The people of Chile live in the second smallest country in South America and it has a tremendous history. The country is narrow and long. It is never wider than 350km and is 4350km long. It has a long coastline at the Pacific Ocean. In the North it borders on Peru. On the eastern side are the Andes, all along, making a natural boarder to Bolivia and Argentina. On the western side, Chile has a long coastline and access to the ocean.
The Bio Bio is Chile most important river. It cuts through the coastal range to the sea.
Chile has three extreme climates. In the North it is dry and arid. In the centre it has Mediterranean climate and in the south it is wet and stormy.
The Atacama Desert, apparently, is the driest place on earth. Some area has never seen a drop of rain since record began. It was formed 150 million years ago and is the oldest desert on earth. Another interesting point, scientist discovered that the surface boulders never moved for the last 23 million years. Astronomers often take advantage of the clear sky for their star spotting.
|PARNACO VOLCANO IN THE NORTH|
|CONGUILLIO NAGTIONAL PARK IN THE SOUTH CENTRAL OF CHILE|
|GREY GLACIER IN THE SOUTH|
The Andes' highest peaks are over 6000m. The northern Andes are a high, dry plateau. The highest peak called Ojos del Salado is 6879m and is in the centre. The south has many lakes and ffords and also 50 out of 2000 volcanoes are still active.
The wildlife in the north is llamas, vicunas, guanacos and alpacas. The last reserves of the chinchilla are found in the mountains. Also Andean puma, eagles and condor are at home there. A huge amount of plants, insects and animals are in the centre. Further south, in the wet regions, animals and birds are threatened by deforestation of the rainforest.
On the coast is dolphin and further south are sea elephants. South of Tierra del Fuego towards the Antarctica the seas are full of krill. These are necessary for the baleen whales.
The Spaniards brought the horses into the country and are now an important part on the cattle estates called estancias.
Punta Arenas is the most southern city in the word. Temperatures rarely go above 10oC and it is very windy. It is an oil production centre.
The island Tierra del Fuego is south of the mainland and belongs to Argentina and Chile. The inhabitants were farmers until the oil was discovered.
In the north of the country are the world's largest deposits of copper. There are also other minerals like lithium, gold, silver, coal and iron ore. Gas and oil are found in the south. Chile harvests its power from hydroelectric and thermal plants. The economy is based on the mineral resources and an established manufacturing base for wood pulp and fish meal.
Chile's annual fishing is the highest in the world because of the Humboldt current in Peru. Only 10% of the land is cultivated and mostly in the central region. They grow mainly cereal, sugar-beet, grapes for the wine industry and fruit. The pasture in the hills is for sheep and cattle grazing. The Lake District is for traditional farming and cattle rearing. The rainforests provide timber.
|THE ORIGINAL MAPUCHE INDIANS|
The people are mostly of mixed blood - Indians/Spaniards. A small group of Mapuche Indians are still living in Temuco. There are also Slavs, Arabs, Italians and Jews living in Chile.
Chile has a good social security system and it is privately run. The health system has improved so much that it has the highest life expectancy in South America. The population is the highest educated. Two international poets, Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral are Nobel prizewinners.
10,000 years ago the Native Americans migrated and settle what is today's Chile. Evidence proves that there were settlements at Cueve del Milodeon and Pali Aike Crater's lava tube. The Incas tried to move into North Chile but the Mapudie beat them back. They fought Sapa Inca Tupac Yupanqui and his army. A three days battle wich is known as the Battle of the Maule. The Incas conquest of the territory ended at the river Maule.
A century before the Spaniards conquered Chile; Incas made their way to central Chile. When the Spaniard, Pizarro, invaded their empire and destroyed it.
The first attempt for independents was made at the beginning of the 19th century when France invaded Spain. In 1817 Chile defeated the Spaniards. After that the country was ruled by a constitutional oligarchy until the early 29th century. The population demanded a democratically elected government.
In 1970 the first elected Marxist leader, SalvadoreAllende, became president. He nationalized the US-owned copper mines and America answered it with a boycott. This brought hardship to the country.
General Pinochet led a military coup and overthrew Allende. Pinochet suppressed all opposition and a referendum in 1988 reject the military regime. Democracy returned and the country returned to civilian rule.
|CAPE HORN WITH ITS STRONG CURRENT, STRONG WIND AND ICEBERGS -- IT WAS DREADED BY SAILORS|