Chile has an extremely diverse topography with snow covered active volcanoes and arid deserts in the north, fertile valleys in the central part that changes again into windswept tundra, glaciers and an isolated Cape Horn in the south.
The country sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire that brings devastating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Chile annexed Easter Island in 1888 and claims large chunks of Antarctica.
Spain's colonial rule lasted till 1818 when Chile became independent after theBattle of Maipu.
Later that century Chile won the War of the Pacific and greatly expanded its territory at the expense of neighbors Peru and Bolivia. This brought the rich mineral and nitrate deposits of the Atacama Desert under Chilean rule, and made it one of the wealthiest countries of South America.