Chile, formally the Republic of Chile, is a South American nation in the west. It occupies a long and narrow strip of territory between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, making it the world's southernmost nation and the closest to Antarctica. Chile has a land area of 756,096 square kilometers (291,930 square miles) and a population of 17.5 million people as of 2017. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. Chile also has jurisdiction over the Pacific Ocean islands of Juan Fernández, Isla Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island. Under the Chilean Antarctic Territory, it also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometers (480,000 square miles) of Antarctica. Santiago is the country's capital and biggest city, and Spanish is the official language.
In the mid-16th century, Spain captured and colonized the area, displacing Inca sovereignty but failing to subdue the autonomous Mapuche who lived in what is now south-central Chile. Chile declared independence from Spain in 1818 and emerged in the 1830s as a largely stable authoritarian republic. Chile saw tremendous economic and geographical progress in the nineteenth century, overcoming Mapuche opposition in the 1880s and attaining its present northern area in the War of the Pacific (1879–83) after conquering Peru and Bolivia. Up to the 1970s, Chile saw democracy, fast population expansion and urbanization, and a growing dependence on copper mining exports for its economy. The nation underwent considerable left-right political division and unrest throughout the 1960s and 1970s. This progression culminated in the 1973 Chilean coup, which deposed Salvador Allende's democratically elected left-wing government and established Augusto Pinochet's 16-year right-wing military dictatorship, which left over 3,000 people dead or missing. Following a referendum in 1988, the dictatorship collapsed in 1990 and was followed by a center-left coalition that governed until 2010.
Chile is a developing nation with a high-income economy that ranks 43rd in the Human Development Index. It is one of South America's most economically and socially stable countries, dominating Latin America in rankings of competitiveness, per capita income, globalization, state of peace, and economic freedom. Chile also ranks high in the Americas for state sustainability, and democratic progress, and has the lowest murder rate behind Canada. It is a founding member of the United Nations, CELAC, and the Pacific Alliance, and it joined the OECD in 2010.