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Search term:. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience.

Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so. BBC News Updated every minute of every day. One-Minute World News. News Front Page. E-mail this to a friend Printable version. Profile: Alberto Fujimori. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals , twisting peninsulas, and islands. Spain conquered and colonized the region in the midth century, replacing Inca rule in the north and centre, but failing to conquer the independent Mapuche who inhabited what is now south-central Chile.

After declaring its independence from Spain in , Chile emerged in the s as a relatively stable authoritarian republic. In the 19th century, Chile saw significant economic and territorial growth, ending Mapuche resistance in the s and gaining its current northern territory in the War of the Pacific —83 after defeating Peru and Bolivia. The modern sovereign state of Chile is among South America's most economically and socially stable and prosperous nations, with a high-income economy and high living standards.

Currently it also has the lowest homicide rate in the Americas after Canada. There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile. According to 17th-century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales , [16] the Incas called the valley of the Aconcagua "Chili" by corruption of the name of a Picunche tribal chief "cacique" called Tili , who ruled the area at the time of the Incan conquest in the 15th century. Other theories say Chile may derive its name from a Native American word meaning either "ends of the earth" or "sea gulls"; [19] from the Mapuche word chilli, which may mean "where the land ends;" [20] or from the Quechua chiri , "cold", [21] or tchili , meaning either "snow" [21] [22] or "the deepest point of the Earth".

The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, and the few survivors of Diego de Almagro 's first Spanish expedition south from Peru in —36 called themselves the "men of Chilli". Stone tool evidence indicates humans sporadically frequented the Monte Verde valley area as long as 18, years ago.

The Incas briefly extended their empire into what is now northern Chile, but the Mapuche or Araucanians as they were known by the Spaniards successfully resisted many attempts by the Inca Empire to subjugate them, despite their lack of state organization. The result of the bloody three-day confrontation known as the Battle of the Maule was that the Inca conquest of the territories of Chile ended at the Maule river. In , while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the southern passage now named after him the Strait of Magellan thus becoming the first European to set foot on what is now Chile.

The next Europeans to reach Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors , who came from Peru in seeking gold. The Spanish encountered various cultures that supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. The conquest of Chile began in earnest in and was carried out by Pedro de Valdivia , one of Francisco Pizarro 's lieutenants, who founded the city of Santiago on 12 February Although the Spanish did not find the extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part of the Spanish Empire.

Conquest took place gradually, and the Europeans suffered repeated setbacks. A massive Mapuche insurrection that began in resulted in Valdivia's death and the destruction of many of the colony's principal settlements. Subsequent major insurrections took place in and in Each time the Mapuche and other native groups revolted, the southern border of the colony was driven northward.


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The abolition of slavery by the Spanish crown in was done in recognition that enslaving the Mapuche intensified resistance rather than cowing them into submission. Despite royal prohibitions, relations remained strained from continual colonialist interference. Cut off to the north by desert, to the south by the Mapuche, to the east by the Andes Mountains, and to the west by the ocean, Chile became one of the most centralized, homogeneous colonies in Spanish America.

Serving as a sort of frontier garrison , the colony found itself with the mission of forestalling encroachment by both the Mapuche and Spain's European enemies, especially the British and the Dutch. Chile hosted one of the largest standing armies in the Americas, making it one of the most militarized of the Spanish possessions, as well as a drain on the treasury of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The population is estimated at ,, In , Napoleon's enthronement of his brother Joseph as the Spanish King precipitated the drive by the colony for independence from Spain.

A national junta in the name of Ferdinand — heir to the deposed king — was formed on 18 September The Government Junta of Chile proclaimed Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy in memory of this day, Chile celebrates its National Day on 18 September each year. Spanish attempts to re-impose arbitrary rule during what was called the Reconquista led to a prolonged struggle, including infighting from Bernardo O'Higgins , who challenged Carrera's leadership.

Intermittent warfare continued until On 12 February , Chile was proclaimed an independent republic. The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th-century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial social structure, which was greatly influenced by family politics and the Roman Catholic Church. A strong presidency eventually emerged, but wealthy landowners remained powerful. Chile slowly started to expand its influence and to establish its borders. Through the founding of Fort Bulnes by the Schooner Ancud under the command of John Williams Wilson , the Magallanes region joined the country in , while the Antofagasta region , at the time part of Bolivia, began to fill with people.

As a result of the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia —83 , Chile expanded its territory northward by almost one-third, eliminating Bolivia's access to the Pacific, and acquired valuable nitrate deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence.

Chile had joined the stand as one of the high-income countries in South America by The Chilean Civil War brought about a redistribution of power between the President and Congress, and Chile established a parliamentary style democracy. However, the Civil War had also been a contest between those who favored the development of local industries and powerful Chilean banking interests, particularly the House of Edwards who had strong ties to foreign investors.

Soon after, the country engaged in a vastly expensive naval arms race with Argentina that nearly led to war. The Chilean economy partially degenerated into a system protecting the interests of a ruling oligarchy. By the s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, Arturo Alessandri , whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress.

In the s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose. A military coup led by General Luis Altamirano in set off a period of political instability that lasted until When constitutional rule was restored in , a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party dominance —52 , the state increased its role in the economy.

The presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty", the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform , including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By , however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive.

At the end of his term, Frei had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals. Allende was not elected with an absolute majority, receiving fewer than 35 percent of votes. The Chilean Congress conducted a runoff vote between the leading candidates, Allende and former president Jorge Alessandri, and, keeping with tradition, chose Allende by a vote of to Frei refused to form an alliance with Alessandri to oppose Allende, on the grounds that the Christian Democrats were a workers' party and could not make common cause with the right wing.

An economic depression that began in was exacerbated by capital flight , plummeting private investment, and withdrawal of bank deposits in response to Allende's socialist program. Production fell and unemployment rose. Allende adopted measures including price freezes, wage increases, and tax reforms, to increase consumer spending and redistribute income downward. Many enterprises within the copper , coal, iron, nitrate , and steel industries were expropriated , nationalized, or subjected to state intervention.

Industrial output increased sharply and unemployment fell during the Allende administration's first year. Allende's program included advancement of workers' interests, [37] [38] replacing the judicial system with "socialist legality", [39] nationalization of banks and forcing others to bankruptcy, [39] and strengthening "popular militias" known as MIR. The measure was passed unanimously by Congress. As a result, [40] the Richard Nixon administration organized and inserted secret operatives in Chile, in order to swiftly destabilize Allende's government. The economic problems were also exacerbated by Allende's public spending which was financed mostly by printing money and poor credit ratings given by commercial banks.

The crippled economy was further battered by prolonged and sometimes simultaneous strikes by physicians, teachers, students, truck owners, copper workers, and the small business class. On 26 May , Chile's Supreme Court, which was opposed to Allende's government, unanimously denounced the Allende disruption of the legality of the nation. Although illegal under the Chilean constitution, the court supported and strengthened Pinochet's soon-to-be seizure of power.

A military coup overthrew Allende on 11 September As the armed forces bombarded the presidential palace , Allende apparently committed suicide. A military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet , took control of the country. The first years of the regime were marked by human rights violations. Chile actively participated in Operation Condor. The stadium was renamed for Jara in A new Constitution was approved by a controversial plebiscite on 11 September , and General Pinochet became president of the republic for an eight-year term.

After Pinochet obtained rule of the country, several hundred committed Chilean revolutionaries joined the Sandinista army in Nicaragua , guerrilla forces in Argentina or training camps in Cuba , Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. In the late s, largely as a result of events such as the economic collapse [55] and mass civil resistance in —88, the government gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech , and association, to include trade union and political activity.

Chile moved toward a free market economy that saw an increase in domestic and foreign private investment, although the copper industry and other important mineral resources were not opened for competition. Chileans elected a new president and the majority of members of a bicameral congress on 14 December On 27 February , Chile was struck by an 8. More than people died most from the ensuing tsunami and over a million people lost their homes. The earthquake was also followed by multiple aftershocks. Chile achieved global recognition for the successful rescue of 33 trapped miners in A rescue effort organized by the Chilean government located the miners 17 days later.

All 33 men were brought to the surface two months later on 13 October over a period of almost 24 hours, an effort that was carried on live television around the world. The current Constitution of Chile was approved in a national plebiscite —regarded as "highly irregular" by some observers [65] —in September , under the military government of Augusto Pinochet.

It entered into force in March After Pinochet's defeat in the plebiscite , the constitution was amended to ease provisions for future amendments to the Constitution.

Peruvian-Chilean War (Napoleon's World)

In September , President Ricardo Lagos signed into law several constitutional amendments passed by Congress. These include eliminating the positions of appointed senators and senators for life , granting the President authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces, and reducing the presidential term from six to four years. Senators serve for eight years with staggered terms, while deputies are elected every 4 years.

The last congressional elections were held on 17 November , concurrently with the presidential election. The current Senate has a 21—15 split in favor of the governing coalition and 2 independents. The current lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, contains 67 members of the governing center-left coalition, 48 from the center-right opposition and 5 from small parties or independents. Chile's congressional elections are governed by a binomial system that, for the most part, rewards the two largest representations equally, often regardless of their relative popular support.

Only if the leading coalition ticket out-polls the second place coalition by a margin of more than 2-to-1 does the winning coalition gain both seats, which tends to lock the legislature in a roughly 50—50 split. Chile's judiciary is independent and includes a court of appeal, a system of military courts, a constitutional tribunal, and the Supreme Court of Chile. In June , Chile completed a nationwide overhaul of its criminal justice system. In the congressional elections, the conservative Independent Democratic Union UDI surpassed the Christian Democrats for the first time to become the largest party in the lower house.

In the legislative elections in Chile, the Communist Party won 3 out of seats in the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in 30 years the Communist Party was not allowed to exist as such during the dictatorship. Chileans voted in the first round of presidential elections on 17 November None of the nine presidential candidates got more than 50 percent of the vote. This was Chile's sixth presidential election since the end of the Pinochet era.

All six have been judged free and fair. The president is constitutionally barred from serving consecutive terms. Since the early decades after independence, Chile has always had an active involvement in foreign affairs. In the country aggressively challenged the dominance of Peru's port of Callao for preeminence in the Pacific trade routes, defeating the short-lived alliance between Peru and Bolivia, the Peru-Bolivian Confederation —39 in the War of the Confederation. The war dissolved the confederation while distributing power in the Pacific.

A second international war, the War of the Pacific —83 , further increased Chile's regional role, while adding considerably to its territory. During the 19th century, Chile's commercial ties were primarily with Britain, a nation that had a major influence on the formation of the Chilean navy. The French influenced Chile's legal and educational systems and had a decisive impact on Chile, through the architecture of the capital in the boom years at the turn of the 20th century.

German influence came from the organization and training of the army by Prussians. Since its return to democracy in , Chile has been an active participant in the international political arena. Jose Miguel Insulza, a Chilean national, was elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States in May and confirmed in his position, being re-elected in The country is an active member of the UN family of agencies and participates in UN peacekeeping activities. An associate member of Mercosur and a full member of APEC, Chile has been a major player in international economic issues and hemispheric free trade.

There have been long arguments between Chileans and Peruvians since the s because they both claim boundary coastal lines. This also known as the "triangulation" which was made to fix the boundary problem between Chile and Peru. The decisions were accomplished on January 27, by the International Court of Justice [73] This became the War of the Pacific which was in the years The attempt was also made to The United States but failed badly on October There was a resistance between Peruvians and Chileans for a few years because they couldn't agree. This was later signed by both of them on October 20, to keep peace between them.

In , Peru took Chile to court over their maritime disputes. Then later in , the International Court of Justice's ruling resulted in Chile losing 80 miles from Northwestern ocean zone. The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries. It settled all its territorial disputes with Argentina during the s except for part of the border at Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Chile and Bolivia severed diplomatic ties in over Bolivia's desire to regain sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean after its lost to Chile in —83 War of the Pacific. The two countries maintain consular relations and are represented at the Consul General level.

In Chile was administratively divided into regions , [76] and in subdivided into provinces and these into communes. Each region is designated by a name and a Roman numeral assigned from north to south, except for the Santiago Metropolitan Region , which does not have a number. The national flower is the copihue Lapageria rosea , Chilean bellflower , which grows in the woods of southern Chile. The coat of arms depicts the two national animals: the condor Vultur gryphus , a very large bird that lives in the mountains and the huemul Hippocamelus bisulcus, an endangered white tail deer.

The flag of Chile consists of two equal horizontal bands of white top and red; there is a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red stands for the blood spilled to achieve independence.

The flag of Chile is similar to the Flag of Texas , although the Chilean flag is 21 years older. The Armed Forces of Chile are subject to civilian control exercised by the president through the Minister of Defense. The president has the authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces. The Chilean Army is one of the most professional and technologically advanced armies in Latin America. Of the fleet of 29 surface vessels, only eight are operational major combatants frigates. The Navy also operates four submarines based in Talcahuano.

The Air Force took delivery of the final two of ten Fs, all purchased from the U. Chile also took delivery in of a number of reconditioned Block 15 Fs from the Netherlands, bringing to 18 the total of Fs purchased from the Dutch. After the military coup in September the Chilean national police Carabineros were incorporated into the Defense Ministry.

With the return of democratic government, the police were placed under the operational control of the Interior Ministry but remained under the nominal control of the Defense Ministry. It is situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Chile is among the longest north-south countries in the world. If one considers only mainland territory, Chile is unique within this group in its narrowness from east to west, with the other long north-south countries including Brazil , Russia , Canada , and the United States, among others all being wider from east to west by a factor of more than However, this latter claim is suspended under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty , of which Chile is a signatory.

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Also controlled but only temporarily inhabited by some local fishermen are the small islands of San Ambrosio and San Felix. These islands are notable because they extend Chile's claim to territorial waters out from its coast into the Pacific Ocean. The northern Atacama Desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper and nitrates. The relatively small Central Valley, which includes Santiago, dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources.

This area is also the historical center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it integrated the northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests, grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border. The diverse climate of Chile ranges from the world's driest desert in the north—the Atacama Desert —through a Mediterranean climate in the center, humid subtropical in Easter Island, to an oceanic climate , including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south.

There are four seasons in most of the country: summer December to February , autumn March to May , winter June to August , and spring September to November. The flora and fauna of Chile are characterized by a high degree of endemism, due to its particular geography. In continental Chile, the Atacama Desert in the north and the Andes mountains to the east are barriers that have led to the isolation of flora and fauna.

The native flora of Chile consists of relatively fewer species compared to the flora of other South American countries.

Peru's War of Independence #2: The Proclamation of Independence - jyhoxafi.cf

The northernmost coastal and central region is largely barren of vegetation, approaching the most absolute desert in the world. The central valley is characterized by several species of cacti, the hardy espinos , the Chilean pine , the southern beeches and the copihue , a red bell-shaped flower that is Chile's national flower. Grassland is found in Atlantic Chile in Patagonia. Much of the Chilean flora is distinct from that of neighboring Argentina, indicating that the Andean barrier existed during its formation.

Some of Chile's flora has an Antarctic origin due to land bridges which formed during the Cretaceous ice ages, allowing plants to migrate from Antarctica to South America. Just over 3, species of fungi are recorded in Chile, [97] [98] but this number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species occurring in Chile is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7 percent of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Chile's geographical isolation has restricted the immigration of faunal life, so that only a few of the many distinctive South American animals are found.

Among the larger mammals are the puma or cougar, the llama-like guanaco and the fox-like chilla. In the forest region, several types of marsupials and a small deer known as the pudu are found. There are many species of small birds, but most of the larger common Latin American types are absent. Few freshwater fish are native, but North American trout have been successfully introduced into the Andean lakes. Whales are abundant, and some six species of seals are found in the area.

Spanish loyalists in Lima soon found themselves squeezed in between two revolutionary movements.

Chile is located along a highly seismic and volcanic zone, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, due to the subduction of the Nazca and Antarctic plates in the South American plate. Late Paleozoic , million years ago, Chile belonged to the continental block called Gondwana. It was just a depression accumulated marine sediments began to rise at the end of the Mesozoic, 66 million years ago, due to the collision between the Nazca and South American plates, resulting in the Andes.

The territory would be shaped by millions of years due to the folding of the rocks, forming the current relief. Chile's highest peak is the Nevado Ojos del Salado , at Among the coastal mountains and the Pacific is a series of coastal plains, of variable length, which allow the settlement of coastal towns and big ports. Some areas of the plains territories encompass territory east of the Andes, and the Patagonian steppes and Magellan, or are high plateaus surrounded by high mountain ranges, such as the Altiplano or Puna de Atacama.

It is characterized by the presence of the Atacama desert , the most arid in the world. The desert is fragmented by streams that originate in the area known as the pampas Tamarugal. The Andes, split in two and whose eastern arm runs Bolivia , has a high altitude and volcanic activity, which has allowed the formation of the Andean altiplano and salt structures as the Salar de Atacama , due to the gradual accumulation of sediments over time.

To the south is the Norte Chico , extending to the Aconcagua river. The two mountain ranges intersect, virtually eliminating the intermediate depression. The existence of rivers flowing through the territory allows the formation of transverse valleys , where agriculture has developed strongly in recent times, while the coastal plains begin to expand. The Central area is the most populated region of the country. The coastal plains are wide and allow the establishment of cities and ports along the Pacific. The Andes maintains altitudes above m but descend slowly starts approaching the meters on average.

The intermediate depression reappears becoming a fertile valley that allows agricultural development and human settlement, due to sediment accumulation. To the south, the Cordillera de la Costa reappears in the range of Nahuelbuta while glacial sediments originate a series of lakes in the area of La Frontera. During the last glaciation , this area was covered by ice that strongly eroded Chilean relief structures. The Andes mountain range loses height and erosion caused by the action of glaciers has caused fjords.

East of the Andes, on the continent, or north of it, on the island of Tierra del Fuego are located relatively flat plains, which in the Strait of Magellan cover large areas. In the middle of the Pacific, the country has sovereignty over several islands of volcanic origin, collectively known as Insular Chile. Of these, we highlight the archipelago of Juan Fernandez and Easter Island, which is located in the fracture zone between the Nazca plate and the Pacific plate known as East Pacific Rise. Due to the characteristics of the territory, Chile is crossed by numerous rivers generally short in length and with low torrential flow.

In the center-north of the country, the number of rivers that form valleys of agricultural importance increases. Their waters mainly flow from Andean snowmelt in the summer and winter rains. A Chilean army then invaded Peru.


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  • An attempt at mediation by the United States failed in October , and Chilean forces occupied the Peruvian capital of Lima the following January. Peruvian resistance continued for three more years, with U. Finally, on Oct. Chile was also to occupy the provinces of Tacna and Arica for 10 years, after which a plebiscite was to be held to determine their nationality. But the two countries failed for decades to agree on what terms the plebiscite was to be conducted.

    This diplomatic dispute over Tacna and Arica was known as the Question of the Pacific. In a truce between Bolivia and Chile gave the latter control of the entire Bolivian coast Antofagasta province , with its nitrate, copper, and other mineral industries; a treaty in made this arrangement permanent. In return Chile agreed to build a railroad connecting the Bolivian capital of La Paz with the port of Arica and guaranteed freedom of transit for Bolivian commerce through Chilean ports and territory.

    See also Chaco War. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.

    Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. See Article History. Read More on This Topic. Another untoward event was the War of the Pacific with Chile, caused mainly by rivalry over the exploitation of rich nitrate…. Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.