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Monday 1st September
Chile Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Chile is in South America. It is bordered by the South Pacific Ocean, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Its territory includes Islas Desventuradas, Juan Fernandez Archipelago, Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) and Isla Sala y Gomez.

Santiago is the capital and the largest city in Chile. Other cities include Concepcion, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.

Chile has a long coastline with low coastal mountains, a central valley and mountains (Andes) to the east. The Loa is the longest river in Chile.

The climate is varied: very dry in the north, Mediterranean in the central region and cooler in the south.

Environment
Chile is divided into four areas: the north - desert region and highlands, the central area - coast and mountains, the south - rivers, lakes and volcanoes, and Patagonia - fjords, glaciers and Antarctica.

National Parks include La Campana (coastal mountains), Tolhuaca (forests), Alerce Andino (lakes) and Juan Fernandez Archipielago (islands). The Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is one of Chile's World Biosphere Reserves. National Parks are administered by CONAF, the Corporacion Nacional Forestal.

Chile's most famous National Park is Rapa Nui (Easter Island), known for its large figures carved from volcanic rock.

Architecture
The giant statues (moai) on Easter Island, constructed between the tenth and sixteenth centuries, are on the World Heritage List. The moai were carved from the rock of an extinct volcano and then dragged across the island and set up on platforms.

Other World Heritage sites are the wooden Churches of Chiloe and the Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso.

Population
The population of Chile was estimated at 16,888,760 in 2011.

Languages
Spanish is the official language. Native American languages include Mapundungun (Mapuche) and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Religion
The majority of the people in Chile are Christians. The Mapuche people follow their traditional religion.

Food
Staple foods in Chile are bread, beans and potatoes. Fish and shellfish are caught off Chile's long coastline. Meat, such as poultry and beef, is produced.

A national dish is curanto, a stew that combines seafood, meat and vegetables. Another popular meal is beef steak with chips and eggs. Pebre, a hot sauce, is eaten with meat dishes, and bean and corn chowder (porotos granados).

Other favourites are empanadas (cheese, meat or shellfish pastries) and filled tamales, cooked in corn husks.

Manjar blanco, Chilean dulce de leche, is used in many desserts. Fruits grown include apples, grapes, peaches and pears.

Yerba mate is a traditional drink, similar to tea, and made with the leaves of the yerba plant. Beer is popular and locally brewed alcoholic drinks are chicha (fermented grape juice) and pisco (grape brandy). Chilean wine is exported throughout the world.

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