756,096 sq km (291,930 sq miles).
Santiago (de Chile). Population: 4,640,635 (1997)
Chile is situated in South America, bounded to the north by Peru, to the east by Bolivia and Argentina, to the west by the Pacific and to the south by the Antarctic. The country exercises sovereignty over a number of islands off the coast, including the Juan Fernández Islands and Easter Island. Chile is one of the most remarkably shaped countries in the world; a ribbon of land, 4200km (2610 miles) long and nowhere more than 180km (115 miles) wide.
Republic. Gained independence from Spain in 1810. Head of State and Government: President Sebastián Piñera Echenique.
The official language is Spanish, but English is widely spoken.
Predominantly Christian, of which 79 per cent are Roman Catholic.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs and screw-type bulbs are used.
Full IDD available. Country code: 56. Outgoing international code: 00. Compañía de Teléfonos de Chile provides most services though there are a few independent companies. Cheap rate is applicable Mon-Fri 1800-0500 and all day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
There are 3 network types in existence: GSM 1900, AMPS 800 and AMPS/TDMA. Network operators include Entel PCS and Entel Telefonica Movil SA (website: www.entelpcs.cl).
Telex Chile, Transradio Chilena and ITT Communicaciones provide services in main towns.
ISPs include Intel Chile (website: www.intelchile.net). There are some cybercafés in the main towns.
Daily airmail services to Europe take approximately three to four days. Post office hours in Santiago: Mon-Fri 0900-1800; Sat 0900-1230.
Spanish dailies include El Mercurio, La Nación, Las Ultimas Noticias, La época and La Tercera de la Hora. Foreign newspapers are available.