With a population of approximately 14 million people, Chile enjoys a location right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Running a total of over 4,300km from north to south, and only 180km from east to west, it is a very long and thin country.
The Incas controlled the northern part of the country, while the Araucanians controlled the south until the 16th Century. It was in this century that the Spanish settled and began to produce goods which were exported to Peru, the country which Chile dpended on most, and other countries.
In 1778 Chile became a totally separate nation and independent from Peru. Finally, after a movement towards total independence began in 1810, it was Bernardo O’Higgins who declared the country's independence on February 12th, 1818.
Today, Chile is divided into 13 regions and is governed by a constitution which was drawn up in 1981 (amended in 1989). Geographically, it is divided into 3 different areas from east to west – the Andes, the central lowlands and the pacific coast.