[ˈtʃile]), officially the Republic of Chile (
República de Chile (
info)), is a
South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the
Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders
Peru to the north,
Bolivia to the northeast,
Argentina to the east, and the
Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of
Salas y Gómez,
Easter Island in
Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of
Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the
Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally
copper. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and features a string of
volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of
fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.
Spain conquered and colonized the region in the mid-16th century, replacing
Inca rule in the north and centre, but
failing to conquer the independent
Mapuche who inhabited what is now south-central Chile. After
declaring its independence from Spain in 1818, Chile emerged in the 1830s as a relatively stable authoritarian republic. In the 19th century, Chile saw significant economic and territorial growth,
ending Mapuche resistance in the 1880s and gaining its current northern territory in the
War of the Pacific (1879–83) after defeating Peru and Bolivia.
 In the 1960s and 1970s the country experienced severe left-right
political polarization and turmoil. This development culminated with the
1973 Chilean coup d'état that overthrew
Salvador Allende's democratically elected left-wing government and instituted
a 16-year-long right-wing military dictatorship that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing.
 The regime, headed by
Augusto Pinochet, ended in 1990 after it lost a
referendum in 1988 and was succeeded by a
center-left coalition which ruled through four presidencies until 2010.
Chile is today one of South America's most economically and socially stable and prosperous nations, with a
high-income economy and high
 It leads
Latin American nations in rankings of
income per capita,
state of peace,
economic freedom, and
low perception of corruption.
 It also ranks high regionally in
sustainability of the state, and democratic development.
 Chile is the only South American member of the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), joining in 2010. Currently it also has the
lowest homicide rate in South America. Chile is a founding member of the
United Nations, the
Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).