Chile's peculiar form is directly related to the Andes mountain range. The country is a whopping 4300 km long, but its max width
is a mere 240 km.
It has a diverse topography with snow covered volcano cones and arid deserts to the north, a vertile central
valley and windswept tundra, glaciers and the isolated Cape Horn in the south.
Chile claims a large chunk of Antarctica and in 1888 annexed Easter Island.
When the Spaniards entered the scene in the mid 1500's they defeated the Inca's in the north, but failed
to subjugate the Mapuche in the south.
Spanish colonial rule lasted till 1818 when Chile became independent
after the Battle of Maipú.
Later that century Chile won the War of the Pacific, greatly expanding its territory at the expense of Peru
and Bolivia. It also brought the valuable mineral and nitrate deposits in the Atacama desert under Chilean rule making it
one of the wealthiest countries of South America.
A stain on Chile's history is the ousting of Allende and the ensuing
brutal dictatorship of Pinochet.