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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Chile History and Culture


The country's history is as extensive as its coastline is long. The northern region of Chile formed part of the Incan empire, and the more southerly regions were originally occupied by other indigenous tribes.
Spanish explorers, conquerors and settlers arrived in the mid 1530s and began a struggle with the native residents that was to go on for more than 300 years. When the last Arauca Indians on Chiloe Island surrendered, the Spanish hold on the land was complete.
By that time, the European settlers had already made substantial moves toward independence from Spain (led by a hero with the unlikely name of Bernardo O'Higgins).

The War of the Pacific, fought more than a century ago against Peru and Bolivia, resulted in considerable expansion of the national territory by adding the mineral-rich Atacama Desert. The next major rift in the nation's history occurred in 1970 when economic difficulties and political unrest followed the election of South America's first Marxist president, Salvador Allende.
The tensions culminated in 1973 with the takeover by a dictatorship-the military junta headed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.
But Chile's democratic tradition was revived after Pinochet decisively lost a 1988 plebiscite (he had wanted a confirmation of his presidential powers until 1997).
A presidential election brought a civilian, Patricio Aylwin, into power, and since then democracy has continued. Today, Chile is considered politically stable.

The country's art, literature and music have been influential internationally. Folk music has been an especially important outlet for the country's oppressed, and was frequently performed overseas by exiles during Pinochet's reign.


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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