Population: 18 million
Religion: Roman Catholic
Area size: 757,000 square km’s
With a third of the country covered by the Andes ranges, Chile offers vastly different climate along its ribbon-like land which measures 4506kms long and, on average, 175kms wide. From the Atacama Desert in the north (the driest place on the globe), the valley in its centre where most of its people live in Mediterranean-like temperatures, through to the southernmost city in the world, Punta Arenas, where multiple layers of clothing are a necessity to survive the cold. Chile also claims rule over Horn Island, the Juan Fernandez Islands and Easter Island.
Historically, Chile was under Inca control in the north and Mapuche (or Araucano) rule in the central and southern regions. In 1541, Pedro de Valdivia, a Spaniard, founded Santiago after which independence was gained in 1818 under the rule of Bernardo O’Higgins and Jose de San Martin.
Chile, with its people of mixed Spanish & native ancestry, is one of South America’s most flourishing nations. From the sparse landscape, salt lakes and volcanoes of the Atacama desert, the wonderful and vibrant rainforests of Patagonia, to the sprawling coastal town of Vina del Mar, Chile offers an ideal overall South American adventure.
Smartraveller advice – travelling to Chile, click here