Chile officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes mountains 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. Along with Ecuador, it is one of two countries in South America that do not border Brazil. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas and Easter Island. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
Chile's distinctive shape—4,300 kilometres (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (109 mi) wide—makes it the longest country in the world in terms of length-to-width ratio, with the fifth lengthiest coastline at over 78,000 kilometres (48,000 mi). The diverse climate of Chile ranges from the world's driest desert in the north—the Atacama—through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, humid subtropical in Easter Island, to an Oceanic climate, including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south. The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. 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.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern and central Chile was under Inca rule while independent Mapuche inhabited south-central Chile. Chile declared its independence from Spain on 12 February 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and