officially Republic of Chile, Spanish Repblica de Chile country situated along the western seaboard of South America, stretching northward from the continent's southern tip in Patagonia for 2,700 miles (4,350 km). The country averages only about 110 miles (177 km) from east to west. Chile's western boundary is its 3,317-mile (5,337-kilometre) Pacific coastline. It shares the rest of its boundary with three countries: Peru on the north, Bolivia on the northeast, and Argentina (including Tierra del Fuego) on the east. The capital is Santiago. Area 292,135 square miles (756,626 square km). Pop. (1993 est.) 13,542,000. A brief treatment of Chile follows. For full treatment, see Chile. officially Republic of Chile, Spanish Repblica de Chile, country situated along the western seaboard of South America and extending approximately 2,700 miles (4,300 kilometres) from its boundary with Peru, at latitude 1730 S, to the tip of South America at Cape Horn, latitude 56 S, a point only about 400 miles north of Antarctica. A long, narrow country, it has an average width of only about 110 miles, with a maximum of 217 miles at the latitude of Antofagasta and a minimum of 9.6 miles near Puerto Natales. It is bounded in the north by Peru and Bolivia, on its long eastern border by Argentina, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Continental Chile and its offshore islands comprise 292,135 square miles (756,626 square kilometres). Chile exercises sovereignty over Easter Island, the Juan Fernndez Archipelago, and the volcanic islets of Sala y Gmez, San Flix, and San Ambrosio, all of which are located in the South Pacific. The country also claims a 200-mile offshore limit. The capital is Santiago. Chile's relief is for the most part mountainous, with the Andes range dominating the landscape. Because of the country's extreme length it has a wide variety of climates, from the coastal desert beginning in the tropical north to the cold subantarctic southern tip. Chile is also a land of extreme natural events: volcanic eruptions, violent earthquakes, and tsunamis originating along major faults of the ocean floor periodically beset the country. Fierce winter storms and flash floods alternate with severe summer droughts. Much of northern Chile is desert; the central part of the country is a temperate region where the bulk of the population lives and where the larger cities, including Santiago, are located. South-central Chile, with a lake and forest region, is temperate, humid, and suitable for grain cultivation; and the southernmost third of the country, cut by deep fjords, is an inhospitable region-cold, wet, windy, and limited in resources. The economy of Chile is based on primary economic activities: agricultural production; copper, iron, and nitrate mining; and the exploitation of sea resources. Chile exhibits many of the traits that typically characterize Latin-American countries. It was colonized by Spain, and the culture that evolved was largely Spanish; the influence of the original Indian inhabitants is negligible. The people became largely mestizo, a blend of Spanish and Indian bloodlines. The society developed with a small elite controlling most of the land, the wealth, and the political life. Chile did not, however, depend as heavily on agriculture and mining as did many Latin-American countries, but rather developed an economy based on manufacturing as well. Thus, Chile has become one of the more urbanized Latin-American societies, with a burgeoning middle class. Chile has also had a history of retaining representative democratic government. Except for a military junta that held power from September 1973 to March 1990, the country has been relatively free of the coups and constitutional suspensions common to many of its neighbours. Additional reading Geography General descriptive information on the land and people of Chile is available in Andrea T. Merrill (ed.), Chile: A Country Study, 2nd ed. (1982); Pedro Cunill Grau, Geografa de Chile (1970, reissued 1978); and George McCutchen McBride, Chile: Land and Society (1936, reprinted 1971). An excellent collection on contemporary Chilean geography is Instituto Geogrfico Militar (Chile), Geografa de Chile (1983- ). Good coverage of Chile is found in Preston E. James, C.W. Minkel, and Eileen W. James, Latin America, 5th ed. (1986); and Harold Blakemore and Clifford T. Smith (eds.), Latin America: Geographical Perspectives, 2nd ed. (1983). Useful atlases include Instituto Geogrfico Militar (Chile), Atlas geogrfico de Chile (1985), and Atlas de la Repblica de Chile, 2nd ed. (1983). Statistical information may be found in the annuals Chile. Instituto Nacional de Estadsticas, Compendio estadstico, and Anuario de demografa.The economy of Chile is described by Markos J. Mamalakis, The Growth and Structure of the Chilean Economy: From Independence to Allende (1976); and Universidad de Chile. Instituto de Economia, La economa de Chile en el perodo 1950 & 1963, 2 vol. (1964). Other economic issues are discussed in World Bank, Chile: An Economy in Transition, 2 vol. (1979); Corporacin de Fomento de la Produccin (Chile), Geografa econmica de Chile: primer apendice (1966); and Economic Report of Chile (annual). The neoliberalism of Pinochet is presented in Edward Nell (ed.), Free Market Conservatism: A Critique of Theory and Practice (1984).Works on political development and ideology include Francisco J. Moreno, Legitimacy and Stability in Latin America: A Study of Chilean Political Culture (1969); Ricardo Donoso, Las ideas polticas en Chile, 3rd ed. (1975); and Germn Urza Valenzuela, Los partidos polticos chilenos, los fuerzas polticas (1968). The policies of the Pinochet regime are discussed in Augusto Varas (ed.), Transicin a la democracia: Amrica Latina y Chile (1984); Genaro Arriagada Herrera, La politica militar de Pinochet (1985); and Alejandro Foxley, After Authoritarianism (1985), a short working paper. See also Paul William Garber and Philip Charles Garber (trans.), The Political Constitution of Chile, translated from Spanish (1981). Works on the social conditions include Arturo Valenzuela and J. Samuel Valenzuela (eds.), Chile: Politics and Society (1976); Barbara Stallings, Class Conflict and Economic Development in Chile: 1958-1973 (1978); Brian H. Smith, The Church and Politics in Chile: Challenges to Modern Catholicism (1982); and Cesar Caviedes, The Politics of Chile: A Sociogeographical Assessment (1979). The military's role in Chilean politics is treated in J. Samuel Valenzuela and Arturo Valenzuela (eds.), Military Rule in Chile: Dictatorship and Oppositions (1986); Cesar Caviedes, The Southern Cone: Realities of the Authoritarian State in South America (1984); and Frederick M. Nunn, The Military in Chilean History: Essays on Civil-Military Relations, 1810-1973 (1976), and Chilean Politics, 1920-1931: The Honorable Mission of the Armed Forces (1970). Contemporary culture is discussed in Hernn Godoy Urza, Apuntes sobre la cultura en Chile (1982). History Historical overviews are provided by Brian Loveman, Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism (1979); and Robert D. Talbott, A History of the Chilean Boundaries (1974). See also Jordi Fuentes et al., Diccionario histrico de Chile, 8th ed. (1984). The political significance of Chile's mineral resources is discussed in Harold Blakemore, British Nitrates and Chilean Politics, 1886-1896: Balmaceda and North (1974). Land tenure and reform issues are analyzed in Thomas C. Wright, Landowners and Reform in Chile: The Sociedad Nacional de Agricultura, 1919-1940 (1981); and Brian Loveman, Struggle in the Countryside: Politics and Rural Labor in Chile, 1919-1973 (1976). The role of labour unions is treated in Alan Angell, Politics and the Labour Movement in Chile (1972).Works on various periods of Chilean history include Arnold J. Bauer, Chilean Rural Society from the Spanish Conquest to 1930 (1975); Simon Collier, Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence 1808-1833 (1967); William F. Sater, Chile and the War of the Pacific (1986); Frederick B. Pike, Chile and the United States, 1880-1962: The Emergence of Chile's Social Crisis and the Challenge to United States Diplomacy (1963); Paul W. Drake, Socialism and Populism in Chile, 1932-52 (1978); Arturo Valenzuela, The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Chile (1978); Stefan De Vylder, Chile 1970-73: The Political Economy of the Rise and Fall of the Unidad Popular (1974; U.S. title, Allende's Chile, 1976); Paul E. Sigmund, The Overthrow of Allende and the Politics of Chile, 1964-1976 (1977); Robert J. Alexander, The Tragedy of Chile (1978); and Federico G. Gil, Ricardo Lagos E., and Henry A. Landsberger (eds.), Chile at the Turning Point: Lessons of the Socialist Years, 1970-1973 (1979; originally published in Spanish, 1977). Cesar N. Caviedes Marcello A. Carmagnani Paul W. Drake Administration and social conditions Government The Republic of Chile, inaugurated in 1821, has had a long history of representative democracy, with only a few short-lived exceptions. Historically, Chile has been renowned for its political freedom. From September 1973 to March 1990, however, a military junta headed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte presided over the longest period of authoritarian dictatorship in Chilean history. The country is governed in accordance with the constitution of 1981, approved by a plebiscite called by General Pinochet to change the constitution of 1925. The 1981 document placed the administration of the state into the hands of the president and permitted Pinochet to hold office until 1990. The president appoints the state ministers, who are unimpeachable and totally in his confidence. Under the 1981 constitution a presidential candidate chosen by the junta was to be put up for approval in a national plebiscite and, if approved, to serve as president until 1997. The junta nominated Pinochet, who was rejected in the 1988 plebiscite, and the first presidential elections since the 1973 coup were held in December 1989. The bicameral National Congress was dissolved at the time of the 1973 coup, after which legislative functions were carried on by the junta, assisted by legislative commissions. The 1981 constitution allows for a bicameral legislature consisting of an upper chamber, or Senado, and a lower chamber of representatives, or Camara de Diputados, to be elected by direct popular vote. These two bodies remained in recess until the elections of December 1989. The justices and prosecutors of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals are appointed by the president from a list of nominees proposed by the Supreme Court. Judges are career functionaries of the Ministry of Justice. The composition of the lower courts is similarly determined. Local government is carried on through 12 administrative regions and the capital, Santiago. The regions are divided administratively into provinces, which in turn are divided into communes. The president appoints the intendents (intendentes) who head the administrations of the regions and Santiago. The intendents govern with the aid of a regional council, which may include the governors of the constituent provinces and representatives of various other private and public institutions within the region. The provincial governors, like the intendents, serve at the sole pleasure of the president. The communes are administered by a municipal corporation (municipalidad) composed of a mayor (alcalde) and a communal council. The mayor is appointed by the regional council from a list of three candidates submitted by the communal council; in the case of some larger urban centres, the mayor is appointed directly by the president. The councilmen (regidores) are elected by popular vote for four-year terms. In September 1973, when the junta suspended all activity by political parties and outlawed Marxist parties, the political spectrum extended from right through centre to left. At the extreme right stood the National Party (Partido Nacional)-an alliance formed in 1965 that included the former Liberal Party (Partido Liberal) and United Conservative Party (Partido Conservador Unido)-and the Radical Democrats (Democracia Radical)-the right wing of the once-populist Radical Party (Partido Radical; see Chile, history of: Formation of new political parties), from which it split in 1969. The centre was occupied by the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demcrata Cristiano), which, since the congressional elections of 1965, had attracted the most voters. With many of its partisans coming from the extensive Chilean bureaucracy, the social democratic Radical Party had been another important centrist party, but after 1965 it drifted to the left, where in 1973 it was reduced to a minority partner. The core of the left consisted of the Socialist Party (Partido Socialista) and the Soviet-oriented Communist Party of Chile (Partido Comunista Chileno). Several Marxist groups affiliated with the two major powers of the left included the Unified Movement of Popular Action (Movimiento de Accin Popular Unitaria), the Christian Left (Izquierda Cristiana), and the extremely militant Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria). After 1980 General Pinochet eased his severe repression of political activism, and in 1981 some political exiles were allowed to return to Chile, but political activity was still heavily restricted. The rightist groups rallied in a movement called the National Democratic Accord (Acuerdo Democrtico Nacional). The parties of the centre, led by the Christian Democrats, formed the Democratic Alliance (Alianza Democrtica). The exiled leaders of the left split into the Socialist Convergence (Convergencia Socialista), which in 1983 merged into the Chilean Socialist Bloc (Bloque Socialista Chileno), and the Popular Democratic Movement (Movimiento Democrtico Popular), dominated by the Communist Party of Chile. Reluctant to join forces with the Socialist Convergence in opposing the Pinochet government, the Christian Democratic Party isolated itself from the right and the left, and this climate of dissension weakened the opposition. The National Democratic Accord and the Popular Democratic Movement were dissolved in 1985. To organize opposition to Pinochet in the 1988 plebiscite, 16 centrist and leftist parties formed the Command for No (Comando por el No), which after Pinochet's defeat became the strongest opposition group and was renamed the Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Condertacin de los Partidos por la Democracia). In July 1989, constitutional amendments worked out between the government and the opposition were approved in a national referendum; included was the revocation of Article Eight, which banned Marxist parties. Two months later the government declared, with some restrictions, that all political exiles were permitted to return to Chile. Cesar N. Caviedes The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica Education Chile's educational system, structured along the lines of 19th-century French and German models and highly regarded among Latin-American countries, is divided into eight years of free and compulsory basic (primary) education, four years of optional secondary or vocational education, and additional (varying) years of higher education. Education is received by most primary-school-age individuals, accounting for the low illiteracy rate of 4 percent for persons 12 years of age and over. After the 1973 coup education was required to adopt values consistent with the junta's Christian, anti-Marxist values. Private schools, which are run by religious congregations, ethnic groups (such as German, French, Italian, and Israeli), and private educators have relatively high enrollments. University education in Chile is of considerable renown throughout Latin America. The major institution is the University of Chile (originally founded in 1738), with campuses in Santiago, Arica, Talca, and Temuco. The University of Santiago of Chile and the Federico Santa Marta Technical University, in Valparaso, are technical universities patterned after the German model. Private universities are the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, the Catholic University of Valparaso, the University of the North in Antofagasta, the University of Concepcin, and the Southern University of Chile in Valdivia. Cultural life Language and a common history have promoted cultural homogeneity in the country. Even the Araucanians and certain Aymara minorities in the north share the values of the Chilean identity, while continuing to cherish their own cultural heritage. Chileans have always displayed a high degree of tolerance toward the customs and traditions of minority groups, as well as toward Christian and non-Christian religious practices. The flavour of local custom and tradition in Chile is readily observable in the numerous colourful religious festivals that take place at various localities throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are drawn to these processions. The arts Literature, poetry in particular, is the most significant of the creative arts in Chile. Two Chilean poets, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1945 and 1971, respectively), and the poetry of Vicente Huidobro and Nicanor Parra, also of the 20th century, is recognized in the world of Hispanic literature. Fiction, on the other hand, has not been a successful genre, perhaps because of its marked parochialism. Manuel Rojas enjoyed, during the 1950s and 1960s, a degree of international popularity, and more recently the novels of Isabel Allende have become highly acclaimed not only in Latin America but also, in translation, in Europe and North America. Much of the fine and performing arts of Chile is centred in Santiago, and the main season for cultural events is between March and November. The most famed Chilean musician has long been the pianist Claudio Arrau. Composers such as Enrique Soro and Juan Orrego are noted in the Latin-American world of music, but they never achieved world recognition. The Chilean National Symphony Orchestra and several chamber music ensembles keep European musical culture alive in Chile. Dance and opera are highlighted by the Municipal Ballet and Opera and the National Ballet of the University of Chile. Contemporary folk music, particularly tonadas (poetic tunes accompanied by guitar), had its halcyon days in the 1960s and early 1970s, when protest and social-content songs were fashionable. Violeta Parra, who died in 1969, excelled in this style. Santiago in particular is a hub of art galleries where the works of Chile's artists are displayed and sold. The country, however, has produced few artists of high acclaim. The painter Roberto Matta Echaurren and the sculptor Marta Colvin are among those of significance.
Meaning of CHILE in English
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