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Tuesday 24th October
Chile Information - Page 2
History
"Chile" became part of the Spanish Vice Royalty of Peru in the mid sixteenth century. Led by Pedro de Valdivia, Spanish soldiers moved into the region and founded Santiago (1541).

In 1817 the Spanish were defeated by the revolutionary forces of Bernardo O'Higgins and Jose de San Martin, the liberator of Argentina.

Between 1879 and 1884 Chile was at war with Peru and Bolivia for control of the nitrate-rich Atacama Desert. Chile's victory added Tarapaca (Peru) and Antofagasta (Bolivia) to its territory.

Since independence there has been alternation between military and civilian rule. In 1973 Salvador Allende, the first elected Marxist president in South America, was overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet who ruled until 1990.

Economy
In May 2010 Chile signed the OECD Convention, after a two year compliance period, becoming the first South American country to join the OECD.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew more than 5% in 2010.

Industry accounts for a significant percentage of Chile's GDP. As a major producer of copper, mining is an important industry. Other industries include iron and steel, timber and wood products, cement, transport equipment, food processing and wine.

The agricultural sector provides the smallest percentage of GDP, employing a relatively small percentage of the workforce. Agriculture produces wheat, maize, oats, beans, tomatoes, apples, pears and grapes. Cattle and poultry are reared. Fishing is an important industry providing anchovies, herring, mackerel and sardines.

The services sector employs the largest percentage of the labour force. Tourism is a key area for Chile's growth and employment. (2011)

Arts
The Republic of Chile is well represented in the arts.

Chilean art from early times until the present day can be seen in the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, the Chilean Museum of Fine Arts and the Chilean Museum of Contemporary Art.

Gabriela Mistral received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945 and Pablo Neruda was awarded the Prize in 1971.

The Symphonic Orchestra of Chile plays around fifty concerts a year and a number of classical youth orchestras exist throughout the country.

Sport
Football is the favourite sport in Chile. Volleyball, basketball and rugby are also played. Other popular sports include tennis, horse riding, polo and skiing.

The long coastline provides plenty of opportunities for swimming, scuba diving, surfing, water-skiing and sea fishing.

Holidays
Easter, Christmas and New Year are celebrated. Independence Day is on 18 September (1810). Other holidays include Corpus Christi - 23 May, All Saints' Day - 1 November, and Immaculate Conception - 8 December.

News
News from Chile is available from Newslink.

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