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The Chile Portal

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Chile (/ˈɪli/ (About this soundlisten), /ˈɪl/; Spanish: [ˈtʃile]), officially the Republic of Chile (RepChile.ogg), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of 756,096 square kilometres (291,930 sq mi) and has a population of 17.5 million as of 2017. The capital and largest city is Santiago and the national language is Spanish.

Chile 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 under the Chilean Antarctic Territory.

Spain conquered and colonized the region in the mid-16th century, replacing Inca rule, but failing to conquer the independent Mapuche who inhabited what is now south-central Chile. After declaring 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 right-wing military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing. The regime ended in 1990 after a referendum in 1988 and was succeeded by a center-left coalition which ruled until 2010.

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Volcán San Pedro, Chile, 2016-02-09, DD 18.JPG

San Pedro is a Holocene composite volcano in northern Chile and one of the tallest active volcanoes in the world. Part of the Chilean Andes' volcanic segment, it is part of the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes, one of the four tracts of the Andean Volcanic Belt. This region of volcanism includes the world's two highest volcanoes Ojos del Salado and Llullaillaco. San Pedro, like other Andean volcanoes, was formed by the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South America Plate. It has a neighbouring volcano, San Pablo, and is itself formed by two separate edifices usually known as the Old Cone and the Young Cone. These edifices are formed by rocks ranging from basaltic andesite over andesite to dacite and are emplaced on a basement formed by Miocene volcanic rocks.

The Old Cone was active over one hundred thousand years ago and was eventually truncated by a giant landslide that removed its northwestern side. Within the landslide scar lava flows and pyroclastic flows constructed the Young Cone as well as the lateral centre La Poruña. This volcano was glaciated during the Pleistocene and a large Plinian eruption occurred at the beginning of the Holocene. Some eruptions reportedly occurred during historical time; presently the volcano is fumarolically active. Read more...

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Sinking of the Esmeralda during the battle of Iquique.jpg
The War of the Pacific, sometimes called the Saltpeter War in reference to its original cause, was fought between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru, from 1879 to 1883. Chile gained substantial mineral-rich territory in the conflict, annexing both the Peruvian province of Tarapacá and the Bolivian province of Litoral, leaving Bolivia as a landlocked country.

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Ramón Freire Serrano (November 29, 1787 – December 9, 1851) was a Chilean military and political figure.

Freire was born in Santiago in 1787 but moved to Concepción where he in 1811 joined the independist struggle by entering the army as a cadet. After the collapse of the independent Patria Vieja following a Spanish invasion he and many other Chilean took refuge in independent Argentina.

Freire returned to Chile together with the José de San Martín's Army of the Andes in 1817. Once in Chile Freire was sent with a hundred men to liberate Talca. Later, he fought in the decisive Battle of Maipú.

After the royalist collapse, Freire was named intendant of Concepción, Chile. From that city, he led operations against a mix of outlaws and royalist and Mapuche guerrillas in what has come to been known as the Guerra a muerte ("War to the Death") phase of the Chilean war for independence.

In 1823, Freire rose against the authoritarian government of Bernardo O'Higgins, forcing him to renounce his position as supreme director. The successful insurrection catapulted Freire into becoming head of state himself; in that office, he exiled O'Higgins and abolished slavery.

The following year, 1824, Freire organized an expedition to expel the royalist Spanish from the Chiloé Archipelago, their last stronghold. The expedition failed after republican Jorge Beauchef lost the Battle of Mocopulli. In 1826, Freire tried again to conquer Chiloé, this time leading an army of 2,500 men himself; the governor of Chiloé, Antonio de Quintanilla, surrendered to the superior force.

Freire was again elected head of state in 1827, this time with the title of president; but he resigned the office later the same year. In 1829, José Joaquín Prieto led a successful insurrection that created a junta (a congress of notables), which Freire did not recognise and which he opposed in the Battle of Lircay. After being defeated, he went into exile in Peru. From Peru, he managed to hire two ships with which he planned to capture Chiloé and from there overthrow the new regime. After a secret shipboard mutiny, however, he was handed over to Chilean officials.

Freire then was sent to the prison island of Robinson Crusoe by direct orders from Diego Portales. He returned to mainland Chile only in 1842 and retired from public life. He died in 1851.

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