Portal:Chile

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Introduction

Flag of Chile.svg

Chile (/ˈɪli/ (About this soundlisten); Spanish: [ˈtʃile]), officially the Republic of Chile (Spanish: About this soundRepública de Chile ), is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

The arid Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.

Spain conquered and colonized the region in the mid-16th century, replacing Inca rule in the north and centre, but failing to conquer the independent Mapuche who inhabited what is now south-central Chile. After declaring its independence from Spain in 1818, Chile emerged in the 1830s as a relatively stable authoritarian republic. In the 19th century, Chile saw significant economic and territorial growth, ending Mapuche resistance in the 1880s and gaining its current northern territory in the War of the Pacific (1879–83) after defeating Peru and Bolivia. In the 1960s and 1970s, the country experienced severe left-right political polarization and turmoil. This development culminated with the 1973 Chilean coup d'état that overthrew Salvador Allende's democratically elected left-wing government and instituted a 16-year-long right-wing military dictatorship that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing. The regime, headed by Augusto Pinochet, ended in 1990 after it lost a referendum in 1988 and was succeeded by a center-left coalition which ruled through four presidencies until 2010.

Selected article

Brazilian battleship Minas Geraes firing a broadside.jpg

A South American dreadnought race between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile was kindled in 1907 when the Brazilian government announced their intention to purchase three dreadnoughts—powerful battleships whose capabilities far outstripped older vessels in the world's navies—from the British company Armstrong Whitworth. Two ships of the Minas Geraes class were laid down immediately with a third to follow. The Argentine and Chilean governments immediately canceled a naval-limiting pact between them, and both ordered two dreadnoughts (the Rivadavia and Almirante Latorre classes, respectively). Meanwhile, Brazil's third dreadnought was canceled in favor of an even larger ship, but the ship was laid down and ripped up several times after repeated major alterations to the design. When the Brazilian government finally settled on a design, they realized it would be outclassed by the Chilean dreadnoughts' larger armament, so they sold the partly-completed ship to the Ottoman Empire and attempted to acquire a more powerful vessel. By this time the First World War had broken out in Europe, and many shipbuilders suspended work on dreadnoughts for foreign countries, which halted the Brazilian plans. Argentina's two dreadnoughts were delivered, as the United States remained neutral in the opening years of the war, but Chile's two dreadnoughts were purchased by the United Kingdom. In the years between the First and Second World War, many naval expansion plans, some involving dreadnought purchases, were proposed. While most never came to fruition, in April 1920 the Chilean government reacquired one of the dreadnoughts taken over by the United Kingdom. No other dreadnoughts were purchased by a South American nation, and all were sold for scrap in the 1950s.

Selected biography

Salvador Isabelino Allende Gossens Spanish pronunciation: [salβaðor aʝεnde] (June 26, 1908 – September 11, 1973) was President of Chile from November 1970 until his death during the coup d'état of September 11, 1973.

Allende's career in Chilean government spanned nearly forty years. As a Socialist Party politician, he became a senator, deputy, cabinet minister and after failing in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 presidential elections, he was elected President in 1970.

In the news

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Did you know?

  • ...that Ojos del Salado is the highest mountain in Chile and the highest volcano in the world?
  • ...that the Chinchorro mummies are the oldest examples of mummified human remains, dating to thousands of years before the Egyptian mummies?

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