Chile is a country located in the extreme southwest of South America. Its official name is the Republic of Chile and its capital is Santiago de Chile. The territory comprises a long and narrow strip of land known as continental Chile, between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. Its maximum width reaches 440 kilometers at parallel 52º21’S and its minimum width is 90 kilometers at 31º37’S. It is located along a highly seismic and volcanic zone, belonging to the Pacific Ring of Fire.
From north to south, Chile has an approximate length of 4,270 kilometers, occupying an area of 756,945 square kilometers. It limits to the north with Peru, to the east with Bolivia and Argentina, and to the south with the Drake Pass. It also has insular areas in the Pacific Ocean, like Archipelago Juan Fernandez, calbuco archipelago, Sala y Gómez, Unfortunate Islands and Easter Island (located in Polynesia) to complete an area of 2,006,096 square kilometers.
Due to the length of the country, different climates can be found in Chile. In general, temperatures are moderate due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean. The northern region is desert, one of the most dry areas in the world. Winter is mild and summer is relatively cool.
Chile is characterized by the existence of the Andes Mountains, which borders the entire country from north to south, and has elevations above 6,100 meters, the highest being that of Pico Ojos del Salado (6,893 meters).
Precisely in the north, between the Loa and Copiapó rivers, the Atacama Desert is located, considered the driest on the planet, covering about 105,000 km 2. The Central Valley, the most inhabited area of the country and one of the six largest areas, is located around 1 000 km in the center. The breadth of its plains allows the establishment of cities and ports along the Pacific Ocean. The largest percentage of the country’s economic productivity is concentrated in it.
It is rich above all for its mineral resources; It has large deposits of various minerals such as copper, nitrate, iron, mineral coal, molybdenum, manganese, oil, natural gas, silver and gold.
It has many rivers but they are relatively short due to the characteristics of the territory and generally run from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean in an east-west direction. Among the most important rivers are the Maipo river with an extension of 250 km, the Maule river, with 240 km, the Elqui with 170 km, the Aconcagua with 142 km, and the Mapocho with 120 km. The origin of its flows is originated, mainly, by the thaws of the mountain range when the summer arrives and the rains that occur during the winter.
The lakes are located mainly in the southern region, although this area does not have lakes of importance with the exception of the Rapel and Colbún lakes and the Maule and La Laja lagoons.
On the central coast of Chile, located 15 km south of the city of Valparaíso; the Bahía Laguna Verde.
Flora and fauna
Chile is a long and narrow country, which causes the climate to vary markedly from one region to the other. This constitutes one of the factors that determine the existence of highly varied animals and flora in one area or another of the country. In the North, for example, there are llamas, guanacos and vicuñas, transhumant camelids accustomed to heat and heights. On the contrary, in the South foxes such as Darwin’s and the cute little pudú predominate.
The flora presents the same phenomenon; in the North of Chile there is little presence of vegetation. The only species that can survive the extreme heat of the burning sun are cacti such as the quisco cactus. In the South, closer and closer to Antarctica, the vegetation is much greener and thicker. There are trees there that base their survival on the humidity provided by the constant rains. Araucaria and Lenga are common in this area.
After the coup inflicted by the military on November of September of 1973 to the government of President Salvador Allende and the rise to power of the extreme right represented by Augusto Pinochet, it occurred in Chile all a process of change in society. Education was not spared from this, a system was established where whoever owns more and is willing to pay it receives a better education.
According to educationvv, less than 25% of the educational system is financed by the State and more than the remaining 75% depends on student contributions. The State only devotes 4.4 of GDP to education, much less than the 7% recommended by UNESCO. Today there are 60 universities in Chile, most of them private. Students must pay between 170,000 and 4,000,000 Chilean pesos (250 and 600 euros) per month, in a country where the minimum salary is 182,000 (less than 300 euros) and the average salary is 512,000 pesos (less than 800 euros).
This situation means that 70% of Chilean students use a university credit. 65% of the poorest quintiles do not finish their university studies due to financial problems. According to the sociologist Mario Garcés, it is a perverse system, which leaves thousands of young Chileans from the middle and lower classes in debt as soon as they finish studying, since university credits begin to be paid from the first job. He adds that education ceased to be a mechanism of social mobility in Chile and became the opposite: a system for the reproduction of inequality.