Chile - Chile

the Republic of Chile

Flag of Chile.svg
Coat of arms of Chile (c).svg

Motto : " By reason or by force "
Anthem : National anthem of Chile

CHL orthographic (+all claims).svg

(and most populous city)
Santiago de Chile
Escudo de Santiago (Chile).svg

33°27′00″S 70°40′00″O / -33.45, -70.666666666667Coordenadas: 33°27′00″S 70°40′00″O / -33.45, -70.666666666667 Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Official language Spanish ( de facto ) [ 1 ] [ n 1 ]
• Spoken Languages ​​of Chile
Demonym Chilean, -na [ 2 ]
Form of government Presidential Democratic Republic
President Sebastian Piñera Echenique
Legislative body National Congress of Chile Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
First Board



of the Spanish Empire
September 18, 1810 (210 years)
February 12, 1818 (203 years)
April 24, 1844 [ 3 ] (177 years)
Surface 38th position
• Total 756 102.4 km² [ 4 ] [ n 2 ]
• Water (%) 1,07 %
Borders 7801 km [ 5 ] [ n 3 ]
Coast line 6435 km[6]
Highest point Nevado Ojos del Salado Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Total population 62nd position
• Estimate (2020) 19,458,310 hab. [ 7 ]
• Census (2017) 17 574 003 hab. [ 8 ]
Density (est.) 25,74 hab./km²
Start ( PPA ) 42nd position
• Total (2020) Crecimiento USD 528 300 million [ 9 ]
Per capita Crecimiento USD 27 150[9]
START (nominal) 41st position
• Total (2020) CrecimientoUSD 308 505 million [ 9 ]
• Per capita Crecimiento USD 15 855[9]
IDH (2020) Crecimiento0851 [ 10 ] ( 43rd ) - Very high [ 10 ]
Gini coefficient Green Arrow Down.svg 45,9 alto (2018)[11]
Currency weight [ 12 ] ($, [ 12 ]CLP ) [ 13 ]
Time zone UTC-06:00, UTC-04:00 y UTC-03:00
• In summer UTC-05:00 y UTC-03:00
ISO code 152 / CHL / CL[14]
Internet domain .cl Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Telephone prefix +56[16]
Radio prefix 3GA-3GZ, CAA-CEZ, XQA-XRZ[17]
Country acronym for aircraft CC[18]
Country acronym for automobiles RCH[19]
IOC Code CHI Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata

Chile , officially the Republic of Chile , [ 21 ] is a country located in South America . Its capital is the city of Santiago .

It is made up of three geographical zones. [ 4 ] The first of them, continental Chile , comprises a strip on the western coast of the Southern Cone that extends between parallels 17 ° 29'57 "S and 56 ° 32'12" S , mostly from the southeastern shore of the Pacific Ocean to the highest watershed peaks of the Andes mountain range . Reaches over 4270 km, [ 22 ] a maximum width of 445 km at 52 ° 21 'S and a minimum of 90 km at 31 ° 37' S. [ 4 ] borders with Peruto the north, Bolivia to the northeast and Argentina to the east, totaling 7801 km of land borders, [ 5 ] [ n 3 ] and the Drake Passage to the south. The second, Chile insular , corresponds to a set of islands of origin volcanic in the South Pacific Ocean: the archipelago Juan Fernandez and Desventuradas islands belonging to South America and the island Salas y Gómez and Easter Island , located in Oceania . The third, the Chilean Antarctic Territory ,[ 23 ] is an area ofAntarctica [ 24 ] of 1 250 257.6 km² between meridians 53 ° W and 90 ° W over which the closest nation claims sovereignty, extending to theSouth Pole, but is subject to to what is stipulated in theAntarctic Treaty, of which it is a signatory. [ 25 ] [ 26 ] Due to the above, is defined as a countryTricontinental. [ 4 ] [ 27 ] [ 28 ]

It has a coastline of 6435 km in length [ 6 ] and exercises exclusive rights, claims of varying degrees, and sovereignty over its maritime space, called the Chilean Sea . [ 29 ] This comprises four zones: [ 30 ] the territorial sea (120 827 km²), [ 31 ] the contiguous zone (131 669 km²), [ 31 ] the exclusive economic zone (3 681 989 km²) [ 32 ] and the corresponding continental shelf (161,338 km²). [32]

It is considered a high- income country by the World Bank and a developing country by the Central Intelligence Agency . [ 33 ] [ 34 ] [ 35 ] Its more than 18 million people [ 8 ] average rates of literacy , [ 10 ] quality of life , [ 36 ] [ 37 ] economic growth , [ 38] Human development, [ 10 ] life expectancy, [ 10 ] globalization [ 39 ] andper capita GDP [ 40 ] which are among the highest inLatin America.


Before the discovery of America, the lands located south of the Atacama desert were already called Chili in the indigenous tradition. [ 41 ] Once installed in Nueva Castilla and Nueva Toledo , the Spanish conquerors continued to call the southern region that way, sometimes also known as the " valley of Chile ", a name that later spread throughout the current country. [ 42 ]

Although the origin of the toponym of "Chile" is unknown , there are several theories. [ 43 ] [ 44 ] [ 45 ] The nickname had arisen in the word quechua chire , 'cold'; [ 46 ] [ 47 ] in Chille , former hidrónimo in the valley of the Aconcagua ; [ 48 ] [ 49 ] in the eponym Tili - the chief Picunche that ruled that same valley at the arrival of the Incas , before the arrival of the Spaniards—; [ 50 ] in the Quechua term chili , 'the flower and cream of the earth'; [ 51 ] in chili , Mapuche onomatopoeia of the song of the trile , [ 52 ] a word used to call this bird with yellow spots on its wings; [ 53 ] [ 54 ] in the voice aimara chilli , 'where the land ends'; [ 55 ] [ 56 ] or it should have a group of Indiansmitimaes, transplanted to the "valley of Chile" by the Incas, who come from a region where therebe ariver baptized with that name. [ 44 ]

Under the government of the supreme director Ramón Freire , a decree established the name "Chile" to officially designate the country on July 30 , 1824 . [ 57 ]


Prehispanic chile

The oldest archaeological remains in Chile have been located in Monte Verde [ 58 ] ( Los Lagos region ), circa 12800 BC. C. , [ 59 ] at the end of the Upper Paleolithic , making it the first known human settlement in America . [ 60 ] In this period the Chinchorro culture stood out , developed in the north of the country between 5000 and 1700 BC. C., [ 61 ] the first in the world to artificially mummify its dead. [62]

The population of pre-Hispanic Chile increased from a few thousand Paleo - Indians in the 7th millennium BC. To 1,200,000 indigenous people in the 16th century. [ 63 ] At that time, the current country was inhabited by various aboriginal cultures located in longitudinal strips, which even crossed the Andes mountain range and reached the Atlantic Ocean.

In the north of the country, the Aymara , Atacameños and Diaguitas established agricultural cultures strongly influenced by the Inca Empire as of the 11th century ; from the end of the 15th century, this empire dominated the northern half of present-day Chile up to the Maule River [ 64 ] and established two wamanis or provinces: " Elki " and " Chili ." [ 65 ] On the coasts of the north and central areas, the Chango people lived . South of the Aconcagua River , the different groups settledMapuches , farmers and ranchers, who are the main indigenous group in the country. In the Patagonian channels, the Chonos , Kawésqar and Yaganes canoe nomads lived ; and in the Patagonian steppe, the terrestrial nomads Aónikenk and Selknam . [ 66 ] [ 67 ] On Easter Island, the Polynesian culture developed rapanui almost became extinct in the middle of the nineteenth century. [ 68 ] [ 69 ]

Spanish domain

Pedro de Valdivia.

In November 1520, Fernando de Magallanes was the first European explorer to recognize the current Chilean territory by crossing the strait that bears his surname . [ 70 ]

In 1535 the Spanish conquerors tried to take over the lands of the "valley of Chile" after conquering the Inca Empire. The first expedition , led by Diego de Almagro , failed. [ 71 ] Pedro de Valdivia tried again to conquer the lands to the south of the continent , crossing the Atacama Desert in 1540. Valdivia founded several settlements [ 72 ] -the first and foremost, on February 12, 1541, Santiago de Nueva Extremadura -. [ 73 ] Later, Valdivia began a military campaign towards the southernmost territories, where he died after an ambush laid by thetoqui Lautaro , [ 72 ] initiating the Arauco War by confronting the Mapuche tribes. This warlike confrontation, whose first phase Alonso de Ercilla recounted in La Araucana (1569), lasted over three centuries, although with different periods of peace thanks to the holding of " parliaments " —such as that of Quilín , [ 74 ] That established a boundary between the colonial government and the indigenous tribes along the Biobío River in 1641, giving its name to the area known as La Frontera -. [ 75 ]

The Captaincy General of Chile , initially called " New Extremadura " [ 73 ] [ 76 ] and then " Kingdom of Chile " [ 49 ] [ 52 ] [ 54 ] [ 77 ] was one of the possessions more australes of the Spanish Empire. Due to its position away from the great imperial commercial centers and routes and the conflict with the Mapuches, Chile was a captaincy dependent on the Viceroyalty of Peru, whose economy was destined to supply said viceroyalty with raw materials - leather , tallow and wheat [ 74 ] [ 78 ] - and the Spaniards of the Chilean territory.

Republic formation

The so-called "founders" of the Republic (from left to right): José Miguel Carrera , Bernardo O'Higgins , José de San Martín and Diego Portales ; 1854 oil painting by Otto Grashof .

Within the framework of the joint Spanish-American operation , the process of emancipation of Chile began with the establishment of the First National Board of Government on September 18, 1810, after the arrest of King Ferdinand VII in Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte of the First French Empire . Thus began the period of the Old Homeland , highlighting the leader José Miguel Carrera and lasted until the Battle of Rancagua in 1814 when the troops of the Royal Army of Chile reconquered the territory , which were harassed by theZapa's War directed by Manuel Rodríguez . The Chilean independence troops who took refuge in the city of Mendoza formed together with the River Plate - now Argentina - the Army of the Andes , commanded by José de San Martín, which liberated Chile after the battle of Chacabuco on February 12, 1817, beginning the stage of the New Homeland . The Independence of Chile was declared an exact year later, under the government of Supreme Director Bernardo O'Higgins and ratified after the Battle of Maipú on April 5, 1818 by the United Liberation Army of Chile.. In the region, he sent the Chilean Auxiliary Expedition to Argentina and joined the Liberation Expedition of Peru .

O'Higgins began a period of reforms that caused the discontent of a large part of the oligarchy , which caused his abdication in 1823. [ 79 ] That same year, through the Constitution , [ 80 ] slavery was abolished in Chile. [ 81 ] Over the next seven years, a series of processes sought to organize the new country . After several constitutional trials and the conservative triumph in the Revolution of 1829 , a period of stability began with the so-calledConservative Republic , whose maximum reference was Minister Diego Portales , who laid the foundations for the organization of the country with the Constitution of 1833 . [ 82 ]

Chile began to expand its territory and establish its borders. Through the conquest of Chiloé and the Treaty of Tantauco , the Chiloé archipelago was incorporated in 1826. [ 83 ] The economy boomed due to the discovery of silver ore from Chañarcillo and the growing trade of the port of Valparaíso, [ 84 ] Which led to a conflict for maritime supremacy in the South Pacific with Peru. The formation of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation was considered a threat to the stability of the country and Portales declared war, which ended with the victory of the United Restorative Army in 1839 and the dissolution of the Confederacy. At the same time, an attempt was made to consolidate sovereignty in southern Chile, intensifying the penetration of La Araucanía and the colonization of Llanquihue with German immigrants . [ 85 ] Through the foundation of Fort Bulnes , the Magallanes region was incorporated in 1843 , [ 85 ] while the areas of Antofagasta, then Bolivian territory , and Aysén began to be populated. Between 1865 and 1866, Chile was at war against Spain. In 1871 an armistice was achieved and in 1883 the Treaty of Peace and Friendship was signed between both nations.

After thirty years of conservative government and after the so-called " sacristan question ", a period of domination by the Liberal party began in 1861 , characterized by the economic wealth obtained from the mining of nitrate in the Antofagasta area, which caused border differences with Bolivia, a country that claimed that territory as its own. Although they had signed boundary treaties in 1866 and 1874 , they failed to resolve their disputes. On February 14, 1879, the Chilean occupation of Antofagasta was carried out , initiating military actions against Bolivia. In 1873, the Peru-Bolivia Defensive Alliance treaty had been signed., [ 86 ] so Chile declared war on both of them on April 5, 1879, formally initiating the War of the Pacific , the largest in the country's history, [ 87 ] which ended in 1884 with the victory of Chile, the signing of the Ancón treaty with Peru and the Truce pact with Bolivia. [ 88 ] After the conflict, Chile obtained dominion over the Bolivian department of Litoral and the Peruvian provinces of Tarapacá , Arica and Tacna, the latter until 1929, and resolved most of its border issues with Argentina in Patagonia in 1881 and the Puna de Atacama in 1898 . [ 89 ] Between 1861 and 1883 he carried out the Occupation of Araucanía [ 90 ] and in 1888 the island of Rapa Nui was annexed. [ 91 ]

Twentieth century

Workers in a nitrate office . The exploitation of nitrate was the main economic source of Chile at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1891 the conflict between President José Manuel Balmaceda and the National Congress triggered a civil war , [ 92 ] where the congressmen triumphed and established the Parliamentary Republic . [ 93 ] Despite the economic boom, the period was characterized by political instability and the beginning of the proletarian movement of the so-called " social question ", caused by an unequal distribution of wealth and various problems that affected the popular world. [ 94 ] [ 95 ]

View of downtown Santiago, towards the end of the 1920s .

After years of domination by the oligarchy, in 1920 Arturo Alessandri was elected , who became a temporary bridge between the "golden scoundrel" and the "beloved rabble", as he respectively called the elite and the popular masses, who were each more and more agitated. [ 96 ] [ 97 ] The crisis deepened and led to the resignation of Alessandri on two ocassions. Despite this, he managed to promulgate the Constitution of 1925 , which originated the Presidential Republic . [ 97 ]

Carlos Ibáñez was elected in 1927 with great popular support, but the ravages of the First World War , in which the country declared itself neutral, poor economic policy in the use of resources and the Great Depression wiped out the wealth created by the extraction of nitrate, producing a strong economic crisis . [ 98 ] In less than three years, GDP fell by less than half and the country was considered the most affected by the global crisis. [ 99 ] Ibáñez resigned in 1931 and political instability increased after a coup d'état that led to the brief Socialist Republic of Chile., before Alessandri resumed power and recovered the economy, which did not ease the tension between the political parties. The political crisis was also social; New social actors demanded modifications to the way of thinking the country. [ 98 ]

In this scenario, Pedro Aguirre Cerda was elected president in 1938 by an alliance opposed to the traditional governments of the Chilean elite, initiating the period of government of the Radical party . His mandate made various changes, mainly in the economic area, promoting Chilean industrialization through the Production Development Corporation , created together with the Reconstruction and Relief Corporation [ 100 ] after the 1939 Chillán earthquake , the deadliest in the history of Chile. [ 101 ] [ n 7 ]In addition, his government paid greater attention to social problems and established the claim on the Chilean Antarctic Territory. [ 23 ] His successor, Juan Antonio Ríos , faced opposition and pressure from the United States during World War II to declare war on the Axis , with which he broke diplomatic relations in 1943. In 1945, Chile declared war Japan [ 103 ] and was one of the fifty-one founding states of the UN. [ 104 ] After being supported by the Communist party , the radical Gabriel González VidelaHe was elected president in 1946. [ n 8 ] However, at the beginning of the Cold War , the alignment of the country to the Western powers led to the proscription of the communism through the so - called " Law Maldita " in 1948. [ 105 ] [ 106 ]

In 1952 Carlos Ibáñez del Campo was once again elected president, [ n 9 ] preceded by a profound public disaffection with political parties and the participation, for the first time, of women in presidential elections. [ 107 ] Popular support dispersed over the course of his term after difficulties in the implementation of a government program ascribed to populist nationalism . [ 108 ]

Political tensions

In 1958 the right-wing independent Jorge Alessandri was elected with 31.6%, being ratified by the full Congress. [ N10 ] His government faced the chaos of the 1960 Valdivia earthquake , the largest in recorded history of mankind, [ 109 ] [ n 11 ] which it did not prevent the completion of the World Cup from 1962 . [ 110 ] In this period the agrarian reform began , [ 111 ] INdap was created , Chile joined the Alalc- Today Aladi - and the political system of the " three thirds " was established - made up of the right , the Christian Democrats and the leftist Popular Action Front -.

Salvador Allende.

Fearing a victory for the Popular Action Front, the right wing supported the Christian democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva , who was elected in 1964. Although he tried to carry out his government program called " Revolution in freedom, " [ 112 ] through expansion land reform [ 113 ] [ 114 ] and chilenización of copper , [ 115 ] [ 116 ] upward political tension produced a series of clashes at the end of its mandate.

With the support of the Popular Unity , Salvador Allende was elected in 1970 with 36.3% of the votes, being ratified by the full Congress. [ n 12 ] His government faced external economic problems, such as the world crisis of 1972-1973, had an erratic economic policy and strong opposition from the rest of the political spectrum and from the US government of Richard Nixon . [ 117 ] The copper was nationalized in 1971, [ 118 ] but this did not prevent the country from falling into a financial crisis and that thehyperinflation will reach figures of around 600 and 800%. [ 119 ] [ 120 ]

Augusto Pinochet.

Street clashes between opponents and adherents of the Popular Unity became frequent and reached high levels of violence. Allende, who believed in a democratic revolution, lost the support of the Socialist Party , which believed in the legitimacy of an armed popular uprising to retain power. Finally, on September 11, 1973, there was a coup that ended the Allende government, who committed suicide after the bombing of the La Moneda Palace . [ 121 ]

After the coup, a military dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet , commander-in-chief of the Army, was established . In this period the established political repression against the opposition and there were several violations of human rights [ 122 ] [ 123 ] There was more than 1,000 missing prisoners , 3000 killed, [ n 13 ] more than 35 000 tortured [ n 14 ] and around 200,000 exiles [ citation needed ]-. In the economic sphere, Pinochet led a restructuring of the State devised by the so-called Chicago Boys , who initiated a series of neoliberal reforms in 1975 which, after one of the worst falls in GDP since 1929 by −12.9% for that year and of the gross national disposable income of −23.9% , led to economic growth with an average annual rate of 7.3% between 1976 and 1981, producing the so-called " miracle of Chile ." [ 124 ]

In 1978 Chile and Argentina faced each other in the Beagle conflict , for the dominion of the Picton, Nueva and Lennox islands , which was hours away from provoking a war between both countries , being prevented by the mediation of John Paul II . [ 125 ]

The period of greatest crisis coincided with the turn of the decade. In the 1980 plebiscite , [ 126 ] [ 127 ] questioned by various international organizations, Pinochet won approval of a new Constitution . [ 21 ] However, the economic crisis of 1982 generated negative growth and increased unemployment and poverty, which led to a series of protests in 1983 against the government and its economic model that lasted until the end of its mandate. During 1985, after the reduction in social spending and privatizationmost state enterprises , many of them at a lower price to that of market-, [ 128 ] [ 129 ] [ 130 ] the economy managed to recover its economic growth, but also amplified the unequal distribution of income with poverty levels around 40% . [ 124 ]

Return to democracy

The presidents of Chile after the return to democracy (from left to right): Ricardo Lagos, Michelle Bachelet, Sebastián Piñera, Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.

At the end of the 1980s, there was a process of return to democracy that culminated in the 1988 plebiscite and the victory of the No option with 54.71% of the votes counted. [ 131 ] [ n 15 ] Augusto Pinochet left office on March 11, 1990 and assumed Patricio Aylwin as the first president of the period known as Transition . [ 132 ] Aylwin became the first of four presidents to govern as part of the Concertación, the center-left coalition opposed to Pinochet in the plebiscite and which was made up of Christian Democrats, radicals and socialists. After Aylwin, they were elected Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (1994-2000), [ 133 ] Ricardo Lagos (2000-2006) [ 134 ] and Michelle Bachelet , who in 2006 became the only woman to be in the history of the country. [ 135 ]

The governments of the Concertación were characterized by restoring the democratic regime, establishing a new national policy based on unity and trying to reestablish relations with the Armed Forces. The human rights violations committed during the dictatorship were officially recognized through the Rettig Report [ 136 ] and the Valech Commission, and trials were initiated to determine the guilty, many of which ended with the imprisonment of the military responsible. In 2005, a reform to the Constitution made it possible to eliminate the main areas of influence of the old regime that still remained in the government of the country.

Economically, the Transition was characterized by significant growth and a strengthening of the country's fiscal and financial position. The per capita GDP (PPP) increased from about USD 5835 in 1990 to USD 18,950 in 2010, [ 137 ] making Chile one of the most developed Latin American countries. The neoliberal model was maintained, although economic policies focused on public social spending were promoted and deepened, safeguarding macroeconomic stability and significantly reducing poverty; 23.5% of the population exceeded the poverty line between 1990 and 2009. [ 138 ] The country's reintegration in international markets was promoted, signing free trade agreementswith major trading partners [ 139 ] [ 140 ] [ 141 ] and the entry of the country to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2010. [ 142 ] [ 143 ]

In 2010, Sebastián Piñera became the first center-rightist to be elected president of the country after 52 years. [ 144 ] His mandate was characterized by the economic recovery after the 2008 financial crisis and the reconstruction of the areas affected by the 2010 earthquake in the central area of ​​the country. [ 145 ] [ 146 ] However, faced significant social movements, especially high school and college students in 2011 and regional protests in Magallanes and Aysen, in addition to accusations about manipulation of figures, especially in the field of characterization of poverty , inflation and the 2012 census ; to which would be added cases of alleged corruption in some of his collaborators after the end of his government. [ 147 ] [ 148 ]

In 2013, Michelle Bachelet was elected to a second presidential term supported by the forces of the New Majority . [ 149 ] His government was characterized by the impulse of a series of reforms, [ 150 ] many oriented to the demands of the social movements that emerged in previous years; Among the most prominent are the changes to the tax system, [ 151 ] the partial decriminalization of abortion, reforms to the educational system, and the gradual implementation of gratuity throughout the school system, including higher education. [ 152 ]Bachelet also had to face the appearance of several cases of corruption that shook both the political world and the economic elite of the country. [ 153 ] In 2018, Piñera assumed his second presidential term , after winning in the elections held the previous year. In his second term there were the largest protests since the return to democracy, where a curfew was decreed in some cities.


Government and administration

The Palacio de La Moneda , seat of the Chilean Executive Power.

The Republic of Chile is a unitary , democratic and presidential State , made up of various autonomous institutions inserted in a constitutional scheme that determines certain functions and distributes powers among the organs of the State. The state administration is functionally and territorially decentralized and deconcentrated . [ 21 ]

Approved in the plebiscite of September 11, 1980, [ 126 ] the Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile [ 21 ] - the tenth constitutional text in Chilean history - has governed the country since March 11, 1981. A Since 1989, it has been reformed eighteen times .

The executive power or, more properly, the government and public administration , are headed by the President of the Republic , who is the head of state and the head of government . According to the Constitution, the president remains in the exercise of his functions for a term of 4 years and cannot be reelected for the following period. [ 154 ] The President of the Republic appoints the Ministers of State , who are his direct and immediate collaborators in the government and administration of the State and officials of his exclusive confidence.

The legislative power resides in both the President - in quality colegislador- as in the National Congress , based in Valparaiso , [ 155 ] character bicameral , consisting of a Senate and Chamber of Deputies elected by popular vote. The Senate is made up of 50 senators [ n 16 ] who remain in office for 8 years with the possibility of being reelected in their respective constituencies., those that elect two senators in each election; every 4 years, half of the Senate roster is renewed in regular parliamentary elections. The Chamber of Deputies is made up of 155 members who remain in office for 4 years and can also be reelected in their respective districts, who elect between 3 and 8 deputies in each election, in which the entire chamber is renewed.

For the parliamentary elections, between 1989 and 2013 the binomial system was used , [ 156 ] which promoted the establishment of two majority political blocs - Concertación and Alianza - at the expense of the exclusion of non-majority political groups. [ 157 ] Opponents of this system approved in 2015 a moderate proportional electoral system that has been in force since the 2017 parliamentary elections, [ 158 ] allowing the entry of new parties and coalitions.

The judicial power , made up of autonomous and independent courts that exercise the jurisdictional function , has the Supreme Court of Justice as its highest instance, courts of appeals in each region and lower courts of common and specialized jurisdiction throughout the country. In addition, there is an autonomous and hierarchical Public Ministry , which exclusively directs the criminal investigation and exercises public criminal action .

The Constitutional Court , autonomous and independent, has control of the constitutionality of draft laws and agreed orders , decrees and laws . Likewise, the autonomous Comptroller General of the Republic controls the legality of the acts of the public administration and supervises the income and investment of public funds.

The Election Qualifying Tribunal and sixteen regional electoral tribunals are in charge of qualifying elections and resolving electoral claims, while the Electoral Service is in charge of organizing electoral processes and administering the electoral registry and registry. of political parties. [ 159 ]


Throughout the history of Chile there have been various political parties, which were either banned [ 160 ] or suspended [ 161 ] in 1973. In 1987, [ 162 ] political parties reorganized to participate in the national plebiscite from 1988 . Although the end of the binominal electoral system and other political changes have generated a broader panorama of parties, the existing coalition structure to date remains aligned with that created for the 1988 plebiscite.

On the left, the composition of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies . On the right, the composition of the Senate of Chile .

The main existing political coalitions in Chile are:

In the National Congress, the ruling coalition Chile Vamos has 72 deputies and 19 senators, while the parliamentary group of the New Majority is made up of 57 deputies and 21 senators. The Broad Front is the third political force with 20 deputies and 1 senator. Other parties with parliamentary representation are the Liberal Party (2 deputies) País Progresista (1 senator and 1 deputy) and the Social Green Regionalist Federation (4 deputies). [ 163 ] [ 164 ]


The Constitution establishes the right to vote at age 18 [ 165 ] and indicates that, in popular votes, "suffrage will be personal, equal, secret and voluntary ." [ 166 ] Registration in the Electoral Registry is automatic. [ 167 ] Chileans residing abroad are granted their right to vote in the presidential primary elections, in the elections for the president of the Republic and in national plebiscites. [ 165 ] [ 168 ]Foreigners residing in Chile are recognized their right to vote in all elections and plebiscites, provided that they prove residence in the country for more than five years, have reached eighteen years of age and have not been sentenced to afflictive punishment. [ 165 ]

Both the polling stations and their tables are mixed. The board members are chosen from among the electors themselves by prior lottery. Those who are elected have the obligation to appear and comply with the duties established by law, although it provides some reasons that justify their absence.

The women 's suffrage equal to the male was approved in 1949. [ 169 ] Chilean voted in municipal elections since 1935 and the presidential from 1952. [ 170 ]

Territorial organization

For its administrative operation, the country has 16 regions , 56 provinces and 346 communes . [ 171 ]

The government of each of the regions resides in the mayor , who is appointed by the President of the Republic and is his natural and immediate representative in said territory, remaining in his functions as long as he has his trust. [ 172 ] The regional administration corresponds to the regional governments , made up of the respective mayor and a regional council , made up of councilors, elected by popular vote for periods of 4 years. In turn, the government of each province is in charge of the governor , [ 172 ]Freely appointed and removed by the president. For its part, the local administration corresponds to the municipalities , made up of a mayor and a communal council , elected by popular vote for periods of 4 years.

All the regions had a Roman number , originally assigned according to their order from north to south - although in the case of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago it was not used, as it spoils the pattern as it is the last of the thirteen to be created. The creation of two more regions in 2007 and a third in 2018 made this numbering lose its original meaning, although in some cases they are still popularly used.

Territorial organization of Chile [ 171 ]
Region Population [ 8 ] Surface (km²) [ 4 ] Density Capital Administrative map
Arica and Parinacota 224 548 16 873,3 13,40 Arica
Tarapacá 324 930 42 225,8 7,83 Iquique
Antofagasta 599 335 126 049,1 4,82 Antofagasta
Atacama[173] 285 363 75 176,2 3,81 Copiapo
Coquimbo 742 178 40 579,9 18,67 La Serena
Valparaiso 1 790 219 16 396,1 110,75 Valparaiso
Metropolitan of Santiago 7 036 792 15 403,2 461,77 Santiago
Liberator General Bernardo O'Higgins 908 545 16 387 54,96 Rancagua
Maule 1 033 197 30 296,1 34,49 Talca
Ñuble 480 609 13 178,5 33,5 Chillán
Biobio 1 538 194 23 890,2 64,38 Conception
The Araucanía 938 626 31 842,3 30,06 Temuco
The rivers 380 181 18 429,5 20,88 Valdivia
The lakes 823 204 48 583,6 17,06 Montt port
Aysén of General Carlos Ibáñez of the Field [ 174 ] 102 317 108 494,4 0,95 Coyhaique
Magallanes and [ 175 ] 165 593 132 297,2(1) 1,26 Punta Arenas
Chile 17 373 831 756 102,4(2) 23,24 Santiago
Compass rose pale.svg Pacific Ocean Bandera de Perú Peru Bandera de Bolivia Bolivia Compass rose pale.svg
Bandera de Reino Unido Islas Pitcairn Norte Bandera de Argentina Argentina
Oeste Rosa de los vientos.svg Este
Pacific Ocean Antarctica Bandera de Reino Unido Falkland Islands
(1) Including the Chilean Antarctic Territory, [ 23 ] its surface reaches 1 382 554.8 km²
(2) Including the Chilean Antarctic Territory, [ 23 ] its surface reaches 2 006 360 km²

Defense and security

The defense of the country is in charge of the three branches of the Chilean Armed Forces : the Army (1810), [ 176 ] the Navy (1818) [ 177 ] and the Air Force (1930), [ 178 ] whose functions they are to preserve the territorial integrity and foreign security of the nation. In the event of war, the President of the Republic assumes the supreme leadership of them. [ 179 ]

These regular military units are joined by the Chilean Security and Order Forces , made up of the Carabineros Corps (1927) [ 180 ] and the Investigative Police (1933), [ 181 ] which constitute the public force and are those in charge of enforcing the law and guaranteeing public order and public security within the country. There is also the body Gendarmería (1921) [ 182 ] [ 183 ]In charge of guarding jails and other confinement areas, along with providing security within the courts, and the National Intelligence Agency (2004), [ 184 ] whose objective is to produce intelligence to advise the President of the Republic and other superior authorities of the State in the protection of the threats of terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime.

Administratively, the Armed Forces depend on the Ministry of National Defense ; Carabineros, the Investigative Police and the National Intelligence Agency, of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security ; and the Gendarmerie corps, of the Ministry of Justice .

Chile has not had a war since the War of the Pacific (1879-1883). It is one of the countries with the highest military spending in relation to its GDP , 2.7% in 2006. [ 185 ] According to Law 13196 of 1958, [ 186 ] this spending is largely financed with the 10% it owes deliver Codelco for the profits derived from the export of copper . This figure is explained by the long extension of the military contingent due to the particular geographical shape of the country and the cost derived from the pension systems for ex-uniformed personnel, which also include the Carabineros, which consumes more than 54% of the income. [ 4 ]

After years in which the abolition of its compulsory nature was proposed, male military service has become a voluntary enrollment that, in case of not filling the vacancies, distributes the rest of the quotas by lottery among non-volunteers. [ 187 ]

During the military dictatorship , the Armed Forces reached a high rank of importance in civil life. However, the former commander-in-chief of the Army Juan Emilio Cheyre took important steps to ensure the professionalization, political disregard of the Army, its quality as a non-deliberative body and subjection to the democratically constituted civil power. One of these steps was the recognition of institutional responsibilities of the Army in human rights violations that occurred between 1973 and 1990. [ 188 ]

External relationships

Chile maintains diplomatic relations with most of the countries of the world, where it has 73 embassies and 110 consulates. [ 189 ]

In 1945 Chile was one of the fifty-one founding states of the UN , [ 104 ] where it has been a non-permanent member of its Security Council on five occasions: [ 190 ] in the periods 1952-1953, 1961-1962, 1996-1997, 2003-2004 and 2014-2015. [ N 17 ]

To support the peacekeeping missions of the UN, Chile has highlighted various military bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina ( UNMIBH ), [ 191 ] Cambodia ( UNTAC ), [ 192 ] Cyprus ( UNFICYP ), [ 193 ] El Salvador ( ONUSAL), [ 194 ] Haiti ( MINUSTAH ), [ 195 ] India - Pakistan ( UNMOGIP), [ 196 ] (UNIPOM); [ 197 ] Iraq - Kuwait ( UNIKOM ), [ 198 ] Kosovo ( UNMIK ), Lebanon ( UNOGIL ), [ 199 ] Middle East ( UNTSO ), [ 200 ] Democratic Republic of the Congo ( MONUC ) [ 201 ] and East Timor ( UNTAET ),[ 202 ] (UNMISET). [ 203 ]

Human rights

In terms of human rights , regarding membership of the seven bodies of the International Bill of Human Rights , which include the Human Rights Committee (HRC), Chile has signed or ratified:

UN emblem blue.svgStatus of major international instruments of human rights [ 204 ]
Bandera de Chile
International deals
CESCR[205] CCPR [ 206 ] CERD [ 207 ] CED[208] CEDAW [ 209 ] CAT[210] CRC[211] MWC[212] EARL [ 213 ]
Belonging Firmado y ratificado. Firmado pero no ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Yes check.svgChile ha reconocido la competencia de recibir y procesar comunicaciones individuales por parte de los órganos competentes. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado pero no ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado. Firmado y ratificado.
Yes check.svg Signed and ratified, Check.svg signed, but not ratified, X mark.svg neither signed nor ratified, Symbol comment vote.svg No information, Zeichen 101 - Gefahrstelle, StVO 1970.svg has agreed to sign and ratify the body in question, but also recognizes the competence to receive and process individual communications from the competent bodies.



Chile is located along a highly seismic zone due to the subduction of the Nazca and Antarctic plates in the South American plate . [ 214 ] It is considered the second most seismically active country in the world, after Japan , and the fourth most exposed to suffering greater damage from natural disasters . [ 215 ] [ n 18 ] Included in the fire belt of the Pacific , Chile has the second largest chain and active volcano in the world after Indonesia. [ 218 ] Throughout the Chilean continental territory, there are at least two thousand volcanoes; [ 218 ] [ 219 ] [ 220 ] of them are considered "geologically active" five hundred. [ 218 ]

At the end of the Paleozoic , 251 million years ago, Chile belonged to the continental block called Gondwana . It was a marine depression with accumulated sediments that began to rise at the end of the Mesozoic , 65 million years ago, due to the collision between the Nazca and South American plates, originating the Andes mountain range. The territory would be modeled for millions of more years due to the folding of the rocks, configuring the current relief.

Topographic map of Chile. To see maps based on SRTM with the topographic relief of the country, see here .
Conguillío National Park , southern part of the country.

The Chilean relief is made up of the intermediate depression , which longitudinally crosses the country, flanked by two mountain systems that make up about 80% of the territory: [ 221 ] the Andes mountain range to the east - natural border with Bolivia and Argentina, with its peak [ n 19 ] located in the Ojos of the salt , to 6891.3 m asl , [ 222 ] the highest volcano of the world [ 222 ] [ 223 ] [ n 20 ]And the second peak of the southern and western hemispheres , [ 222 ] in the Atacama Region— and the Cordillera de la Costa to the west —with a lower height than that of the Andes, with its highest point located in the Cerro Vicuña Mackenna, at 3,114 m above sea level, located in the Sierra Vicuña Mackenna , south of Antofagasta. Between the coastal mountain range and the Pacific there is a series of coastal plains , of variable extension, which allow the settlement of coastal towns and large ports . Some areas of the country include flat territories east of the Andes, such as the Patagonian and Magellanic steppes., or they are high plateaus surrounded by high mountain ranges, such as the altiplano or Puna de Atacama .

The Big North is the area between the northern limit of the country and parallel 26 ° S, encompassing the first three regions of the country. It is characterized by the presence of the Atacama desert, the most arid on the planet. [ 224 ] [ 225 ] [ 226 ] [ 227 ] [ 228 ] The desert is fragmented by streams which cause the area known as the plain of the Tamarugal . The Cordillera de la Costa is massive and falls steeply forming the coastal cliffthat replaces the littoral plains, practically absent. The Andes mountain range, divided in two and whose eastern arm runs through Bolivia, has a high altitude and significant volcanic activity, which has allowed the formation of the Andean highlands and saline structures such as the Atacama salt flat , due to the accumulation of sediments for centuries.

To the south is the Norte Chico , which extends to the Aconcagua River. The Andes begin to decrease in altitude towards the south and to approach the coast. At the height of Illapel is the narrowest area of ​​the Chilean mainland, reaching a distance of 90 km. [ 4 ] The two mountain systems intersect, practically eliminating the intermediate depression. The existence of rivers that cross the territory allows the formation of transversal valleys , where agriculture has developed strongly in recent times, while the coastal plains begin to expand.

Ten highest peaks in Chile
Name Altitud (m s. n. m.)
Nevado Ojos del Salado (AR) 6891
Nevado Tres Cruces (AR) 6758
Llullaillaco (AR) 6739
Incahuasi (AR) 6638
Tupungato (AR) 6565
Ata (AR) 6501
The Dead (AR) 6488
Parinacota (BO) 6342
Pomerape (BO) 6282
Los Patos (AR) 6239
(AR) Shared with Argentina.
(BO) Shared with Bolivia.

The Central zone is the most inhabited region of the country. The coastal plains are wide and allow the establishment of cities and ports along the Pacific, while the Cordillera de la Costa descends in height. The Andes mountain range maintains altitudes above 6000 m asl , but begins to slowly descend, approaching 4000 m asl on average. The intermediate depression reappears becoming a fertile valley that allows agricultural development and human settlement, due to the accumulation of sediments. To the south, the Cordillera de la Costa reappears in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta , while glacial sediments originate a series of lakes in the La Frontera area.

The Patagonia extends from Reloncavi sound , up to 41 ° S parallel to the south. During the last ice age, this area was covered by ice that strongly eroded the Chilean relief structures. As a result of this, the intermediate depression sinks into the sea, while the Costa mountain range originates a series of archipelagos, such as Chiloé and Los Chonos , until it disappears in the Taitao peninsula , at parallel 47 ° S The Andes mountain range loses height and the erosion produced by the action of the glaciers has created fjords. To the east of the mountain range —on the mainland— or to the north of it —on the Big Island of Tierra del Fuego — there are relatively flat pampas, which cover large areas in the Strait of Magellan .

As previously the coastal mountain range had done, the Andes mountain range begins to dismember in the ocean, originating endless islands and islets until it disappears, sinking and reappearing in the southern Antilles arc and then in the Antarctic peninsula. , where it is called Antartandes in Antarctic Chilean Territory, extending between the meridians 53 ° or 90 ° O. [ 23 ]

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the country exercises sovereignty over several islands of volcanic origin, known collectively as Insular Chile . Of these, the Juan Fernández archipelago and Easter Island stand out, which is located in the fracture zone between the Nazca plate and the Pacific plate , known as the eastern Pacific ridge .


Due to the characteristics of the territory, Chile is generally crossed by various short-length, torrential and low-flow rivers [ 4 ] that commonly flow from the Andes mountain range to the Pacific Ocean in an east-west direction.

Ten longest rivers in Chile
Name Longitude ( km ) [ n 21 ]
Speak 440
Biobio 380
Baker 370
Copiapó - Jorquera 292
Maipo 250
Yelcho-Futaleufú 246
Maule 240
Palena 240
Toltén 231
Huasco - El Carmen 230
Pío XI Glacier (or Brüggen) , the longest in the southern hemisphere outside the Antarctic continent.

Because of the desert, in the Norte Grande area there are only short streams of an endorheic character and the Loa River , the longest in the country at 440 km. [ 229 ] In the highland area, there are the wetlands that originate Lake Chungará , located at 4,500 m above sea level, and the Lauca rivers , shared with Bolivia, and Lluta .

From the Norte Chico, the exorheic zone begins , as the number of rivers that form valleys of agricultural importance increases, standing out the Elqui with 75 km [ 229 ] in length, the Aconcagua with 142 km, the Maipo with 250 km [ 229 ] and its tributary, the Mapocho with 110 km, and the Maule with 240 km. Its flows come mainly from the Andean thaws in the summer and from the rains during the winter. The most important lakes in this area are the artificial Rapel , the Colbún , and the Maule and La Laja lagoons..

Towards the south, the Biobío River flows for 380 km, passing through a hundred towns along with its multiple tributaries and feeding important hydroelectric plants that supply a large part of the country's population. Other important rivers are the Imperial - Cautín , with 230 km in length, [ 230 ] and the Toltén , with 231 km, where Lake Villarrica empties , the first of the various mountain lakes that exist in the regions of La Araucanía. Los Ríos and Los Lagos. The Seven Lakes system , the Ranco , the Puyehue are also important., Rupanco , Todos los Santos and Llanquihue , the second largest lake in the country with 860 km².

In the Patagonian area, the rivers are smaller, but with a strong flow, such as the Yelcho - Futaleufú , the Palena , with 240 km [ 229 ] in length, the Baker , the largest in the country, with 370 km, [ 229 ] and Easter , with 62 km. [ 229 ] Except for the Presidente Ríos lake and the San Rafael lagoon , the lakes are located next to the international boundary, so General Carrera , the largest in the country with 978.12 km² in Chilean territory , is shared with Argentina ; [231 ] the Cochrane , the Dickson , the O'Higgins , the deepest in America and the fifth in the world with 836 meters; [ 232 ] the Palena and Fagnano , on the Big Island Land of Fire.

In the Patagonian Andes there are large masses of ice known as ice fields that hold records in the southern hemisphere only surpassed by the Antarctic continent : the largest freshwater reserves [ 233 ] and the longest glacier , Pío XI (or Brüggen ) , [ 234 ] one of many in the region.

Throughout the country there are thirteen wetlands of international importance , recognized as Ramsar sites, with a total protected area of ​​361,761 hectares . [ 235 ]


Chile's latitudinal breadth —which covers more than 39 degrees—, its relief and the influence of the ocean are the main factors that explain the climatic variety of the country. [ 4 ] While the Andes mountain range regulates the passage of air masses - preventing the access of winds from the Argentine pampas towards the Chilean territory and the maritime influence towards the eastern slope -, the cold Humboldt current produces a decrease of temperatures along the coast - the rise in temperature due to El Niño instead generates heavy rains and floods in Chile. [ 236 ] [ 237 ]

In the Norte Grande area there is a desert climate , with little rainfall. Temperatures vary slightly throughout the year, staying on average around 20 ° C. In the coastal areas there is abundant cloudiness known as " camanchaca ", while in the interior areas the thermal oscillation is high with zero humidity and absence of clouds , which has allowed the installation of large astronomical observatories . [ 238 ] [ 239 ] In the region of the plateau , the temperature drops due to the effect of creating an altitudecold steppe climate characterized by rains in summer, known as highland winter . In the Norte Chico area , there is a semi- arid climate that serves as a transition to colder climates towards the south. Rainfall is irregular and is concentrated in winter . [ 240 ]

From the Aconcagua valley to the Biobío river, the Mediterranean climate dominates the entire Central zone, except for the high peaks of the Andes mountain range, which have a cold climate due to the altitude . The four seasons of the year are clearly marked, with a hot, dry summer and a cold, rainy winter. The coastal zone presents temperatures regulated by the maritime effect, meanwhile the interior zones present a high thermal oscillation since the mountain range of the Coast acts as a climatic screen . In Santiago, temperatures average 20 ° C in summer (January), with extremes of up to 36 ° C, and 8 ° C in winter (June), with extremes of up to -8 ° C in some sectors. [ 241 ]

The rains increase in the southern zone, which has a rainy maritime climate between La Araucanía and the coast of Aysén. In the Austral zone, a cold steppe climate develops , characterized by a great thermal amplitude, low temperatures and a decrease in rainfall that occurs in winter, generally in the form of snow. In turn, in the Chilean Antarctic Territory, the polar climate predominates . [ 242 ]

In insular Chile, the climate is strongly affected by the cooling effect of the ocean. Easter Island has a subtropical climate , with an average annual rainfall of 1,138 mm distributed throughout the year.

Climograms of some areas of Chile
Arica Easter Island Santiago Temuco Valdivia Punta Arenas Villa Las Estrellas
Climograma Arica Climograma Isla de Pascua Climograma Santiago Climograma Temuco Climograma Valdivia Climograma Punta Arenas Climograma Antártica
18°20′S 70°20′O / -18.333, -70.333
58 m s. n. m.
27°09′S 109°25′O / -27.150, -109.417
51 m s. n. m.
33°23′S 70°47′O / -33.383, -70.783
475 m s. n. m.
38°45′S 72°40′O / -38.750, -72.667
122 m s. n. m.
39°48′S 73°14′O / -39.800, -73.233
19 m s. n. m.
53°00′S 70°51′O / -53.000, -70.850
37 m s. n. m.
62°12′S 58°57′O / -62.200, -58.950
10 m s. n. m.
desert climate subtropical climate Mediterranean climate humid temperate climate Oceanic climate cold steppe climate polar climate

Climate change

The climate in Chile is a high vulnerability for the country. The climatic projections show as the main effects the rise in temperature and the decrease in rainfall, with direct or indirect repercussions on the environment and biodiversity, as well as most of the country's productive activities. Although the level of greenhouse gas emissions is low when compared to global emissions, [ 243 ] these have increased by 159% since 1990, which together with dependence on carbon-based energy sources and natural gas and deforestation and environmental degradation of its ecosystems, pose greater risks of altering the country's climate patterns.

The main expected impacts for Chile are the increase in temperatures at the national level, a decrease in rainfall, a marked increase in droughts, a significant loss of the national genetic heritage, a significant reduction in the average monthly flows in the watersheds of Chile central, the reduction of water reserves in snow basins and the increase in the risk of natural disasters during events of extreme precipitation and high temperatures, events that have a significant impact on a social and economic level.

In recent years, Chile has made progress in managing climate change , developing national instruments such as the National Climate Change Action Plan, the National Adaptation Plan and sectoral adaptation plans, as well as a framework law on climate change, pending. legislative since 2020. [ 243 ]

Flora and fauna

The climate and the relief of Chile condition both the development of life and the formation of different ecosystems in the country. Throughout the Andes, the species insigne is condor of the Andes present in the shield of Chile , declared a natural monument in 2006. [ 244 ]

Condor de los Andes , natural monument.
Copihue , national flower.
Huemul, monumento natural.
Araucarias, monumento natural.
Hummingbird by Juan Fernández , natural monument.

The Norte Grande is a xerophilous area , characterized by its sparse vegetation due to the extreme aridity of the Atacama desert and the absence of rainfall. Trees such as carob , chañar , pepper and tamarugo , along with various species of cacti , are plant species adapted to harsh climatic conditions; in the highland areas, the vegetation increases, highlighting the queñoa and the yareta . Along with other smaller species —such as chinchillas , declared natural monuments in 2006, [ 244 ] andvizcachas -, the auquénidos are the main animals that inhabit the area; likewise, in the altiplanic lagoons there are three species of flamingos .

In the Norte Chico area , sclerophyllous vegetation predominates , with species adapted to long periods of drought and heat. When an extraordinary period of rainfall occurs, the event known as the " flowering desert " occurs , a unique phenomenon on the planet, [ 245 ] in which arid lands are populated with various species of flowers, such as the añañuca . Between the south of the Atacama Region and the Coquimbo Region there is a slow process of transition towards more abundant vegetation. In this area there are species typical of the Mediterranean climate, such as boldo , hawthorn and quillayWhile in the coastal areas of Talinay and Fray Jorge there are residual forests of the Valdivian type .

In the Central zone the region known as sclerophyllous forest extends , a vegetal formation degraded by the expansion of large urban centers, the manufacture of coal, the use of the land for agriculture and fires. Some characteristic species of the vegetation of this area are the myrtle , boldo, hawthorn, liter , maitén , matico , Chilean palm , quillay and oak , among others. The coypu , the degu , the culpeo fox , the bandurria , the diuca , the tricahue parrot , thetreile and thrush are some of the native species of fauna in the area.

In the southern zone, the vegetation becomes thicker and the so-called Valdivian forest appears . Some plant species characteristics are copihue , national flower since 1977, [ 246 ] the murtilla , various ferns and trees such as larch and Araucaria although threatened with extinction , [ 247 ] [ 248 ] are protected after being declared monuments natural in the years 1970-, [ 249 ] [ 250 ] thehazelnut , laurel , luma , various species of mañíos , tepa and tineo . One of the biggest environmental problems in this area is the replacement of native forest extensions with eucalyptus and pine plantations . The puma is the main carnivore in the area and inhabits almost the entire country, except where it has been eradicated by human presence. Other characteristic animal species are swans , the colocolo , the mountain monkey and the pudu .

In the Austral zone there are large extensions of evergreen forest , similar to the Valdivian one although with fewer tree species, the Guaitecas cypress standing out for its economic importance , practically destroyed for the most part. Inland, deciduous forests develop , dominated by lenga and, further east, large steppe formations of hard grasses. At the southern end of this area, the vegetation is reduced to some stunted trees, such as the canelo , the coigüe de Magallanes and the ñirre , as well as various shrub and herbaceous species, lichens andmosses . In the steppe area, extensive sheep farming was developed that had its greatest cultural and social expression in the ranch . Guanacos, rheas , piches , furry , pumas and foxes, among others, live here. Present on the Chilean coat of arms and declared a natural monument in 2006, [ 244 ] the huemul , which formerly inhabited much of the country, only survives in areas that are difficult to access in this area.

In 2005 Chile had a forest area of ​​16 121 ha. [ 251 ] Given the variety of biomes present in Chile, from the Atacama desert to Tierra del Fuego, there is a great diversity of fungi ; they are cultivated for domestic consumption - edible and medicinal - and wild species are also exported. [ 252 ]

In insular Chile, the fauna and flora are unique on the planet. While on Easter Island the characteristic toromiro tree is an extinct species in the wild , [ 253 ] in the Juan Fernández archipelago there are more than 200 unique plant species - such as the chonta palm - and some endemic animal species - such as the fine wolf of Juan Fernandez and picaflor of Juan Fernandez , declared a natural monument in 2006. [ 244 ]

The Chilean Antarctic Territory is mostly covered with permanent ice, so its plant diversity is reduced to some species of lichens and mosses; however, the fauna on the coasts reaches exceptional richness and value. [ 254 ]

Along the Chilean coast, the sea ​​lion and a variety of birds inhabit - albatrosses , cormorants , seagulls and pelicans -. There are ten species of penguins , such as the Humboldt and the Magallanes , and a significant number of cetaceans , such as dolphins in Coquimbo and whales in Magallanes, declared natural monuments in 2008, [ 255 ] making the exclusive economic zone or «patrimonial sea »In a« Cetacean Hunting Free Zone" since then. [ 256 ] [ 257 ] In the ocean there are several species of seafood - clams , choro , crazy , scallops and oysters , among others , and fish - anchovies , palm ruff , conger , Chilean jack mackerel , flounder and hake - that make Chile in one of the countries with the greatest variety of marine fauna in the world. Introduced in the country, the carp , [ 258 ]the salmon and trout are the main species of fish in Chilean rivers.



Chile's population pyramid, projected to 2014. Source: INE.
Census evolution of the Chilean population, 1835-2050.

According to the 2017 census , Chile has a population of 17,574,003 inhabitants, of which 8,601,989 are men and 8,972,014 are women. [ 8 ]

The population growth has declined lately. Although Chile's population increased fivefold during the 20th century —the country reached 2,695,625 inhabitants in 1895 , 5,023,539 in 1940, and 13,348,401 in 1992— , [ 259 ] the intercensal growth rate 1992-2002 it was 1.24% per year, [ 259 ] while between 2002-2012 it was 0.99%. [ 260 ]

Due to improvements in the population's living conditions, the life expectancy of Chileans was the highest in Latin America in 2014, 81.7 years: 78.6 for men and 84.5 for women. [ 10 ] In 2009 it was 78.4 years: 75.74 for men and 81.19 for women. [ 261 ] That same year, the crude birth rate reached 15 and the crude death rate 5.4 ‰ —with a natural growth rate of 9.6 ‰ (0.96%) -, while that the infant mortality rate was 7.9 ‰. [ 262 ]These figures make it possible to establish an aging process in Chilean society in which the majority of the population will be over 35 years old in 2020, [ 263 ] surpassing the young age group, which is dominant at this time. Thus, in 2025, the population pyramid will become a bell-shaped profile as a result of the demographic transition process in Chile. [ 264 ]

Ethnic composition

Mapuche woman , around 1890.
Indigenous peoples of Chile (2017) [ 265 ]
Ethnicity Population %
Mapuche 1 745 147 79,8
Aimara 156 754 7,2
Diaguita 88 474 4,1
Quechua 33 868 1,6
Lican Antai 30 369 1,4
Glue 20 744 0,9
Rapanui 9399 0,4
Kawésqar 3448 0,1
Yagan 1600 0,1
Other or ignored 95 989 4,4
Total 2 185 792 100,0

The State of Chile does not make ethnic classifications of its population and, rather, considers it an ethnically homogeneous group. [ 266 ] [ 267 ] There are sources who believe that the bulk of the Chilean population belongs to two major ethnic groups: whites and mestizos . [ 268 ] The former are mainly descended from the old Spanish immigration and from the European immigration that occurred between the 18th and 20th centuries, while the mestizo population comes mainly from a mixture of Spaniards of Castilian , Extremaduran and Basque origins.[ 269 ] and indigenous people belonging mainly to theChango,Picunche—both disappeared during theColony—,Atacameño, Diaguita and Mapuchepeoples. [ 270 ]

Although since the arrival of the Spaniards to the current territory of Chile there have been more or less reliable estimates of the volume of the indigenous population , it was only at the beginning of the 20th century that the aborigines began to be reliably and systematically enumerated. According to the results of the 1907 census , it was determined that there were 101,118 indigenous people in Chile, equivalent to 3.12% of the country's total population in that year —3,231,022—, [ 271 ] preferably concentrated in the provinces of Cautín. and Valdivia . This number excluded the aboriginal peoples of the north, Rapa Nui and the extreme south, since it only counted the indigenous population from Arauco to Llanquihue.[272]

According to the 2017 census, 12.8% of the Chilean population, 1,842,607 people aged 14 or over, declared themselves indigenous. Of the total indigenous population, 79.8% declared themselves Mapuche; 7.2% Aymara; 4.1%, diaguita; 1.6%, Quechua; 1.4%, atacameño or lycan antai; 0.9%, kolla; 0.4%, Rapanui; 0.1% kawésqar and 0.1% yagan. 1.3% identified with another people and 3.1% identified themselves as indigenous, but did not indicate which people. [ 265 ] Other groups, such as the Aonikenk , Caucahue, Chono , Cunco, and Selknam peoples , are extinct. [ 66 ] [ 273 ] [274]

According to genetic studies , there are no longer pure indigenous populations in the country. [ 270 ]


Chile presented a rate of migration (immigrants less emigrants) 0.30 migrants per thousand in 2017. [ 275 ]

In 1848 the German colonization began , [ 276 ] sponsored by the Chilean government to populate the south of the country. Over time, this German immigration influenced the cultural composition of much of southern Chile, mainly the provinces of Valdivia, Osorno and Llanquihue . [ 277 ] Other people from Europe and the Middle East , especially arrived at Valparaiso [ 278 ] and the northern and southern Chile in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Austrians , [ 279 ]British and Irish , [ 280 ] [ 281 ] Croatia , [ 282 ] Spain, [ 283 ] France , [ 284 ] Greek , [ 285 ] Italians , [ 286 ] Netherlands , [ 287 ] Polish , [ 288 ] Russian, [ 289 ] Swiss , [ 290 ] Jews [ 291 ] [ 292 ] and Palestine . [ 293 ] In 1953, President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo created the Department of Immigration and established regulations on the matter. [ 294 ] [ 295 ]

The immigration in Chile has had a considerable increase from the year 2010. According to estimates by the INE, in the country residing 1,251,225 foreigners on December 31, 2018, equivalent to 6.6% of the total population, of which 646 128 were men and 605,097 women. Around 60% of the estimated immigrant population is concentrated between 20 and 39 years of age. Regarding the origin of the immigrants, 288 233 (23%) are of Venezuelan origin, 223 923 Peruvian and 179 338 Haitian (14.3%). [ 296 ]

Despite the fact that emigration has decreased during the last decade, in 2005 it was determined that 487,174 Chileans resided outside of Chile, [ 297 ] representing 3.01% of the total estimated population of the country in that year -16,165,316 inhabitants. -. [ 298 ] Of the total number of Chilean emigrants, 43.33% were in Argentina, 16.58% in the United States, 5.61% in Sweden, 5.21% in Canada and 4.80% in Australia. [ 297 ]

Within the country, population mobility has increased in recent decades, causing massive migration from the fields to the country's large cities. [ 299 ] While in the regions of central-southern Chile more than 80% of its population was born in the same region - as in Biobío, where it reaches 86.11% -, in the Metropolitan Region it was 71 % of the population, and in extreme regions, only 55% —as in Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica—.


View of the city of Santiago, the main urban center.

A demographic characteristic of Chile is the high urban concentration of its population. [ 300 ] [ 301 ] According to the census 2017 15424263 Chilean, [ 265 ] equivalent to 87.8% of the total national, living in urban areas. The regions with the highest rate of urbanization correspond to the most industrialized areas of the center —96.3% in the Metropolitan Region and 91.0% in the Valparaíso Region— and to extreme zones —94.1% in the Antofagasta region, 93 , 8% in Tarapacá, 91.9% in Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica and 91.7% in Arica and Parinacota—. [ 265 ]Meanwhile, 2,149,740 people, equivalent to 12.2% of the total population, lived in rural areas dedicated mainly to agriculture and livestock , concentrating in the south-central regions of the country —29.1% in the La Araucanía region, 28.3% in Los Ríos and 26.8% in the Maule region—. [ 265 ]

In search of better living conditions, from the mid-1920s a strong process of emigration of inhabitants of rural areas to large cities began, which began to grow and expand, forming large metropolitan areas and conurbations . The most notorious case is that of the country's capital, Santiago or Greater Santiago, which, with 5,428,590 inhabitants, was home to 35.9% of the national population in 2002. [ 299 ]In 1907 it was inhabited by 383,587 inhabitants, increasing to 549,292 in 1920, when it represented 16% of the national total; However, in the following years, the demographic explosion caused the city to expand into rural areas, absorbing old peasant towns, such as Puente Alto and Maipú , which are the two most populated communes in Chile. In January 2015, Santiago was the seventh largest city in Latin America [ n 22 ] and the 54th in the world. [ 302 ]

Likewise, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar have become a large conurbation. Both, added to Concón , Quilpué and Villa Alemana form the metropolitan area of Greater Valparaíso . For their part, the communes of Concepción, Talcahuano , Hualpén , Chiguayante , San Pedro de la Paz , Penco , Coronel , Lota , Hualqui and Tomé form the metropolitan area of Greater Concepción . Both metropolitan areas had more than 660,000 inhabitants in 2002. [303]

The other most populated cities and conurbations of the country in 2002 were La Serena-Coquimbo (296 253 inhabitants), Antofagasta (285 255), Temuco-Padre Las Casas (260 878), Rancagua (236 363), Iquique-Alto Hospicio (214 586), Talca (191 154), Arica (175 441), Chillán-Chillán Viejo (165 528), Puerto Montt (153 118), Los Angeles (138 856), Calama (136 600), Copiapó (134 531), Osorno (132 245), Quillota (128 874), Valdivia (127 750), Punta Arenas (116 005), San Antonio (106 101) and Curicó (104 124). [ 303] Most Chilean cities are located either on the Pacific coast or in theintermediate depressionof the country, between Santiago and Puerto Montt.

Top 10 metros de Chile (2017 Census) [ 304 ]
Denomination Region Population
Greater Santiago Metropolitan of Santiago 6 123 491
Greater Valparaiso Valparaiso 935 602
Great conception Biobio 719 944
Great La Serena Coquimbo 506,391
Great Temuco Araucanía 410.520
Antofagasta Antofagasta 361 873
Great Iquique Tarapacá 293 068
Great Rancagua O'Higgins 290 029
Great Puerto Montt The lakes 238 175
Talca Maule 206 069


Molina , typical traditional urban area.
Distribution by deciles of self-employed income by household, 2006-2009.

Until the beginning of the twentieth century Chilean society was divided into classes high and low irremovable. The Chilean aristocracy imposed its economic, political and social interests without major setbacks. However, since the first half of the 20th century, the country has managed to structure itself around the middle class . [ 305 ]

Despite the good economic indicators and the notable reduction in the level of poverty, which according to the CASEN survey fell from 38.6% in 1990 to 15.1% in 2009 —of which 3.7% corresponded to indigent and 11.4% people living below the poverty line -, [ 138 ] the income inequality generates a great social gap between rich and poor. In 2011, the Gini coefficient was 0.503, [ 306 ] that is, the richest decile in the country earned 27 times what the poorest decile received. [ 307 ]This inequality, observed in lower or higher indices throughout the history of Chile —retroprojected Gini coefficient of 0.366 in 1850 and 0.655 in 1913—, [ 308 ] has been attributed by different groups to the country's educational system, [ 309 ] to the endowment of natural factors that forced the development of a type of extractive economy that favored inequalities and even the elite structure inherited from the colonial period . [ citation needed ] As of 2018, the Gini coefficient was 0.466; ranking below the average for Latin America, which is 0.483. [ 310 ]

The social security in Chile operates through fund managers pension (AFP), private financial institutions responsible for administering the funds and pension savings for old age, invalidity and survivors. [ 311 ] In the case of the Armed Forces, these contingencies are administered by the Caja de Previsión de la Defensa Nacional (Capredena); [ 312 ] in that of the Carabineros de Chile, Investigaciones y Gendarmería, by the Directorate of Prevision of Carabineros (Dipreca). [ 313 ] Other social security contingencies—As a family allowance, work disability allowance and maternity leave allowance— are administered by the Family Allowance Compensation Funds (CCAF). [ 314 ] The mutual security companies complement the work of the AFPs by covering the contingencies of accidents at work and occupational diseases . [ 315 ] The Unemployment insurance , obligatory since 2002, is administered by the Fund Administrator Severance (AFC). [ 316 ] The pension system is supervised by theSocial Security Institute (IPS) and the Superintendency of Pensions and, globally, by the Superintendency of Social Security (Suseso). [ 317 ]


According to WHO , Chile ranks 33 rd place among 191 countries in terms of the overall functioning of the health system. [ 318 ] The Chilean health system is mixed. The state service that serves 81.9% of the population (in 2011), [ 319 ] is administered by the National Health Fund (Fonasa) —which allows its beneficiaries access to it both in the Institutional Care Modality (MAI), through the network of hospitals , clinics and Primary Emergency Care Services (SAPU), as in the free-choice modality (MLE), through clinicsand private health centers, through agreements and the purchase of care vouchers -. Meanwhile, private health, where 13% of the population was in 2011, [ 319 ] is administered by the Isapres , institutions that act as insurers of health benefits.

The supervision is in charge of the Ministry of Health , the Superintendency of Health - which corresponds to supervise and control Fonasa (regarding the rights of the beneficiaries in the modalities of institutional care, of free choice, and in the fulfillment of the Explicit Guarantees in Health ) and the Isapres (regarding compliance with the Explicit Health Guarantees and health contracts) - and the Health Seremis - executing body of public policies on health and compliance with current health legislation . [ 320 ]

In 2010 the five leading causes of death in Chile were cerebrovascular disease , ischemic heart disease , cirrhosis and other liver diseases, hypertensive diseases and pneumonia . [ 321 ] In Chile, the morbidity rate reaches 1.57 ‱, there is one doctor for every thousand inhabitants [ 322 ] and public spending on health corresponds to 7.2% of GDP. [ 323 ]

The right to health is protected in the Constitution. [ 21 ]

Road safety

The National Traffic Safety Commission (CONASET) is the government institution in charge of road safety in Chile. [ 324 ]

According to data from the Ministry of Health, in 2015 there were 1,958 deaths in traffic accidents [ 325 ] , making Chile the OECD country that had the worst death rate in traffic with 124 deaths per 1,000,000 inhabitants [ 326 ] . During 2018, according to information from the Carabineros de Chile , 89,311 traffic accidents were registered in Chile, resulting in 57,939 injuries from different considerations. [ 327 ]

The main road risk problem in Chile is the fatalities of vulnerable users. These correspond to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists fundamentally, since they are not protected by some type of bodywork or structure. Vulnerable road users account for more than 50% of deaths in 2015. [ 328 ]

The first cause of death in traffic accidents is "reckless speed and loss of vehicle control" with 29% of fatalities. [ 329 ]

The economic cost of traffic accidents is estimated 2.53% of the GDP of Chile in 2017. [ 330 ]


Chilean education is governed by the General Education Law of 2009 (LGE). Chile has four levels of education - preschool , basic , intermediate and higher -, of which the first three are compulsory . [ 331 ] In 2013 the country had 16,474 educational establishments: 4,198 preschoolers, 12,114 primary and secondary and 162 higher [ 332 ] —including technical training centers , professional institutes , universitiesand institutions of higher education of the Armed Forces. That same year, the national enrollment amounted to 4,967,798 students: 245,906 preschoolers, 3,537,087 primary and secondary schools -1,325,737 in municipal education ( public ), 1,897,949 in subsidized private education (mixed), 265,044 in education. private paid (private) and 48,537 of delegated administration corporations— and 1,184,805 superiors. [ 332 ]

The right to education and freedom of education are protected in the Constitution. Despite this, in Chile there are a series of problems related to the quality and access to education, especially at the higher level , which caused two large waves of social demonstrations in the country in 2006 and 2011 . [ 333 ]

In the period 2005-2013, the literacy rate among the population aged 15 years and over was 98.6% (98.5% for women and 98.6% for men), while among people aged 15 at 24 years it was 98.9% for both sexes. [ 10 ] [ 334 ]


Spoken by 99.3% of Chileans, [ 335 ] the Castilian is the official language de facto and administrative language of the country. [ 1 ] [ n 1 ] The vast majority of the population uses the variety known as