Covering an area of about 756,096 sq.km (291,930.4 sq mi) and with a toothy coastline of almost 4,000 miles, pencil-thin Chile is wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the rugged Andes, the world's longest mountain range; in southwestern part of South America. This land of incredible and unusual contrasts is also home to the numerous beaches, fjords, deep sea channels, glaciers and icebergs - and the Atacama Desert - a virtually rainless plateau made up of salt basins and lava flows.
As observed on the physical map of Chile above, most of the country's interior is covered by mountains. The snowcapped Andes cover almost all of its eastern border. Generally lower, non-Andean ranges dissect Chile (north to south) with the largest being the Cordillera de la Costa in the far south. Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Andes are geologically a young mountain range that includes over 600 volcanoes (within Chile alone), many of them active, and almost 10% have erupted (at least once) within the last century. Throughout the country deep valleys and high plateaus front these mountains, most winding east to west; the central valley (or Pampas) runs to the Pacific Ocean shoreline. Chile's highest point (as marked on the map, as an upright yellow triangle) is Nevado Ojos del Salado. With an elevation of 22,572ft (6,880m) it is also the 2nd highest mountain in South America. The lowest point is at the Pacific Ocean.
The Lake Region of the South, is a group of mostly small, clear blue cold-water lakes; in this area, waterfalls are common. In the far-south, an almost uncountable group of mountainous islands (forming varied archipelagos) front the coastline, forming a series of winding channels and fjords. Cape Horn, directly south of the island of Tierra del Fuego, is the southern-most point in the world, next to Antarctica. Mixed into the stunning landscape are the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields that form the largest continental mass of ice in the world, outside of Greenland and Antarctica. Hundreds of glaciers branch off the ice fields, many extend all the way to sea level. Meltwater from the glaciers gather in lakes such as the General Carrera - the 2nd largest lake in South America. And as for rivers - dozens rise in the upper reaches of the Andes and flow either to the Pacific Ocean, or east through the neighboring Argentina.
Chile (officially, the Republic of Chile) is administratively divided into 16 regions (regiones, singular - region), 56 provinces (provincias) and 346 communes (comunas). In alphabetical order, the regions are: Aysen, Antofagasta, Araucania, Arica y Parinacota, Atacama, Biobio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Los Rios, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena (Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica), Maule, Nuble, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca and Valparaiso.
Chile covers a total area of about 756,096 sq. km. Located in the heart of the Santiago Basin (valley) and the Santiago Metropolitan Region is, Santiago - the capital and the largest city of Chile. It is also one of the largest cities in the Americas. Santiago is the administrative, cultural, industrial and financial center of the country.
Chile is a country located in the southwestern part of South America. It is geographically positioned both in the Western and Southern hemispheres. Chile occupies a long, narrow coastal land strip wedged between the Andes Mountains to the east and the South Pacific Ocean to the west. It is bordered by Peru to the north; by Bolivia to the northeast; by Argentina to the east and by the Drake Passage to the south.
Regional Maps: Map of South America
|Legal Name||Republic of Chile|
|Capital City||Santiago; note - Valparaiso is the seat of the national legislature|
|33 27 S, 70 40 W|
|Independence||18 September 1810 (from Spain)|
|Total Area||756,102.00 km2|
|Land Area||743,812.00 km2|
|Water Area||12,290.00 km2|
|Total Border||7,801.0 km|
|Bordering Countries||Argentina 6691 km, Bolivia 942 km, Peru 168 km|
|Climate||Temperate; desert in north; mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south|
|Coordinates||30 00 S, 71 00 W|
|Mean Elevation||1,871 m|
|Lowest Elevation||0 m|
|Highest Elevation||6,880 m|
|Nevado Ojos del Salado|
|Ethnic Groups||white and non-indigenous 88.9%, Mapuche 9.1%, Aymara 0.7%, other indigenous groups 1% (includes Rapa Nui, Likan Antai, Quechua, Colla, Diaguita, Kawesqar, Yagan or Yamana), unspecified 0.3% (2012 est.)|
|Languages||Spanish 99.5% (official), English 10.2%, indigenous 1% (includes Mapudungun, Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui), other 2.3%, unspecified 0.2% (2012 est.)|
|Religions||Roman Catholic 66.7%, Evangelical or Protestant 16.4%, Jehovah's Witness 1%, other 3.4%, none 11.5%, unspecified 1.1% (2012 est.)|
|Currency||Chilean pesos (CLP)|
|GDP Per Capita||$14,896.45|
|Exports||Copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine|
This page was last updated on November 10, 2020