Chile is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. Now, Chile is among South America's most economically and socially stable and prosperous nations, with a high-income economy and high living standards.
The Spanish spoken in Chile is distinctively accented and quite unlike that of neighboring South American countries because final syllables are often dropped, and some consonants have a soft pronunciation. There are several indigenous languages spoken in Chile: Mapudungun, Quechua, Aymara and Rapa Nui. After the Spanish invasion, Spanish took over as the lingua franca and the indigenous languages have become minority languages, with some now extinct or close to extinction. Meanwhile, German is still spoken to some extent in Southern Chile, and the government made English mandatory for students in fifth-grade and above in public schools.
The country boasts abundant natural beauty, especially in the extreme zones of the country. San Pedro de Atacama in the north has the Incaic architecture, the altiplano lakes, and the Valley of the Moon, while Putre has the Chungará Lake and volcanoes. The south treasures many national parks, and the coastal area is home to glaciers and beach towns. Easter Island is just off the coast of Chile and was annexed by the country in 1888.
Fun fact: There are many theories about the source of the name “Chile.” But the country was originally called “Chili.”