Indigenous groups inhabited central and southern Chile for several thousands of years, living in mixed pastoralist and settled communities, ending with the Inca ruling the north of the country for nearly a century prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. The Captaincy General of Chile was founded by the Spanish in 1541, lasting until Chile declared its independence in 1810. The subsequent struggle became tied to other South American independence conflicts, with a decisive victory over the Spanish not being achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia to win its current northernmost regions. By the 1880s, the Chilean central government cemented its control over the central and southern regions inhabited by Mapuche Indigenous peoples. Between 1891 and 1973, a series of elected governments succeeded each other until the three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by General Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a democratically elected president was inaugurated in 1990. Economic reforms, maintained consistently since the 1980s, contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.
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NOTE: The information regarding Chile on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Chile 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Chile 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
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