Republic of Chile

República de Chile

Political Status: Independent republic since 1818; present constitution approved September 11, 1980 (in effect from March 11, 1981), partially superseding military regime instituted in 1973; fully effective as of March 11, 1990.

Area: 292,256 sq. mi. (756,945 sq. km.).

Population: 15,116,435 (2002C); 16,733,000 (2007E). The 2002 figure lacks an adjustment for underenumeration.

Major Urban Centers (2005E): SANTIAGO (4,771,000), Puente Alto (602,000), Antofagasta (306,000), Viña del Mar (288,000), Valparaíso (260,000), Concepción (215,000).

Official Language: Spanish.

Monetary Unit: Peso (market rate November 1, 2008: 670.75 pesos = $1US).

President: Michelle BACHELET (Socialist Party of Chile); elected in runoff balloting on January 15, 2006, and inaugurated on March 11 for a four-year term, succeeding Ricardo LAGOS Escobar (Party for Democracy).

The Country

Occupying a narrow strip along about 2,700 miles of South ...

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