Chile | Where is Chile
Chile is a long, narrow country on the west coast of South America. It lies between the Pacific Ocean on the west and Bolivia and Argentina on the east. Peru lies to the north. Chile is a land of great variety. It has deserts, lakes, and snow-capped volcanoes, as well as thick forests and fertile river valleys.
Chile is more than 10 times as long as it is wide. Its capital, Santiago, is also its biggest city.
Land of Chile
The Atacama Desert is part of the Northern Desert region. It is one of the driest places on Earth. From there, the land stretches to the southern tip of South America. The Archipelago, a string of windy islands, lies off the southern coast. The Central Valley contains rich farmland. Farther south are beautiful lakes and snow-capped mountains. The Andes Mountains stretch along Chile’s eastern border.
The Northern Desert may not have rain for years, but it is not especially hot. The Central Valley has a mild climate with rainy winters. The Archipelago islands often have heavy rains, high winds, and fierce storms.
People of Chile
The first Chileans were American Indians. Today, about three-fourths of Chile’s people are mestizos. They have both Spanish and American Indian ancestors. About one-fifth have European ancestors, and most of the rest are American Indians. The largest group are Araucanian Indians. Nearly all Chileans speak Spanish, the official language. Many Araucanians also speak their own language.
Most Chileans live in cities and towns. The cities are a mix of modern and Spanish-style buildings. There are not enough housing and jobs for all the people. Poor people who move there often live in shacks on the edge of town.
Less than one-fifth of Chile’s people live in the country today. Some people own their small farms, but many work on large farms. It is hard to make a living, and many people move to cities hoping to find work.
Most of Chile’s people are Roman Catholic, but other Christian churches are growing. Children must attend school for at least eight years, and almost everyone can read and write. Chileans have written fine literature. Two poets have won the Nobel Prize for literature: Gabriela Mistral in 1945, and Pablo Neruda in 1971.