[Country map of Chile]



Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru

Map references: South America

total area: 756,950 sq km
land area: 748,800 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana
note: includes Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) and Isla Sala y Gomez

Land boundaries: total 6,171 km, Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km

Coastline: 6,435 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: short section of the southern boundary with Argentina is indefinite; Bolivia has wanted a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama area was lost to Chile in 1884; dispute with Bolivia over Rio Lauca water rights; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims

Climate: temperate; desert in north; cool and damp in south

Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east

Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum

Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 16%
forest and woodland: 21%
other: 56%

Irrigated land: 12,650 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation contributing to loss of biodiversity; soil erosion; desertification
natural hazards: severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
international agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea

Note: strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert one of world's driest regions


Population: 14,161,216 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 29% (female 2,014,877; male 2,099,450)
15-64 years: 64% (female 4,574,947; male 4,529,251)
65 years and over: 7% (female 549,385; male 393,306) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.49% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 20.29 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 5.42 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.88 years
male: 71.89 years
female: 78.01 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.49 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean

Ethnic divisions: European and European-Indian 95%, Indian 3%, other 2%

Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish

Languages: Spanish

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1992)
total population: 94%
male: 95%
female: 94%

Labor force: 4.728 million
by occupation: services 38.3% (includes government 12%), industry and commerce 33.8%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 19.2%, mining 2.3%, construction 6.4% (1990)


conventional long form: Republic of Chile
conventional short form: Chile
local long form: Republica de Chile
local short form: Chile

Digraph: CI

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, 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

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: President Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle (since 11 March 1994) election last held 11 December 1993 (next to be held December 1999); results - Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle (PDC) 58%, Arturo ALESSANDRI 24.4%, other 17.6%
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional)
Senate (Senado): election last held 11 December 1993 (next to be held December 1997); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (46 total, 38 elected) Concertation of Parties for Democracy 21 (PDC 13, PS 4, PPD 3, PR 1), Union for the Progress of Chile 15 (RN 11, UDI 3, UCC 1), right-wing independents 10
Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados): election last held 11 December 1993 (next to be held December 1997); results - Concertation of Parties for Democracy 53.95% (PDC 27.16%, PS 12.01%, PPD 11.82%, PR 2.96%,); Union for the Progress of Chile 30.57% (RN 15.25%, UDI 12.13%, UCC 3.19%); seats - (120 total) Concertation of Parties for Democracy 70 (PDC 37, PPD 15, PR 2, PS 15, left-wing independent 1), Union for the Progress of Chile 47 (RN 30, UDI 15, UCC 2), right-wing independents 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema)

Political parties and leaders: Concertation of Parties for Democracy consists mainly of three parties: Christian Democratic Party (PDC), Alejandro FOXLEY; Socialist Party (PS), Camilo ESCALONA; Party for Democracy (PPD), Jorge SCHAULSOHN; Radical Party (PR); Union for the Progress of Chile consists mainly of three parties: National Renewal (RN), Andres ALLAMAND; Independent Democratic Union (UDI), Jovino NOVOA; Center Center Union (UCC), Francisco Javier ERRAZURIZ

Other political or pressure groups: revitalized university student federations at all major universities; labor - United Labor Central (CUT) includes trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confederations; Roman Catholic Church


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gabriel GUERRA-MONDRAGON
chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746
FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gabriel GUERRA-MONDRAGON
embassy: Codina Building, 1343 Agustinas, Santiago
mailing address: Unit 4127, Santiago; APO AA 34033
telephone: [56] (2) 232-2600
FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710

Flag: 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


Overview: Chile has a prosperous, essentially free market economy, with the degree of government intervention varying according to the philosophy of the different regimes. Under the center-left government of President AYLWIN, which took power in March 1990, spending on social welfare rose steadily. At the same time business investment, exports, and consumer spending also grew substantially. The new president, FREI, who took office in March 1994, has emphasized social spending even more. Growth in 1991-94 has averaged 6.5% annually, with an estimated one million Chileans having moved out of poverty in the last four years. Copper remains vital to the health of the economy; Chile is the world's largest producer and exporter of copper. Success in meeting the government's goal of sustained annual growth of 5% depends on world copper prices, the level of confidence of foreign investors and creditors, and the government's own ability to maintain a conservative fiscal stance.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $97.7 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 4.3% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $7,010 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.7% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 6% (1994 est.)

revenues: $10.9 billion
expenditures: $10.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.2 billion (1993)

Exports: $11.5 billion (f.o.b., 1994)
commodities: copper 41%, other metals and minerals 8.7%, wood products 7.1%, fish and fishmeal 9.8%, fruits 8.4% (1991)
partners: EC 29%, Japan 17%, US 16%, Argentina 5%, Brazil 5% (1992)

Imports: $10.9 billion (f.o.b., 1994)
commodities: capital goods 25.2%, spare parts 24.8%, raw materials 15.4%, petroleum 10%, foodstuffs 5.7%
partners: EC 24%, US 21%, Brazil 10%, Japan 10% (1992)

External debt: $20 billion (1994 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 4.3% (1993 est.); accounts for 34% of GDP

capacity: 4,810,000 kW
production: 22 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 1,499 kWh (1993)

Industries: copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles

Agriculture: accounts for about 7% of GDP (including fishing and forestry); major exporter of fruit, fish, and timber products; major crops - wheat, corn, grapes, beans, sugar beets, potatoes, deciduous fruit; livestock products - beef, poultry, wool; self-sufficient in most foods; 1991 fish catch of 6.6 million metric tons; net agricultural importer

Illicit drugs: a minor transshipment country for cocaine destined for the US and Europe; booming economy has made it more attractive to traffickers seeking to launder drug profits

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $521 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $1.6 billion; Communist countries (1970-89), $386 million

Currency: 1 Chilean peso (Ch$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Chilean pesos (Ch$) per US$1 - 408 (January 1995), 420.08 (1994), 404.35 (1993), 362.59 (1992), 349.37 (1991), 305.06 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 7,766 km
broad gauge: 3,974 km 1.676-m gauge (1,865 km electrified)
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 3,642 km 1.000-m gauge (80 km electrified)

total: 79,599 km
paved: 10,984 km
unpaved: gravel or earth 68,615 km (1990)

Inland waterways: 725 km

Pipelines: crude oil 755 km; petroleum products 785 km; natural gas 320 km

Ports: Antofagasta, Arica, Chanarol, Coquimbo, Iquique, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Talcahuano, Valparaiso

Merchant marine:
total: 36 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 510,006 GRT/879,891 DWT
ships by type: bulk 13, cargo 7, chemical tanker 3, combination ore/oil 2, liquefied gas tanker 3, oil tanker 3, roll-on/roll-off cargo 3, vehicle carrier 2

total: 390
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 5
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 17
with paved runways under 914 m: 252
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 13
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 76


Telephone system: 768,000 telephones; modern telephone system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities
local: NA
intercity: extensive microwave radio relay links and 3 domestic satellite stations
international: 2 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 159, FM 0, shortwave 11
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 131
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army of the Nation, National Navy (includes Naval Air, Coast Guard, and Marines), Air Force of the Nation, Carabineros of Chile (National Police), Investigations Police

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 3,758,770; males fit for military service 2,796,740; males reach military age (19) annually 121,831 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $1 billion, 3.4% of GDP (1991 est.)