Chile is a tiny country. It consists of a long string of land squeezed between the Pacific ocean and the imposing Andes. This attributes the country to a big variety of climates. It is situated along the southwestern coast of South America. Chile is 4,270 km from North to South, and with an average of 175 km from east to west. It is bordered by Peru, Bolivia, Argentina,and by the Drake Passage. The national territory includes Juan Fernández islands, Easter Island, and the Pacific Islands. This is the southernmost country in the world, in fact it also possesses around 1,250,000 square km of Antarctica. The capital and largest city is Santiago.
Chile is mostly mountainous. It’s climate varies from the coastal desert in the tropical north to the cold subarctic southern tip. It is also a land that suffers from extreme natural events like volcanic eruptions, violent earthquakes, and tsunamis originating from the ocean and periodically attacking the country. Aggressive winter storms and flash floods alternate with harsh summer droughts.
Animals that can be found in Chile’s various landscapes are guanacos, vicunas, alpacas, armadillos, foxes, opossums, deer and pumas. Among the bird species there are penguins, condors, rheas, slender-billed and red masked parakeets, Chilean mockbirds, different species of flamingo and several seabirds. The national bird is the Andean Condor. Blue whales can be found off Chiloe Island between January and March, sometimes seen from Punihuil, near the penguin colony.
Chile was inhabited by natives like the Inca, Mapuche, Araucanian, before the Spanish colonists arrived. It became a Spanish colony for a few hundred years. In 1810, Chile gained autonomy, and in 1818 it became a fully independent country. In 1883 in the War of the Pacific it gained its modern day borders defeating Bolivia and Peru. Since 1989, after the dictator Augusto Pinochet stepped down, the country has had a stable republic government and economy. The economy is based on primary economic activities like, agricultural production, copper, iron, and nitrate mining, and also the exploitation of sea resources. Chile is famous for its rich cultural heritage and for its natural sights. Today’s population is 19,323,289 people.
The most widely spoken language is a variant of Spanish, called Chilean. It’s pronunciation is similar to the Andalusian Spanish. Several other indigenous languages are spoken, like: Mapudungun mainly in south-central Chile, Quechua in northeast high plains, Rapa Nui on Easter Island, Huilliche or Chesugun in Los Lagos and Los Rios regions, Aymaran in Arica and Putre provinces, and Kawésqar an endangered language spoken only by 7 people in Wellington Island. There are also extinct languages like Selk’nam, Kakauhua, Kunza, and Diaguita. Foreign languages spoken in Chile are German by people of German descent, and English being an international language.
As you can see this is a land that offers many special experiences.