Geographic and Governmental Profile of Chile

Background
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the Inca ruled northern Chile while the indigenous Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche Indians were completely subjugated. After a series of elected governments, the three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president was installed in 1990. Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.
Location
Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
Geographic coordinates
30 00 S, 71 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
South America
Area
total:
756,102 sq km
rank:
38
land:
743,812 sq km
water:
12,290 sq km
includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana
Land boundaries
total:
6,339 km
border countries:
Argentina 5,308 km, Bolivia 860 km, Peru 171 km
Coastline
6,435 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200/350 nm
Climate
temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
Terrain
low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,880 m
Natural resources
copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
2.62%
permanent crops:
0.43%
other:
96.95% (2005)
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Irrigated land
19,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
922 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
12.55 cu km/yr (11%/25%/64%)
per capita:
770 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
volcanism:
significant volcanic activity due to more than three-dozen active volcanoes along the Andes Mountains; Lascar (elev. 5,592 m), which last erupted in 2007, is the most active volcano in the northern Chilean Andes; Llaima (elev. 3,125 m) in central Chile, which last erupted in 2009, is another of the country's most active; Chaiten's 2008 eruption forced major evacuations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Cerro Hudson, Copahue, Guallatiri, Llullaillaco, Nevados de Chillan, Puyehue, San Pedro, and Villarrica
Environment - current issues
widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
the longest north-south trending country in the world, extending across 38 degrees of latitude; strategic location relative to sea lanes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert - the driest desert in the world - spreads across the northern part of the country; the crater lake of Ojos del Salado is the world's highest lake (at 6,390 m)
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Chile
conventional short form:
Chile
local long form:
Republica de Chile
local short form:
Chile
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Santiago
geographic coordinates:
33 27 S, 70 40 W
time difference:
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins third Sunday in August; ends second Sunday in May; note - the end of DST was delayed until 8 May 2011 due to the ongoing energy crisis
Valparaiso is the seat of the national legislature
Administrative divisions
15 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Arica y Parinacota, Atacama, Biobio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Los Rios, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso
the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
Independence
18 September 1810 (from Spain)
Constitution
11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended several times
Legal system
civil law system influenced by several West European civil legal systems; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Sebastian PINERA Echenique (since 11 March 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Sebastian PINERA Echenique (since 11 March 2010)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held on 13 December 2009 with runoff election held on 17 January 2010 (next to be held in December 2013)
election results:
Sebastian PINERA Echenique elected president; percent of vote - Sebastian PINERA Echenique 51.6%; Eduardo FREI 48.4%
Legislative branch
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (38 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve eight-year terms; one-half elected every four years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections:
Senate - last held on 13 December 2009 (next to be held in December 2013); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 13 December 2009 (next to be held in December 2013)
election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPD 9 (PDC 4, PPD 3, PS 2), APC 9 (RN 6, UDI 3); Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 58 (UDI 37, RN 18, other 3), CPD 57 (PDC 19, PPD 18, PS 11, PRSD 5, PC 3, other 1), PRI 3, independent 2; note - as of 1 February 2012, the composition of the entire legislature is as follows: Senate - seats by party - CPD 19 (PDC 9, PPD 4, PS 5, PRSD 1), APC 16 (RN 8, UDI 8), independent 2, MAS 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party - APC 57 (UDI 39, RN 18), CPD 53 (PDC 19, PPD 18, PS 11, PRSD 5), independent 5, PC 3, PRI 2
Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself; the president of the Supreme Court is elected every three years by the 20-member court); Constitutional Tribunal (eight-members - two each from the Senate, Chamber of Deputies, Supreme Court, and National Security Council - review the constitutionality of laws approved by Congress)
Political parties and leaders
Broad Social Movement or MAS; Clean Chile Vote Happy or CLVF (including Broad Social Movement, Country Force, and Independent Regionalist Party or PRI); Coalition for Change or CC (also known as the Alliance for Chile (Alianza) or APC) (including National Renewal or RN [Carlos LARRAIN Pena], Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Juan Antonio COLOMA Correa], and Chile First [Vlado MIROSEVIC]); Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertacion) or CPD (including Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Ignacio WALKER], Party for Democracy or PPD [Carolina TOHA Morales], Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Jose Antonio GOMEZ Urrutia], and Socialist Party or PS [Osvaldo ANDRADE]); Partido Ecologista del Sur; Together We Can Do More (including Communist Party or PC [Guillermo TEILLIER del Valle], and Humanist Party or PH [Danilo MONTEVERDE])
Political pressure groups and leaders
Roman Catholic Church, particularly conservative groups such as Opus Dei; United Labor Central or CUT includes trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confederations
other:
revitalized university student federations at all major universities
International organization participation
APEC, BIS, BRICS, CAN (associate), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, MINUSTAH, NAM, OAS, OECD (Enhanced Engagement, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Felipe BULNES
chancery:
1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone:
[1] (202) 785-1746
FAX:
[1] (202) 887-5579
consulate(s) general:
Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Alejandro D. WOLFF
embassy:
Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago
mailing address:
APO AA 34033
telephone:
[56] (2) 330-3000
FAX:
[56] (2) 330-3710, 330-3160
Flag description
two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; 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 represents the blood spilled to achieve independence
design was influenced by the US flag
National symbol(s)
huemul (mountain deer); Andean condor
National anthem
name:
"Himno Nacional de Chile" (National Anthem of Chile)
lyrics/music:
Eusebio LILLO Robles and Bernardo DE VERA y Pintado/Ramon CARNICER y Battle
music adopted 1828, original lyrics adopted 1818, adapted lyrics adopted 1847; under Augusto PINOCHET"s military rule, a verse glorifying the army was added; however, as a protest, some citizens refused to sing this verse; it was removed when democracy was restored in 1990
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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