Chile is positioned in both the western and southern hemispheres. It’s located on the western and southwestern coast of South America, and bordered by Argentina, Bolivia and Peru and by the Pacific Ocean.
Latitude/Longitude (Absolute Locations)
Santiago: (capital city) 33° 25′ S, 70° 33′ W
Arica: 18° 27′ S, 70° 17′ W
Antofagasta: 23° 37′ S, 70° 24′ W
Chanaral: 26° 20′ S, 70° 37′ W
Coihaique: 45° 33′ S, 72° 3′ W
Valdivia: 39° 49′ S, 73° 15′ W
Ferdinand Magellan was the first European explorer to visit Chile, setting foot here on October 21, 1520.
Araucanian IndiansIn the late 15th century, the Incas extended their empire south, attempting to conquer Chile; they were successful in the north, but their influence (central and south) was limited as they faced fierce resistance from the indigenous Araucanian peoples.
In 1540, the Spanish explorer, Pedro de Valdivia arrived, and later founded the capital city of Santiago in 1541. He managed to control the local Indians, forcing them into hard labor, but in the south, the Araucanians would not budge.
Numerous Spanish settlements were built in central Chile, and their population base eventually exceeded one million. Those initial settlers suffered repeated attacks (often brutal) by Araucanians, and that remained a serious (hard to control) problem into the 19th century.
The colonies secretly detested Spain’s military rule, but remained loyal to the Spanish crown for nearly three centuries. When the King of Spain was overthrown at the beginning of the 19th century, Chileans began to consider independence and self-government.
And speaking of freedom, Jose de San Martin, and Bernardo O’Higgins, and their up-start armies drove out the Spanish and achieved their independence from Spain in 1818. Bernardo O’Higgins would later become Chile’s first president.