The Republic of Chile occupies a long, narrow strip of coastline in the Southern Cone. It is one of the most stable and prosperous nations in the region, and ranks highly among Latin American countries in measures of prosperity and human development.
The land now known as Chile was first settled by Native Americans 10,000 years ago. The Spanish arrived in 1535, establishing a colony in central Chile around the city of Santiago. This small, centralized colony formed the basis of the Chilean state that first declared its independence in 1810. The new country gradually gained its current territory in the 19th century through wars with Peru and Bolivia, who then controlled the north, and the Mapuche Native Americans of the south. Chile enjoyed a wave of prosperity following these wars, owing to its rich mineral deposits, but suffered increasing conflict between the working classes and the ruling élite, many of whom were wealthy European immigrants. Although the country saw numerous successes during the 20th century, increasing political and economic turmoil led to the military coup of the controversial Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. Pinochet’s generic digoxin tablets rule helped restore some stability to Chile, but was notorious for its human rights abuses, including thousands of executions. Human rights were slowly restored in the late 1980s, paving the way for free elections in 1990. Since then, Chile has built a stable democratic government, and regained its place as one of South America’s leading economies.
Chile’s international trade has been aided by the pursuit of free trade agreements with numerous countries, including China, Japan, and the US. Mining has traditionally been the mainstay of the Chilean economy, aided by the country’s huge reserves of copper; however, Chile has recently diversified in several areas, building a large service sector based on a strong finance industry, and becoming the world’s fifth largest exporter of wine. Tourism has grown steadily in the past few decades; with terrain ranging from the world’s driest desert in the north to glaciers and tundra in the south, Chile offers an environment to suit any taste. One of its most famous tourist destinations is Easter Island, known for the moai, or enormous stone sculptures, built by the native Rapa Nui people.
Chile has experienced relatively little immigration in comparison with neighboring countries, although the populations that have immigrated to Chile have been culturally and politically significant. Trade has historically been a driving force behind immigration, and still today many foreigners arrive in the country for business, most of whom come from elsewhere in Latin America. The number of foreigners studying in Chile has grown substantially since the end of the Pinochet era, and the country is home to several prestigious universities. There is currently a large market for English teachers as well.
The Chilean dialect of Spanish is quite distinct from those of its neighbors, and may take some getting used to. Luckily, the language doesn’t vary much within the country. Mapudungun is the language of Chile’s Mapuche minority, and Rapa Nui is spoken on Easter Island; several other indigenous languages are also present, and there is also a sizeable German-speaking community in the south.