Top 50 Interesting Facts about Chile and Chileans
Chile is a typical country in Latin America, sharing many similarities with neighboring countries in the region. At the same time, it is a unique country with its own customs, history, and culture. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its inhabitants, which will help form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in Chile.
50 Most Interesting Facts about Chileans and Chile
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions, and sights of this amazing country.
1. The first people on the territory of modern Chile appeared 13 thousand years ago. They were nomadic Indians who engaged in hunting and gathering.
2. Separately, there was the settlement of Easter Island by Polynesians. They appeared there in 600 AD and began to create stone Moai statues.
3. By the arrival of the Spanish, the north of the country was settled by Quechua and Aymara from the Inca Empire, the center by Mapuche tribes, and the shores of the Strait of Magellan by the Fuegians.
4. In 1520, a European entered Chilean soil for the first time. He was Fernan Magellan, who made his famous round-the-world voyage.
5. At the place where Magellan’s expedition landed, the city of Punta Arenas, the center of the municipality of the same name, is now located. It is considered the southernmost city on Earth with a population of over 100,000 people.
6. By land, the Spaniards got to Chile only in 1535 and faced fierce resistance from Mapuche Indians. The Spaniards’ new cities were constantly threatened with capture by the Indians.
7. In 1541, the Mapuche even laid siege to Santiago and nearly took the city. Only the bravery of a female conquistador, Inés de Suárez, allowed the Spaniards to defend their capital. Ines beheaded their captured leaders in full view of the Indians and demoralized the attackers.
8. In the following centuries, there was constant warfare between the colonizers and the Mapuche. Only towards the end of the 19th century did the so-called Araucan War end with the defeat of the Indians.
9. Independence from Spain Chileans achieved before the victory over the Mapuche – in 1818. The patriots were greatly assisted by the Argentine rebel leader San Martin.
10. The entire 20th century in Chile was turbulent and was accompanied by numerous uprisings and unrest. The last major coup occurred in 1973 when army general Pinochet deposed President Salvador Allende.
11. The republic is now one of the fastest-growing countries in Latin America, a permanent member of the UN, IMF, WTO, and other international organizations.
12. More than 18 million people live in the country, and in terms of per capita income, Chile shares first place in Latin America with Uruguay.
13. The average salary level in the country slightly exceeds $1,000 per month, which is the best indicator among other states in the region.
14. The economy is based on mining and the export of copper. The country is the largest producer of this necessary metal. Agriculture and the chemical industry are also developed here.
15. The capital of the country is Santiago. This city was founded in 1540 and named in honor of St. James the Apostle. Currently, it is home to more than 5 million people.
16. The official state language of the country is Spanish. It is the mother tongue of 75 percent of Chileans. Many aboriginal Indians preserve the linguistic traditions of their tribes, but none of the Indian languages has received the status of an official language.
17. Chile can be called a multinational country. There are 60 percent mestizos, about 30 percent pure-blooded Europeans, 9 percent Mapuche Indians, and many representatives of other peoples, both Indian and immigrants.
18. The predominant religion in the country is Christianity. Among Christians, more than 70 percent are Catholics, and there are also many Protestants, including Evangelicals.
19. The monetary unit of the country is the Chilean peso. It is one of the most stable currencies in South America.
20. Chile is located in the -4 UTC time zone, which means it is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time in winter and 3 hours behind in summer. Easter Island lies in the -6 UTC time zone.
Attractions in Chile
21. Easter Island, also known as Rapanui, is considered the country’s main attraction. It is home to mysterious stone statues – moai, which attract thousands of tourists.
22. The city of Santiago is famous for its cathedrals and churches, and its symbol is San Cristobal Hill, on which stands a huge statue of the Virgin Mary.
23. The Andean Christ sculpture is also considered a landmark of the republic. It is installed on the Bermejo Pass on the border between Chile and Argentina.
24. About the ancient civilizations of these lands, the mysterious Atacama giant – a geoglyph over 100 meters long, which can be seen only from the air, as well as the figures of the Nazca desert in Peru, serve as reminders.
25. An unusual symbol of the country is the Desert Hand, a monument in the form of a human palm sticking out of the ground. It symbolizes human vulnerability to the elements.
26. The city of Valparaiso, recognized by UNESCO as a historical heritage site, is also interesting for tourists. Its ancient neighborhoods have paved narrow streets with pedestrian staircases and funiculars.
Character, Traditions, and Customs of Chileans
27. The basic character trait of the locals is their emotionality and hot-headedness. They argue and defend their point of view with enthusiasm; almost all Chileans are passionate fans.
28. At the same time, they are nice and smiling, friendly people who do not know how to say no. Direct refusal is considered rude and bad form here.
29. Chileans are very fond of kissing. Any conversation with them begins and ends with a kiss. It does not matter the gender of the interlocutors.
30. However, for all their love, family values for Chileans are sacred and always come first. They have very strong kinship ties and well-developed mutual assistance.
31. Most families here have many children. Having 5–6 children is considered the norm in the republic. But meeting a family with only one child is very rare.
32. Chileans are very patriotic people. State holidays dedicated to various memorable dates are celebrated here with great pomp. The locals are proud of their famous countrymen and take offense if tourists know nothing about them.
33. Local cuisine has absorbed the traditions of European and Indian cookery. It is based on fish, meat, and vegetable dishes. But young Chileans prefer fast food. Their most popular dish is complementos – huge hot dogs.
34. Chileans are also crazy about their palm honey, considered the best delicacy. Tourists definitely buy it, although many then note that it tastes nothing special. But maybe palm honey just takes some getting used to?
35. A significant part of the population consists of Mapuche Indians, proud of the fact that they are the only ones in South America who were not conquered not only by the Incas but also by the Spanish or other European colonizers.
36. The Mapuche were renowned as brave warriors, and their tribe had a custom resembling cannibalism: they killed noble captives with a blow of a club and ate his heart.
37. Nowadays, most Mapuche live in cities, but once they considered it humiliating and diligently adhered to the traditions of their ancestors.
38. Many Mapuche still live in clan communities, united by male lineage, growing vegetables (potatoes, wheat, quinoa, and others), and herding cattle.
39. Pagan rituals are still widespread among the Mapuche, mostly dedicated to the local god of thunder, Pillan. These rituals are conducted by a senior shamaness.
40. Another colorful people of the country are Rapa Nui. They live on Easter Island and are considered to be the builders of huge stone statues, still attracting the attention of scientists and tourists.
41. The ancient Rapa Nui were a warlike people related to the Polynesians. They fought among themselves and with aliens, but at the same time had developed architecture and writing. Nowadays, Rapa Nui are engaged only in the tourist business.
Nature of Chile
42. Chile stretches for more than four thousand kilometers along the west coast of South America, with a coastline that extends over 6,500 kilometers.
43. Chile belongs to the southernmost point of the continent, Cape Froward, in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.
44. The climate of the republic is characterized by great diversity. In the north, there is an arid tropical desert, the Atacama; in the center, heavy rains are frequent; in the south, there is a lot of snow in winter.
45. The Andes Mountains within Chile are of great splendor and beauty, featuring many amazing landscapes, as if transported to us from another planet.
46. In the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, there is a huge colony of king penguins, the largest in all of South America.
47. Chile includes several archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean, including Easter Island, which is located 3.5 thousand kilometers from the continent.
48. In Chile, it is not uncommon to experience strong earthquakes, which often cause loss of life, as well as tsunamis that can wipe out an entire city.
49. The fauna of the country is poorer than in its more northern neighbors. Of the large predators, only the puma is found here, and among the unusual animals are armadillos.
50. The highest point of the country is the mountain Ojos del Salado. Its height is 6,893 meters, and it is a dormant volcano.
Friends! If you know any more interesting facts about Chileans and the country itself, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture, and traditions, and many people would be glad to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!