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Flag of Chile

CIA World Factbook

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Flag of Chile - CIA World Factbook

Chile

The Republic of Chile

Population: 17,650,000

Area (sq km): 756,102

Capital City: Santiago

National Holiday: 1810-09-18

Chile is a South American country sharing the Southern half of the continent with Argentina. It is bordered on the East by Argentina, the Northeast by Bolivia, the Northwest by Peru, and the West by the Pacific Ocean. Chile is also one of the countries that has a claim to Antarctica, its claim being the Chilean Antarctic Territory.

The capital of Chile is Santiago, located near the middle of the country. Around 90% of Chile's population lives around Santiago in the middle third of the country, with the top and bottom thirds being relatively unpopulated.

Chile's economy mainly revolves around fishing, farming (especially fruits and wine), mining (most notably copper), and manufacturing (wood, paper, cement, and textiles).

Traditionally home to the Inca in the North of the country, and the Mapuche in the South, Chile was conquered by the Spanish starting in the 16th century.

Chile gained its independance from Spain in 1810, and gained its Northen region from Peru and Bolivia by defeating them in the War of the Pacific (1879 - 1883). Chile had a history of democratic elections until 1970 when they elected a Marxist leader, Salvador Allende. This worried the US, as they thought it would lead to the spread of Communism throughout the region, and influenced the over-throwing of Allende by Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet ruled Chile as a dictator, and a pretty horrible one. Due to international pressure, and a visit from the Pope, Pinochet held democratic elections in 1987, an was voted out of power.

Influenced by the American flag, the Chilean flag has only one start and two striped. The star represents a guide to progress and honour. The blue represents the sky, the white the snow of the Andes, and the red represents the blood spilled for Chile's independence.

Chile is thought to have gotten its name from either the Mapuche word "chilli", meaning "limit of the Earth", or the Quechua word "chiri", meaning "cold".

So far only one dinosaur has been discovered in Chile: Chilesaurus diegosuarezi in 2004.

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