Chile has the world's most easily recognized
blind map. Over 400 miles long and an average of 20
miles wide, the country extends along the South American
west coast, through a series of climate zones. Already
in the early 1900s, Chile laid the foundations for a
modern welfare society and for 40 years, until 1973, the
country was South America's only functioning democracy.
A brutal military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet
then came to characterize the outside world's image of
the country for several decades. Today, Chile is again a
stable democracy, with a well-managed economy based
mainly on mining.
Brief profiles of Chile, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Long-range Chile extends along the west coast
of South America. From north to south, the country is
420 km, but its width is on average less than 20 km.
Migrated to Europe, Chile would run from southern Italy
all the way to the Spetsbergen in the Arctic Ocean.
The Chilean mainland is almost as large as Sweden and
Norway together. Chile also includes Easter Island (Rapa
Nui) in the Pacific and Juan Fernández Islands, where
the model for Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, was
stranded in 1704-1709. The country also claims part of
Through Chile, two mountain ranges run in the
north-south direction. One is the Chilean Andes along
the eastern border with heights of more than 5,000
meters above sea level in the north. The second mountain
range runs along the Pacific coast with peaks lower than
2,000 meters above sea level. A long valley spreads
between the mountains, forming a narrow plateau up to
1,200 meters in the far north. At the town of Puerto
Montt in the south, the valley is replaced by the
The mainland can be divided into five zones: furthest
north one of the world's driest desert landscapes; south
of it - between the cities of Copiapó and Illapel -
irrigated peninsula and steppe; in central Chile the
soil is fertile with much melting water from the slopes
of the Andes during rainy winters; further south comes
another agricultural area rich in lakes and fast-growing
forests that turn into plains and glaciers at the far
south. Serious earthquakes and earthquakes have occurred
in the country.
In 2010, central Chile was shaken by an earthquake of
magnitude 8.8, one of the most powerful earthquakes
measured. Over 500 people perished (see also Modern
The climate alternates between extreme drought in the
north and rain and humid air in the south. In central
Chile there is a temperate climate of southern European
type with sunny summers and abundant winter
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
756 945 km2 (2018)
Swedish –5 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Peru, Bolivia, Argentina
Capital with number of inhabitants
Santiago de Chile 6.2 million (2017 estimate)
Other major cities
Concepcion (901,000 inv), Valparaiso (723,000)
Ojos del Salado (6,870 m asl)
Average Precipitation / month
Santiago 84 mm (June), 2 mm (Feb)
Average / day
Santiago 11 °C (June), 17 °C (Feb)
Parts of educational reform are rejected
A ruling in the Constitutional Court represents a setback for Bachelet's
educational reform. The Court annulled that state funds should only go to
certain colleges. Thus, the President's promises of free higher education are in
jeopardy. Bachelet says that alternatives such as scholarships should now be
Marijuana is approved as a drug
President Bachelet signs a decree authorizing marijuana for medical use. A
few months earlier, the Chamber of Deputies adopted a proposal to legalize the
possession of smaller quantities of marijuana. That proposal must also be
approved by a health commission and the Senate in order for a legislative change
to get rid of.
Jail in campaign scandal
The former senator and one of the founders of the conservative UDI party,
Jovino Novoa, is sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the "Pentagate"
scandal involving illegal campaign contributions (see March 2015).
The verdict against Novoa is the first to fall in connection with the scandal.
Compensation for political prisoners and torture victims
Congress decides on a one-time payment of damages to political prisoners and
torture victims from Pinocheteran. The compensation is equivalent to
approximately SEK 12,000 per person. Many already receive compensation for
suffering during the Pinochet regime.
A new constitution will be drawn up
President Bachelet states that the work of writing a new constitution is now
beginning. The process is expected to take a couple of years and lead to a
proposal that voters may take a position on in a referendum. The president says
that the current constitution has its origins in dictatorship and does not meet
the needs of democracy.
Heavy earthquake outside Chile
Thirteen people die, 9,000 become homeless and around one million are forced
to temporarily leave their homes after an earthquake of magnitude 8.3 occurred
off the coast. The quake is said to be the sixth strongest measured in Chile and
is also felt in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires. Nevertheless, the damage is
less than feared, which is stated to be due to preventive measures following the
severe earthquake in 2010.
A new region is set up
A new region, Ñuble, is set up in the middle of the country. The region
includes an area that was previously part of the Bío-Bío region. With the
change, Chile has 16 regions.
Amendment of law should strengthen the judiciary
A new law is enacted that will strengthen the prosecutor's system. It is an
attempt to address the public's concern: despite Chile being regarded as the
safest country in Latin America, many view crime as a major societal problem.
The Minister of Education is replaced
President Michelle Bachelet decides to replace her Minister of Education in
an attempt to curb the continued protests against the government in general and
education reforms in particular. However, no course change in policy is
Crisis situation due to pollution in Santiago
Air pollution in the capital reaches such a high level that emergency
measures are taken, for the first time in 16 years. A driving ban is imposed
because 40 percent of all cars and 3,000 factories and other companies are
forced to keep closed. One contributing factor to the crisis level is that it
has been unusually dry in June; rain and wind will otherwise help to remove the
pollution from the capital, which lies between high mountains.
Students require further educational reforms
New student demonstrations demanding further reform are being held around
Chile. President Bachelet has presented plans that mean that free university
education will be gradually introduced from 2016 and should cover all 2020. But
the students demand more.
Renovation in government after scandal
President Bachelet calls on all ministers to resign, something that has never
happened in Chile before. Voters' confidence in Bachelet has raged after the
revelations about the son's suspected abuse of power (see February 2015).
The president has always maintained that she is not aware of the son and son
wife's business but admits that she should have handled the scandal better.
After a few days, Bachelet appoints a new government. Some ministers are
returning to new posts.
Volcanic eruptions cause havoc
Calbuco volcano in southern Chile is experiencing a sudden eruption and over
6,000 people are being forced to leave their homes. The government promises aid
to farmers in the area who are losing assets at enormous value.
Right leader resigns following campaign scandal
11th of March
The leader of the Conservative Party of the UDI, Ernesto Silva, leaves his
post because of revelations about illegal campaign contributions in the 2013
election. investment bank Penta. However, according to Silva, the government
alliance has also received illegal grants.
Water shortage after flooding
Severe floods affect northern Chile and require dozens of people's lives,
leaving entire communities without drinking water. The floods are a result of
the strongest rains in the Andes in 80 years.
The president's son is accused of irregularities
Sebastián Dávalos, the son of President Michelle Bachelet, resigns as head of
a charity after accusations from the opposition that he used his influence to
arrange a bank loan of million to his wife. The money was used to buy land which
was then sold at a profit. Finansinspektionen has freed him, but it is still
considered a political scandal.
Registered partnership adopted
Congress enacts a law that allows people of the same sex to enter a
registered partnership. The law also gives unmarried couples many of the rights
that come with being married. Even unmarried living together now have the right
to inherit each other. The law comes into force in October.
New electoral law adopted
President Michelle Bachelet calls it "an important day for Chile and a great
day for our democracy" when Congress finally adopts changes to elements of the
electoral system introduced during Pinochet in 1989. The changes that come into
force for the 2017 election mean that the electoral system will be more
proportionate (see also Political system).