The territory of Chile occupies a narrow strip of land with a width of 15 to 355 km, stretched almost along the 72 ° west longitude along the Pacific coast from 17 ° 10′ south latitude to 56 ° 30′ south latitude.
Chile is washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, numerous straits, including the Magellan, which separates the island of Tierra del Fuego from the mainland. Chile is separated from Antarctica by the Drake Passage. From the south to the northern border of Chile, the Humboldt Current (Peruvian Current) runs along its coast. The length of the borders is 6171 km. It borders Peru to the north and Bolivia and Argentina to the east.
According to Allcitycodes, Chile is characterized by longitudinal relief elements: the Main Cordillera of the Andes in the east, the Coastal Cordillera in the west, and the fertile Central (Longitudinal) Valley sandwiched between them. The highest peak is Ojos del Salado (6880 m).
Chile ranks 1st among industrialized and developing countries in terms of copper reserves (over 97 million tons) and saltpeter, 2nd (after the USA) in molybdenum reserves and 3rd (after Iraq and the USA) in sulfur reserves. Molybdenum reserves amount to 2500 thousand tons. There are reserves of gold, silver, rare earth elements, lithium, iron, coal, natural gas. Oil and gas fields are located on Tierra del Fuego (oil – 51 million tons, gas – 70 billion m3). Oil reserves, however, do not fully meet the needs of the country itself. Coal deposits (Lota, Coronel, etc.) are located near the city of Concepción (total reserves of 3.9 billion tons). Coal is predominantly brown, of low quality.
Almost all the rivers of Chile belong to the Pacific Ocean, are mainly fed by the snows of the Andes and play an important role in irrigation and as sources of hydropower. The largest river in central Chile is the Bio Bio. The largest lakes are Llanquihue and Ranco. The Patagonian lakes are located in the eastern foothills of the Andes and cross the state border with Argentina. Therefore, most of the lakes here have both Chilean and Argentinean names, for example, O’Higgins (Argentinean San Martin), General Carrera (Argentinean Buenos Aires), etc.
Three regions are distinguished in Chile: the northern one (17°–28° south latitude) is located in the tropical zone, has a desert climate and vegetation; central (up to 42 ° south latitude) – in the subtropical zone with a Mediterranean type of climate and vegetation up to 38 ° south latitude and then humid subtropical; southern – from 42 ° south latitude, is characterized by a temperate climate.
The flora of Chile is very diverse: semi-desert zones with a predominance of cactus and cereal-acacia, in the Andes – high mountain steppes. To the south on the Cordillera Coast – park forests of southern beech, and above – mountain meadows. To the south of 36 ° south latitude, evergreen and mixed forests of southern beeches and conifers (araucaria, alerse, etc.) predominate. Plantations of eucalyptus and pine trees are typical for the central and southern zones.
The fauna of Chile is as diverse as the climatic zones.
The highland regions are characterized by llamas, chinchillas, cougars, among birds – condor, black partridge. In the semi-deserts – rodents (curoro, tuco-tuco), marsupials (Chilean opossum). In the forests of the Patagonian Andes – deer, skunks, otters, nutria, cougars. There are parrots and hummingbirds. In the steppes of Patagonia – guanaco llamas, rhea ostriches, flamingos, swans in the reservoirs. On the Pacific coast – seals, sea leopards, penguins.
Population of Chile
Population growth in 1995-2000 was 1.2%, and by 2002 it had dropped to 1.09%. The population of Chile in 2003 was 15.8 million people. Birth rate 16.46%, average life expectancy: 72 years for men, 78 years for women (2002).
Sex and age structure of the population: 0-14 years – 28.5% (men 51%, women 49%), 15-34 years – 32.2% (men 49.8%, women 50.2%), 35-49 years – 20.5%, 50-64 years old – 11.6%, 65 years and older – 7.2% (men 41%, women 59). The average population density is 19 people. per 1 km2. Urban population 84.7%, rural 15.3%.
In terms of education, Chile is one of the first places in Latin America. Competently 93% of the population.
The population was mainly formed as a result of mixing of local Indians with immigrants from Europe. The Indian population is 666.3 thousand people. (2000). It includes the Aymara, Atakameno, Quechua, Kolya (northern Chile), Mapuche (Araucans) – center and south, Kavashkar and Jaamana (south), Rapanui on Easter Island. The Mapuche make up 85.6% of the total Indian population. Quechua and Aymara are represented in small groups (together 8.2 thousand people).
The Indian population in the country has significantly decreased in recent years: for example, in 1970 its share in the total number of inhabitants of Chile was 8%, at the beginning. 21st century – 4.4%.
The majority of Chile’s population (89%) belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. An influential group is made up of Protestants (approx. 11%).