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: 17,812,785 (2012E—UN); 17,028,743 (2012E—U.S. Census).

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 October 3, 2011: 525.85 pesos = $1US).

President: Sebastián PIÑERA Echenique (Coalition for Change-National Renovation); elected in runoff balloting on January 17, 2010, and inaugurated on March 11 for a four-year term, succeeding Michelle BACHELET (Socialist Party of Chile).

The Country

Occupying a narrow strip along about 2,700 miles of South America's west coast, the Chilean national ...

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