Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Globe trotting: Chile 世界走透透 - 智利

Lascar, an active volcano in northern Chile, spews ash and smoke. 智利北部的Lascar活火山噴發火山灰和濃煙。


From the Andes mountains in the east to the Atacama desert in the north, Chile is full of geographic wonders. Just the shape of the country alone is enough to make you take a second glance. Read on to find out more about the country that clings to the west coast of South America.



A closer look 說古論今

Chile’s native population have been resisting outside rule for most of their history. The people, called the Mapuche, mostly lived in the central valley area of Chile. They fought off the Incas who invaded from the north, and later resisted the Spanish for over a century before Chile declared its independence from Spain in 1818. Even then, the Mapuche continued to resist the Chilean government and fight for control of their own lands. The political history of the area has finally become peaceful in the past 20 years. After the bloody rule of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte in the 1970s and 1980s, today Chile is controlled by its first woman president. The memory of Pinochet’s rule is painful even now. During the first six months of his rule, at least a thousand people were killed. Over the next sixteen years, two thousand more citizens were executed.

Chile’s geography stands out on the map. The country is 4,300km long, but only 430km wide at its widest point. It is framed by the Andes to the east, with its several dozen active volcanic peaks. At 7,000km-long, the Andes are the world’s longest mountain chain and the highest outside of Asia. To the north is the barren Atacam desert, considered by some to be the world’s driest desert. Some parts of the desert are so dry they seem to have never been rained upon. In the south, in Chilean Patagonia the country turns into an awesome array of glaciers, islands, lakes and mountains, creating some of the most overwhelming natural beauty on earth.




WHO KNEW? 你知道嗎?

Chile claims several small islands as part of its territory, so it extends far out into the Pacific Ocean. Isla Robinson Crusoe was made famous by Daniel Defoe in his novel Robinson Crusoe.The novel is about the true story of a sailor who was stranded there for four years in 1704. Another of Chile’s islands, Easter Island, is 3,700km to the west of Chile. It is one of the most isolated inhabited islands in the world. The native civilization is famous for large stone carvings of men called “moai.” Some believe that making moai may have used up most of the island’s resources, creating a crisis for the civilization that may eventually have forced the people living there to turn to cannibalism. There is no proof of this, but a traditional insult in the native language is “the flesh of your mother sticks in my teeth.”


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