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Portal:Chile

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Introduction

Flag of Chile.svg

Chile (/ˈɪli/ (About this soundlisten), /ˈɪl/; Spanish: [ˈtʃile]), officially the Republic of Chile (RepChile.ogg), 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 and lithium. 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.

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Antarctica 6400px from Blue Marble.jpg
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, overlying the South Pole. It is situated in the southern hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14.4 million km² (5.4 million sq mi), it is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. Some 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.

On average, Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Since there is little precipitation, except at the coasts, the interior of the continent is technically the largest desert in the world. There are no permanent human residents and there is no evidence of any existing or pre-historic indigenous population. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, fur seals, mosses, lichen, and many types of algae.

The name Antarctica is a romanized version of the Greek compound word Αntarktiké (Aνταρκτική), meaning "Opposite of the Arctic". Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis ("Southern Land") date back to antiquity, the first confirmed sighting of the continent is commonly accepted to have occurred in 1820 by the Russian expedition of Mikhail Lazarev and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. However, the continent remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of resources, and isolation.

The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by twelve countries; to date, forty-five countries have signed the treaty. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, supports scientific research, and protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists of many nationalities and with different research interests.

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Michelle Bachelet with sash.jpg
Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (born September 29, 1951) is a center-left politician and was a previous President of Chile—the first woman to hold this position in the country's history. She won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, beating center-right billionaire businessman and former senator Sebastián Piñera, with 53.5% of the vote. A moderate Socialist, she campaigned on a platform of continuing Chile's free market policies, while increasing social benefits to help reduce the country's gap between rich and poor, one of the largest in the world. She was inaugurated on March 11, 2006.

Bachelet — a surgeon, pediatrician and epidemiologist with studies in military strategy—served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under President Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and a self-described agnostic. A polyglot, she speaks Spanish, English, German, Portuguese and French. In 2007, Forbes magazine ranked her as 27th in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world (10 spots down from the 2006 list).

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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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