History and Culture
Geography 
  • spans west coast of South America, over 4000 miles long
  • primary language: Spanish
  • Santiago, capital
  • extreme terrain; mountains, volcanos, desert, beaches
  • Easter Island; Moai statues

     
Political History
  • 14,000 BC Indigenous people inhabit land
  • 1541 Spanish colonization, Santiago founded
  • 1818 Chile declares independence
  • political unrest ensues over next two centuries / dictatorship / coup
  • 2002 joined European Union
  • 2003 joined NAFTA
Indigenous People
  • Mapuche people--since 200 AD  
  • fierce warriors able to resist Spanish conquistadors for centuries
  • native language facing extinction today
Culture and Traditions
  • Indigenous and Spanish influences
  • regional variants of food, music and customs 
  • festivals blend religious and mythology
  • "cueca" national dance: music juxtaposes 6/8 and 3/4