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Chile Facts

Basic facts and numbers about Chile

Capital: Santiago

Population: 17 million (2011 est.)

Official language: Spanish. Other languages such as Aymara, Mapuche, Rapa Nui and Quechua are spoken by minorities.

Area: 756,096 square kilometers or 291,930 square miles.

Religion: 70% Roman Catholic, 15% Evangelical, 1% Jesus Christ of Latter day Saint, 1% Jehova’s Witness. 0.1% Jewish and 8% Atheist or Agnostic. Divorce was illegal until 2004.

Currency:  Chilean Peso

Life Expectancy:  76 years.

Literacy:  96%

GDP per capita:  $17,400 (2011 est.)

Main Exports: Copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine. Chile is the second  largest exporter of salmon and the largest producer of copper in the world.

Climate:  Temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south

Volcanoes: Chile has a chain of about 2,000 volcanoes dotted along the Andes; it has the second largest volcano chain in the world only after Indonesia. Of all the volcanoes 36 are currently active and 44 have erupted at least once since 1820. In the last 20 years there have been 15 volcanic eruptions.

Sports:  Soccer is Chile’s national sport.  Tennis is the second most popular sport.

Literature:  Chile had two Nobel Prize winning poets, Gabriela Mistral in 1945 and Pablo Neruda in 1971.

 

Geography

Chile extends through three continents, South America, Antarctica and Oceania – Easter Island.

The country is shaped like a long and narrow ribbon and is the longest country in the planet; its coastline along the Pacific Ocean stretches for 4,300 km or 2,700 m. From east to west it averages 177 km or 110 m from the Pacific Ocean to its border with Argentina.

The Atacama Desert is the driest in the world.

Ojos del Salado Volcano, located in the border of Chile and Argentina, is the highest volcano in the world at 6,893 meters or 22,615 feet. its crater lake is the world’s highest lake at 6,390 meters or 20,964 feet.

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