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Background:
Prior to the coming of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule 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, a 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

Map references:
South America

Area:
total: 756,102 sq km
country comparison to the world: 38
land: 743,812 sq km
water: 12,290 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: 6,339 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:
Current Weather
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)

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

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



Population:
16,746,491 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.7% (male 1,946,217/female 1,858,277)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 5,690,402/female 5,688,174)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 653,772/female 909,649) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 31.7 years
male: 30.7 years
female: 32.8 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.856% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135

Birth rate:
14.46 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144

Death rate:
5.9 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167

Net migration rate:
NA

Urbanization:
urban population: 88% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 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: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.52 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 166
male: 8.29 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.53 years
country comparison to the world: 57
male: 74.26 years
female: 80.96 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.9 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
31,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,100 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Nationality:
noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean

Ethnic groups:
white and white-Amerindian 95.4%, Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6% (2002 census)

Religions:
Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 15.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.1%, other Christian 1%, other 4.6%, none 8.3% (2002 census)

Languages:
Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.7%
male: 95.8%
female: 95.6% (2002 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2006)

Education expenditures:
3.2% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 141



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 second Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in March
note: the Chilean Government announced on 4 March 2010 that the end of DST would be delayed until 4 April 2010 providing respite to those affected by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake of February 2010

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
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica

Independence:
18 September 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

Constitution:
11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended 1989, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, and 2005

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 - in June 2005, Chile completed overhaul of its criminal justice system to a US-style adversarial system

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
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
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 - CPD 57 (PDC 19, PPD 18, PS 11, PRSD 5, other 4), APC 58 (UDI 37, RN 18, other 3), PC 3, independent 1, other 3

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:
Alliance for Chile (Alianza) or APC (including National Renewal or RN [Carlos LARRAIN Pena] and Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Juan Antonio COLOMA Correa]); Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertacion) or CPD (including Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Juan Carlos LATORRE Carmona], Socialist Party or PS [Camilo ESCALONA Medina], Party for Democracy or PPD [Pepe AUTH Stewart], and Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Jose Antonio GOMEZ Urrutia]); Communist Party or PC [Guillermo TEILLIER del Valle]; Humanist Party [Marilen CABRERA Olmos]

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, CAN (associate), CD, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICCt (signatory), 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 (accession state), OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Arturo FERMANDOIS Vohringer
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 Paul E. SIMONS
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
note: design was influenced by the US flag



Economy - overview:
Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports account for more than one-fourth of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports. Copper alone provides one-third of government revenue. During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from the military in 1990 - deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% during 1991-97, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies implemented to keep the current account deficit in check and because of lower export earnings - the latter a product of the global financial crisis. A severe drought exacerbated the situation in 1999, reducing crop yields and causing hydroelectric shortfalls and electricity rationing, and Chile experienced negative economic growth for the first time in more than 15 years. In the years since then, growth has averaged 4% per year. Chile deepened its longstanding commitment to trade liberalization with the signing of a free trade agreement with the US, which took effect on 1 January 2004. Chile claims to have more bilateral or regional trade agreements than any other country. It has 57 such agreements (not all of them full free trade agreements), including with the European Union, Mercosur, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. Over the past five years, foreign direct investment inflows have quadrupled to some $17 billion in 2008, but FDI dropped to about $7 billion in 2009 in the face of diminished investment throughout the world. The Chilean government conducts a rule-based countercyclical fiscal policy, accumulating surpluses in sovereign wealth funds during periods of high copper prices and economic growth, and allowing deficit spending only during periods of low copper prices and growth. As of September 2008, those sovereign wealth funds - kept mostly outside the country and separate from Central Bank reserves - amounted to more than $20 billion. Chile used $4 billion from this fund to finance a fiscal stimulus package to fend off recession. The economy was starting to show signs of a rebound in the fourth quarter, 2009, although GDP still fell more than 1% for the year. In December 2009, the OECD invited Chile to become a full member, after a two year period of compliance with organization mandates. The magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010 was one of the top ten strongest earthquakes on record. It caused considerable damage near the epicenter, located about 70 miles from Concepcion - and about 200 miles southwest of Santiago.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$243.7 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
$248 billion (2008 est.)
$240.3 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$152.1 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-1.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
3.2% (2008 est.)
4.7% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$14,700 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
$15,100 (2008 est.)
$14,700 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.6%
industry: 34.5%
services: 51.9% (2008 est.)

Labor force:
7.42 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 13.2%
industry: 23%
services: 63.9% (2005)

Unemployment rate:
9.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
7.8% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:
18.2% (2005)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 41.7% (2006)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
54.9 (2003)
country comparison to the world: 14
57.1 (2000)

Investment (gross fixed):
21.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76

Budget:
revenues: $32.62 billion
expenditures: $39.82 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
6.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
5.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
8.7% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
8.25% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 72
6% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
13.26% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 107
8.67% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$14.72 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 48
$16.6 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$73.66 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 31
$80.42 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$116.4 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 38
$127.1 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$230.7 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 30
$132.4 billion (31 December 2008)
$212.9 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:
grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber

Industries:
copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles

Industrial production growth rate:
-4.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106

Electricity - production:
60.6 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41

Electricity - consumption:
57.29 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
1.628 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production:
10,850 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84

Oil - consumption:
277,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47

Oil - exports:
49,250 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Oil - imports:
311,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36

Oil - proved reserves:
150 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Natural gas - production:
1.65 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Natural gas - consumption:
2.34 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190

Natural gas - imports:
690 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58

Natural gas - proved reserves:
97.97 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53

Current account balance:
$4.217 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
-$2.513 billion (2008 est.)

Exports:
$53.74 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
$66.46 billion (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine

Exports - partners:
China 16.46%, US 11.31%, Japan 9.06%, South Korea 6.49%, Brazil 4.64%, Mexico 4.09% (2009)

Imports:
$39.75 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
$57.62 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas

Imports - partners:
US 21.77%, China 12.76%, Argentina 9.55%, Brazil 6.46%, South Korea 5.35% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$25.29 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
$23.08 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$60.9 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
$64.77 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$116.5 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
$103.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$33.68 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
$25.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Chilean pesos (CLP) per US dollar - 569.37 (2009), 509.02 (2008), 526.25 (2007), 530.29 (2006), 560.09 (2005)



Telephones - main lines in use:
3.526 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 43

Telephones - mobile cellular:
14.797 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 45

Telephone system:
general assessment: privatization begun in 1988; most advanced telecommunications infrastructure in South America; modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations
domestic: fixed-line connections have dropped in recent years as mobile-cellular usage continues to increase, reaching a level of 90 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 56; landing points for the Pan American, South America-1, and South American Crossing/Latin America Nautilius submarine cables providing links to the US and to Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 180, FM 64, shortwave 17 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:
63 (plus 121 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code:
.cl

Internet hosts:
877,817 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 40

Internet users:
5.456 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 43



Airports:
357 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 22

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 81
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 22
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 22 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 276
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 50
under 914 m: 212 (2009)

Pipelines:
gas 2,673 km; liquid petroleum gas 519 km; oil 892 km; refined products 769 km (2009)

Railways:
total: 5,483 km
country comparison to the world: 34
broad gauge: 1,706 km 1.676-m gauge (850 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 3,777 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)

Roadways:
total: 80,505 km
country comparison to the world: 59
paved: 16,745 km (includes 2,414 km of expressways)
unpaved: 63,760 km (2004)

Merchant marine:
total: 44
country comparison to the world: 75
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 7, chemical tanker 8, container 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 3
registered in other countries: 40 (Argentina 7, Brazil 1, Cyprus 1, Isle of Man 6, Marshall Islands 4, Norway 2, Panama 12, Singapore 6, Venezuela 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Coronel, Huasco, Lirquen, Puerto Ventanas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Valparaiso



Military branches:
Army of the Nation, Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile, includes Naval Aviation, Marine Corps, and Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine Directorate (Directemar)), Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Chile, FACh), Carabineros Corps (Cuerpo de Carabineros) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service, although the right to compulsory recruitment is retained; service obligation - 12 months for Army, 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 4,301,900
females age 16-49: 4,232,956 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,599,328
females age 16-49: 3,544,156 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 143,778
female: 138,058 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
2.7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 52



Disputes - international:
Chile and Peru rebuff Bolivia's reinvigorated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, but Chile has offered instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile to Bolivian gas and other commodities; Chile rejects Peru's unilateral legislation to change its latitudinal maritime boundary with Chile to an equidistance line with a southwestern axis favoring Peru, in October 2007, Peru took its maritime complaint with Chile to the ICJ; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims; the joint boundary commission, established by Chile and Argentina in 2001, has yet to map and demarcate the delimited boundary in the inhospitable Andean Southern Ice Field (Campo de Hielo Sur)

Illicit drugs:
transshipment country for cocaine destined for Europe and the region; some money laundering activity, especially through the Iquique Free Trade Zone; imported precursors passed on to Bolivia; domestic cocaine consumption is rising, making Chile a significant consumer of cocaine (2008)

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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