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A three-year-old Marxist government was overthrown in 1973 by a dictatorial military regime 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 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.



Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru

Geographic coordinates:

30 00 S, 71 00 W


total: 756,950 sq km
land: 748,800 sq km
water: 8,150 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana

Land boundaries:

total: 6,171 km
border countries: Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km


6,435 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200/350 nm


temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south


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: 2.65%
permanent crops: 0.42%
other: 96.93% (2001)

Irrigated land:

18,000 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis

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:

strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions



15,980,912 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.2% (male 2,062,735/female 1,970,913)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 5,320,870/female 5,342,771)
65 years and over: 8% (male 534,737/female 748,886) (2005 est.)

Median age:

total: 30.07 years
male: 29.17 years
female: 31.05 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.97% (2005 est.)

Birth rate:

15.44 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate:

5.76 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 8.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.58 years
male: 73.3 years
female: 80.03 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.02 children born/woman (2005 est.)


noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean

Ethnic groups:

white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%


Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish NEGL%




definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.2%
male: 96.4%
female: 96.1% (2003 est.)


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Chile
conventional short form: Chile
local long form: Republica de Chile
local short form: Chile

Government type:




Administrative divisions:

13 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Atacama, Bio-Bio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica


18 September 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 18 September (1810)


11 September 1980; effective 11 March 1981; amended 30 July 1989, 1993, and 1997

Legal system:

based on Code of 1857 derived from Spanish law and subsequent codes influenced by French and Austrian law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
note: Chile is in the process of completely overhauling its criminal justice system; a new, US-style adversarial system is being gradually implemented throughout the country with the final stage of implementation in the Santiago metropolitan region expected in June 2005


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Source: CIA World Factbook