The landscape of Chile is unique and varied. In the north there is the Atacama desert, the driest desert in the world. Traveling south the climate becomes more Mediterranean. And further south you find lush forests and many lakes and rivers caused by the almost constant rain. When you finally reach the southern-most point, you will find that many times the rain will become snow and you may encounter penguins.
Going from west towards east you first encounter many fine beaches, fjords and islands, then the landscape climbs higher until you meet the mighty snow-capped Andes mountains, some of which are over 22,500 feet tall. This mountain range runs from the top of Chile all the way to the tip. Due to this the country suffers from earthquakes and has a few volcanoes.
Chile also includes the scenic Easter Islands with its megaliths (the giant carved heads) and Polynesian culture. Chile also claims a piece of Antarctica as its territory.
The current population of Chile is almost 17 million. It's capital is Santiago, which has a population of over 6 million. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic. The official language is Spanish, though many words have been borrowed from Native American languages and English; giving them a distinct dialect. There also a few people who continue to speak Mapuche (a Native American language) or German.
The blue in the Chilean flag stands for the sky, the white is for the snow on the Andes mountains, the red stands for the bravery and the blood of heroes who died to achieve independence, and the white star symbolizes honor and progress.
The national flower of Chile is the Copihue (Chilean bellflower), and the national animals are the condor and the huemul (which is a species of white tail deer).
Chile is one of the most well developed Latin-American countries. Its strong economy is due mainly to mining. It has several massive mines in the north and is one of the worlds biggest exporters of copper. But, over the years, the economy of Chile has strengthened and flourished in other sectors as well. The country also exports fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables. In fact many fruits and vegetables that are found in the supermarket in the United States during winter are from Chile. Chile is also a major producer of wine.