Prior to the coming of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was
under Inca rule while Araucanian Indians inhabited central and southern
Chile; the latter were not completely subjugated until the early 1880s.
Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the
Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-84), Chile
defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern lands. A three-year-old
Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE 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, maintained
consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady growth and have
helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative
government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international
leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.
Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between
Argentina and Peru
Total Area: 756,950 sq km
Land Area: 748,800 sq km
Comparative Area: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana
Independence Day, 18 September (1810)
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