Chile is a large country; it covers an area of 262,260 square miles.
From North to South, Chile measures 2,650 miles, extending from about 390 miles north of the tropic of Capricorn to less than 900 miles north of the Antarctic Circle.
At the same time, the width never exceeds 240 km, making the country more than 18x’s longer than its widest point.
It is located in South America, under the Tropic of Cancer.
On one side, Chile is surrounded by the South Pacific Ocean, while on the other, it is surrounded by Argentina.
Chile’s territorial shape is among the world’s most unusual
Chile extends 4,270 km, yet only 177 km from east to west
Its shape was determined by the fact that it began as a Spanish settlement on the western side of the mighty cordillera of the Andes, in the central part of the country.
This range, includes the two tallest peaks in the Americas- Aconcagua (6, 959m) and Nevado Ojos del Salado (6,880 m)- is a formidable barrier, which result in Chile’s expansion to North and South .
The Northern 2/3 of Chile lie on top of the telluric Nazca Plate, which, moving east about 10 cm a year, is forcing its way under the continental plate of South America. This resulted in the Peru- Chile Trench.
Until the 1970s, Chile had a record of successful democratic elections that had lasted 140 years.
National government leaders had contributed to Chile’s social & economic success.
Chile’s history reflects periods of both turmoil & severe government repression.
Chile is governed under the constitution of 1981 as amended.
It is a multiparty democracy with a directly elected president who serves a four-year term (six-year prior to the constitutional amendments of 2005). The president may not be elected two consecutive terms.
The bicameral legislature consists of a 38-seat Senate, whose members are elected to serve eight-year terms, and a 120-seat Chamber of Deputies, whose members are elected for four years.
Administratively, Chile is divided into 13 regions.
The official currency used in Chile is called Peso.
It’s symbol is the same as the US dollar bill ($)
US dollar = 536 pesos
The most common natural resources in Chile are: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, and metals..
Chile is a mineral-rich country that boasts a large amount of available minerals. The most common minerals located within the country are copper, iron ore and molybdenum.
Chile also has a thriving timber industry made of southern beeches, manio and broad leaf evergreen trees.
Chile is also where most of the temperate rain forests left in the world are located. These rain forest areas allow for some of the most diverse wildlife which has recently been threatened by the rarely regulated timber industry in Chile.
Chile has always been committed to public education, and it has been a big part of Chile’s success as a nation.
Chilean children must attend school for 8 years
Chile boasts a literacy rate of over 90%, one of the best in South America
Following primary school, most Chilean youth attend secondary or vocational schools.
The University of Chile was established in Santiago in 1842
Other large public universities are found in most of Chile’s major cities, and there are a growing number of private universities as well.
Many Chileans enjoy large festivals and lively outdoor activities; so too do they enjoy quiet games of cards, chess, and dominos at home with the family.
It is common for most grown children to remain at home with their parents until they get married.
Most Chileans’ social lives are closely entwined with their families, and many young Chileans meet their future spouses through friends of their parents or close relatives.
Most marry and begin families in their mid-twenties.
Men are considered the heads of the families, responsible for providing a living income, while women are expected to care for the home and children.
Lake Villarica, close to the dormant volcano of Villarica, is a picturesque picnic spot that is one of the most popular Chile Tourist Attractions.
The town of Villarica stands on the shores of the lake, and those with the wanderlust will love exploring the by lanes and quaint streets of this small Chilean town.
The Easter Island has been one of the major Chile tourist attractions since the 19th century. The great monoliths on the island attract thousands of tourists every year. (picture) >
A sculpture called United in Glory and Death by 19 th century artist Rebecca Matte that stands outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago is recognized as a leading masterpiece
The earliest inhabitants of Chile, who were nomadic hunters and gatherers, have been traced back to about 14,000 B.C.
By the 15 th century, there were three principal Indian groups in Chile, all of whom spoke the same language and were part of a larger tribal group known as Araucanians.
Pedro de Valdivialed an expedition into southern Chile in 1540 and established several Spanish settlements
In 1810 Chile joined other Spanish colonies in breaking political ties with Spain. On September 18 of that year, celebrated thereafter as the Chilean independence day, the Santiago town council deposed the colonial governor of Chile, delegating his powers to a council of seven.
Since then, Chile has been considered an independent nation..
Chileans tend to eat little for breakfast, usually jam on toast with coffee.
Lunch is the most substantial meal- consisting of soups to start, a main course of meat and vegetables, and sweets or fruit for dessert.
Dinner or supper comes late in the evening, often as late as 9 o’clock. It is often simpler than lunch with smaller portions.
Chilean children are often fed a late afternoon snake called el te, consisting of bread, cakes, or light fare, along with tea or coffee .
Coffee or tea is often drunk with sweets in Chile.
Instead of coffee, some some Chileans prefer another hot caffeinated drink, an gerbal tea called yerba mate.
Chilean wines enjoy global renown, and they are especially inexpensive in Chile.
Another type of alcoholic beverage unique to the region is a liquor called pisco, which is made from muscatel wine grapes. It is often drunk in a pisco sour, mixed with lemon juice, ice and sugar, or in a cocktail with cola, ginger ale, or mineral water.
It took approximately 9 hours to get to chile from the Philadelphia airport.
First I had to trade in my American currency in exchange for pesos.
During my visit, I visited the Easter Island which was beautiful, and the Museum of Fine Arts.
I stayed with a Chilean family who loved spending time together at picnics and festivals.
They also let me taste wine, since they grew their own grapes for making wine.
My favorite meal while I was in Chile was the “porotos granados”, a stew made from corn, squash, onions, garlic, and cranberry beans.
Although I was only there for a semester, I felt like a native to the Chilean culture.
Works Cited "Chile - GEOGRAPHY." Country Studies . Web. 12 Apr. 2010. <http://countrystudies.us/chile/36.htm>. "Chile's Government | Chilean Government." Travel Blogs, Photos, Videos and Maps . Web. 13 Apr. 2010. <http://travelblog.org/South- America/Chile/fact-gov-chile.html>. Schaffer, David. Chile . Detroit, Mich.: Lucent, 2005. Print.