Vicente Huidobro, Gonzalo Rojas, and Nicanor Parra. Isabel Allende is the best-selling Chilean novelist, with 51 millions of her novels sold worldwide. Novelist José Donoso's novel The Obscene Bird of the Night is considered by critic Harold Bloom to be one of the canonical works of 20th century Western literature. Another internationally recognized Chilean novelist is Roberto Bolaño whose translations into English have had an excellent reception from the critics.
CuisineEditChilean cuisine is a reflection of the country's topographical variety, featuring an assortment of seafood, beef, fruits, and vegetables. Traditional recipes include asado, cazuela, empanadas, humitas, pastel de choclo, pastel de papas, curanto and sopaipillas. Crudos is an example of the mixture of culinary contributions from the various ethnic influences in Chile. The raw minced llama, heavy use of shellfish and rice bread were taken from native Quechua Andean cuisine, (although now beef brought to Chile by Europeans is also used in place of the llama meat), lemon and onions were brought by the Spanish colonists, and the use of mayonnaise and yogurt was introduced by German immigrants, as was beer.
Chile's most popular sport is association football. Chile has appeared in eight FIFA World Cups which includes hosting the 1962 FIFA World Cup where the national football team finished third. Other results achieved by the national football team include four finals at the Copa América, one silver and two bronze medals at the Pan American Games, a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics and two third places finishes in the FIFA under-17 and under-20 youth tournaments. The top league in the Chilean football league system is the Chilean Primera División, which is named by the IFFHS as the ninth strongest national football league in the world. The main football clubs are Colo-Colo, Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica. Colo-Colo is the country's most successful football club, having both the most national and international championships, including the coveted Copa Libertadores South American club tournament. Universidad de Chile was the last international champion (Copa Sudamericana 2011).
Tennis is Chile's most successful sport. Its national team won the World Team Cup clay tournament twice (2003 & 2004), and played the Davis Cup final against Italy in 1976. At the 2004 Summer Olympics the country captured gold and bronze in men's singles and gold in men's doubles. Marcelo Ríos became the first Latin American man to reach the number one spot in the ATP singles rankings in 1998. Anita Lizana won the US Open in 1937, becoming the first woman from Latin America to win a grand slam tournament. Luis Ayala was twice a runner-up at the French Open and both Ríos and Fernando González reached the Australian Open men's singles finals. González also won a silver medal in singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
At the Summer Olympic Games Chile boasts a total of two gold medals (tennis), seven silver medals (athletics, equestrian, boxing, shooting and tennis) and four bronze medals (tennis, boxing and football). In 2012 Chile won its first Paralympic Games medal (gold in Athletics).
Rodeo is the country's national sport and is practiced in the more rural areas of the country. A sport similar to hockey called chueca was played by the Mapuche people during the Spanish conquest. Skiing and snowboarding are practiced at ski centers located in the Central Andes, and in southern ski centers near to cities as Osorno, Puerto Varas, Temuco and Punta Arenas. surfing is popular at some coastal towns. Polo is professionally practiced within Chile and in 2008 Chile achieved top prize in the World Polo Championship a tournament where the country has earned both second and third places medals in previous editions. Basketball is a popular sport in which Chile has earned a bronze medal in the first men's FIBA World Championship held in 1950 and winning a second bronze medal when Chile hosted the 1959 FIBA World Championship. Chile hosted the first FIBA World Championship for Women in 1953 finishing the tournament with the silver medal. Other sports such as marathons and ultramarathons are also increasing in popularity. San Pedro de Atacama is host to the annual "Atacama Crossing," a six-stage, 250-kilometer footrace which annually attracts about 150 competitors from 35 countries. The Dakar Rally off-road automobilie race has been held in both Chile and Argentina since 2009.
The coat of arms depicts the two national animals: the condor (Vultur gryphus, a very large bird that lives in the mountains) and the huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus, an endangered white tail deer). It also has the legend Por la razón o la fuerza (By reason or by force).
The flag of Chile consists of two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; there is a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red stands for the blood spilled to achieve independence. The flag of Chile is similar to the Flag of Texas, although the Chilean flag is 21 years older. However, like the Texan flag, the flag of Chile is modeled after the Flag of the United States.
The Ministry of Health (Minsal) is the cabinet-level administrative office in charge of planning, directing, coordinating, executing, controlling and informing the public health policies formulated by the President of Chile.
The National Health Fund (Fonasa), created in 1979, is the financial entity entrusted to collect, manage and distribute state funds for health in Chile. It is funded by the public. All employees pay 7 percent of their monthly income to the fund.
More than 12 million beneficiaries benefit from Fonasa. Beneficiaries can also opt for more costly private insurance through Isapre.
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- ^ a b (Spanish) Arabes de Chile
- ^ (Spanish) En Chile viven unas 700.000 personas de origen árabe y de ellas 500.000 son descendientes de emigrantes palestinos que llegaron a comienzos del siglo pasado y que constituyen la comunidad de ese origen más grande fuera del mundo árabe.
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- ^ (Spanish) 500,000 descendientes de primera y segunda generación de palestinos en Chile.
- ^ (Spanish) Santiago de Chile es un modelo de convivencia palestino-judía.
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- ^ (Spanish) Chile tiene la comunidad palestina más grande fuera del mundo árabe, unos 500.000 descendientes.
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- ^ (Spanish) Griegos de Chile
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- ^ (Spanish) 5% de los chilenos tiene origen frances.
- ^ Hoofdstuk XVI Historisch tussenspel (Dutch)
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- Simon Collier and William F. Sater, A History of Chile, 1808–1894, Cambridge University Press, 1996
- Paul W. Drake, and others., Chile: A Country Study, Library of Congress, 1994
- Luis Galdames, A History of Chile, University of North Carolina Press, 1941
- Brian Lovemen, Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2001
- John L. Rector, The History of Chile, Greenwood Press, 2003
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