38 Interesting Facts About Chile

Chile is a South American country bordered by the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is officially the Republic of Chile. 

Chile map with bordering countries
Chile map with bordering countries

38 Interesting facts about Chile

1. Chile is the longest country in the world from north to south at 2,647 miles.

2. 16,000 fireworks were exploded in the Chilean city of Valparaiso in 2007. This remains a Guinness World Record.

3. Chile is the world’s fifth-largest wine exporter, with 100 wineries.

4. Husbands and wives in Chile do not share a same, common last name. Wives use their maiden names. Use of common last names for male and female counterparts is reserved for brothers and sisters.

5. One of the world’s lowest divorce rates is in Chile. Divorce was only legalized in 2005.

6. Pisco is Chile’s national drink. It is home grown in the country, and made with a mixture of a few different ingredients. They use Coca-Cola to form Piscola. Lemon juice, ice, sugar and beaten egg whites are used to make Pisco sour, which is the most common version of the national drink.

7. You can also find the world’s driest desert – the Atacama – in Chile. This place has not seen even a single drop of rain since record keeping began.

The barren Atacama Desert in northern Chile
Interesting facts about Chile: A view of the barren Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Image credit – European Southern Observatory

8. The largest anthropomorphic figure in the world is also located in Chile at Cerro (119 m high).

9. Chile hosted the 1962 FIFA World Cup, and tennis is their most successful sport.

10. Fernando Gonzalez is a famous tennis player from Chile.

11. Since 1967, it is mandatory to hang the Chilean flag in a proper condition from every public building. Failure to abide by the regulation can lead to fines of up to 40,000 pesos.

12. Outside of Spain, Chile has the largest library, containing 1.8-million volumes.

13. Many of Chile’s more than 1300 volcanoes can be active.

14. You can spot 4000-year-old trees in Chile’s southern region. They are mostly of the amazingly long-lived Alerce tree species.

15. The biggest earthquake ever recorded on earth, measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale, hit Chile in 1900. The catastrophe killed more than 1500 people and left 2000 homeless.

16. Chile was hit by an earthquake again in 2010, this time with a magnitude of 8.8. However, not many people were killed. At least 1.5 million people were displaced due to the natural disaster, though. The country has strict building codes in urban areas to prevent loss of life and property in such scenarios.

17. Puerto Williams in Chile is the southernmost village in the world.

Lake Chungara, Chile
This lake is the highest in the world, at 4520 meters from sea level. Image credit – Alberto

18. One of the highest lakes above sea level (4520 m), Lake Chungara, is in Chile.

19. Chile is a conducive place for astronomical observations. Astrologers from around the world come to the country to make their observations as there are more than 300 nights of clear weather available in the Norte Grande part of Chile.

20. 1818 is the year when Chile gained independence from Spain.

21. In august 2010, the collapse of the San Jose mine in Chile caused the trapping of 33 miners 2000 feet below ground. Rigorous, safety-conscious efforts were made to successfully retrieve the affected miners. A small borehole was drilled by rescuers to provide food, liquids, lights, and send notes to and from the mine. All of the trapped miners were successfully rescued after almost 70 days.

22. Chileans refer to their land as a “country of poets.” They have two Nobel Prize winners in Literature: Gabriela Mistral – 1945, (she is also depicted on 5,000 peso bank notes) and Pablo Neruda – 1971.

23. The world’s largest swimming pool is in Chile. It is 1000 yards long, 20 acres in area and 115 feet deep. This giant pool holds 66 million gallons of seawater. Remember: this was not a cheap pool to build. It took five years and one billion U.S. dollars; its annual maintenance cost is close to two million U.S. dollars.

The world's largest swimming pool.
Interesting facts about Chile: The world’s largest swimming pool. Image credit – Arzuhan Ay

24. Penguins are found in Chile, in addition to Antarctica. With almost 12,000 breeding pairs in the country, ‘Humboldt Penguines’ can be seen on the north coast of Chile.

25. At 6500 km in length, the Chilean coastline is one of the world’s longest. And it is also one of the worlds narrowest – with a width of just over 200 km.

26. Chile is home to the oldest ever known mummy. It was a ‘Chinchorro mummy’ found in the Camarones Valley in 5050 BC. To date, 282 such mummies have been found in the country. And you thought Egypt was the home to the world’s oldest mummies! An interesting fact?

Chinchorro mummies found in Chile.
Interesting facts about Chile: Chinchorro mummies found in Chile. Image credit – La Rusa Loca

27. Chile has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Churches of Chiloé, the Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works, Rapa Nui National Park and the Sewell Mining Town.

28. The region between the city of Calama and San Pedro de Atacama is called the ‘Moon Valley.’ It is so called because it resembles the ‘lunar landscape’ to a large extent.

moon valley chile
Interesting facts about Chile: The Moon Valley – Image Source

29. Chile is devoid of poisonous snakes.

30. Chile is the number-one exporter of Salmon.

31. Reportedly, numerous UFOs have been sighted in Chile. The government also sponsors research on UFOs.

32. Chile has one of the highest rates of working hours in the world.

33. It is mandatory for employers and employees both to sign a working contract in the first 15 days of employment; otherwise, a fine is levied.

34. Employers in Chile also have the authority to dismiss their employees without any prior indication and/or justification. However, if the employee is employed by the company for more than 12 months, some compensation is to be made before the employee is fired.

35. Employees in Chile are entitled to a rest period between 9 pm on Saturdays to 6 am on Mondays. Employees cannot be made to work on Sundays, as per the Chilean law, unless exceptionally required.

36. Michael Jackson visited Chile On October 18, 1993, for the first and only time in his lifetime.

37. It is one of the world’s largest producers of copper.

38. The Pudu, which is the world’s smallest deer, is found in Chile.

Chilean pudu
Chilean pudu. The world’s smallest dear. Image credit – LaggedOnUser

Quick facts and statistics about Chile

Capital CitySantiagoa
33°26′S 70°40′W
Largest CitySantiago
Total area756,102 sq km
Population17,508,260 (July 2015 est.)
Official LanguageSpanish
BordersPeru, Bolivia, Argentina,
CurrencyPeso (CLP)
Life expectancy78.61 years (2012)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatetemperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
Terrainlow coastal mountains, fertile central valley, rugged Andes in east
Natural resourcescopper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
Agricultural land21.1%
Birth rate13.83 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate6 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Independence18 September 1810 (from Spain)
National symbolshuemul (mountain deer), Andean condor; national colors: red, white, blue
National anthem"Himno Nacional de Chile" (National Anthem of Chile)
Industriescopper, lithium, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles
Exports$61.82 billion (2015 est.)
copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine

Imports$56 billion (2015 est.)
petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas
GDP - per capita (PPP)$23,500 (2015 est.)
Time ZoneCLT and EAST (UTC−3 and −5)
Internet users11.256 million
percent of population: 64.3% (July 2015 est.)
Internet country code.cl
Calling Code+56
Drives on theRight

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