Chile Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

Chile is a country that runs north to south along the coastline of South America. It borders the Pacific Ocean on the west, and Bolivia and Argentina to the east.

Not-So-Chilly Chile

Despite its cold-sounding name, Chile is a warm country with an annual average temperature of close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Chile has an interesting history, and was home to the Inca, the Mapuche, the Araucanians and the Spanish. This long, thin country is also home to geographical records and has sovereignty, or control, of one of the world's most interesting islands.

Map of Chile
Map of Chile

History

The native people of Chile were the Araucanians and the Mapuche. The Araucanians lived mostly in southern Chile while the Mapuche lived in the central region. The Inca people from Peru (north of Chile) tried to conquer the country during the 1400s, but the native people eventually fought them off. The Spanish invaded the country in about 1536, hoping to find gold. Once they found there wasn't much gold in Chile, they left.

In about 1540, under the leadership of Pedro de Valdivia, the Spanish returned. This time they came to conquer the land and the people, and make the country their own. In 1541, they founded the city of Santiago, which is still the capital city of Chile today. The settlers led a challenging life because the native people refused to be slaves, and fought and attacked them. The Araucanians captured and killed Valdivia in 1553, and continued to fight against the Spanish for the next 250 years.

Pedro de Valdivia
Pedro de Valdivia

In 1808, Spain was under attack from France, and this meant it had little money to take care of the countries that it had claimed. This gave the Chilean people the idea that they should form their own government and become an independent nation, but their fight against the Spanish continued until 1818. Chile now holds elections for president much like America does, and a new president is elected every four years.

Geographical Records and Amazing Island

Chile is the longest north-to-south-running country in the whole world! This tall skinny land is 2,700 miles long, but only an average of 110 miles wide. Ojos del Salado is a lake in the crater of a volcano, and it's the highest lake on the planet at about 21,000 feet. Chile's northern region is home to parts of the Atacama Desert, and this desert is the oldest and driest in the world.

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