At the southwest edge of South America, Chile is the longest country in the world and one of the narrowest. It borders Argentina to the east, Bolivia to the northeast, and Peru to the north. Its location between the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean partially explains its military strategic condition and the defensive mentality of its successive peoples from the pre-Columbian era to the present day. Chile’s military establishment has played a critical role in the country’s life, particularly during the period when it established its independence from Spain in the second decade of the 19th century and later, during the military regime of Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s and 1980s.

Chile’s pre-Columbian indigenous people, the Mapuche, organized themselves from a military ...

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