Friday, December 5, 2014

About Chile

Before the arrival of the Spanish, Chile was under the control of the Incas in the north and the nomadic Araucanos in the south.

Ferdinand Magellan was the first European explorer to visit Chile, setting foot here on October 21, 1520. The natives people living there included the Araucanos and the Incas.

In 1540, the Spanish explorer, Pedro de Valdivia arrived in what is today the nation of Chile. He founded the capital city of Santiago in 1541. He used the local native population to help him build the city.

Ancestors of the Quechua
speakers still living in Chile
In the late 15th century, the Incas extended their empire south, attempting to conquer Chile; they were successful in the north, but their influence (central and south) was limited as they faced fierce resistance from the indigenous Araucanos.

Numerous Spanish settlements were built in central Chile, and their population base eventually exceeded one million. Those initial settlers suffered repeated attacks by the Araucanian Indians, and that remained a serious problem into the 19th century. 

The colonies more and more resisted Spain's military rule, but remained loyal to the Spanish crown for nearly three centuries. When the King of Spain was overthrown at the beginning of the 19th century, Chileans began to consider independence and self-government. 

Jose de San Martin and Bernardo O'Higgins led their armies to drive out the Spanish and achieved independence from Spain in 1818. Bernardo O'Higgins later became Chile's first president. 

Chile defeated Bolivia and Peru in a regional war (1879-1883) for the control of the Atacama Desert areas. During that war Chile gained more land to the north and Bolivia lost its outlet to the open sea; proving disastrous for its economy.

Beginning in 1891, and over the next 80 years, Chile was governed by self-serving parliamentary regimes, military rule, left-wing Socialist and Communists, right-wing parties, and democratically elected presidents.
Democracy was abandoned when the repressive military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet began in 1973; finally ending in 1989, when democratic elections were held again.

Flag of La Republica de Chile

Today Chile is primed for the 21st century, as it controls a great portion of the planet's most spectacular scenery, as well as untold natural resources such as copper, hard woods and other natural resources. Chile also has the world's largest deposits of nitrate, which was the country's major source of export income before copper.  Some trees in Chile`s southern coastal forests are more than 3,600 years old.

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