Regions of Chile

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Regions of Chile
Regiones de Chile (Spanish)
Chile (+Antarctica & Islands), administrative divisions - es - colored 2018.svg
CategoryUnitary state
LocationChile
Number16
Populations98,413 (Aysén) – 6,683,852 (Metropolitan Santiago)
Areas80 km2 (31 sq mi) (Metropolitan Santiago) – 132,291 km2 (51,077.9 sq mi) (Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica)
GovernmentLimited autonomous government
SubdivisionsProvince
Coat of arms of Chile.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Chile
Comptroller General
Constitutional Court

Chile is divided into 16 regions (in Spanish, regiones; singular región), which are the country's first-level administrative division. Each region is headed by an intendant (intendente), appointed by the President of Chile, and a directly-elected regional board (consejo regional).

The regions are divided into provinces (the second-level administrative division), each headed by a governor (gobernador) appointed by the President. There are 56 provinces in total. Provinces are divided into communes (the third and lowest level administrative division), which are governed by municipal councils.

Naming[edit]

Each region is given a Roman numeral, followed by a name (e.g. IV Región de Coquimbo, read as "fourth region of Coquimbo" in Spanish). When the regional structure was created, Roman numerals were assigned in ascending order from north to south, with the northernmost region designated as I (first) and the southernmost region as XII (twelfth). The Santiago Metropolitan Region, located in the center of the country and home to the country's capital Santiago, was excluded from this naming scheme and given instead the initials RM, standing for Región Metropolitana ("Metropolitan Region" in Spanish). With the creation of regions XIV and XVI in the south and XV in the north (XIII is not used) in 2007, the north-south Roman numeral order was broken.

In February 2018, the Strengthening of Regionalization Law (Law 21074) was enacted [1]. Among other things, it removed the roman numerals from the designations.

History of the regional structure[edit]

The administrative divisions of Chile were created in 1974 and limited to 13 regions (this limitation was eliminated in 2005 via a constitutional reform). Previously, Chile was divided into 25 provinces, which were further divided into departments, and then into communes. The new territorial organization was implemented in phases with some initial "pilot regions" beginning to operate in 1974, extending the process on January 1, 1976 to the rest of the country. The Santiago Metropolitan Region began to operate in April 1980.

In December 2006, two new regions were created: the northern Arica and Parinacota Region, by taking out the two northernmost provinces from the Tarapacá Region; and Los Ríos Region in the south, encompassing the provinces of Valdivia, formerly part of the Los Lagos Region, and Ranco, formerly part of Valdivia.[2] Both regions became operative in October 2007.

In August 2017, the Ñuble Region was created from what was then the Ñuble Province of the Biobío Region. The old province was divided into three new provinces: Diguillín, Punilla and Itata. The new region's capital is Chillán. It became operational in September 2018.[3]

Chile does not utilise the number 13 (XIII) in numbering its regions, most of which increase in number from north to south.

Administration[edit]

Since their creation, each region is headed by a intendant (intendente) appointed by the President of Chile, and a regional board (consejo regional). The intendants count with the direct collaboration of the SEREMI (Ministerial Regional secretary) in specific matters, such as public health, education, agriculture, among others. The SEREMI are appointed by the President. Thanks to the Strengthening of Regionalization Law, since the 2020 municipal elections each intendant will be elected at the same date along with the mayors and municipal councillors, using a two-round system. If no candidate obtains the minimum threshold 40% of the valid votes, a runoff election is held between the two candidates with the most votes, and the winner is elected by a simple majority.[4][5] Also the law will change the name Intendant to Regional Governor (Gobernador regional). The President will appoint a Regional presidential delegate (delegado presidencial regional), who will represent the national government in the region.

The board was elected among the members of the municipal councils (consejo municipal) of each commune of the respective region. Since the 2013 election the regional board members (Consejero regional) are directly elected using an open list proportional representation, with seats allocated using the D'Hondt method. Each of the 54 provinces are headed by a governor (gobernador) appointed by the President. In 2020, the provincial governors will change their name to Provincial presidential delegate' (delegado presidencial provincial), still appointed by the President.

List of regions[edit]

Flag Name
(English/Spanish)
Capital Area (km2) Population
(2017 census)
Flag of Arica y Parinacota, Chile.svg Arica and Parinacota
Región de Arica y Parinacota
Arica 16,873.3 226,068
Flag of Tarapaca, Chile.svg Tarapacá
Región de Tarapacá
Iquique 42,225.8 330,558
Flag of Antofagasta Region, Chile.svg Antofagasta
Región de Antofagasta
Antofagasta 126,049.1 607,534
Flag of Atacama, Chile.svg Atacama
Región de Atacama
Copiapó 75,176.2 286,168
Flag of Coquimbo Region, Chile.svg Coquimbo
Región de Coquimbo
La Serena 40,579.9 757,586
Flag of Valparaiso Region, Chile.svg Valparaíso
Región de Valparaíso
Valparaíso 16,396.1 1,815,902
Flag of the Metropolitan Region, Chile.svg Santiago
Región Metropolitana de Santiago
Santiago 15,403.2 7,112,808
Flag of O'Higgins Region, Chile.svg O'Higgins
Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins
Rancagua 16,387.0 914,555
Flag of Maule, Chile.svg Maule
Región del Maule
Talca 30,296.1 1,044,950
Flag of Ñuble Region, Chile.svg Ñuble
Región de Ñuble
Chillán 13,178.5 480,609
Flag of Biobío Region, Chile.svg Biobío
Región del Biobío
Concepción 23,890.2 1,556,805
Flag of La Araucania, Chile.svg Araucanía
Región de La Araucanía
Temuco 31,842.3 957,224
Flag of Los Ríos, Chile.svg Los Ríos
Región de Los Ríos
Valdivia 18,429.5 384,837
Flag of Los Lagos Region, Chile.svg Los Lagos
Región de Los Lagos
Puerto Montt 48,583.6 828,708
Flag of Aysen, Chile.svg Aisén
Región Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Coihaique 108,494.4 103,158
Flag of Magallanes, Chile.svg Magallanes
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena
Punta Arenas 132,291.1 166,533

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cooperativa.cl. "Ley les quitó los números a las regiones: Ahora solo se conocerán por su nombre - Cooperativa.cl". cooperativa.cl. Archived from the original on 8 March 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  2. ^ "La Nación". diariolanacion.cl. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  3. ^ "LEY-21033 05-SEP-2017 MINISTERIO DEL INTERIOR Y SEGURIDAD PÚBLICA - Ley Chile - Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional". leychile.cl. 5 September 2017. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  4. ^ Mostrador, El. "Lista para promulgación queda ley que establece elección directa de gobernadores regionales a partir de 2020". elmostrador.cl. Archived from the original on 8 March 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2018-03-08.