Chile is a long narrow country which extends like a ribbon down the west coast of South America. While the coastline is over 4,000 miles (6,437 kilometers) long, it is only about 61 miles (91 kilometers) wide. The country has suffered from many earthquakes, such as the massive 8.8-magnitude quake that struck the country in February 2010.
Cape Horn is the southernmost tip of South America. In the past, ships had to round the horn to sail from Pacific to Atlantic ports and to Europe before the Panama Canal was built. Cape Horn is known for high winds and treacherous waves.
Today only about 5 percent of the population is native Mapuche and other indigenous groups. Nearly 95 percent of Chileans have a mixture of native and European roots. There are areas in the south where the Mapuche live, speak their language, and practice their own religion.
About 40 percent of the population lives in the area around the capital of Santiago. Children in rural areas need to wake up at 5:00 - 6:00 a.m. to walk to school or meet the bus. Their journeys sometimes take two hours each way. After school, they help their parents in the fields and do their homework.
OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Chile
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Republic
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Spanish
MONEY: Chilean peso
AREA: 291,932 square miles (756,102 square kilometers)