A panoramic view of the Torres del Paine mountains across a lake and jetty, Patagonia

Chile - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue Rogers
Date: 18th January 2019

Who Colonised Chile?

  • The territory of Chile has been populated by migrating Native Americans, for the last 10,000 years or since at least 3000 BCE depending on which part of Wikipedia you believe,
  • By the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors began to colonise the region of present-day Chile, and the territory was a colony between 1540 and 1818, when it gained independence from Spain.
  • The country's economic development was successively marked by the export of first agricultural produce, then saltpetre (from guano) and later copper.

Chile - Snippets of Information

  • Chile is one of the longest countries in the world, with a coastline of around 6500 km long. However, it is also one of the narrowest in the world with a width of just over 200 km.
  • At a count just over 1300, Chile is one of the countries with the most volcanoes and several of them are still active.
  • The Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth. Average rainfall measures about 0.6 inches a year. 
  • Chile is one of the few countries on Earth that has an officially funded and recognised UFO research bureau.
  • Chileans are the second biggest consumers of bread in the world - just behind the Germans. 
  • The wine is good…(The Spanish brought at least one useful thing with them...)

Why is Chile Called Chile?

No-one really knows why Chile is called Chile. . ... One theory says  Chile may derive its name from the indigenous Mapuche word chilli, which may mean “where the land ends,” “the deepest point of the Earth." Another says it is based on the Mapuche imitation of a bird call which sounds like “cheele cheele."

Is Chile a Safe Place to Visit?

Chile currently ranks as the 27th safest country on the planet. It is usually considered the safest country in South America, together with Uruguay.

Is Chile a Poor Country?

Chile has poverty rate of 8.6%, which is relatively low and it ranks overall as a developing, but middle income country.

Where to Visit in Chile?

Chile has some incredible scenery - as well as the wine:

  • Easter Island and the Moai statues are well worth the long flight
  • Santiago and Valparaiso have some great hotels

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