Chile: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Chile including copper mines and resources, diversity of geography and climate.



Chile's largest single export is copper. The country's 3 major mines--Chuquicamata, El Teniente, and El Salvador--are estimated to contain about 40% of the world's total supply of copper. Chuquicamata itself is the biggest copper mine in the world, with reserves to last 100 years at present production rates. Dependence on one major export has hurt Chile. During the Allende years the country suffered a severe economic blockade, initiated and controlled largely by the U.S. Most international lending organizations and private banks with held credits, at the insistence of the U.S. With limited alternative sources of national income, Chile could not buy the machinery, foodstuffs, and transportation equipment that it needed. The Allende Government received the blame for the inflation (about 300% for the 12-month period ending in June, 1973), the shortages of basic foods such as flour and oil, and the lack of spare parts, but actually the U.S. is heavily implicated in Chile's economic chaos. (Since the military took power, inflation has worsened and is headed toward 600%.) The military junta has received worldwide criticism for its continuing policy of torture, imprisonment without trial, and vengeful execution of Chileans who supported President Allende. In an attempt to counter this criticism, the junta hired the U.S. advertising firm of J. Walter Thompson, but the contract was terminated after one month because the firm received threats of violence against several of its overseas offices.

Chile's great length and range of latitudes make for tremendous diversity and variety in geography, climate, and scenery. From the Atacama Desert in the north, one of the world's driest, most desolate regions, where no rain has fallen in 400 years in some areas, to the far south, reminiscent of Norway with its fjords, glaciers, and mountain lakes, the country displays incredible beauty. A final touch is the Andes Mountains, which are almost never out of sight.

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