Before Spanish colonists arrived in Chile, it was inhabited by Native American peoples such as the Inca, Mapuche, and the Araucanian. Chile was a Spanish colony for a few hundred years until Chile gained autonomy in 1810 and then gained fully Independence from Spain in 1818. Only the next few decades Chile was entangled in civil wars, coups and leadership changes. In 1883 Chile defeated Bolivia and Peru in the War of the Pacific to gain its modern day borders. Since 1989 after Chile's dictator Augusto Pinochet stepped down, the country has had a stable republic government and economy. Today, Chile is well known for its rich cultural heritage, as well as its beautiful natural sights such as the world famous Torres Del Paine National Park.
The 3 Largest Cities in Chile
Concepción is the third largest city in Chile, and is a coastal city that is located near the mouth of the Biobío River. Concepción is a one of the major commercial and industry cities in Chile, mainly due to its perfect location. Since the city sits near the Biobío River it has a corridor to the interiors of the country and access to the agricultural, forest and mining regions that make the city a major commercial hub. Due to all of the trade and industry that is in and go through the city, a lot of people are employed in this sector. The city is known for having a long music tradition, especially with rock music and is also for its hub of universities. As is the rest of Chile, the residents of Concepción have a Roman Catholic majority.
Valparaíso is the legislative capital of Chile, a coastal city, and is one of the Pacific Ocean's most important seaports in South America. It is located on the center of Chile's long coastline. Valparaíso is the city that the Chilean National Congress is located in, making the city arguably the second most political city outside of Santiago. It is a city of fascinating architecture, including its unique system of funicular lifts only found in this city. The city is a major tourism destination and center of commerce, along with having a major shipping and freighter industry. These are also the major industries that most people who live in Valparaíso are employed in. In line with the rest of Chile, the residents of Valparaíso are comprised in majority by Catholics.
Santiago is the official capital of Chile, the oldest city in the country, and by far has the highest population of any city in Chile. Santiago is perfectly located in the Chilean Central Valley, wedged between the coastal line of the country and the mighty Andes Mountains. The city is the financial, industrial and economic center of the country, with most of the cities residents being employed in one of these sectors. Santiago has all of the amenities that one would expect from any major capital city such as museums, libraries, sports stadiums, parks, cathedrals, theaters, and much more. It is also the focal point of the nation's railroad system, has a major metro rail transport system as would most major cities, and has a series of highways to connect the city on the outskirts. Santiago, as with most areas of Chile, is predominately Catholic, 68% of the population, but also has a significant population of Evangelical Protestants at 13%, and of people who say they are Atheist or Agnostic at 10%.
Chile in 2030: Projections for the Future
By 2030, Chile's population is forecast to increase from around 17 million people to around 20 million people. Chile's population will continue to age and Santiago will continue to be by far the country's most populous city. The country's average age should rise by six years from its current rate of around 33 years old to closer to 39 years old. The percent of the population that lives in urban areas is expected to see a close increase.