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Facts about Chile For Kids


Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 480,000 sq mi of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

  • The arid Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally copper.
  • The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions.
  • In the 19th century, Chile saw significant economic and territorial growth, ending Mapuche resistance in the 1880s and gaining its current northern territory in the War of the Pacific (1879–83) after defeating Peru and Bolivia.
  • In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the country experienced severe left-right political polarization and turmoil.
  • This development culminated with the 1973 Chilean coup d’état that overthrew Salvador Allende’s left-wing government and instituted a 16-year-long right-wing military dictatorship that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing.
  • It leads Latin American nations in rankings of human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, state of peace, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.
  • Chile is a founding member of the United Nations, the Union of South American Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
  • According to 17th-century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales, 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.
  • 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.
  • With Carrera in prison in Argentina, O’Higgins and anti-Carrera cohort José de San Martín, hero of the Argentine War of Independence, led an army that crossed the Andes into Chile and defeated the royalists.
  • On 5 August 2010 the access tunnel collapsed at the San Jose copper and gold mine in the Atacama Desert near Copiapó in northern Chile, trapping 33 men 700 metres (2,300 ft) below ground.
  • These islands are notable because they extend Chile’s claim to territorial waters out from its coast into the Pacific Ocean.
  • 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.
  • In 2006, Chile became the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America.