In the 15th century the Incas extended their empire and conquered northern Chile. They were followed by the Spanish in 1536, as they searched for gold and fertile land. Chile’s eventual struggle for independence from Spain began in 1810, led by Bernardo O’Higgins. It was finally achieved in 1818.
With a toothy coastline of (2,650 miles, 4,265 km), pencil-thin Chile is wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, the world’s longest mountain range. This land of incredible contrasts is home to the world’s most arid desert, numerous active volcanoes, fjords, deep sea channels, glaciers, icebergs, and much, much more.
The vast percentage of its population is found near Santiago, along the narrow and productive central plain (or pampas).
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