Chile


Chile
Chilean, adj., n.
/chil"ee/; Sp. /chee"le/, n.
a republic in SW South America, on the Pacific Coast. 14,508,168; 286,396 sq. mi. (741,765 sq. km). Cap.: Santiago.

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Chile

Introduction Chile
Background: A three-year-old Marxist government was overthrown in 1973 by a dictatorial military regime led by Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president was installed in 1990. Sound economic policies, first implemented by the PINOCHET dictatorship, led to unprecedented growth in 1991-97 and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Geography Chile -
Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
Geographic coordinates: 30 00 S, 71 00 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 756,950 sq km land: 748,800 sq km note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez water: 8,150 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana
Land boundaries: total: 6,171 km border countries: Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km
Coastline: 6,435 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: 200/350 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate: temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,880 m
Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 2.65% permanent crops: 0.42% other: 96.93% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 18,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis Environment - current issues: widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage Environment - international party to: Antarctic-Environmental
agreements: Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions People Chile
Population: 15,498,930 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.9% (male 2,127,696; female 2,033,201) 15-64 years: 65.6% (male 5,070,476; female 5,103,490) 65 years and over: 7.5% (male 482,846; female 681,221) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.09% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 16.46 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 5.59 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/ female total population: 0.98 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 9.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.14 years female: 79.62 years (2002 est.) male: 72.83 years
Total fertility rate: 2.13 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.19% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 15,000 (1999 est.)
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Chilean(s) adjective: Chilean
Ethnic groups: white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%
Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish NEGL%
Languages: Spanish
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 95.2% male: 95.4% female: 95% (1995 est.) Government Chile
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Chile conventional short form: Chile local long form: Republica de Chile local short form: Chile
Government type: republic
Capital: Santiago Administrative divisions: 13 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Atacama, Bio-Bio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
Independence: 18 September 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810)
Constitution: 11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981, amended 30 July 1989, 1993, and 1997
Legal system: based on Code of 1857 derived from Spanish law and subsequent codes influenced by French and Austrian law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction note: Chile is in the process of completely overhauling its criminal justice system; a new, US-style adversarial system is being gradually implemented throughout the country
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Ricardo LAGOS Escobar (since 11 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Ricardo LAGOS Escobar (since 11 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president election results: Ricardo LAGOS Escobar elected president; percent of vote - Ricardo LAGOS Escobar 51.32%, Joaquin LAVIN 48.68% elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 12 December 1999, with runoff election held 16 January 2000 (next to be held NA December 2005)
Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (49 seats, 38 elected by popular vote, 9 designated members, and 2 former presidents who serve six-year terms and are senators for life); elected members serve eight-year terms (one- half elected every four years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CPD 20 (PDC 12, PS 5, PPD 3), UDI 9, RN 7, independents 2; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPD 63 (PDC 24, PPD 21, PS 11, PRSD 6,), UDI 35, RN 22, independent 1 elections: Senate - last held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2005); Chamber of Deputies - last held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2005)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself; the president of the Supreme Court is elected by the 21-member court); Constitutional Tribunal Political parties and leaders: Center-Center Union Party or UCCP [Francisco Javier ERRAZURIZ]; Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Patricia ALYWIN]; Coalition of Parties for Democracy ("Concertacion") or CPD - including PDC, PS, PPD, PRSD; Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Pablo LONGUEIRA]; National Renewal or RN [Alberto CARDEMIL]; Party for Democracy or PPD [Guido GIRARDI]; Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Anselmo SULE]; Socialist Party or PS [Ricardo NUNEZ] Political pressure groups and revitalized university student
leaders: federations at all major universities; Roman Catholic Church; United Labor Central or CUT includes trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confederations International organization APEC, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-15, G-77,
participation: IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOGIP, UNTAET, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Andres BIANCHI chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico) FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579 telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador
US: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Philip S. GOLDBERG embassy: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago mailing address: APO AA 34033 telephone: [56] (2) 232-2600 FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; there is a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center; design was based on the US flag Economy Chile -
Economy - overview: Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade. During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from the military in 1990 - deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% during 1991-97, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies implemented to keep the current account deficit in check and because of lower export earnings - the latter a product of the global financial crisis. A severe drought exacerbated the recession in 1999, reducing crop yields and causing hydroelectric shortfalls and electricity rationing, and Chile experienced negative economic growth for the first time in more than 15 years. Despite the effects of the recession, Chile maintained its reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. By the end of 1999, exports and economic activity had begun to recover, and growth rebounded to 5.4% in 2000. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, however, putting pressure on President LAGOS to improve living standards. The Argentine financial meltdown has put pressure on the Chilean peso and is slowing the country's economic growth. Meanwhile, Chile and the US are conducting negotiations for a free trade agreement.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $153 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $10,000 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 8% industry: 38% services: 54% (2000) Population below poverty line: 22% (1998 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 1.2%
percentage share: highest 10%: 41.3% (1998) Distribution of family income - Gini 57.5 (1996)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 5.9 million (2000 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 14%, industry 27%, services 59% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate: 10.1% (2001)
Budget: revenues: $17 billion expenditures: $17 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Industries: copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles Industrial production growth rate: 2.5% (2001 est.) Electricity - production: 39.577 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 51.17% hydro: 46.36% other: 2.47% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 37.897 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 1.09 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: wheat, corn, grapes, beans, sugar beets, potatoes, fruit; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber
Exports: $18.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities: copper, fish, fruits, paper and pulp, chemicals
Exports - partners: US 17%, Japan 14%, UK 6%, Brazil 5%, China 5% (2000)
Imports: $18 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, chemicals, motor vehicles, fuels, electrical machinery, heavy industrial machinery, food
Imports - partners: US 19%, Argentina 16%, Brazil 7%, China 6%, Japan 4% (2000)
Debt - external: $39.6 billion (2001) Economic aid - recipient: ODA, $40 million (2001 est.)
Currency: Chilean peso (CLP)
Currency code: CLP
Exchange rates: Chilean pesos per US dollar - 651.90 (January 2002), 618.70 (2001), 535.47 (2000), 508.78 (1999), 460.29 (1998), 419.30 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Chile Telephones - main lines in use: 2.603 million (1998) Telephones - mobile cellular: 944,225 (1998)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities domestic: extensive microwave radio relay links; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 180 (eight inactive), FM 64, shortwave 17 (one inactive) (1998)
Radios: 5.18 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 63 (plus 121 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 3.15 million (1997)
Internet country code: .cl Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 7 (2000)
Internet users: 1.75 million (2001) Transportation Chile
Railways: total: 6,702 km broad gauge: 2,831 km 1.676-m gauge (1,317 km electrified) narrow gauge: 117 km 1.067-m gauge (28 km electrified); 3,754 km 1.000- m gauge (37 km electrified) (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 79,800 km paved: 11,012 km unpaved: 68,788 km (1996)
Waterways: 725 km
Pipelines: crude oil 755 km; petroleum products 785 km; natural gas 320 km
Ports and harbors: Antofagasta, Arica, Chanaral, Coquimbo, Iquique, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Talcahuano, Valparaiso
Merchant marine: total: 47 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 669,670 GRT/931,647 DWT ships by type: bulk 11, cargo 4, chemical tanker 10, container 5, liquefied gas 2, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 4, roll on/roll off 5, vehicle carrier 3, includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Netherlands 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 363 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 70 over 3,047 m: 6 2,438 to 3,047 m: 6 1,524 to 2,437 m: 20 914 to 1,523 m: 22 under 914 m: 16 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 293 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 11 914 to 1,523 m: 60 under 914 m: 217 (2001) Military Chile
Military branches: Army of the Nation, National Navy (including naval air, coast guard, and marines), Air Force of the Nation, Chilean Carabineros (National Police), Investigations Police Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 4,104,197 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 3,034,912 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching males: 136,830 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $2.5 billion (FY99)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 3.1% (FY99)
GDP: Transnational Issues Chile Disputes - international: Bolivia continues to demand a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama region was lost to Chile in 1884; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims; dispute with Peru over the economic zone delimited by the maritime boundary
Illicit drugs: a growing transshipment country for cocaine destined for the US and Europe; economic prosperity has made Chile more attractive to traffickers seeking to launder drug profits; imported precursors passed on to Bolivia; domestic cocaine consumption is rising

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officially Republic of Chile

Country, southwestern South America.

Area: 292,135 sq mi (756,135 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 15,082,000 Capital: Santiago. The indigenous peoples before Spanish colonization included the Diaguita, Picunche, Mapuche, Araucanian, Huilliche, Pehunche, and Cunco Indians. Spanish colonists arrived during the 16th–17th centuries, followed by Basque settlers in the 18th century. A relatively homogeneous population of mestizos has developed. Language: Spanish (official). Religion: Roman Catholicism. Currency: Chilean peso. Chile is noteworthy for its unique topography: it is a long, narrow country lying between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. From north to south it is 2,650 mi (4,265 km) long and nowhere more than 221 mi (356 km) wide. The north has an arid plateau, the Atacama Desert, and contains several peaks above 16,000 ft (4,900 m), but most of the highest peaks are on the borders with Bolivia and Argentina. The rivers, including the Bío-Bío, are limited in size. There are many lakes, including Lake Llanquihue. The extreme southern coast is marked by many inlets, islands, and archipelagos; the western half of Tierra del Fuego (including the island on which Cape Horn is located) is in Chilean territory, as are small islets of Juan Fernández and Easter Island. Chile has a partially developed free-market economy based mainly on mining and manufacturing. It is a republic with two legislative houses; its head of state and government is the president. Originally inhabited by native peoples, including the Mapuche, the area was invaded by the Spanish in 1536. A settlement begun at Santiago in 1541 was governed under the Viceroyalty of Peru but became a separate captaincy general in 1778. Its people revolted against Spanish rule in 1810; independence was finally assured by the victory of Argentine and Chilean forces under José de San Martin at the Battle of Chacabuco in 1817. The area was governed by Chilean Gen. Bernardo O'Higgins until 1823. In the War of the Pacific (1879–83) against Peru and Bolivia, Chile won the rich nitrate fields on the coast of Bolivia, effectively severing that country's access to the coast. Chile remained neutral in World War I (1914–18); it entered World War II (1939–45) on the side of the Axis but cut ties with them in 1943. In 1970 Salvador Allende was elected president, becoming the first avowed Marxist to be elected head of state in Latin America. Following economic upheaval, he was overthrown in 1973 in a coup led by Augusto Pinochet, whose military regime harshly suppressed internal opposition. A national referendum in 1988 and elections the following year removed Pinochet from power and returned the country to democratic rule. Throughout the 1990s Chile's economy remained one of the strongest in Latin America.

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▪ 2009

Area:
756,096 sq km (291,930 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 16,454,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Michelle Bachelet

      In 2008 Chile continued to thrive as an economic success story under democratic rule. Politically, there were harbingers of change after prolonged rule by the centre-left Concertación coalition. Pres. Michelle Bachelet, who took office in 2006, began the second half of her nonrenewable four-year term. Increasingly a lame duck, she continued to deal with domestic issues involving education, health care, transportation, and energy supply, while around her there was increased political maneuvering in anticipation of the December 2009 presidential election. Sebastián Piñera, whom Bachelet had defeated for the presidency, remained the front-runner for the opposing centre-right coalition Alliance for Chile. Within the Concertación there were indications of interest from several former presidents, notably Socialist Ricardo Lagos and Eduardo Frei of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). There were conflicts within the PDC—especially in the aftermath of losses in the October 26 municipal elections—which resulted in the resignation of its president, Soledad Alvear, and an end to her presidential quest. The Concertación's political waters were also roiled by competition from Concertación members who had left the coalition, including, for example, independent Sen. Fernando Flores.

      The municipal elections were an indication of problems for the Concertación owing to the growing appeal of the Alliance for Chile. Although the Concertación won a majority of the local council seats, the Alliance took a majority of the mayoralties, including holding on to the mayoral position in the country's capital, Santiago, where a third of Chile's population resided. Although both sides declared a victory, the results were a warning signal to the ruling coalition.

      Bachelet devoted considerable time to foreign relations. Fearing the possibility of civil unrest on her country's borders, she took the lead in organizing a regional summit to discuss the increasingly worrisome internal conflict in Bolivia between Pres. Evo Morales, who was supported largely by the poor and the indigenous, and his more upscale political opponents in eastern Bolivia, who were clamouring for greater regional autonomy. There was also continuing friction with her counterpart in Venezuela, Pres. Hugo Chávez. In September the Chávez government expelled the director of Human Rights Watch for the Americas, José Miguel Vivanco, a Chilean. The move elicited a protest by the Chilean government.

      Chile's economy continued to thrive, with yearly growth estimated at 4%. Inflation was up, running at 9%. Ironically, the consequences of the U.S. financial crisis for Chile had positive as well as negative aspects. For example, the U.S. dollar, which had dropped markedly in recent years, gained significant ground in the latter months of 2008. This, coupled with the decline in the price of oil, helped boost the Chilean export sector, one of the most vibrant sectors of Chile's economy. The price of copper, still Chile's leading export, declined in the latter part of the year, however, as the global slowdown reduced demand for the metal.

      The spread of an infection among Chile's farmed salmon wreaked havoc in the salmon industry. First thought to be an isolated issue, the problem grew as the virus—known as infectious salmon anemia, or ISA—spread to dozens of salmon farms in southern Chile. By late 2008 the government had temporarily closed down nearly 50 sites and quarantined another 80. Despite these difficulties, the volume of Chile's exports of farmed salmon, as well as trout, continued unabated, with most of the exports being sent to the U.S. and Japan, the country's two largest export markets.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2008

Area:
756,096 sq km (291,930 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 16,598,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Michelle Bachelet

      Chilean Pres. Michelle Bachelet had a difficult and turbulent second year in office in 2007. Her January 2006 election as the country's first woman president had raised a number of hopes; she promised to be more accessible, to adopt a nonpatriarchal style, and to implement programs to help the poor and disadvantaged. Her election also raised hopes for a revitalization of the centre-left coalition that had stayed in power longer than former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. A series of problems, however, many of which antedated Bachelet's presidency, eroded her popularity. A poll taken in September showed a decline in her approval rating from 53% (following her election victory) to 35%.

      One major headache for the Bachelet administration was the February implementation of Transantiago, a plan formulated by former president Ricardo Lagos to reorganize and better integrate Santiago's bus and subway system. The reorganization of the transit system was a disaster; thousands of commuters were stranded or arrived hours late to work. Because the capital was home to a third of the country's population, the continuing transit foul-ups caused economic hardships. Bachelet apologized publicly and named René Cortázar the new transit minister; he promised to fix the problems before year's end or resign.

      Another area of ongoing concern was the high level of student disturbances and significant labour mobilizations. The latter included a strike by subcontracted workers in the state-owned copper industry, Codelco, and a march by the labour umbrella organization, the CUT, which protested the ruling Concertación coalition's free-market economic policies. In addition, street disturbances, on the 34th anniversary of the September 11 military coup, were disturbingly violent.

      There was also some positive news. In the realm of human rights, arrests and trials continued of those who had committed offenses during the military dictatorship. There was resistance from one accused officer, who tried to flee, and four police officers committed suicide rather than face trial. A pension-reform bill wended its way through Congress, and a key Bachelet promise to help women was realized with the establishment of several new programs and of more preschools and women's domestic-violence shelters.

      Even after his death in December 2006, Pinochet continued to be a political lightning rod. Bachelet's government denied the former dictator, a self-declared president, a state funeral, although the armed forces gave him a military funeral with full honours. The ensuing controversy demonstrated the fissures and scars still remaining in Chile. Despite Pinochet's death, the judiciary continued its efforts to prosecute those involved in the financial scandal set off by the 2004 discovery of millions of dollars hidden in secret bank accounts. In October more than 30 people closely linked to Pinochet were arrested and charged with corruption, including his widow, his five children, and three top generals (now retired) from the Pinochet era, though a later court decision rescinded the arrests and ended the investigation.

      The economic picture continued to be strong. The price of copper, Chile's largest single export, reached its highest level in more than 40 years, and there were both a large budget surplus and a positive trade balance. Economic growth, although slower than in the preceding year, ran at close to 5%. Inflation, however, crept up and by the last quarter was running at 6%. The U.S. dollar continued to fall, sliding below 500 pesos (its lowest level since 1999) and raising worries about competition between export producers. Difficulties in energy supply also continued owing to uncertainties in Argentina's supply of natural gas. The Bachelet government approved the development of alternative energy, including nuclear power and additional dams for hydroelectric generation, both of which were opposed by environmentalists.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2007

Area:
756,096 sq km (291,930 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 16,436,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
Presidents Ricardo Lagos Escobar and, from March 11, Michelle Bachelet

      On Jan. 15, 2006, Michelle Bachelet (Bachelet, Michelle ) (see Biographies), the candidate of the ruling centre-left Concertación coalition, was elected the first woman president of Chile. Her victory over Sebastián Piñera, who represented the right-wing coalition Alliance for Chile, was clear-cut, as she took 53.5% of the vote to Piñera's 46.5%. Bachelet's win brought to power a fourth Concertación government, a historic level of political continuity for the country. Her victory also put to rest the belief that the Concertación coalition had lost its raison d'être and signaled the renewal of the coalition's political agenda after its original purpose of restoring Chile to a full democracy had been achieved. (In August 2005 Pres. Ricardo Lagos's administration oversaw approval of a series of political reforms that eliminated virtually all of the undemocratic features of Chile's 1980 constitution.)

      During the campaign to succeed Lagos, Bachelet (who was, like her predecessor, a Socialist Party member) promised that, if elected, she would be a different kind of president and would make greater grassroots participation in politics and the amelioration of stubborn socioeconomic disparities hallmarks of her presidency. Once in office, she focused on achieving her campaign agenda, “36 Immediate Measures,” which dealt largely with social-policy deficiencies. One of Bachelet's first actions as president was to extend free medical attention in public hospitals to the elderly poor. She also increased the pensions of the poorest Chileans by 10% and named high-level commissions to conduct an overall evaluation of the current pension and health care systems and to recommend reforms.

      Bachelet was equally active on human rights issues. In the first months after taking office, she met with the families of Chileans who had been “disappeared” during the military rule under former president Gen. Augusto Pinochet (Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto ), and she declared August 30 a National Day of the Detained and Disappeared. News of Pinochet's death in Santiago on December 10 prompted thousands of demonstrators to pour into the streets of the capital city in celebration. (See Obituaries.) The government rejected a state funeral for Pinochet, who died without ever having stood trial for human rights abuses that occurred while he was in power.

      On the economic front, Bachelet inherited a strong economy from Lagos. The high demand for copper, Chile's largest export earner, brought record-high prices and higher-than-expected revenues to Chile's coffers, which helped to fund social programs as well as a new program to give incentives for technological innovation. At the same time, the copper boom resulted in the devaluation of the U.S. dollar vis-à-vis the Chilean peso, which hurt other export areas, notably fruits and wine, and made those goods more expensive on the international market. The Bachelet government also continued Chile's free-trade policies, especially those oriented toward Asia. The government in 2006 concluded negotiations on a historic free-trade agreement (FTA) with China, signed a trade agreement with India, and progressed in its FTA negotiations with Japan. The Chilean economy was expected to grow by close to 5% in 2006, while the country maintained a positive balance of trade and a low rate of inflation.

 Bachelet faced domestic challenges, especially in dealing with pent-up social demands. Just three months after taking office, the new president encountered her first real crisis when tens of thousands of public-school students skipped school to protest poor conditions. The crisis was resolved when the government allocated additional moneys to education, including financial assistance to the poorest students, and set up a special committee to recommend changes to the educational system. The government also confronted labour strikes by copper miners and health workers.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2006

Area:
756,096 sq km (291,930 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 16,295,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Ricardo Lagos Escobar

      Chile continued to demonstrate its unique position in Latin America during 2005, achieving a high level of economic growth while strengthening its democratic institutions. On the political front, the 2004 financial scandal surrounding Gen. Augusto Pinochet's secret foreign bank accounts continued to expand, sullying not only his own reputation but his family's as well and creating ripple effects far into Chile's political waters. By the end of 2005, both Pinochet's wife and his youngest son had been arrested for illegal financial dealings, and Pinochet found himself stripped of immunity not only for illegal financial dealings but for yet another human rights violation, the disappearance of 119 people in Operation Colombo. At the end of 2004, the report of the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture, dubbed the Valech Report, confirmed more than 35,000 cases of torture and underscored the moral lapses of the Pinochet regime.

      The cumulative ripple effect of these scandals could not be overestimated. The scandals virtually destroyed whatever remained of Pinochet's political standing, even among many Chileans on the right, and neutralized him as a political force. After many years' efforts, a series of constitutional reforms were approved overwhelmingly by Congress on August 16. The reforms eliminated most of the residual nondemocratic features of the 1980 constitution that had been written and promulgated under military rule, and they reflected a broad political agreement achieved through negotiations between the ruling centre-left Concertación coalition and the right-wing Alliance for Chile coalition. The constitutional reforms included the restoration of the president's authority to dismiss heads of the branches of the armed forces and national police; the elimination of nonelected senators in the Senate; an end to military influence in the National Security Council, which became a presidential advisory group; and a shortening of the presidential term (from six) to four years. Though another long-anticipated reform—modification of the binomial electoral system—was not achieved, future change was facilitated by moving it from the constitutional realm to that of the organic election law.

      In the campaign for the upcoming presidential elections, the Concertación candidacy was won by Socialist Michelle Bachelet, who scored an easy victory over the more moderate Christian Democrat Soledad Alvear. Bachelet represented the victory of the more progressive wing of the Concertación. The daughter of Air Force Gen. Alberto Bachelet, a democratic loyalist who was tortured and killed in the aftermath of the coup, she was herself tortured by the military. Bachelet also epitomized generational change within the Concertación and the flowering of a new kind of politics, one that was more open and transparent; if elected, she would become the first woman president in the country's history.

      The political ripples from the Pinochet affair were also felt within the right-wing Alliance. Competition for the presidential nomination erupted between its two parties, pitting Joaquín Lavín of the Independent Democratic Union (UDI), the presumed candidate until then, against the more moderate Sebastián Piñera of the National Renewal, who had supported the “no” vote in the 1988 plebiscite on Pinochet's continuing in office. Lavín's UDI represented more hard-line Pinochet supporters. In the December 11 election, Bachelet fell short of the absolute majority needed, winning 46% of the vote. She was scheduled to face Piñera, who had captured 25% to edge out Lavín for second place, in a runoff election on Jan. 15, 2006.

      The economy showed great dynamism in 2005, with growth topping 6%. Inflation sped up as well, estimated at over 4%. The country's trade balance continued to be positive, and unemployment, while still high, declined. Relations with both Bolivia and Peru, which had been rocky for a few years, improved.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2005

Area:
756,096 sq km (291,930 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 15,824,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Ricardo Lagos Escobar

      The big story in Chile in 2004 revolved around former president Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. In July a U.S. Senate committee reported that between 1994 and 2002 the Washington, D.C.-based Riggs Bank had helped Pinochet hide millions of dollars in at least six secret bank accounts and apparently aided him in setting up phony offshore companies and illegally transferring funds to them. These unlawful activities played a significant role in changing Pinochet's image in Chile dramatically and in opening the way for his prosecution for human rights crimes. Even right-wing supporters could no longer claim that he had acted only to help his country during a turbulent time. Pinochet also damaged his case against prosecution on medical grounds by giving a lucid interview to a Miami, Fla.-based television station. As a result, Chile's Supreme Court lifted his immunity in late August, and Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia questioned the former dictator at his home in September with regard to his participation in Operation Condor, an international intelligence network formed by Southern Cone military governments in the 1970s to capture and eliminate regime opponents. Although Pinochet denied any involvement, he was considered the moving force behind the creation of Operation Condor. On December 13 Judge Guzmán ruled that Pinochet was, after all, fit for trial. Meanwhile, the report of an official commission investigating systematic torture and other abuses during the 1973–90 period was delivered to President Lagos in mid-November and published on the Internet a few weeks later. In response, Lagos announced that the government would offer lifetime pensions to some 28,000 past victims of torture.

      Attention also focused increasingly on the presidential elections slated for December 2005. The big question was whether the ruling Concertación could hold on to the presidency for another six-year term or whether the right-wing Alliance for Chile candidate, Joaquín Lavín, currently mayor of Santiago, would triumph. The novelty for this election was that two of the most popular politicians were women. Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear, a Christian Democrat, had significant political experience, having served as the first minister of the National Service for Women and as minister of justice under former president Eduardo Frei. The younger and more charismatic left-wing Socialist Michelle Bachelet had much less political experience but had developed a good relationship with the military during her stint as defense minister, and she came from a military family. With some asking whether the Concertación would nominate a woman, and with former president Frei also interested in running again, it was far from clear what would happen. There was also much anticipation surrounding the October municipal elections, which had served to gauge the strength of the political parties. The political scandals that had absorbed many Chileans faded.

      Overall economic growth for the year was pegged at 5%, and inflation was low, at 3%. Trade continued to grow, partly as a result of the implementation of several new free-trade agreements (FTAs), including one with the U.S. The trade balance for the year was positive. Negotiations for an FTA with China and with New Zealand and Singapore (in the three-way Pacific Three Closer Economic Partnership) advanced significantly. In a second attempt to levy a fee on the copper industry, the government proposed another royalty-fee bill to Congress on December 15.

      In late September the giant Ralco hydroelectric plant became operational after years of controversy. The plant affected not only domestic indigenous and environmental policies but also foreign affairs. A portion of the Mapuche community opposed the project because of its location on indigenous lands, and they, as well as environmental activists, decried the project's negative impact on the environment. The completion of the project was a partial answer to a burgeoning energy problem affecting relations in the region. During 2004 there was an increasing conflict with Argentina over its restrictions on the sale of natural gas to Chile; relations further deteriorated when Argentina signed an agreement to buy natural gas from Bolivia, which also forbade Argentina to sell this gas to Chile. Bolivia began rattling sabres with Chile over the loss of its access to the sea in the late 19th-century War of the Pacific.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2004

Area:
756,096 sq km (291,930 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 15,326000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Ricardo Lagos Escobar

      Sept. 11, 2003, marked the 30th anniversary of the military coup that resulted in the overthrow of the democratic government of Socialist Pres. Salvador Allende Gossens and the installation of Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte as president of Chile; the event remained a lightning rod for the many relatives of the estimated 4,000 people who were killed or went missing during the Pinochet era. Events that harked back to that period, such as the erection of a statue of Allende near the presidential palace, still elicited strong public debates and protests and laid bare the polarized political camps that continued to exist.

      The year began with political scandals that threatened the ruling Concertación coalition when major coalition figures were placed under judicial investigation. Former public works minister Carlos Cruz had allegedly been involved in activities that included irregular payments and kickbacks to ministerial staff members, and five Concertación congressional deputies were accused of having taken bribes to influence congressional votes. In mid-January the five deputies were barred from exercising their congressional responsibilities while under investigation; as a result, for several months the Concertación had the slimmest of majorities—one vote—in the Chamber of Deputies. One of the five, Socialist Deputy Juan Pablo Letelier, the son of murdered diplomat Orlando Letelier, was cleared of all charges in August. These events brought to light serious underlying problems, such as the lack of regulations and public financing for campaigns—a particularly acute problem for Concertación candidates who did not have the same easy access to financing as did right-wing candidates—and the difficulty government officials had in hiring highly qualified people to staff ministries, given historically low salaries. The scale of the scandals and especially the involvement of Cruz hurt the government's image. Scandals also touched the right; among them was an allegation in October by a right-wing deputy that three Chilean politicians had been involved in sex parties with Claudio Spiniak, who had been arrested in September for serious sex-related crimes.

      On the positive side, there were important gains in the area of human rights. Judicial investigations continued to mount against members of the armed forces for violations during military rule (1973–90). Among those brought to trial was retired general Manuel Contreras—former head of the Pinochet secret police force, the DINA—who had already served time for the car-bomb murder of Orlando Letelier. Contreras was convicted in April and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the 1975 killing of Miguel Sandoval. In June, Army Commander in Chief Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre acknowledged the military's lamentable role in the human rights abuses during the Pinochet years and pledged “never again” to resort to military intervention.

      Despite increasing opposition to the cost of the government's Plan AUGE, which was designed to provide coverage for 56 common illnesses, the administration of Pres. Ricardo Lagos Escobar remained committed to its major health initiative.

      On the economic front, Chile appeared to be working its way out of recession. Although unemployment remained high, economic growth for 2003 was 3.5%, while inflation stayed low, at 3%. Chile's balance of trade was positive and growing. The price of copper, a prime export, also increased during the year. Lagos's team also finalized free-trade agreements with South Korea and Singapore and, most important, one with the U.S. that would become effective in January 2004. In October, Chile assumed the chair of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

      Chile's close relationship with the U.S. was tested during the year when Chile voted against a U.S. invasion of Iraq at the UN Security Council. This occurred at precisely the same time that the two countries were in the process of approving the free-trade agreement.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2003

Area:
756,096 sq km (291,930 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 15,082,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Ricardo Lagos Escobar

      The end of 2002 marked the midway point of Chilean Pres. Ricardo Lagos Escobar's administration. Among its notable accomplishments was the continuing stability of Chile's economy, especially at a time of growing regional economic turbulence. In his annual address to the National Congress in May, Lagos highlighted the three top priorities for his government: fostering economic growth and achieving greater social justice and a fuller democracy.

      The economic picture was mixed. Although Chile had avoided some of the deep economic problems that had plagued its neighbours, it had not avoided the fallout altogether. Economic growth, estimated to reach 2.8% for the year, still lagged behind the 6–7% growth rate of the 1990s, and, although the government had combated unemployment with significant job creation, the jobless rate remained stubbornly high at 9%. The region's economic problems had adversely affected foreign investment in Chile. There were, however, important positive economic signs. The continuing devaluation of the Chilean peso against the dollar helped the export sector. Inflation remained low at 2.6%, and the country's trade balance was positive. In May the government finalized a free-trade agreement with the European Union (EU). The agreement helped protect Chile's crucial export sector at a time when other regions with which Chile traded, especially Latin America, were in an economic slump. Although Chilean trade was diversified, the European Union had become the country's top export destination. However, it also looked as if Chile might finally sign a free-trade agreement with the U.S. after eight years of discussion. Talks between the two countries were scheduled to continue through the end of the year in hopes of settling all outstanding concerns, such as labour and environmental issues and conflict-resolution mechanisms.

      In terms of social justice, the Lagos administration continued to press for reforms to help reduce extreme poverty and improve public education and health care. One of the more controversial proposals had been Plan Auge, designed to correct problems in the health care system by guaranteeing universal health coverage for treatment of the 56 most common diseases. The plan was to be funded by tax increases. The Senate was debating another controversial bill that would legalize divorce.

      Lagos also continued to press for reforms to eliminate undemocratic features of the 1980 Pinochet-era constitution, even threatening in September to call a plebiscite on the outstanding issues. These included eliminating an electoral system viewed as biased as well as nonelected senators. In November, however, the Lagos government's credibility was undercut by political corruption charges against six of its legislators.

      In early July the Supreme Court reaffirmed that former president Gen. Augusto Pinochet was not fit to stand trial for human rights abuses. Even though Pinochet gave up his lifetime senatorial status, it was small consolation to human rights activists and victims' families; more than 250 cases against him were left unresolved. The Supreme Court also refused to extradite five Chilean military men, as requested by an Argentine judge, to stand trial for the 1974 murder of Chilean Gen. Carlos Prats and his wife in a car bombing in Buenos Aires. A group of 12 military men were found responsible for the 1982 murder of labour leader Tucapel Jiménez, however, and they were sentenced in criminal court. Continuing controversy over a secret Air Force death squad forced Air Force head Patricia Rios to resign in October.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2002

Area:
756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 15,402,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Ricardo Lagos Escobar

      The year 2001 posed both economic and political challenges for Chile and for the government of Ricardo Lagos Escobar, who was in the second year of his presidency.

      The case of former Chilean president Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte remained in the spotlight. Pinochet, who had been charged with more than 250 cases of human rights abuses, underwent a series of medical exams after his lawyers allowed them to go forward. Although the Chilean Appeals courts decided in a July 9 ruling that Pinochet was not fit to stand trial, the general was not out of the legal morass. Other actions continued against him in Chile and elsewhere. Judicial proceedings in France led to his indictment, along with six other senior Chilean military officers, including former intelligence chief Gen. Manuel Contreras, who had spent seven years incarcerated in Chile for the 1976 murder of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C.

      On the political front, the Lagos government had to face a stronger political opposition—the activist mayor in Santiago, Joaquín Lavín Infante. Lavín, who narrowly lost to Lagos in 2000, continued to position himself to run again for the presidency. Much to the dismay of the Lagos government, Lavín had increased his popularity by focusing on issues such as public safety. Lavín's activities bore fruit in the December parliamentary elections when his right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) overtook the Christian Democratic Party (PCD) by winning more than 25% of the vote. The right-wing Alliance for Chile coalition, which included the UDI, won 44.3% of the vote, compared to the ruling Concertación coalition's 47.9%. As a result, the two political forces were tied in the Senate (24–24), and the Concertación's majority in the lower house was reduced to 63–57 from 70–50.

      A major reason for the lacklustre showing was the continuing electoral decline of the PDC. The party had earlier suffered an embarrassment when it somehow missed the deadline for registering its candidates for the congressional elections. Although the situation was rectified by congressional action and PDC candidates were included in the Concertación electoral slate, the event demonstrated a shocking lack of internal organization and led to a shake-up within the party. There were also growing intracoalition conflicts between the PDC and its coalition ally, the Socialist Party (PS). These came to light when the PS announced that it had reached an agreement to share some of its electoral seats with the Communist Party, which was not a member of the coalition. The strongly anticommunist PDC was outraged by the agreement, which had been negotiated without the prior consent of coalition members.

      In addition to these political problems, the Lagos government faced difficulties on the economic front. Although Chile's economy continued to grow, the rate of growth was lower than had been originally predicted—3.5% instead of the 5% estimate. That was a much lower number than the vigorous 7% growth rates Chile had experienced prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which negatively affected Chile's export-dependent economy, given that one-third of its exports had been sent to Asia. Unemployment remained stubbornly high, reaching 9.7% in Santiago by October. Prices for two major exports, copper and wood pulp, also sank to record lows. Although Chile tried to insulate itself from the severe economic problems across the Andes in Argentina, its peso was affected, dropping in value to an exchange rate of about 670 pesos to the dollar by December.

      On the plus side, Chile had virtually no foreign debt, which allowed it to offer for sale $650 million in government bonds. The sale, which went very well, along with intensified negotiations with the U.S. over a free-trade agreement, demonstrated international faith in Chile's economy.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2001

Area:
756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 15,211,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
Presidents Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle and, from March 11, Ricardo Lagos Escobar

      Two dramatic events in 2000 each marked watersheds in Chilean history—the election of Concertación coalition candidate Ricardo Lagos Escobar (see Biographies) as president and the return of Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte after 16 months' detention in Great Britain while awaiting possible extradition to Spain for alleged human rights abuses. On Jan. 16, 2000, Lagos won a hard-fought contest in the election runoff against Joaquín Lavín Infante, the candidate of the right-wing parties; he captured 51.3% of the vote to Lavín's 48.7% and became the third consecutive Concertación president as well as the first socialist president since Salvador Allende in 1970.

      General Pinochet's return to Chile came after a January medical exam that led to the conclusion that he was not medically fit to stand trial. British Home Secretary Jack Straw announced that he was “minded” to allow Pinochet to return to Chile on medical, humanitarian grounds; after a final round of appeals, Pinochet landed in Chile on March 3 and brought the twin issues of human rights and civil-military relations to centre stage. On August 8 the Supreme Court, in a 14–6 vote, ratified the appeals court's earlier decision granting Judge Juan Guzman Tapia's request to withdraw Pinochet's lifetime senatorial immunity. Guzman, who was presiding over a burgeoning number of human rights charges against Pinochet (177 by November), was joined in his quest for prosecution by the Argentinean courts in late October. They requested the extradition of seven men, including Pinochet and Gen. Manuel Contreras, former head of the Directorate of National Intelligence, for alleged participation in the 1974 assassination of former Chilean army commander Gen. Carlos Prats and his wife Sofia Cuthbert in Buenos Aires. In November the Chilean courts, mindful that Chilean law excused only the mentally incompetent from trial, ordered both mental and neurological medical tests for Pinochet before proceeding further. In December the Courts of Appeal ruled that Pinochet should be examined in a military hospital before facing trial. Another judicial investigation into the 1982 death of labour leader Tucapel Jimenez led to the first arrest of an active-duty army general, Hernán Ramírez Hald. Meanwhile, the U.S. release of formerly secret documents demonstrated U.S. complicity in repressive military activities, including CIA payments to Contreras during 1974–77 and knowledge about Operation Condor—the code name for Southern Cone military dictatorships' efforts to assist each other in eliminating political opponents.

      As president, Lagos named a record number of women to high governmental posts, selected a grassroots activist to head the state environmental agenda, and demanded from his cabinet truthfulness and accountability, the latter through specific performance targets. His legislative agenda included revising the old labour code, providing better health care, increasing the minimum wage, and enacting constitutional reforms. He also assumed a high profile internationally, including attending the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in November and negotiating conditions for Mercosur entry with Uruguay. At home, Lagos had to deal with charges of corruption against government officials who had served under former president Eduardo Frei, particularly Christian Democrats, which tarnished the Concertación image, and with a slow economic recovery from recession. The October 29 municipal elections were the first electoral measure of Lagos's popularity and of the political impact of the Lavín candidacy. The results allowed both the Concertación and the right-wing Alliance for Chile to claim victory. While the Concertación maintained its majority hold, winning 52.1% to 40.1%, it lost control of mayoralties in a number of major cities. Santiago was the most significant loss, where defeated presidential candidate Joaquin Lavin easily bested Marta Larraechea, Frei's wife, 61% to 29%.

      The economy recovered in 2000, as Chile posted a positive gross domestic product growth rate of 5.5% and a positive balance of trade, spurred by a 20% increase in the export sector and rising copper prices. The slow appreciation of the undervalued dollar to 570 pesos did not hinder exports. Other signs were less optimistic. The economy slowed in the second half of the year. Unemployment remained stubbornly high, rising to 10.7% in the third quarter. The 4.5% inflation rate, while still low, was higher than forecast due to rising oil prices.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 2000

Area:
756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 15,018,000
Capitals:
Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)
Head of state and government:
President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

      The two political issues dominating 1999 in Chile were human rights and the December presidential elections. The dramatic changes in the human rights picture were due largely to Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte's yearlong detention in Great Britain, which destroyed the image of military impunity. Chilean courts began to indict high-ranking Chilean military officers for human rights abuses and to request testimony on such abuses from dozens of military men. Five retired generals were indicted, including Arellano Stark for the 1973 “caravan of death”—the execution of more than 70 political prisoners following Pinochet's military takeover—and Humberto Gordon and Roberto Schmied for the 1982 murder of labour leader Tucapel Jiménez. Chilean citizens also lodged over 40 criminal complaints against Pinochet, which he would face if he returned to Chile.

      Pinochet remained under house arrest in London while legal wrangling over whether he could be extradited to Spain wound its way through the British legal system. The Law Lords finally settled the question of his immunity to prosecution in March by ruling that he could be extradited. The decision was tempered by a narrowing of the criteria for prosecution to crimes committed after December 1988, when the U.K. approved the International Convention on Torture. Formal extradition proceedings were held in late September on 34 counts, with Pinochet's lawyers vehemently denying Spain's jurisdiction in the matter. On October 8 presiding judge Ronald Bartle ruled that Pinochet could indeed be extradited.

      Pinochet's continued house arrest in the face of the Chilean government's insistence that he be freed had an adverse effect on Chilean relations with both the U.K. and Spain. The British position that no humanitarian request could be considered until after extradition proceedings had been completed, however, opened the possibility of Pinochet's return to Chile on grounds of poor health, and Chilean-British tensions eased by midyear. Chile redirected its ire when in September Spain refused to accept international arbitration; Chile threatened to appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. On November 13 Chile signed an agreement granting Peru access to port facilities in Arica, in northern Chile, ending decades of tensions between the two countries over the issue.

      In politics, the presidential election campaign heated up considerably. A Concertación primary on May 30 ended the increasingly hostile conflict between Christian Democratic candidate Andrés Zaldívar and the Socialist Party/Party for Democracy coalition candidate Ricardo Lagos. Lagos captured 71.3% of the vote to Zaldívar's 28.7%. Zaldívar's dismal showing led to a shake-up in the Christian Democratic Party, including the resignation of the party president. The right-wing parties coalesced around Joaquín Lavín, mayor of prosperous Las Condes, who proved himself to be a skillful campaigner. Both Lavín and Lagos tried to run forward-looking campaigns, with the former focusing on “change” and the latter on “equality.” None of the other candidates, including President Frei's cousin, Arturo Frei Bolívar, who bolted the Christian Democrats, ecologist Sara Larraín, humanist Tomás Hirsch, and Communist Party leader Gladys Marín, had a chance of winning. The race tightened considerably by September, and no candidate took 50% of the vote on December 12, forcing a second round on Jan. 16, 2000.

      On the economic front, 1999 was marked by a severe recession, with unemployment rising to over 11% by July, a continued low price for copper, and a negative trade balance and balance of payments. For the first time in more than a decade, Chile's growth rate was negative. President Frei responded to the growing economic crisis in June by shuffling his Cabinet and implementing housing subsidies for the poor, instituting loans to small farmers and businessmen, and speeding up public works projects. The government also continued its port-privatization program despite a dockworkers strike in Valparaíso, as well as the infusion of private capital to modernize airports and roads.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim

▪ 1999

      Area: 756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 14,822,000

      Capitals: Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)

      Head of state and government: President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

      Although the attempts by Spain to extradite ex-Pres. Augusto Pinochet from London on charges of human rights abuses overshadowed Chilean politics after October, most of the year was dominated by the impact of the Asian economic crisis and by preparations for the 1999 presidential elections. Pinochet's retirement in March as army commander to become a senator for life laid down under his 1980 constitution aroused controversy, including a vote in January by the Chamber of Deputies opposing his entry to the Senate on the grounds that he had never been democratically elected president (his 1981 victory having been as the only candidate). While his membership of the Senate strengthened the right-wing, preventing the government from achieving the two-thirds majority needed to alter the constitution and abolish non-elected senators, Pinochet's retirement led to an improvement in civil-military relations. His successor, Gen. Ricardo Izurieta, struck a different note in his first address to the troops, stressing his faith in the democratic institutions and the military's subordination to the civilian authorities.

      Pinochet's detention provoked a vigorous debate about the human rights abuses of the 1973-90 dictatorship. While his supporters argued that Pinochet had diplomatic immunity, opinion polls suggested that two-thirds of Chileans considered him guilty and that most wanted him tried in Chile. Although fears were expressed for political stability, the government, under extreme pressure from the military, pressed for his release and took measures to indicate extreme displeasure with the British and Spanish governments.

      Earlier in the year there had been speculation that the governing Concertación coalition could split over the choice of a presidential candidate for 1999 and present two candidates, one each from the Christian Democrats and the Socialists, thus handing victory to the right-wing Union for the Progress of Chile. The midterm congressional elections of December 1997 indicated a shift of strength within the coalition: while the Socialist Party retained its support, the Christian Democrat vote fell, strengthening the claims of the Socialist to the Concertación candidacy in 1999. Consistently shown by opinion polls to be the country's most popular politician, Lagos resigned as minister of public works in September to plan his campaign. The accompanying Cabinet reshuffle resulted in the departure of ministers and an increase in the power of Finance Minister Eduardo Aninat, an opponent of Lagos. The possibility of a split in the Concertación was averted by an agreement to hold a presidential primary early in 1999; the main candidates were to be Lagos and the Christian Democrat Andres Zaldivar, president of the Senate.

      The economy was badly affected by the Asian crisis and low international copper prices; one-third of Chilean exports were to Asia (16% to Japan) and 40% of export earnings were from copper. The Russian debt default in September caused the Santiago stock market to lose 50% of its value. The government responded by increasing interest rates (in September the Banco Central's interbank rate was raised to 14%), allowing the peso to depreciate more rapidly and reducing spending by $685 million. In April the Finance Ministry also attempted to stimulate domestic savings, introducing new savings incentives into a measure that increased pensions.

      The fall in export earnings was reflected in an increase in the trade deficit, projected at $2.4 million compared with $1.3 million in 1997. Growth in per capita gross domestic product was estimated at 4.6% compared with 7.1% in 1997. Government projections for annual inflation were 4.7%, down from 6% in 1997. Unemployment at the year end was estimated at 5.9%, up from 5.3% for 1997.

CHARLIE NURSE

▪ 1998

      Area: 756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 14,583,000

      Capitals: Santiago (national) and Valparaíso (legislative)

      Head of state and government: President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

      Two events dominated politics in Chile in 1997: the midterm elections in December and the impending retirement of Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte as army commander in chief, scheduled for March 1998. Observers believed that the elections, for all 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and half of the elected senators, might decide the choice of the governing coalition's presidential candidate in 1999. Within the coalition the Socialists and the Party for Democracy favoured Ricardo Lagos, a Socialist whom polls rated the country's most popular politician, but one faction of the Christian Democrats (PDC) was hostile to nominating a Socialist candidate.

      In the election the governing coalition won 50.5% of the vote, a drop of almost 5% from the 1993 vote. It retained its overall majority in the legislature but by a reduced margin. Almost 18% of the electorate cast either blank or spoiled ballots. Within the coalition the Socialists fared best, strengthening the candidacy of Lagos.

      Though Pinochet, president of the military government of 1973-90, publicly insisted that the choice of his successor was in the hands of Pres. Eduardo Frei, he was reported to have told friends that he had submitted a list of seven candidates. Frei ultimately chose Gen. Ricardo Izurieta, the army chief of staff.

      The importance of Pinochet's departure was emphasized by the failure of a government bill to amend the constitution and end the system under which nine senators were nominated, several of them indirectly by the armed forces. As in 1996, the government made a deal with the right-wing National Renovation (RN) party, but the bill was blocked when several RN senators sided with the extreme right-wing Independent Democratic Union. Frei announced that the government would try again in March 1998, by which time Pinochet and three of the nominated senators would have retired. Though Pinochet, as a former president, would become a senator, Frei would appoint three new senators, probably enough to give his administration a majority in the Senate and thereby amend the constitution.

      In January plans to privatize the 13 water companies were dropped after running into opposition from the right in the Senate, which wanted more flexible regulation, and from the PDC, which opposed privatization. In April 150 years of coal mining at Lota ended, and 1,100 people were left unemployed, after attempts by Enacar, the state company, to modernize the mine and reduce the workforce had broken down in 1996. By contrast, prospects for Chile's main export, copper, remained buoyant; a report predicted increased output of 9.7% in 1997 to 3.4 million tons and projected output in 2000 of 4.8 million tons.

      Though the U.S. made new efforts to gain the authority to quickly negotiate Chilean entry to the North American Free Trade Agreement, opposition from the Democrats in the U.S. Congress remained an obstacle. The U.S. decision to remove the ban on high-technology arms sales to South America led to speculation that Chile would buy F-16 fighter jets and raised fears of a regional arms race as Peru, Chile's arch rival, bought MiG fighters from Belarus.

      Export earnings were projected to grow more slowly than imports, which would result in a widening of the trade deficit from $1,147,000,000 in 1996 to $1,900,000,000. Gross domestic product was expected to grow by 5.8%, down from 7.2% in 1996. Consumer prices were projected to rise by 5.5%, down from 6.6%. Unemployment was estimated at 5.4% at the end of the year. The exchange rate held steady at about U.S. $1 = 425 Chilean pesos.

CHARLIE NURSE

▪ 1997

      The republic of Chile extends along the Pacific coast of the Southern Cone of South America. Area: 756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi), not including Chile's Antarctic claim. Pop. (1996 est.): 14,375,000. Cap.: Santiago (national); Valparaíso (legislative). Monetary unit: Chilean peso, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 413.55 pesos to U.S. $1 (651.47 pesos = £ 1 sterling). President in 1996, Eduardo Frei.

      In August 1996 the U.S. ambassador, Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón, angered Chilean leaders by defending the U.S. ban on the export of advanced weapons to Chile, in force since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (1973-90). Chile's 1980 constitution, the ambassador maintained, prevents the president from removing the military commanders in chief and thus does not allow full civilian control of the Chilean armed forces. The right-wing parties accused Guerra-Mondragón of interference; the left considered that the ambassador had merely spoken the obvious. This episode and the government's low-key reaction highlighted the extent to which relations with the armed forces and the legacy of the dictatorship continued to cause problems for the government of Pres. Eduardo Frei. These were intensified by the negotiations under way with the armed forces over the succession to Pinochet, who planned to step down as commander in chief of the army in March 1998.

      In August 1995 President Frei proposed reforming the 1980 constitution. He advocated a compromise on the sensitive issue of human rights violations committed under the fileatorship, accepting the 1980 amnesty law but allowing the courts to investigate "individual truths" (i.e., the courts would be able to identify guilt but not sentence the guilty). Frei also proposed ending the system by which 9 of the 47 senators were appointed, 8 of them by Pinochet, rather than elected. This provision had enabled the right-wing opposition to block reforms since the return to civilian rule in 1990. Despite a deal with the main opposition party, National Renovation (RN), the reform was rejected by the Senate when 7 RN senators joined 14 others in voting against it.

      In June Chile reached important trading agreements with the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) and the European Union after the U.S. Congress rebuffed its attempt to join the North American Free Trade Agreement. In November, however, Chile and Canada signed a free-trade agreement. At San Luis, Arg., Frei signed a deal that made Chile an associate member of Mercosur. Tariffs on 90% of goods traded between Chile and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) were to be phased out over eight years. The transitional period on the other 10% was to be 10-15 years, except for wheat (18 years). The main opposition in Chile had come from farmers, who feared competition from the large-scale Mercosur producers.

      Export earnings declined because of a fall in copper prices, and a deficit of $550 million in the trade balance was projected for 1996. An increase of 6.6% in gross domestic product was estimated for 1996, down from 8.5% in 1995. A decline in consumer spending became apparent from July onward. Unemployment was estimated at 7% at the end of the year. (CHARLIE NURSE)

▪ 1996

      The republic of Chile extends along the Pacific coast of the Southern Cone of South America. Area: 756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi), not including Chile's Antarctic claim. Pop. (1995 est.): 14,210,000. Cap.: Santiago (national); Valparaíso (legislative). Monetary unit: Chilean peso, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 401.10 pesos to U.S. $1 (634.08 pesos = £ 1 sterling). President in 1995, Eduardo Frei.

      The dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet (1973-90) cast a shadow over Chilean politics in 1995. In May the Supreme Court upheld the convictions of Gen. Manuel Contreras, head of the secret police from 1973 to 1977, and his former deputy, Brig. Gen. Pedro Espinoza, on charges of involvement in the 1976 car-bomb murder in Washington, D.C., of Orlando Letelier, a leading Socialist and former ambassador to the United States. Pinochet, still commander in chief of the army, castigated the Supreme Court judgment as "shameful . . . unjust and political" and "unconstitutional." The army then hindered Contreras' imprisonment, but he nevertheless handed himself in to begin his prison sentence in October. Espinoza was imprisoned in Punta Pueco, a new prison purposely built for military officers. On July 22 some 300 officers and their families, led by the commander of the Santiago garrison, demonstrated outside the prison. In a later speech Pinochet asked officers to remain calm and respect the civil authorities and the rule of law. When the government subsequently intervened to stop investigations into corruption charges against Pinochet's son, some observers suspected that a deal had been struck.

      In August Pres. Eduardo Frei announced a package of proposals to the legislature: a bill to clarify the fate of some 1,000 people who disappeared during the dictatorship and reforms to Pinochet's 1980 constitution to allow the president to appoint and dismiss top military commanders and to abolish the nine nonelected seats in the Senate. The current nonelected senators, appointed by Pinochet, enabled the right-wing opposition to block constitutional reforms. Because their terms were to expire in 1998 and Frei would appoint their successors, the opposition might be tempted to accept the constitutional reforms in return for an end to investigations into human rights violations.

      In March, in a speech marking his first year in office, Frei stressed concern over the widespread poverty that persisted in Chile despite the economic growth of the past decade. In May the minimum wage was increased by 12.9%. The government also introduced a new tax on cigarettes and cars to fund a 10% rise in the lowest pensions and a 5% increase in education spending.

      Negotiations opened for Chilean membership in the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Prospects for rapid success in the NAFTA talks faltered when the U.S. Congress failed to approve the use of "fast-track" authority (under which it would merely vote on the final treaty); without this, Chilean entry was likely to be delayed until after the 1996 presidential election. The major opposition to associate membership in Mercosur (which included Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) came from Chilean farmers, worried about cheaper imported produce. The government also pursued a trade pact with the European Union; Frei visited Europe in March to press Chile's case, which was accepted in principle in August.

      In August LAN-Chile announced the purchase of 57% of the rival airline Ladeco, which made the LAN-Chile/Ladeco group the third largest airline in Latin America. The two carriers retained their separate identities.

      The effect of the Mexican economic crisis was limited. Chile's annual growth rate in 1995 was 7%, and inflation was 8% (8.9% in 1994). Chilean exports were very strong, resulting in a first-half trade surplus of $1.3 billion, compared with $344.6 million for the corresponding period in 1994. Fruit exports increased 15.8% by volume, and copper earnings rose owing to increased exports and high world prices. By July the peso had risen 20% against its year-end rate of 403 to the dollar, though a cut in interest rates and other measures brought it down to 391 (Sept. 25, 1995). (CHARLIE NURSE)

▪ 1995

      The republic of Chile extends along the Pacific coast of the Southern Cone of South America. Area: 756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi), not including Chile's Antarctic claim. Pop. (1994 est.): 13,805,000. Cap.: Santiago (national); Valparaíso (legislative). Monetary unit: Chilean peso, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 414.04 pesos to U.S. $1 (658.53 pesos = £ 1 sterling). Presidents in 1994, Patricio Aylwin Azócar and, from March 11, Eduardo Frei.

      In the month prior to the inauguration of Pres. Eduardo Frei, the Chilean Congress in February 1994 reduced the presidential term of office from eight years to six. On taking office, Frei suggested further constitutional changes. In August he proposed to Congress the abolition of eight Senate seats appointed by the armed forces and the establishment of proportional representation. A third contentious issue, the president's inability to remove the chiefs of the armed forces, was not put before Congress. Frei hoped that this omission would help ensure his success in curtailing the disproportionate power of the right-wing opposition that had been written into the constitution by former president Augusto Pinochet.

      The removal of military commanders, however, posed an immediate problem. In March Judge Milton Juica, who had sentenced three former police officers to life in prison for the 1985 murder of three communists, accused the police chief, Gen. Rodolfo Stange, of nonfulfillment of military duty. Following the accusation, Frei urged Stange to resign. Stange refused, and the impasse was not resolved until April, when Stange took leave until a military court decided if charges should be brought against him for covering up the 1985 murders.

      Another erosion of the legacy of the Pinochet years was the appointment of four Socialists to the Cabinet, Germán Correa (Interior) and Ricardo Lagos (Public Works). While reflecting the Socialists' strong performance in the 1993 elections, it also eliminated the power of the military to veto the appointment of Socialists to senior public office.

      The Frei administration announced reform of the public and private health care systems and the high priority of education, to be financed in part by privatization of government-owned enterprises. Roads, railroads, and ports were all earmarked for improvement, to keep pace with Chile's expanding exports.

      On the trade front an agreement signed with the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) was expected to lead to associate membership in the organization with Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Discussions with the U.S. toward establishing a trade accord began in June, and in December Chile was invited to join the North American Free Trade Agreement. Prices for major exports in the first half of 1994 were better than expected, especially for copper, yielding a January-June trade surplus of $237 million, in contrast to a forecast annual deficit of $1 billion. Gross domestic product was predicted to grow 4-4.5%, compared with 6% in 1993 (according to the Chilean central bank), but it was feared that the government would not achieve its 11% target for inflation.

      Early in the year it was revealed that the chief futures trader of Codelco, the state copper company, had lost the company more than $206 million in irregular transactions on the London Metal Exchange. The fiasco led to many resignations and major structural changes at the hands of a new Codelco president, Juan Villarzú. In May Codelco workers denounced as unconstitutional a bill that aimed to divide the company into autonomous units. Additional problems arose when Lac Minerals of Canada withdrew its share of a bid for a 51% stake in El Abra, a large, undeveloped copper deposit. Despite Codelco's difficulties, however, copper output from state and private mines surpassed two million metric tons in 1993. Together with new mines still to come into operation, Villarzú's modernization program aimed to increase production to more than three million metric tons by the year 2000. (BEN BOX)

▪ 1994

      The republic of Chile extends along the Pacific coast of the Southern Cone of South America. Area: 756,626 sq km (292,135 sq mi), not including Chile's Antarctic claim. Pop. (1993 est.): 13,542,000. Cap.: Santiago (national); Valparaíso (legislative). Monetary unit: Chilean peso, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 407.95 pesos to U.S. $1 (618.05 pesos = £ 1 sterling). President in 1993, Patricio Aylwin Azócar.

      Sept. 11, 1993, was declared a national holiday to commemorate 20 years since the military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte in 1973, which overthrew the socialist alliance of Salvador Allende Gossens. A monument with an eternal flame was erected close to the Moneda presidential palace, and a 10-peso copper coin was minted for the occasion. Troubled by human rights abuses, thousands of protesters clashed with the police in Santiago; two people were killed and about 100 injured, some by gunfire.

      Pres. Patricio Aylwin Azócar attempted to speed up delayed investigations of some 200 active cases (600-800 more pending) of human rights abuses by the military, but his bill was rejected in the Chamber of Deputies in July. The sticking point for the left-wing opposition was the stipulation that trials should be held in secret, with anonymity guaranteed for members of the military called as witnesses. Aylwin had hoped that the bill would encourage more evidence to emerge, but its rejection meant that no legislation would be passed before the presidential elections.

      Critics within the military declared that human rights trials were a waste of time anyway, as an amnesty in 1978 had agreed that no incidents occurring before 1978 would be considered. However, President Aylwin was determined to locate the remains of over 1,000 people who had disappeared after detention during the military regime. In November two generals were sentenced to prison for ordering the assassination of opposition leader Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C., in 1976. It was the first time that the courts had sentenced senior army officers to prison for rights abuses.

      In the presidential elections held on December 11, Eduardo Frei, the candidate of the ruling Concertación centre-left coalition won a decisive victory. Frei was a 45-year-old Christian Democrat whose father had been president from 1964 to 1970. The leading opposition party was the Union for Chilean Progress, a right-wing coalition of three parties whose candidate was 69-year-old Arturo Alessandri.

      Democratic powers were still circumscribed by the armed forces, partly as a result of a new constitution introduced in 1980 by General Pinochet, which remained largely in force. The constitution allowed Pinochet, as commander of the armed forces, to appoint nine nonelected senators to Congress, likely to weight it heavily in favour of the right wing. The ruling Concertación was stuck in a vicious circle, as it could not gain control of Congress without changing the constitution, which could not be done without having a two-thirds majority in Congress. Despite overwhelming support for Concertación, it did not gain a sufficient majority in the December parliamentary elections to outweigh the right wing in the balance of power.

      Chile's status as Latin America's most stable economy was upset by forecasts of its first trade deficit in 12 years, predicted to total more than $500 million by the end of 1993. Reasons given for the deficit were that a 6% increase in gross domestic product had led to a surge in import consumption and foreign investment. Imports were estimated to total $10.9 billion, a rise of some 18% over 1992. Foreign investment exceeded $400 million in 1992, according to the Chilean central bank, a rise from $10 million in 1988. Lower world prices and strong foreign competition in copper, fish meal, pulp, and fruit—all key industries—were also blamed for the trade imbalance. Consumer spending remained high as wages and employment levels continued to rise. Inflation was forecast to total 12% by the end of 1993, against 12.7% at the end of 1992. (HUW CLOUGH)

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Introduction
Chile, flag of   country situated along the western seaboard of South America and extending approximately 2,700 miles (4,300 km) from its boundary with Peru, at latitude 17°30′ 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 on the north by Peru and Bolivia, on its long eastern border by Argentina, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Chile exercises sovereignty over Easter Island, the Juan Fernández (Juan Fernández Islands) Archipelago, and the volcanic islets of Sala y Gómez, San Félix, and San Ambrosio, all of which are located in the South Pacific. Chile 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.

The land

Relief
 The major landforms of Chile are arranged as three parallel north–south units: the Andes Mountains to the east; the intermediate depression, or longitudinal valley, in the centre; and the coastal ranges to the west. These landforms extend lengthwise through the five latitudinal geographic regions into which the country is customarily subdivided. From north to south, with approximate boundaries, these are Norte Grande (extending to 27° S); the north-central region, Norte Chico (27° to 33° S); the central region, Zona Central (33° to 38° S); the south-central region, La Frontera and the Lake District (38° to 42° S); and the extreme southern region, Sur (42° S to Cape Horn).

The Chilean Andes
      Extending almost the length of the country, the Chilean Andes, which form most of the border with Argentina, include the highest segment of the Andes mountain chain, which acts as both a physical and a human divide. The Chilean Andean system consists of lofty, often snow-capped mountains, deeply incised valleys, and steep slopes.

      The formation of the western Andes ranges began during the Jurassic Period, some 190,000,000 years ago. Marine and terrestrial sediments that had accumulated in the Andean geosyncline were folded and lifted as the Pacific Plate was overridden by the South American Plate. In the early Tertiary Period (beginning 65,000,000 years ago) active volcanism and the injection of effusive rocks laid down the paleovolcanic materials (rhyolites and dacites) that contain the rich copper, iron, silver, molybdenum, and manganese ores of Chile. Also of Tertiary origin are the coal deposits of central Chile.

      Later in the Tertiary Period the uplift of the Andes continued, accompanied by further outbursts of volcanism. This active tectonism led to the separation of the Andes from the older coastal ranges and the formation of the intermediate depression. At the beginning of the Quaternary Period the Andes had reached a higher elevation than at present. During the global cooling that occurred some 2,500,000 years ago, the higher summits were covered by ice masses whose glacier tongues descended into the intermediate depression. Rich sediments were washed down the glacial valleys and deposited into the longitudinal depression. The numerous lakes in the Lake District of south-central Chile are remnants of the ice melting that began some 17,000 years ago. Since the advent of the Holocene Epoch (beginning 10,000 years ago) the Chilean Andes have not changed significantly, but they still experience uplift and episodic volcanic eruptions.

      The Andes of northern Chile to latitude 27° S are wide and arid, with heights generally between 16,500 and 19,500 feet (5,000 and 6,000 metres). Most of the higher summits are extinct volcanoes, such as the Llullaillaco, 22,109 feet; Licancábur, 19,409 feet; and Ojos del Salado, 22,614 feet. After the last glaciation the melting waters collected in shallow lakes in the intermediate elevated basins. Today these salt lake basins (salares), the most noted of which is the Atacama Salt Flat, are evaporating to the point of disappearing. Farther south the mountains decrease somewhat in height, but in central Chile, between latitudes 32° and 34°30′ S, they heighten again, with peaks reaching 21,555 feet at Mount Tupungato and 17,270 feet at Maipo Volcano. All of these summits are capped by eternal snow that feeds the numerous rivers of central Chile. Winter sports are pursued in the Andes near Santiago.

      Most of the highest mountains between 34°30′ and 42° S are volcanoes, ranging between 8,700 and 11,500 feet. Some of them are extinct while others are still active. Among them are Copahue, Llaima, Osorno, and the highest, Mount Tronador, at an elevation of 11,453 feet. Their perfect conical shapes reflecting on the quiet waters in the Lake District provide some of the most splendid scenery in temperate South America. In southern Chile, below latitude 42° S, the Andes lose elevation and their summits become more separated as a consequence of the Quaternary glacial erosion.

 Farther south is Chilean Patagonia, a loosely defined area that includes the subregion of Magallanes and sometimes Chilean Tierra del Fuego. There significant heights are still reached: Mount San Valentín is more than 12,000 feet high, and Mount Darwin in Tierra del Fuego reaches almost 8,000 feet. Reminders of the last ice age are the perfectly U-shaped glacial troughs, sharp-edged mountains, Andean lakes, and some 7,000 square miles of continental ice masses. The Southern Ice Cap, between 48°30′ and 51°30′ S, is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, with the exception of Antarctica.

The intermediate depression
      The intermediate depression between the Andes and the coastal ranges is mostly flanked by fault lines. A natural receptacle for materials coming from the Andes, the depression has been filled by alluvial, fluvioglacial, or moraine sediments, depending on the region. In northern Chile it appears as a plateau with elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 feet. Saline sediments that washed down during the Tertiary and Quaternary periods created the rich nitrate deposits found in the Tamarugal Plain and Carmen Salt Flat, where the once-bustling mining towns of María Elena, Pedro de Valdivia, and Baquedano are located. In north-central Chile, extending southward out of the desert region, the depression is interrupted by east–west mountain spurs that create fertile transverse valleys. The Aconcagua River Valley, a transverse valley farther south, marks the beginning of central Chile.

      The alluvial deposits from the numerous Andean rivers in central Chile have provided mineral-rich soils that support the flourishing Mediterranean-type agriculture of the Central Valley of the intermediate depression. These soils and abundant water resources, along with a temperate climate, make the Central Valley the most populated and productive area in Chile. In south-central Chile the intermediate depression is formed by mixtures of fluvial and alluvial depositions, making this region suitable for growing grain and for pastures that support an important dairy industry.

      South of the Bío-Bío River dense forests replace open scrub woodland moraines and lakes are common, and the intermediate depression descends to sea level at Puerto Montt. In the extreme south only the Andes and the summits of the coastal ranges are visible because the intermediate depression submerges or is replaced by intracoastal channels and fjords.

The coastal cordilleras
      In most of northern and central Chile coastal ranges form a ridge between the intermediate depression and the Pacific coast. These mountains, which are seldom higher than 6,500 feet, display smooth forms or flattened summits, since they are considerably older than the Andes. In north-central and central Chile the coastal ranges are built of Paleozoic and Mesozoic granites and metamorphic rocks that were uplifted during the Andean folding phase. In south-central and southern Chile the coastal ranges consist of early Paleozoic metamorphic and igneous rocks, which is evidence of an even earlier folding phase. The coastal ranges were never glaciated, and their former dense vegetation has been destroyed by humans. In places where intensive agriculture has been practiced, the soil is severely eroded and has been depleted of organic and mineral nutrients. Only in the evergreen forests in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta south of Concepción and the coastal ranges south of Valdivia are the soils well preserved.

      On the western margins of the coastal ranges, sea advances during the Tertiary Period deposited thick sediments. During the Quaternary Period sea level changes and continued continental uplift created several coastal terraces in the Tertiary layers, and wave erosion shaped Chile's abrupt coastal line, which has few good natural harbours.

Drainage
      Most of Chile's rivers originate in the Andes and flow westward to the Pacific Ocean, draining the intermediate depression and the coastal ranges. They are therefore quite short. While their steep gradients and turbulent flow make them unsuitable for navigation—the lower courses of the south-central rivers are an exception—they are particularly useful for hydroelectric power. In areas where water flow is subjected to seasonal variations that hamper agricultural development, dams have been built in order to regulate the rivers and to establish hydroelectric plants.

      The rivers of Chile have differing physical characteristics that are related to the climatic region in which they are located. In the parched northern region they are fed by the summer rains that fall on the Chilean-Bolivian Altiplano; their volumes are so small that they are either absorbed by the soil or evaporate before reaching the sea. Only the Loa River, the longest Chilean river at some 275 miles, empties into the Pacific Ocean.

      The rivers of central Chile have more regular flows and volumes. During the winter months (May–August) they are fed by heavy frontal rains, resulting in frequent flooding of the riverine communities. In late spring (October–November) the rivers receive the runoff from the snow that has accumulated during the winter in the high Andes. This runoff proves quite beneficial for commercial and subsistence crop irrigation. In south-central Chile south of the Bío-Bío River, the steady flow is maintained by constant rains, although there is a slack in discharge during the summer months (December–March). In Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego intense year-round rains and snowstorms combine to keep the rivers well fed, but their extremely steep drainage into the Pacific renders them totally unusable for commercial purposes.

Soils
      The geologic variety and diverse origin of surface sediments cause the soils of Chile to vary greatly in character from north to south. In the northern desert region saline soils, made up of gravel and sand cemented with calcium sulfate, alternate with alkali-rich soils, which are difficult to cultivate even with irrigation because of their surface salt accumulations. In river oases salinity also becomes a limiting factor for agriculture. In the transverse valleys of north-central Chile fertile alluvial (alluvium) soils have developed on fluvial deposits, while between the rivers soils are dry and infertile. Within the Central Valley the alluvial soils have developed over fluviovolcanic deposits, which is the reason for their mineral and organic richness. In areas of widespread recent volcanic activity, andosol soils (nutrient-rich soils that develop over volcanic ash) are common. Under good aeration these soils of the Central Valley have excellent agricultural potential, but if the volcanic soils are too permeable, they can be used only for coniferous plantations. In the Lake District the extreme impermeability of the soils leads to the formation of humid soils (trumaos). In the southernmost Andes, under conditions of permanent rainfall and cold temperatures, lithosols covered by a thin layer of andosols are the rule: only rain forests grow on such soils. On the archipelagos of Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego the low terrain is carpeted by moorland soils that support only low shrubs and bog plants of no economic value or potential. Soils at high elevation are characterized by rankers (thin organic soils overlying a rocky substratum) supporting growths of Antarctic beeches.

Climate
      The extension of Chile across some 38 degrees of latitude encompasses nearly all climates, with the exception of the humid tropics. The Pacific Ocean, the cold Peru (Peru Current) (Humboldt) Current, the South Pacific anticyclone winds, and the Andes Mountains constitute the major climatic controls.

      The permanent chilling effect of the Peru Current and the constantly blowing southwesterlies emanating from the South Pacific anticyclone determine a temperate climate for most of northern and central Chile. Only the extreme south, unaffected by these controls, is characterized by a cold and humid climate. Temperatures drop in a regular pattern from north to south; the principal cities average the following annual mean temperatures: Arica 64 °F (18 °C), Antofagasta 61 °F (16 °C), Santiago 57 °F (14 °C), Puerto Montt 52 °F (11 °C), and Punta Arenas 43 °F (6 °C). During winter, when the polar front advances northward, temperatures drop, though not drastically, owing to the temperate action of the ocean. If snow falls in central Chile, it does not stay on the ground for more than a few hours. During summer, cooling sea winds keep temperatures down and there are no heat waves. The highest monthly means register in the northern desert.

      Annual precipitation differs remarkably from the dry extreme north to the very humid extreme south. North of 27° S latitude there is practically no rainfall. In the north-central region frontal rains in winter account for increasing precipitation: the annual rainfall in Copiapó is less than one inch (21 mm). In Santiago the annual rainfall is 13 inches, and along the Central Valley it increases gradually southward until it reaches 73 inches in Puerto Montt, where precipitation occurs throughout the year. The coast of central and south-central Chile is more humid than the Central Valley. In Valparaíso annual precipitation amounts to 15 inches, rising to 52 inches in Concepción and reaching about 90 inches in Valdivia. Farther south, where the westerlies reach their maximum intensity and the polar front is always present, precipitation highs unequaled by any other nontropical region in the world have been recorded; there, San Pedro Point, at latitude 48° S, receives about 160 inches annually. Still farther south, in the rain shadow that occurs on the eastern slopes of the southern Andes, precipitation diminishes drastically, occurring mostly as snow during winter. Punta Arenas, in Chilean Patagonia, receives only 18 inches annually.

      Considering all climatic factors and meteorological characteristics, three large climatic regions may be distinguished in Chile: the northern desert, the central Mediterranean zone, and the humid-cool southern region.

The northern desert
 This region experiences an aridity that is primarily caused by the dry subsidence created by the South Pacific high pressure cell and the stabilizing action of the cold Peru Current. Although the air along the coast is abnormally humid, it never reaches saturation point; at most, there is a development of coastal fogs (garúa or camanchaca). Besides the lack of rain, drainage systems, and permanent vegetation, the Chilean desert is characterized by relatively moderate daytime temperatures, the variations in which are dependent upon the direct heat of the Sun; during the night, temperatures may approach the freezing point. In the piedmont oasis of Los Canchones the daily temperature fluctuates up to 47 °F (26 °C). The interior of the Atacama Desert, which makes up a large portion of the southern part of the desert region, is reported to receive the highest solar radiation in the world.

Mediterranean central Chile
      The climate of central Chile is characteristic of mid-latitudinal temperate areas. The seasons are well accentuated. Winters are cool and humid as a consequence of continuous passages of fronts and depressions; cloudy days are common. In spring, when there are fewer fronts and the depressions vanish, steady southwest winds and clear skies dominate. During summer, when anticyclonic conditions are established, the days are warm, though not stifling, and without rain. These weather conditions are ideal for the Mediterranean agricultural products that grow so well in central Chile, such as grapes, peaches, plums, honeydew melons, and apricots. Autumn is still sunny and dry, suitable for the ripening of grains, mainly wheat, and vegetables. With the onset of winter, the fronts and depressions return and the accompanying rains last from May to August.

Southern Chile
      The southern segments of Chile are always under the influence of the polar front and of cyclonic depressions. In addition, the permanently blowing westerlies batter the margins of the continent with oceanic air masses that lower temperatures and cause heavy rainfall along the Pacific coast. Around Cape Horn the westerlies reach their maximum intensity and storms abound. Before the era of steam power, the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific via Cape Horn was a most feared venture.

Plant and animal life
      The vegetation of Chile, like the climate and soils, is arranged in latitudinal belts. Only in the Andes is altitude a determining factor. In the northern desert region the vegetation has adapted to the lack of rain and to the salinity of the soils. The tamarugo, a spiny acacia tree, does well in the dry interior desert. Near the coast, and kept alive by the coastal fogs, varieties of cacti as well as shrubs and spiny brambles occur. In the high plateaus of northern Chile hardy species, such as llareta, and grasses, such as ichu and tola, support the Indian population and their llama herds. In semiarid north-central Chile some of the cacti continue, and hardwoods, such as the espino or algarrobo, and shrubs, such as Adesmia, become more common. In the more humid and temperate region of central Chile grows a particular vegetal formation called matorral, in which hardwoods, shrubs, cacti, and green grass are mixed. Most of this dense growth is disappearing because of the rural population's overexploitation of it for firewood. South of the Bío-Bío River, mixed deciduous forest and evergreen trees are common. Many unique species are found in these humid forests, the most conspicuous being the rauli, or southern cedar, the roble beech, the ulmo (an evergreen shrub), and the evergreen laurel. On the western slopes of the Andes the magnificent monkey puzzle tree, or Chile pine, forms dense stands. A dense rain forest, rich in timber species, grows in the humid Lake District and extends southward. The Antarctic beech, the Chilean cedar, and the giant alerce dominate these often impenetrable southern woods. On the rainy islands of Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, the growth of large trees is inhibited by the constant winds and low temperatures. There, only dwarf versions of southern beech and hard grasses are found. In eastern Chilean Patagonia the cold steppes are primarily composed of grasses and herbs that provide grazing for livestock.

      The animal life of Chile lacks the diversity of other countries in South America. The barrier of the Andes has restricted animal migrations, and the northern desert has proved a formidable obstacle to the southward migration of tropical Andean fauna. Among the terrestrial animals, the most abundant and varied are the rodents. The chinchilla, the degu, and the mountain viscacha are Andean rodents famed for their fine furs. Monito de monte, a marsupial, lives in the deciduous forests and rain forests of the south. The nutria, or coypu (coipo) is a water rodent common in the streams of Chile. Among the ruminants are the guanaco, the only survivor of the Paleocamelides (ancient predecessors of the camel family), and its domesticated relatives, the llama, the alpaca, and the vicuña, the latter known for the high-quality wool produced from its silky fleece; the Indians of the Altiplano make wide use of it. Guanacos are still found from northern Chile to Chilean Patagonia. Two members of the deer family are the huemul, a rarely seen inhabitant of the southern Andes that is represented on the national coat of arms, and the pudu, the smallest known deer. Carnivores are not in great abundance. The puma is the largest, and other feline predators include the guiña and the colocolo. Among the canids are the Andean wolf and the long-tailed fox. The avian fauna is relatively more diverse, the country being host to wintering migratory birds. Some exotic birds like parrots and flamingos appear over northern and central Chile. Throughout the Chilean Andes there still lives, though reduced in number, the condor, a large scavenger. In Chilean Patagonia is found the carancha, a bird of prey that attacks lambs. Amphibians abound, the most curious being Darwin's frog, discovered by Charles Darwin in south-central Chile. Chile's geographic isolation accounts for the absence of poisonous reptiles and spiders.

Settlement patterns
      Climatic characteristics and historic events have strongly influenced settlement patterns and population distribution in Chile. The early settlement by Spaniards occurred in the temperate part of the country, known as the Central Nucleus, or Zona Central, where the agriculture, industry, and main population centres developed. The area's traditional agriculture developed on the basis of large landed estates, the haciendas, which covered about three-fourths of Chile's arable land. The agrarian reform initiated by the Christian Democratic president Eduardo Frei Montalva in 1965, and continued by the Socialist president Salvador Allende Gossens into the early 1970s, resulted in a redistribution of the land. Agrarian productivity to boost exports was accentuated.

      In the Central Nucleus are the major cities of Chile. Santiago was founded there and grew into the country's major metropolis. Seventy miles west of Santiago is the port city of Valparaíso and the neighbouring resort city of Viña del Mar, which form the second largest population centre of Chile. In the Central Valley, south of the Santiago basin, stretches a series of secondary cities, the development of which has been tied to the agricultural success of central Chile. Among them are Rancagua, Curicó, Talca, Chillán, and Los Angeles. All of these cities are connected by rail and the Pan-American Highway.

      Most of Chile's cities were founded during the colonial era, and they were arranged around a central square (plaza de armas). The original buildings were made of adobe (sun-dried brick) and wood, materials that would deteriorate or burn. Most of the colonial buildings fell prey to earthquakes and fires; much rebuilding took place and the cities of central Chile have become showcases of modern urbanization, high population density, and bustling commercial and industrial activities. On the coast of the southern Central Nucleus lies Concepción and its port city of Talcahuano, both industrial centres.

      Norte Chico, the semiarid north-central part of Chile, developed in close association with the Central Nucleus. Agricultural production and mining characterize this region, of which La Serena, near the coast, and the port of Coquimbo are the major centres. The population is primarily concentrated in the irrigated valleys of the Copiapó, Huasco, Elqui, and Limarí rivers or else dispersed in the mountains, where there are mining activities. The main cities, somewhat smaller than those of central Chile, are located in the valleys: they include Copiapó, in the valley of that name, the most important mining centre of the country during the 19th century; Vallenar, Ovalle, and Vicuña. Agriculture, goat raising, and iron and copper mining are the main economic activities. From this region come the famous pisco (a white brandy distilled from sun-dried grapes), fine wines, and high-quality fruits for export.

      During colonial times, the fringe of territory at the southern extreme of the Central Nucleus was bitterly contested by Spaniards and Araucanians (Araucanian), the original Indian population, which gave the northern part of south-central Chile its name, La Frontera (“The Border”). After the pacification of the Araucanians in the 1880s, the area was gradually settled by Chileans and by European colonists who had already begun immigrating there in the 1850s. It developed in modern times as a region of grain growing and commercial pine forestry for cellulose manufacture. The regional capital is Temuco, and in the surrounding countryside still live—in rather precarious conditions—a concentration of Araucanians, locally called Mapuche.

      Colonization of the Lake District, located south of La Frontera, began after 1850 with immigrants from Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium. Homesteads, rather than large haciendas as in the Central Nucleus, became the pattern of rural settlement. Although the land has been consolidated in recent times, land fragmentation is still visible. The largest city of this region is Valdivia, founded in early colonial times. This once active industrial centre for footwear, textiles, brewing, and shipbuilding declined after most of its manufacturing installations were destroyed by a 1960 earthquake. Osorno and Puerto Montt are other regional centres, specializing in dairy and flour production. The scenic piedmont lakes and the snow-capped volcanoes attract a steady flow of tourists.

      The extreme north and the extreme south could be considered the population and resource frontiers. Both are sparsely populated and rich in natural resources. Settlement of the arid Norte Grande in northernmost Chile began in the middle of the 19th century in response to the exploitation of minerals in the interior. A string of coastal cities emerged as export centres for nitrates, borax, and copper. Iquique, once an exporter of nitrates, has become the capital of Chile's fish meal industry. Antofagasta, the railroad terminus to Oruro, Bolivia, is an active administrative and trading centre and an export facility for the Chuquicamata copper mine. Arica, which acts as a port for Bolivia at the end of the railroad to La Paz, supports fish meal plants and oversees the agricultural production of the Azapa Valley. Once the automobile assembly centre of Chile, Arica has lost its prominence as an industrial city. The only city of significance in the interior of the Norte Grande is Calama, adjacent to the Chuquicamata copper mine, the world's largest open-pit mine. Still, the rest of the area remains picturesque. Old Indian towns, scattered oases, and spectacular desert scenery attract tourists. At the Shrine of La Tirana, on the Tamarugal Plain, Indian and mestizo pilgrims from northern Chile, Bolivia, and southern Peru gather for a colourful festival each July.

      The extreme south encompasses three natural units: the Chiloé Island group, the Channels region, and Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Chiloé and its neighbouring islands are among the most undeveloped regions of the country; rudimentary agriculture and algae (used in making confectionary products) and shellfish gathering are the main activities. The small towns of Castro and Ancud are the main population centres of the mostly rural habitat. The Channels region is characterized by islands, separated by glacially carved channels, where colonization has been unsuccessfully attempted since the 1920s. Outlying towns such Puerto Aisén and Coihaique are the only population centres. The region of Magallanes, hinged on the Strait of Magellan, is the most developed area of Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Sheep raising estancias (ranches), which have exported wool since the late 19th century, and oil and natural gas, which have been exploited since 1945, are the pillars of its economy. These activities, combined with meat-packing plants and the trading functions of Punta Arenas, have made this one of the more modernized parts of Chile.

The people
      The Chileans (Chile) are ethnically a mixture of Europeans and Indians. The first miscegenation occurred during the 16th and 17th centuries between the indigenous tribes, including the Atacameños, Diaguitas, Picunches, Araucanians (Mapuches), Huilliches, Pehuenches, and Cuncos, and the conquistadores from Spain. Basque families who migrated to Chile in the 18th century vitalized the economy and joined the old Castilian aristocracy to become the political elite that still dominates the country. Few Africans were brought to Chile as slaves during colonial times because a tropical plantation economy, common in much of the New World, did not develop.

      After independence and during the republican era, English, Italian, and French merchants established themselves in the growing cities of Chile and incidentally joined the political or economic elites of the country. The official encouragement of German and Swiss colonization in the Lake District during the second half of the 19th century was exceptional. The censuses of the late 19th century showed that foreigners—principally Spaniards, Argentines, French, Germans, and Italians—formed scarcely more than 1 percent of the total population. At the turn of the century, small numbers of displaced eastern European Jews and Christian Syrians and Palestinians fleeing the Ottoman Empire arrived in Chile. Today they spearhead financial and small manufacturing operations.

      The population displays a strong sense of cultural identity, which can be traced to the predominance of the Spanish language, the Roman Catholic religion, and the comparative isolation of Chile from the rest of South America. The Araucanian Indians form the only significant ethnic minority.

      The trend of age-group distribution, with increasingly larger numbers in the older brackets, reflects a progressive maturing of the Chilean population. Life expectancy rose from 57 years in 1960 to about 70 years by the early 1980s; at the beginning of the 21st century, it had reached the late 70s. These demographic changes reflect both improved health care conditions and modernization of the lifestyle by the predominantly urban population. Also ascribed to the same factors is the dramatic decline during the late 20th century in infant mortality and in the fertility rate. Chile's crude death rate is lower than that of most of its South American neighbours.

      The large cities and the industrial centres of central Chile attract a steady flow of internal migrants. Most of them head for the capital city of Santiago, with the rest going primarily to Valparaíso–Viña del Mar and to Concepción–Talcahuano. These migrants emanate mostly out of the rural regions of the Central Valley and north-central Chile. The northern coastal cities receive some migrants from Santiago and Valparaíso and also from the small villages in the far north. Chiloé has been losing its population to Punta Arenas and the agrarian areas of the Lake District, and even to Argentina, where Chilotes work on estancias or in the mines of Patagonia. After 1973, hundreds of thousands of Chileans left the country for political reasons to live in exile (exile and banishment). Initially, the military government of strongman Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (Pinochet, Augusto) prohibited the exiles' return, but growing protests in the 1980s resulted in a gradual easing of these restrictions: first, lists were published of those who would be permitted to return, and then, lists of those who were prohibited from returning. By the early 1990s, not only were restrictions lifted but the return of exiles was facilitated.

The economy
      The Chilean economy is based on the exploitation of agricultural, fishing, forest, and mining resources. Chile developed historically on the basis of a few agricultural and mineral exports, as was common in Latin America. Many manufactured products had to be imported, and land, wealth, and power were concentrated in the hands of a small aristocracy. Although there were land reforms and development of manufacturing, many of Chile's economic problems in the 20th century were related to the country's early economic structure.

      During the 19th century the Chilean economy grew on the basis of exported agricultural products, copper, and nitrates. After the nitrate market dropped during World War I, Chile's economy took a sharp downturn, intensifying the effect on the country of the Great Depression. These events turned Chile toward more socialistic programs that featured strong government control of the economy. An attempt was made to develop import substitution industries so as to lessen dependence on imported products. Industrial growth was placed in the hands of the Corporación de Fomento de la Producción (Corfo; the Development Corporation). Agrarian reforms were instituted, and the government assumed greater control of industry, especially during the administrations of Pedro Aquirre Cerda (1938–41) and Salvador Allende Gossens (1970–73), when many banks, copper mines, and business firms were nationalized. The economy at first improved under these policies, inflation going down and the gross domestic product increasing. The government, however, was unable to establish a sound tax base to match the expanding economy; by 1973 conditions were deteriorating rapidly and a military coup overthrew the government. The new regime instituted more conservative, free-market programs and reversed many of the previous governments' acts. The country faced severe economic problems, reflected in periodic high inflation, fluctuating trade policies, unemployment, and heavy dependence on a single major export, copper, in an unstable market. The development of a broader export economy improved economic growth and reduced inflation in Chile by the 1990s. The country also entered into many bilateral and regional trade agreements, which further increased direct foreign investment in Chilean industry. By the early 21st century, Chile had one of the most successful economies in South America.

Resources
      A geographically varied country, Chile is rich in mineral deposits, natural forests, sea resources, and energy sources.

Mineral resources, noncarboniferous
      Mining, historically the mainstay of the Chilean economy, has been a catalyst for both external commerce and domestic industrial development. Copper, molybdenum, iron, nitrates, and other concentrated minerals make up a large part of the total value of national exports.

 Metals account for the highest percentage of mining exports, copper being primary. Chile is the world's largest producer and exporter of copper. Copper mines are located in northern Chile (Chuquicamata and El Salvador) and along the Andes of north-central Chile (especially El Teniente and Andina). Small-scale extractions are carried out by individuals, or pirquineros, who operate in the uplands of north-central Chile and in the coastal ranges of central Chile. Medium-sized activity is conducted by companies with larger investment capacities and with their own treatment plants. Large-scale mining was developed with U.S. capital at the beginning of the 20th century.

      Copper plays the role in the Chilean economy that was occupied by nitrates prior to World War I. The large U.S. corporations were tranformed into mixed-ownership enterprises during the late 1960s and totally nationalized during the early 1970s, when mining and sales were turned over to the Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco). A drop in world market prices influenced production and sales and created financial hardship. During the 1990s the government enacted new laws to open up the industry to private companies, but the majority of copper mines in Chile are still controlled by the state (Codelco). By the early 21st century, demand for copper had risen, and copper accounted for about two-fifths of export income.

      Iron-ore mining in El Tofo and El Romeral, both in north-central Chile, is significant, and manganese, silver and gold, and molybdenum (a metal derived from the large copper deposits) are also mined. Among nonmetallic minerals, sulfur, gypsum, lithium, and limestone are moderately exploited. Nitrate deposits occur in the northern interior desert. Their economic value, so important during the 19th century, has decreased, but the production of iodine, a by-product of nitrate, is of major importance.

Energy resources
 Hydroelectric potential and installed capabilities, as well as coal and moderate oil and natural gas reserves, furnish Chile with good energy resources. The steady flow of the Andean rivers has been used by the Empresa Nacional de Electricidad (ENDESA; National Electric Company) to produce electricity. Hydroelectric development has been extended to the coastal mountain ranges. Prior to the installation of Chile's huge hydroelectric system, most of the country's energy was obtained from soft coal, mined since the 19th century in the Gulf of Arauco, south of Concepción. Oil and natural gas are extracted on Tierra del Fuego and along the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan and are shipped to refineries in central Chile. Production, however, meets only about half of the country's oil needs.

Forestry resources
      South of the Bío-Bío river, climatic conditions favour the growth of natural forests. The primary species used for lumber and paneling are the coigue, oak, rauli, ulmo, tepa (laurel tree), and monkey puzzle tree. Pine for the manufacture of paper and pulp is taken from forests in central Chile and the Bío-Bío region.

Fishing resources
      Since 1974, after the collapse of the Peruvian fishing industry, Chile has become the chief fishery of South America, and it is one of the foremost fishing countries of the world. Sardines, jack mackerel, chub mackerel, hake, and anchovy constitute most of the catch. The principal products are fish meal and fish oil, which are shipped to Europe and the United States for the production of animal feed and industrial oil. The fish-processing plants—all privately owned—are mainly located in the northern cities of Iquique, Arica, and Antofagasta.

Agriculture
      While good climatic conditions and abundant water resources favour Chile's agriculture, outdated land-tenure patterns, managerial ineptitude, and inadequate price policies have combined to make agriculture one of the most inefficient sectors of the economy. Employing approximately one-sixth of the labour force, agriculture generates less than one-tenth of the gross domestic product. To meet expenditures and credit payments abroad, the military government that took over in 1973 strongly encouraged exports of agricultural commodities by private national and international companies. Within the framework of this policy, Chile increased remarkably the export of fresh fruit, canned vegetables, and wines.

      In temperate central Chile the primary crops are cereals (chiefly wheat), followed by grapes, potatoes, corn (maize), apples, beans, rice, and a variety of vegetables. Industrial crops, such as sugar beets and sunflower seeds for cooking oil, are also common.

      Stock raising has been one of the most underdeveloped activities in rural areas, partly because of poor technology and inefficient breeding. Cattle are the major livestock. There has been, however, some expansion in poultry, lamb, and pork production, as well as that of beef.

Industry
      An estimated one-seventh of the economically active population is employed in manufacturing, which accounts for about one-sixth of the gross domestic product. Factories are concentrated in the principal urban centres—Santiago, Valparaíso, and Concepción. Light industries produce appliances, chemical products, food products, textiles and clothing, and construction materials.

      Larger industrial complexes are located at the San Vicente harbour of Concepción; they include the Huachipato iron and steel mill, fish-processing factories, and a petroleum refinery associated with a petrochemical complex. Another such refinery is situated in Concón, at the mouth of the Aconcagua River. Pulp and paper mills thrive in the vicinities of the Bío-Bío and Laja rivers.

Trade and finance
      Chile's principal markets for mining and agricultural commodities are the European Union, the United States, and Asia. Most imports are from Argentina, the United States, Brazil, China, and Germany. The balance of payments, generally unfavourable since the 1950s because of increased foreign expenditures and payment of external loans, showed occasional improvement after 1976 but with considerable fluctuation. In the early 2000s Chile signed many free-trade agreements, including one with the United States that was implemented in 2004. Nontraditional exports (seafood, fruit, wine, wood products, foodstuffs) also contributed to economic growth in the early 21st century.

      The peso is the national currency of Chile. The Central Bank of Chile, established in 1925, is the official bank of the country; it implements the internal banking policies of the government and also conducts foreign trade. In 1989 the bank became an autonomous institution entirely responsible for the country's financial and exchange-rate policies. The State Bank of Chile is also a state entity, but it functions as a private commercial bank. National private banks as well as international banks from Europe, the United States, and Asia operate freely in the country.

      Within the Chilean economic system there is collaboration between the private and public sectors, with the private sector contributing an increasing percentage of the total annual investment. Private businesses are generally organized as joint-stock companies (similar to U.S. corporations) that participate in all areas of economic activity.

Transportation
      The country's length and physical barriers constrain communication and traffic flow. Only the sea offers an expeditious means of transportation, which was taken advantage of during the 19th century when Chile owned one of the largest merchant fleets in Latin America. Chile's overall economic decline during the early 20th century and the supplanting of maritime transport with overland means resulted in the reduction of the fleet. Eventually only international transport was conducted by ship. The main port of entry is Valparaíso. San Antonio, the port for Santiago, exports copper and agricultural commodities. Other ports, such as Antofagasta and Arica, serve the trade with Bolivia. Chañaral, Huasco, Guayacán, and Tocopilla export minerals. The port of Talcahuano serves the industrial complex of Concepción.

      The development of an overland transportation system began with two railway systems initiated about the turn of the 20th century: the northern network, between La Calera (near Valparaíso) and Iquique, now in disuse, and the southern network, between La Calera and Puerto Montt. The most traveled sections connect Santiago with Valparaíso and Santiago with Puerto Montt; both sections are electrified, making them more competitive with road transportation. The railway system is controlled by the Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (State Railway Enterprise). International railroads connect Arica and La Paz (Bolivia), Antofagasta and Oruro (Bolivia), and Los Andes and Mendoza (Argentina). A railbus transports passengers over the short route between Arica and Tacna (Peru).

      Chile's rapid motorization has brought enhanced highway transportation for passengers and goods. The backbone of the Chilean road system is the paved Pan-American Highway, which connects Arica with Puerto Montt, near Chiloé Island, a distance of more than 2,100 miles. From this main artery secondary routes connect numerous cities, including Santiago, with the ports of San Antonio and Valparaíso, Bulnes with Concepción, and Los Lagos with Valdivia. The most important international paved road connects Santiago with Mendoza (Argentina). All-weather roads connect Iquique with Oruro (Bolivia), Antofagasta with Salta (Argentina), La Serena with San Juan (Argentina), Osorno with San Carlos de Bariloche (Argentina), and Punta Arenas with Río Gallegos (Argentina).

      Air transport serves mostly the cities at both extremes of the country and some towns of difficult access, such as El Salvador and Coihayque. The main airline is Línea Aérea Nacional de Chile (LAN; National Airline of Chile). A tourist service is maintained by LAN between Santiago and Easter Island, in the Pacific, with the flight continuing to Papeete, Tahiti. All major South American lines, plus others from the United States and Europe, handle the flow of international passengers to the Arturo Merino Benítez airport near Santiago. Chacalluta, northeast of Arica, is another major airport.

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 (Pinochet, Augusto) 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. In 2004 a constitutional amendment reduced the presidential term to four years (from six years, as designated in 1994) and eliminated lifetime senatorial seats.

      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 Cámara 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 14 administrative regions and the capital, Santiago. The regions are divided 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.

      Chile's traditional political spectrum extended from the extreme right to the extreme left. In the September 1973 coup, however, the junta outlawed Marxist political parties and suspended all activity by traditional parties (with the intention of an eventual return to a competitive party system). New opposition movements formed during Pinochet's rule, but his government repressed them. By the late 1980s a group of centre and centre-left parties united as the Democratic Alliance (Alianza Democrática; AD) to actively oppose the regime and promote democracy. Following Pinochet's defeat in a 1988 plebiscite that formally ended his power, this group was renamed the Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertación de los Partidos por la Democracia; CPD). Negotiations between the CPD and Pinochet's government in 1989 resulted in the removal of the ban on Marxist parties, just one of the amendments to the 1981 constitution that was voted on in a national referendum. Parties under the CPD umbrella include the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano; PDC), one of Chile's strongest parties; the Social Democratic Radical Party (Partido Radical Social Demócrata; PRSD), which was formerly known as the Radical Party (the centrist PRSD drifted to the left after 1965, was repressed in 1973, but made a comeback in the mid-1990s under its new name); the Socialist Party of Chile (Partido Socialista de Chile; PS); and the Party for Democracy (Partido por la Democracia; PPD). The Communist Party of Chile (Partido Comunista de Chile; PCC), which was condemned under Pinochet's rule, was reinstated by 1990. The centre-right Alliance for Chile (Alianza por Chile; AC) consists of the National Renovation (Renovación Nacional; RN) and the Independent Democratic Union (Unión Demócrata Independiente; UDI). There are also parties in Chile representing the Mapuche people and other social and environmental interests.

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. More than nine-tenths of Chileans age 15 and over are literate. Private schools, which are run by religious congregations, ethnic groups (such as German, French, Italian, and Israeli), and private educators have relatively high enrollments and cater to affluent families.

      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 Valparaíso, are technical universities patterned after the German model. Private universities are the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, the Catholic University of Valparaíso, the University of the North in Antofagasta, the University of Concepción, and the Southern University of Chile in Valdivia.

Health and welfare
      Social welfare and labour legislation evolved earlier in Chile than it did in other Latin American countries, and they have reached a high level of development. Legislation was passed in the early part of the 20th century that regulated labour contracts, workers' health, and accident insurance. In successive years the social security system expanded in an attempt to cover all labour sectors. All workers were eventually covered by the Social Insurance System, maintained through contributions of employers, employees, and the state. In 1973 the military government changed social security into an individual savings scheme in which workers invest in private companies. The success of this investment system caused it to continue into the 21st century, and it has served as a model for other Latin American countries.

      Health care also developed remarkably during the first half of the 20th century by means of state health plans managed by the National Health Service, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Public Health. An increasing number of facilities, equipment, and qualified personnel have reduced morbidity and infant mortality, eradicated tuberculosis, and brought infectious diseases under control. A movement by the Pinochet government to modify the state-administered public health system by introducing a profit-oriented private health system began in 1980. It offered the option of private health care to those who could afford it. At the beginning of the 21st century, government health insurance covered two-thirds of the population, including those who were unemployed.

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 in the late 20th century the novels of Isabel Allende became 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. One of the most famed Chilean musicians was pianist Claudio Arrau (Arrau, Claudio). 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.

Cultural institutions
      The country, and Santiago in particular, is rich in museums of fine arts; modern, folk, colonial, and pre-Columbian art; natural history; and Chilean national history. The Museum of National History is of particular note, and others include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Natural Science, all in Santiago. The main library, the National Library of Chile, ranks among the largest in Latin America.

Recreation
      There is ample recreational and sports opportunity in Chile; the people can engage in most such activities common to Western cultures. The Pacific beaches are notably beautiful, but the cold water encourages more sunbathing than swimming. Viña del Mar is a particularly well-known summer resort, and the scenery of the Lake District to the south attracts many tourists. As in many Latin American countries, football (soccer) arouses a particular devotion among the populace, and crowds of up to 80,000 attend matches in Santiago. In this mountainous country skiing is enjoyed by devotees who flock to ski resorts, such as those at Portillo and Farellones (near Santiago) and those near Chillán to the south.

Press and broadcasting
      The degree of literacy and the demand for national and international information keeps a large number of journals and magazines in publication. Prior to the 1973 military coup, practically all political groups published their own daily or weekly journals. After the coup only journals that refrained from criticizing the government were allowed and censorship was strict and implacable. After 1981, books of political content or dissent were allowed to be published, provided the author was not suspected of being a Marxist. Radio and television stations followed policies of focusing attention away from poignant socioeconomic and political problems of the country. By tradition the stations have been operated by the universities but as commercial, profit-oriented enterprises. In 1967 a government channel was founded, which was used by subsequent administrations to disseminate propaganda. Most media restrictions had been lifted by the time of the 1989 presidential elections.

César N. Caviedes

History

Precolonial period
      At the time of the Spanish conquest of Chile in the mid-16th century, at least 500,000 Indians inhabited the region. Nearly all of the scattered tribes were related in race and language, but they lacked any central governmental organization. The groups in northern Chile lived by fishing and by farming in the oases. In the 15th century they fell under the influence of expanding civilizations from Peru, first the Chincha and then the Quechua, who formed part of the extensive Inca Empire. Those invaders also tried unsuccessfully to conquer central and southern Chile.

      The Araucanian Indian groups were dispersed throughout southern Chile. These mobile peoples lived in family clusters and small villages. A few engaged in subsistence agriculture, but most thrived from hunting, gathering, fishing, trading, and warring. The Araucanians resisted the Spanish as they had the Incas, but fighting and disease reduced their numbers by two-thirds during the first century after the Europeans arrived.

      The Spanish conquest of Chile began in 1536–37, when forces under Diego de Almagro (Almagro, Diego de), associate and subsequent rival of Francisco Pizarro (Pizarro, Francisco), invaded the region as far south as the Maule River in search of an “Otro Peru” (“Another Peru”). Finding neither a high civilization nor gold, the Spaniards decided to return immediately to Peru. The discouraging reports brought back by Almagro's men forestalled further attempts at conquest until 1540–41, when Pizarro, after the death of Almagro, granted Pedro de Valdivia (Valdivia, Pedro de) license to conquer and colonize the area. Valdivia, with about 150 companions, including his mistress, Inés Suárez, the only Spanish woman in the company, entered Chile in late 1540 and founded Santiago (Feb. 12, 1541). For the next two decades the settlers lived a precarious existence and were constantly threatened by the Indians, who resisted enslavement. Before the safety of the colony was guaranteed, land was apportioned to the conquerors, and thus began the system of large estates. The estates were later institutionalized through the mayorazgo, a practice of transmitting estates by entail.

      Valdivia did not undertake the conquest of the region south of the Bío-Bío River until 1550. In that year Concepción was founded, and preparations were made to move southward. During the next two years settlements and forts were established in La Frontera, but in 1553 the Araucanian Indians, under a skilled military chieftain named Lautaro, rose in a revolt that led to the capture and death of Valdivia and to the beginning of a costly struggle. The Araucanians, often referred to as the Apache of South America, kept the struggle alive until the 1880s by successfully adapting their way of life and military tactics to changing conditions.

      Although Concepción was destroyed on several occasions, it remained as the Spanish outpost in the south as did La Serena, founded in 1544, in the north. The province of Cuyo held the same position east of the Andes until 1776, when it was made a part of the newly created Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. The conquest of Chile was finally consolidated during the late 1550s under Gov. Don García Hurtado de Mendoza. Before the end of the 16th century English pirates and freebooters, including Sir Francis Drake (Drake, Sir Francis) and Thomas Cavendish (Cavendish, Thomas), and later Dutch adventurers harassed the coast in search of sudden wealth and as part of a prolonged effort to force Spain to permit neutral nations to trade with its New World colonies.

Colonial (colonialism, Western) period
      Because only quite limited amounts of precious metal were found in Chile, the settlers early turned their attention to agriculture. They grew a wide variety of cereals, vegetables, and fruits; raised livestock; and consumed nearly all of their production locally. Largely because of the poverty of the colony, there were never more than a few thousand black slaves; and, because the Indians proved to be an unreliable source of labour, the settlers often had to work the fields themselves. The lack of mineral wealth also made the area unattractive to Spaniards, and at the end of the 16th century there were no more than 5,000 Spanish settlers in the entire colony. In this regard it should be pointed out that, beginning in 1600 and continuing until trade restrictions were relaxed in the late colonial period, Chile was a “deficit area” in the empire, and the Spanish crown had to provide an annual subsidy to meet the expense of maintaining officials in Santiago and an army on the Araucanian frontier.

      Chile lived under the same administrative and religious systems as its neighbours, but because the colony was poor, there was until the 18th century a tendency to send mediocre officials to preside over its destinies. The Spanish crown and the Roman Catholic Church combined to limit the colonists' administrative experience and economic development. The power of the captain-general, the highest royal official in the colony, was absolute. Appeals to the viceroy in Peru or the king in Spain were always possible, at least in theory. Chilean trade was tightly controlled from Peru. The influence of the Catholic Church in secular affairs was always significant and frequently decisive.

      The most apparent social development after 1600 was the rapid growth of a mestizo (mixed Indian and European) group, which gives present-day Chile its homogeneous ethnic character. By the end of the colonial period, when the population reached an estimated 500,000 (not including unsubjugated Indians), approximately 300,000 were mestizos and about 150,000 were Creoles (Creole) (native-born persons of European descent). About 20,000 were peninsulares (peninsular) (recently arrived Spaniards), perhaps 15,000 were blacks, and a handful were recently emancipated Indians. Society was highly structured, with peninsulares at the top, followed by Creoles, mestizos, Indians, and African slaves. At the end of the colonial period, the vast majority of the population was concentrated in the Aconcagua Valley and the Central Valley (extending from Santiago to Concepción), which together form “the cradle of Chilean nationality.”

      Education in colonial Chile was almost a complete monopoly of the Catholic clergy and reinforced the society's strong class differences. In 1758, however, courses were opened in the Royal and Pontifical University of San Felipe at Santiago and attracted students from the Spanish colonies across the Andes. Nonetheless, intellectual life in Chile developed slowly. The colony did not have a printing press until shortly before it won independence from Spain in 1818, and the paucity of contacts with the outside world reinforced its insularity.

Struggle for independence
      Despite the colony's isolation, its inhabitants at the start of the 19th century were affected by developments elsewhere. The most significant of those developments were the winning of independence by the 13 Anglo-American colonies and by Haiti, the French Revolution, and the inability of Spain to defend its system in America, as indicated by the British invasion of the La Plata region and increased contraband trade on the part of British and U.S. citizens. Finally and decisively came the intervention of Napoleon in Spain, an act that in 1808 threw Chile and the other colonies on their own resources and led them to take the first steps toward greater autonomy and self-government. In Chile the initial move toward independence was made on Sept. 18, 1810, when a cabildo abierto (open town meeting) in Santiago, attended by representatives of privileged groups whose vaguely defined objectives included a change in administration, accepted the resignation of the President-Governor and in his place elected a junta composed of local leaders.

      From 1810 to 1813 the course of the patriots was relatively peaceful because they were able to maintain themselves without formal ties to the Viceroyalty of Lima. Trade restrictions were relaxed; steps were taken toward the eventual abolition of slavery; a newspaper was established to publicize the beliefs of the patriots; and education was promoted, including the founding of the National Institute. However, the embers of civil strife were also fanned. The Creoles were divided over how far the colony should go toward self-government. José Miguel Carrera (Carrera, José Miguel) and his brothers, whose desire for complete independence was equaled if not surpassed by their personal ambition, inflamed the issues. Meanwhile, Spain had taken steps to reassert its control over the colony. At the Battle of Rancagua, on Oct. 1 and 2, 1814, it reestablished its military supremacy and ended what has been called la patria vieja (“The old fatherland”).

      Following the defeat at Rancagua, patriot leaders, among them the Carrera brothers and Bernardo O'Higgins (O'Higgins, Bernardo), future director-dictator of Chile, migrated to Argentina. There O'Higgins won the support of José de San Martín (San Martín, José de), who, with the support of the revolutionary government in Buenos Aires, was raising an army to free the southern portion of the continent by first liberating Chile and then attacking Peru from the sea. The Carreras continued their spirited agitation for independence in Buenos Aires and the United States.

      Meanwhile, many of those who remained in Chile suffered from the harsh rule of Spain's inept representatives and became convinced that absolute independence was necessary. In January 1817 San Martín's well-drilled army, with O'Higgins as one of its commanders, began its march across the Andes; and on Feb. 12, 1817, the patriot forces defeated the royalists on the hill of Chacabuco, which opened the way to Santiago. O'Higgins was proclaimed supreme director of Chile, although the act of declaring Chile's independence was not taken until a year later (Feb. 12, 1818), on the first anniversary of Chacabuco; and the decisive defeat of Spain on the Chilean mainland (Spain held the island of Chiloé until 1826) did not come until the Battle of Maipú, on April 5, 1818. Before emancipation was assured, O'Higgins began the creation of the Chilean navy, which by late 1818 was in the process of clearing the Chilean coast of Spanish vessels.

      Chile was free, but its inherent weaknesses were everywhere manifest. The Creoles remained bitterly divided between O'Higgins and the Carreras. Two of the Carrera brothers had been executed in Mendoza, Arg., in 1818; and José Miguel Carrera suffered the same fate in the same city in 1821. The elite groups were dedicated to the retention of those institutions on which such things as law, property, family, and religion were founded. The masses, who had been little more than spectators in the conflicts between 1810 and 1818, were excluded from government.

John J. Johnson Paul W. Drake

Chile from 1818 to 1920
      The Chilean oligarchy had little sympathy with O'Higgins, who favoured reducing their privileges. They accepted him, however, because he was supported by the army and because of dangers posed by Spaniards still in Peru and in parts of Chile (Valdivia and the island of Chiloé) and by internal guerrillas loyal to the Spanish monarchy. Opposition to O'Higgins began to make itself heard once the Chilean-Argentine army expelled the Spaniards from Peru; it increased after 1822, when the Chileans succeeded in driving the remaining Spaniards from Chile. O'Higgins' attempt, by means of a new constitution, to concede a larger political role to the oligarchy did not increase his support, and general unrest and poor harvests forced him to abdicate in 1823.

      The years 1823–30 were troubled by an internal political split between the oligarchy and the army; 30 successive governments held office, and a variety of political experiments were tried. Rivalries developed between federalists and centralizers and between authoritarians and liberals. To the political chaos were added financial and economic disorder and an increase in lawlessness that tended to strengthen the authoritarian members of the oligarchy. Rival political factions were eliminated in 1829 when authoritarians, with the help of a part of the army, were able to install a junta (collegial government) that nominated José Tomás de Ovalle as provisory president. Actual power, however, was held by Diego Portales (Portales, Diego), who, as either a cabinet member or a private citizen, in fact ruled as a virtual dictator.

The conservative hegemony, 1830–61
      During the next 30 years, Chile established its own definitive organization, made possible by a compromise among the members of the oligarchy. Portales played an important role in the compromise, and a new constitution achieved as a result (1833) remained the basis of Chilean political life until 1925. It created a strong central government, responsive to the influence of the landowning class, which controlled the parliament.

      The establishment of this new political structure united the different factions that brought Ovalle and later Joaquín Prieto to power. The new government was strengthened by a successful war against the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation (Peruvian–Bolivian Confederation) (1836–39), during which it broadened its support by reinstating army officers ousted when the conservatives had seized power in 1829–30.

Economic prosperity
      The government of Prieto and the succeeding governments of Manuel Bulnes (Bulnes, Manuel) and of Manuel Montt (Montt, Manuel) dedicated themselves to developing the economy. Their first and most pressing need was to reestablish the state finances, exhausted by the war. To this end, measures were taken to expand the principal source of state income—foreign trade. A free port was created at Valparaíso to encourage trade by foreign, especially British, merchants. These measures, however, would not have worked if Chilean products had not found new markets abroad. The discovery of gold in California (1848) and in Australia (1853) assured Chilean grain a vast market as the populations of those two areas expanded. The production of silver and copper increased in response to European demand, thereby increasing the wealth of the state and the dominant class. The economic development helped overcome political disagreements and aided the consolidation of internal peace.

      Political stability and economic prosperity opened the way to modernization: the construction of the first railroads began, new roads were opened, and the harbours were improved. The government tried also to develop education, though largely for upper-class children. The University of Chile was founded, and foreign scholars were recruited to foster geologic, botanical, and economic studies. The development of commerce attracted numerous foreign entrepreneurs (British, French, and North American), who came to dominate the import-export trade.

Political diversification
      The increase of wealth that especially favoured the oligarchy and foreign merchants also contributed to a diversification of the ruling class; the development of mining production in the north and of agriculture in the south created new fortunes, whose owners soon made their entry into the political world. An attempted coup d'état, the “revolution of 1851,” failed but was an indication of the political awakening of these new elements. A new development among younger members of the traditional oligarchy was the growth of liberalism and the appearance of political clubs around the middle of the century.

      The impact of these forces was felt inside the political establishment, so much so that a minor conflict between the state and the church (church and state) over the right to make ecclesiastical appointments was sufficient to break the unity of the dominant political class. The oligarchy was divided into two groups: conservatives, who defended the traditional privileges of the church; and nationalists, who maintained the supremacy of the state. A part of each group, dissatisfied by the authoritarian government of President Montt, united and created a separate faction, the liberals.

The widening of liberal influence, 1861–91
      The period after 1860, known as the “Liberal Republic,” saw the emergence of many rival political groups whose common characteristic—following an unsuccessful armed insurrection by radicals in 1859—was an attempt to gain power by peaceful means.

Political factions
      After 1855 the conservative element, supporting the hegemony of the church, had allied with the liberals in opposing President Montt. The radicals joined the alliance against Montt. José Joaquín Pérez (1861–71), though elected with the support of the “nationalists,” governed with the help of the liberal-conservative alliance. A division in the dominating political classes occurred about 1872, when the liberals started to draw away from the conservatives; the liberals succeeded in ending the Roman Catholic Church's monopoly in religious matters.

European influences
      The fight to secularize the state opened the country to European influences in cultural activities and civil reforms. Young members of the economic and political oligarchy began to travel and study in Europe. They brought back many political, literary, and scientific ideas.

      This new political and cultural opening toward Europe was linked to closer economic relations, especially with Great Britain, Chile's main trading partner. The British began to invest directly in Chile, supplying the capital needed to bring about the construction of railroads and the modernization of ports and public services. The increase of imports and the payment of interest from loans aggravated an already weak balance of payments and resulted in a continuing devaluation of the Chilean peso in relation to the British pound sterling.

The War of the Pacific (Pacific, War of the) (1879–83)
      The need to improve its balance of payments attracted Chile to saltpetre mines situated along the Chilean border in the Bolivian province of Antofagasta and in the Peruvian provinces of Tarapacá and Arica. Ill-defined borders and oppressive measures allegedly taken against the Chilean migrant population in these territories furnished Chile with a pretext for invasion. Chile defeated the Peruvian-Bolivian army and annexed these provinces.

      The War of the Pacific had broad repercussions. France, Germany, and especially Britain had strong interests in the saltpetre mines, and they threatened to intervene. The United States, hoping to restrict European influence, offered to resolve the conflict by mediation; Chile refused the U.S. offer, fearing that it would have to give up its territorial gains. German support of the Chilean position further impeded European intervention.

      The war weakened Chilean finances, and the economic situation continued to worsen. During the presidency of José Manuel Balmaceda (Balmaceda, José Manuel) (1886–91) the government tried to claim the revenues from the saltpetre mines and thus to assert major responsibility in economic matters. Nearly all of the oligarchy, however, was looking for a weaker, rather than a stronger, central power and objected to this attempt to strengthen the executive. The clash was resolved in a brief civil war, which ended with Balmaceda's abdication of the presidency.

Political development, 1891–1920
      The coalition that overthrew Balmaceda resulted from a large political regrouping of all those who wanted to strengthen the parliament; thus, after the civil war Chile's presidential republic was converted into a parliamentary republic. This meant that the oligarchy, which had extended itself into commerce and banking, needed only to assure itself of control of parliament—and thus of the various ministries—to dominate the political life of the country. In order to remain in office, governments now had to have the confidence of the parliament. What emerged was a continual struggle for power among the factions, which began to organize themselves as real political parties.

Growth of the middle and lower classes
      The period between 1891 and 1920 was one of intense political activity that saw the formation of new political parties and tendencies that tried to express the political desires of the middle and lower classes. The development of a state bureaucracy and the growth of the railroads and of commerce favoured the formation of social groups with urban concerns, rarely linked to the landed oligarchy, and increasingly aware of their possible political roles.

      An active working class developed in the saltpetre mines, in the large public utility enterprises (railways, gas, electricity), and in the many factories that began to appear in the urban centres, especially in Santiago. The first strikes to obtain better salaries and working conditions occurred during this period.

Formation of new political parties
      The radical political faction—born as a dissenting wing of the liberals and striving toward the secularization of the country—became the Radical Party in 1888 and tended progressively to voice the concerns of the growing middle class.

      The Democratic Party (Partido Democrático; formed 1887) was led by Malaquías Concha, who spoke for the needs of the artisans and a part of the urban workers. Founded by former radicals, this party differed from the Radical Party only in the particular emphasis it gave to the labour movement.

      Marxist ideology had begun to spread among Chilean workers. The first socialist group, founded in 1897, advocated anarchism and a worker-controlled economy. It became the Socialist Party in 1901 but had a fleeting life. The increase of strikes and dissatisfaction of the miners, however, led to the formation (1912) in the mining region of a new Worker's Socialist Party (Partido Obrero Socialista), which influenced workers and university students and advocated an international class struggle; it became the Communist Party in 1922.

Decline of the ruling class
      The radicalization of the parties of the left was caused largely by the ruling class's neglect of Chile's complex economic and social problems. The ruling class, concerned with protecting its own interests, failed to introduce needed reforms, and as a result the political instability already evident in the late 19th century grew worse. The traditional Liberal and Conservative parties were unable to adapt to the country's changing situation.

      Along with the growing political and social problems, the economic situation also worsened. Loans obtained from Britain and, after 1916, from the United States served more to pay the interest on previous debts and to cover state expenses than to allow productive investments. The country consumed more than it produced, and this was translated into an annual inflation rate of more than 10 percent and to the constant devaluation of the currency in relation to the pound sterling and the dollar. Agrarian production barely kept pace with home consumption, but the large landowners were unable to introduce techniques to increase it. Industrial development lagged because of insufficient capital.

Chile after 1920
Political uncertainty, 1920–38
      In the decade following World War I, falling saltpetre sales and rising inflation fueled dissatisfaction among the middle and working classes. They supported the election of the reformist president Arturo Alessandri Palma (Alessandri Palma, Arturo) in 1920. When the legislature blocked his initiatives, discontent spread to middle-class army officers. They intervened in 1924 to force parliamentary passage of his social reforms. Alessandri resigned but the military returned him to power in 1925. In that year the army backed Alessandri's installation of a new constitution, which lasted until 1973. It established a presidential republic, separated church and state, and codified the new labour and welfare legislation.

      In the period between 1924 and 1932, 21 cabinets were formed and dissolved. These were years of profound crises, marked by attempts to create a new political structure by replacing the oligarchy with a new political elite. Under the military dictatorship of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (Ibáñez del Campo, Carlos) (1927–31), new economic reforms were tried: new industrial products were developed, the saltpetre mines were partially nationalized, public works were begun, and public education was improved. But these reforms did not touch the economic power of the oligarchy, which remained the principal political force.

Effects of the world depression
      The world depression of the 1930s was difficult for Chile's economy because the international demand and the prices for saltpetre and copper plummeted. Chile was forced to reduce imports, which in turn reduced national production. Incomes diminished, while public expenditures grew.

      The economic crisis, accompanied by the fall of Ibáñez, permitted the traditional political forces to regain power. They remained in office only briefly, from July 1931 to June 1932, under the presidency of Juan Esteban Montero Rodríguez, because the crisis was so strong that every attempted improvement failed. Power was then gained by a civilian-military coalition that formed the Socialist Republic (from June to September 1932), which spawned the modern Socialist Party. By the end of 1932, however, new elections returned Arturo Alessandri Palma to the presidency.

Return to constitutional normality
      Alessandri's second term (1932–38) was characterized by a return to constitutional normality and by the return to power of the old ruling class. Alessandri tried to restore state finances, badly weakened by the crisis. His economic measures attempted to increase mining and industrial production. Public works eased part of the existing unemployment. Social discomfort diminished, but it did not disappear.

The Radical presidencies, 1938–52
      The return to constitutional government did not resolve Chile's serious problems. The discontent of the workers and especially of the middle class was manifested in the 1938 presidential election. The Radical candidate, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, won with the support of a coalition of the left.

The presidencies of Aguirre Cerda and Ríos
      The period of Radical presidencies can be divided into two parts, separated by 1946. The first part included the presidencies of Aguirre Cerda (1938–41) and Juan Antonio Ríos (1942–46). Aguirre Cerda represented the middle class; his triumph came through the support of a popular front, which included the Radical, Socialist, and Communist parties and also the left-inspired Confederation of Chilean Workers.

      Aguirre Cerda's program included measures for increasing industrial output. The Development Corporation (Corporación de Fomento de la Producción; Corfo) was created in 1939 to reduce imports and thus diminish the trade deficit by developing industry, mainly to produce consumer and intermediate goods.

      During World War II Chile remained neutral until, in 1942, in a common action with other Latin American countries, it declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan. World War II and the Korean War of the early 1950s benefited Chile's economy; an increased demand for copper permitted a rise in incomes, which facilitated the expansion of public education and aided industrial development, thus helping to increase production.

The presidency of Gabriel González Videla
      During the period from 1946 to 1952, the president was Gabriel González Videla, also of the Radical Party, who gained a plurality with the support of the Communists. The Socialist Party denounced an offer of alliance, however, and the popular front could not be reconstituted. González Videla's first cabinets, between 1946 and 1948, included Communist ministers; but the international Cold War and Chile's internal troubles soon pushed González Videla toward the right. After 1948 he outlawed the Communists and ruled with the support of the Liberal Party.

      Economic links with the United States, which had grown after the economic crisis of the 1930s, were strengthened after World War II; U.S. investments in Chile increased from $414,000,000 in 1945 to $540,000,000 in 1950, largely in copper production. By 1952 the United States had loaned $342,000,000 to the Chilean government. The exchange of technicians and professors helped tighten technical and cultural links between the two countries.

      The presidency of González Videla saw the strong political recovery of the right. The Radical presidents had failed to transform Chile's economic and social situations. Between 1940 and 1952 Chile's population rose from 5,000,000 to 6,350,000, with the strongest increase in urban areas, which accounted for 52 percent of the total population in 1940 and 60 percent in 1952. Production rose during this period by a rate very close to the rise in population. But social inequities were not reduced.

Political stagnation, 1952–64
      Various conditions explain the victory in 1952 of the former dictator Gen. Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. Under Radical rule the middle class had affirmed its political importance without injuring the economic power of the landed oligarchy, but the lower classes fell farther behind the middle and upper strata. In 1949 the vote was granted to women, and the electorate thus expanded from 631,257 in 1946 to about 1,000,000 in 1952. President Ibáñez was the candidate of a heterogeneous front based on his personal charisma, but he was not the choice of particular political parties.

      Ibáñez had promised to rule with a strong hand and if necessary eliminate the parliament; but during his six years as president, he ruled with the support of the traditional right, which prevented any attempt at reform. Ibáñez retained the policy of state intervention in the economy and industrial matters inaugurated by the Radical cabinets.

The presidency of Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez
      Ibáñez was succeeded (1958–64) by the son of Arturo Alessandri Palma, Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, who won the support of the Conservative and Liberal parties. To satisfy popular demands without altering profoundly the structures of the country, he launched a public works program that helped absorb the masses of unemployed. At the same time, he tried to reduce the high inflation rate (about 60–70 percent yearly), to augment productivity by reducing taxes on business enterprises, and to stimulate industrial growth by expanding the home market through public expenditure.

      The government placed restrictions on salary increases; salaries thus rose more slowly than prices, which continued to increase by about 30 percent yearly. This alienated the voters, and the government had to call for the support of the Radical Party.

New political groupings
      Popular discontent helped revive the Marxist-inspired Socialist and Communist parties and produced an electoral loss of the parties of the right that corresponded with the rise of those of the left. The Christian Democratic Party, a centrist reform party founded in 1957, enjoyed the biggest increase—from 9 percent in 1957 to 15 percent in 1961. The Christian Democratic Party grew out of the Conservative Party. In 1938 a group of young conservatives had left their party to form the National Falange (Falange Nacional). In 1957 the National Falange fused with the Social Christian Party (which had also seceded from the Conservatives) to form the Christian Democratic Party, whose program tended toward serious reforms in the archaic economic and social structures. The Communist Party regained strength peacefully through an alliance with the Socialist Party, which believed that election was not the only way to power and which rejected alliances with the non-Marxist left.

      At the end of Alessandri Rodríguez' rule the right-wing parties were so weakened that their electoral strength was practically cut in half in the 1965 elections; in order to remain on the political scene, they joined together to form the National Party. The centrist Radical Party also lost support. A common point existed between the Christian Democratic Party and the Marxist parties—the wish to weaken the old economic and political oligarchy and to try to rescue the country from its chronic underdevelopment by more decisive action in the agrarian sectors.

A period of change, 1964–73
      In the election of 1964 the Christian Democratic candidate, Eduardo Frei Montalva (Frei, Eduardo), won 56 percent of the votes. Support from the right-wing parties helped him defeat the Marxist coalition.

The presidency of Frei Montalva
      Frei's program, synthesized in the slogan “Revolution in Liberty,” promised a series of reforms for developing the country by raising the incomes of the lower classes. To attain this aim, Frei and the Christian Democrats instituted a program of “Chileanization,” by which the state took control of copper, Chile's principal resource, acquiring 51 percent of the shares of the large U.S. copper companies in Chile. They thus intended to increase incomes, with which they planned to permit industries to develop; they also planned a vast agrarian reform by which to reduce the imports of agricultural products. Frei also promised decisive state intervention and reform in banking. The Frei administration, at least during its first years, counted on strong support from the middle class. But the government alienated some of the middle class by trying also to obtain the support of the peasants and of the urban underemployed, until then on the margin of the political scene.

      In 1967, with the support of the Socialist and Communist parties, an agrarian reform law was approved that enabled the government to expropriate uncultivated land and to limit the land that could be conserved by each owner. Peasant cooperatives were to be established on these lands, and the state was empowered to teach the peasants better farming techniques. Agrarian reform, however, proceeded slowly because of its costly emphasis on better housing and agricultural equipment and on an irrigation system. By 1970 about 5,000,000 acres had been expropriated.

The socialist experiment
      The reformist program of the Frei government gave poorer people the incentive to take an active role in political life. This increase in political participation brought about further radicalization not only of the Communist and Socialist parties but also of some of the Radicals and Christian Democrats. In 1969 this cluster of parties and left-wing groups formed the Popular Unity (Unidad Popular) coalition, proposing as its presidential candidate Salvador Allende Gossens (Allende, Salvador), a Socialist and an avowed Marxist; he was elected president in 1970.

      The Popular Unity program envisaged the eventual transition to socialism, which was to be accomplished through the end of domination of mining and finance by foreign capital, expanded agrarian reform, and more equal distribution of income favouring the poorer classes. The accomplishments of this program were responsible for the advance of Popular Unity in the municipal elections of 1971 and in the congressional elections of 1973.

      Between 1970 and 1972, however, toleration of the Popular Unity government by the middle class declined as a consequence of difficulties in the economy, which featured a complex and not always consistent reorganization resulting from the nationalization of U.S.-owned copper mines—the main resource of economic production—and of a number of heavy industries. Difficulties in maintaining production levels were further augmented by boycotts on the side of foreign capital, mainly American, and the reduction of agricultural production as a consequence of agrarian reform. Inflation and stagnation of production were propitious to the growth and regrouping of the forces that opposed the socialist experiment. The oligarchy, the right-wing National Party, and the centre Christian Democrats finally joined their efforts and supported the antigovernment trends in the armed forces.

The military dictatorship, from 1973
      On Sept. 11, 1973, the armed forces staged a coup d'état. Allende died during an assault on the presidential palace, and a junta composed of three generals and an admiral, with Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (Pinochet, Augusto) as president, was installed. At the outset the junta received the support of the oligarchy and of a sizable part of the middle class. This support by moderate political forces, including many Christian Democrats, can be explained by their belief that a dictatorship represented a transitional stage necessary to restoring the status quo as it had been before 1970. Very soon they were to concede that the military officers in power had their own political objectives, including the repression of all left-wing and centre political forces. The Christian Democratic, National, and Radical Democracy parties were declared to be in “indefinite recess,” and the Communists, Socialists, and Radicals were proscribed. In 1977 the traditional parties were dissolved, and a private enterprise economy was instated.

      The policies of the military government, though encouraging the development of free enterprise and a new entrepreneurial class, caused unemployment, a decline of real wages, and, as a consequence, a worsening of the standard of living of the lower and middle classes. Political and social conditions were complicated by a developing international economic crisis. In 1981 a new constitution, as well as an eight-year extension of Pinochet's presidential term, was enacted after a tightly controlled plebiscite was held in 1980. The document included specific provisions for a transition to civilian government over the same eight-year period and mandated that a referendum be held in 1988 on whether the ruling junta's president was to remain in office.

      Large-scale popular protests erupted in 1983, and several opposition parties, the Christian Democratic Party being the largest, formed a new centre-left coalition, the Democratic Alliance (Alianza Democrática; AD). The Roman Catholic Church also began openly to support the opposition. In August 1984, 11 parties of the right and centre signed an accord, worked out by the archbishop of Santiago, Raúl Cardinal Silva Henríquez, calling for elections to be scheduled before 1989. Additional pressure came from the United States and other countries that had supported Chile economically but now showed signs of impatience with Pinochet's rule and with the numerous reports of human rights violations attributed to his regime.

      The economic and political climate continued to be volatile in the late 1980s, with increasing pressure for governmental change, acts of terrorism multiplying, and the economy, though showing some signs of recovery, remaining basically unstable and precipitating strikes and protests from the labour sector. Although Pinochet made occasional concessions, he showed little sign of relinquishing his control or relaxing his restrictive policies. To organize opposition to Pinochet, who was chosen as the junta's candidate for the 1988 presidential plebiscite, 16 centrist and leftist parties formed the Command for No (Comando por el No). On Oct. 5, 1988, voters rejected Pinochet. As the country prepared for its first free presidential and legislative elections since 1973, Command for No—renamed the Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertación de los Partidos por la Democracia; CPD)—and the government negotiated constitutional amendments that were approved in a national referendum in July 1989, among them the revocation of Article Eight, which banned Marxist parties. Two months later the government declared, with some restrictions, that all political exiles (exile and banishment) were permitted to return to Chile.

      In the December 1989 presidential election, Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin Azócar, leader of the CPD, won by a large margin over his closest opponent, Hernán Büchi Buc, a former finance minister and the government-endorsed candidate. The coalition also gained a majority in the lower chamber and nearly half the seats in the upper chamber. Aylwin, who took office in March 1990, supported Chile's free-market system but also emphasized social and political change. Before stepping down, Pinochet was able to appoint several new Supreme Court justices and to claim a lifetime senatorial seat; he also retained significant power as commander of the armed forces until his retirement from the military in 1998.

Marcello A. Carmagnani Paul W. Drake César N. Caviedes
      Chile became embroiled in an unprecedented controversy in 1998. While visiting London, Pinochet was detained when Spain requested his extradition in connection with the torture of Spanish citizens in Chile during his dictatorship. The case caused the United States and other countries to release documents relating to those who had “disappeared” in Chile under Pinochet's rule. In January 2000 Pinochet won an appeal on medical grounds and was permitted to return home, but Chilean authorities continued to investigate numerous charges of earlier human rights abuses. Stripped of the immunity from prosecution he had enjoyed as a former president, Pinochet was indicted later that year, though the case was later dismissed. In January 2005, however, Chile's Supreme Court upheld another indictment of Pinochet, who was once again without immunity (which is removed on a case-by-case basis under Chilean law).

Chile in the 21st century
      Democratic systems continued to strengthen in Chile in the 21st century, and in 2000 Ricardo Lagos (Lagos, Ricardo) of the CPD was elected the country's first socialist president since Allende. Under Lagos's administration, the economy improved and numerous social reforms were enacted. Lagos was succeeded by another socialist, Michelle Bachelet (Bachelet, Michelle), also a member of the CPD, who in 2006 became the first woman president of Chile. After taking office, Bachelet was faced with massive protests staged by students who were dissatisfied with Chile's public education and with strikes by copper miners and health workers. When Pinochet died in December 2006, Bachelet's government denied the former dictator a state funeral, although the armed forces gave him a military funeral with full honours.

      Chile remained one of South America's most successful economies in the early 21st century as industrial production surged and unemployment decreased. The country began efforts to improve relations with Bolivia and Peru, despite past territorial disputes and broken diplomatic ties.

Ed.

Additional Reading

Geography
General descriptive information on the land and people of Chile is available in Rex A. Hudson (ed.), Chile: A Country Study, 3rd ed. (1994). Coverage of Chile is also found in César Caviedes and Gregory Knapp, South America (1995); 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).The development of Chile's economy is described in Markos J. Mamalakis, The Growth and Structure of the Chilean Economy: From Independence to Allende (1976); World Bank, Chile: An Economy in Transition, 2 vol. (1979, reissued 1983); Country Report: Chile (quarterly), issued by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in London; and Central Bank of Chile, 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).The policies of the Pinochet regime are discussed in Genaro Arriagada Herrera, Pinochet: The Politics of Power (1988, reissued 1991; originally published in Spanish, 1985); and Alejandro Foxley, After Authoritarianism (1985), a short working paper. Also informative is Paul William Garber and Philip Charles Garber, The Political Constitution of Chile: An English Translation (1981).Works on political and social conditions include 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 César 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); and César Caviedes, The Southern Cone: Realities of the Authoritarian State in South America (1984).

History
A historical overview is Brian Loveman, Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism, 2nd ed. (1988). 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 Brian Loveman, Struggle in the Countryside: Politics and Rural Labor in Chile, 1919–1973 (1976).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); Paul W. Drake, Socialism and Populism in Chile, 1932–52 (1978); Arturo Valenzuela, Chile (1978); Paul E. Sigmund, The Overthrow of Allende and the Politics of Chile, 1964–1976 (1977); Robert J. Alexander, The Tragedy of Chile (1978); 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); Jeffrey M. Puryear, Thinking Politics: Intellectuals and Democracy in Chile, 1973–1988 (1994); César N. Caviedes, Elections in Chile: The Road Toward Redemocratization (1991); David E. Hojman, Chile: The Political Economy of Development and Democracy in the 1990s (1993); Wendy Hunter, State and Soldier in Latin America (1996); Carl E. Meacham, The Fragile Chilean Democracy (1996); Javier Martínez Bengoa and Alvaro Díaz, Chile: The Great Transformation (1996); and John Hickman, News from the End of the Earth (1998).César N. Caviedes

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Universalium. 2010.

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