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Chile is a very long and thin country in South America. It has one of the best life qualities and economic developments in Latin America. Chile stretches from the Atacama desert to the Patagonia stopping just before Antarctica (although they do have a claim over a portion of the Antarctica, to the point they have one of the few Civilian settlement there, Villa las Estrellas). Probably the most well known landmark is Easter Island (Rapa Nui), ironically not too many people outside of Chile know is part of the country.
When the Spaniards came to America in the 15th century, Chile was the last place they visited, because to reach it, they needed to cross the Atacama Desert, that is 50 times drier than the Death Valley, and for a long time Chile was known as a Spaniard´s grave. When they arrived, a war lasting over 300 years began between the Spaniards and the natives, particularly the Mapuche tribes. During this period, Chile became a Spanish colony, obtaining independence in 1818 after a war of independence against the royalists led by people like Bernardo O' Higgins, Manuel Rodriguez and Jose Miguel Carrera. Do NOT ask who was the best of them.
Bernardo O'Higgins led the country until he was forced to abdicate in 1823. Then came 5 years of what is currently called "Ensayos Constitucionales" (Constitucional Attempts/Try-outs), which includes governments that lasted six, five, and even three days. After that, and guided by Diego Portales Palazuelos, the Presidential regime became more or less stable; that would last until the civil war of 1891, which gave power to the Parliament instead, until the arrival of Arturo Alessandri - the following governments would go for the presidental route, but in many different ways...
In 1973, the military under General Augusto Pinochet made a coup d'etat against the Socialist government of Salvador Allende. Pinochet's dictatorship lasted until 1989, when a national plebiscite was held to determine whether or not the military government should remain in power. If you happen to be among Chileans, it is usually not wise bring up the topic. Seriously. Since then the country has been growing; recently led by right-wing Sebastián Piñera, the first right-wing President democratically elected since 1958.
Now we have a list of the Presidents of Chile, in case you wonder who can be interested in ruling a vertical line.
Notable Chileans are Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, who were awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945 and 1971, respectively. Gabriela Mistral received also the National Literature Prize in 1951. Roberto Bolano and Isabel Allende are also famous writers worldwide.
In other arts, Víctor Jara is one of Chile's most famous musicians, known for his social activism and, unfortunately, for being tortured for four days and murdered by Pinochet's junta after the 1973 coup.
In sports, Chile is remembered for Marcelo Ríos, who is the first Latin American tennis player to reach the Nº1 position in the ATP singles rankings despite never winning a Grand Slam tournament. Currently he's retired, but players like Fernando González (doubles gold medal and singles bronze medal in Athens, then silver in Beijing) and Nicolás Massu (singles and doubles gold in Athens (first man to do so!)) are still active. Chile also held the 1962 FIFA World Cup, and attained their highest position ever in the competition by winning third place. Currently soccer is by far the most popular sport.
Chile is internationally known for its wines, one of the most well-known being Casillero del Diablo (The Devil's Closet) and the Carmenere, which was actually thought to be extinguished until it was re-discovered in Chile.
Don Francisco, known for hosting Sabado Gigante and "Don Francisco Presenta", was born in Talca, Chile. The show started on Canal 13 on 1962. Two decades later, the program moved to Miami, Florida where Univision (formerly SIN) began producing it, and started to be recorded by Univision in Miami on 1986. He also host a famous Telethon in Chile, which is done almost once per year since 1978, for obtain funds for The Telethon Fundation, which administrate several institutions for aid Children with developmental disabilities. It's seen as days of National Union, and the Criminal Rate of those days equals Christmas and New Year Eve. If you are Latin American and have seen a Telethon in your country, is very probably that Telethon is based on the Chilean one.
And finally, Chile is one of the most seismic countries in the world, constantly hit by earthquakes (3 to 4 Richter scale so common they are nothing to the Chilean people). History records show to expect a big one each 10-15 years. The Biggest Earthquake recorded in the History of Recording Earthquakes is the Great Chilean Earthquake, with a subsequent Tsunami. The most recent one is the 2010 Chile earthquake, which made up for its lateness with a literal 8.8 in the Richter Scale. Timing and magnitude had caused this to be compared with the Haiti earthquake of 2010. Structures and buildings upheld better in the Chilean case.
Chilean works in this wiki:
- Treinta Y Un Minutos
- Distant Star
- Doctor Mortis
- The House of the Spirits
- Mitos y Leyendas
- Santa Maria De Las Flores Negras
- The Savage Detectives
- Zeno Clash