50 Fascinating Facts about Chile

Chile lies along the western edge of South America's Pacific coastline, its famously narrow outline stretching more than 6,000 kilometers along the coast. But this ocean-facing country is also mountainous, and its capital city, Santiago, is situated in a valley surrounded by the Andes and Chilean Coast Range of mountains. The mineral-rich Atacama Desert is in northern Chile, while the southern part of the country has many forests, lakes and volcanoes. Off the coast, but part of Chilean territory, is UNESCO World Heritage Site Easter Island, known for its hundreds of statues created by Rapa Nui people. This rich heritage and geographical diversity is in part why Chile is one of Latin America's most economically and socially stable nations, with high living standards and relatively low crime in comparison to other Latin American countries. Chile's motto is 'Por la razón o la fuerza', which means 'By Right or Might' or 'By Reason or Force.'

Chile Facts

1
Chile is located in the South America region, between Argentina and Peru.
2
‘Chile’ is derived from the Mapuche word ‘chilli’ which translates as ‘where the land ends’
3
The currency used is the Chilean Peso
4
The main religion followed is Christianity
5
The majority of the Chilean population ages from 55+. It is considered an ‘ageing society’ with a declining birth rate and low mortality rate
6
The population in 2017 was reported as 17,574,003
7
Santiago is the capital of Chile and also the largest city that Chile has.
8
Santiago is also the home of the tallest building in South America known as the ‘Gran Torre’ and is 64 stories high
9
The national flag of Chile was adopted in 1817 and bears a resemblance to the flag of U.S state of Texas
10
The main language of Chile is Spanish with the second main language being English
11
The national bird is called the Andean Condor and is the largest flying bird in the world
12
The national flower of Chile is the Copihue which you can find in the woods of Southern Chile
13
Before the Spanish conquest in 1541, Northern Chile was ruled by the Incas and central and Southern Chile by the Mapuche
14
The Spanish Conquest ended in 1600 even though Chile didn’t declare independence until 1818
15
Fiesta Patrias’ (Independence Day) is celebrated on September 18th and 19th with the majority of people having a whole week off work and school to unite and celebrate
16
On Independence Day, it is obligatory that all public buildings exhibit the national flag, or they could risk paying a fine of 40,000 Pesos
17
The national dance is known as ‘Cueca’ and was officially confirmed as the national dance on September 18th 1979
18
It is one of the South American countries that is the most stable and flourishing due to high income and high living standards
19
The most followed sport in Chile is football
20
Chile was the host of the World Cup in 1962 and they also finished 3rd that year
21
The most successful sport is tennis and Chile’s national team won the World Team Cup in 2003 and 2004
22
The national drink is known as ‘Pisco’ (a clear liquid) with the most famous version being the ‘Pisco Sour’ which consists of lemon juice, ice, sugar and beaten egg whites
23
Chile has the lowest divorce rate, more than likely due to the fact that divorce was not legalised until 2005
24
It is not tradition for a woman to take her husband’s surname once they are married, she must keep her maiden name
25
It is the only country where abortion is illegal and completely banned
26
282 mummies have been found in Chile and it is home to the oldest mummy founded in 5050 BC in the Camarones Valley
27
The biggest earthquake recorded on Earth since 1900 happened in Chile and is known as the Valdivia earthquake
28
The Valdivia earthquake occurred in 1960 and had a magnitude of 9.5 with the second strongest earthquake occurring in 2010 with a magnitude of 8.8
29
Chile has over 3 dozen active volcanoes along the Andes mountain range
30
The Atacama Desert located in Chile is know to be the driest place on earth as there is only 0.6 inches of rain a year and some parts of the desert have never seen rain
31
It did not rain in the Atacama Desert for 40 years
32
Chile is also home to the Alerce tree species, with trees over 4000 years old
33
Pudu, the smallest deer in the world can be found in the rainforests but are almost impossible to spot
34
A traditional Chilean recipe is Crudos which is raw minced llama
35
Another popular and famous food is the ‘Marraqueta’ bread, making Chile the second top bread consumers in the world
36
Chile is the largest producer of Copper and produces over a third of the world’s copper
37
Chile is the 5th largest exporter of wine and holds over 100 wineries over the country, after the first wine grape was produced in 1554
38
It is the largest exporter of salmon
39
One of the most famous and well known islands in Chile is the remote ‘Easter Island’. It obtained its name when it was discovered by a Dutchman on Easter day 1772 and is famous for its great 867 Moai statues
40
Chile is renowned for holding the biggest firework display in all of South America on New Year’s Eve and broke a Guinness world record in 2007 for displaying over 16,000 fireworks
41
Chile holds the largest library in South America and features 1.8 million books
42
It is the only country to have a government supported UFO research organisation, as many sightings have been reported throughout the years along the Andes
43
You will find the world’s largest swimming pool here which is 1000 yards in length, 20 acres in area and has a maximum depth of 115ft. It holds 66 million gallons of sea water and was listed in the Guinness book of records in December 2006
44
Patagonia, located in Chile is known to be the cleanest place in the world
45
Chile introduced its first ever female president in 2006 – Michelle Bachelet Jeria
46
The main tourist attraction is ’Vina del Mar’ which translates as ‘vineyard of the sea’ and is popular due to its beaches, casino and annual song festival
47
Chile is known as the ‘country of poets’ as two Nobel Prize winners in literature originated here
48
Alexander Selkirk who was a castaway on Chile’s island of Juan Fernandez for over four years is thought to be the inspiration behind the novel Robinson Crusoe
49
The education system is unfortunately dependant on wealth and the ‘poor’ students produce the worst education results with those in the private schools producing the best results
50
A widely popular, strange and followed custom is known and the ‘minga’ which brings the whole community together in order for them to move a house.

Chile is a popular tourist destination and its government has invested heavily in infrastructure to support this. According to the National Service of Tourism, two million people a year visit the country. Most of these visitors come from North and South America, but there are also growing numbers of European and Asian visitors. Spanish is the dominant language, although the Spanish spoken in Chile is slightly different to that spoken in neighboring countries. Many indigenous languages used to be spoken, but these are now minority languages. English is increasingly spoken, with many English words used in everyday speech, and German is also spoken in some southern parts of the country.

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