Some 25 percent of Chileans are of European ancestry (mainly from Spanish, German, Italian, British, Croatian, and French origins, or combinations there of).
Chile also has a large Palestinian community (some 300,000 persons, the largest outside Palestine).
This is in dramatic contrast with the country's average width, which does not exceed 221 miles (356 kilometers).
In some places Chile is so narrow that the Andes peaks of its eastern border can be seen from the Pacific coastline.
Between the huge Andes Mountains (to the east) and the lower Coastal mountains (to the west) is the great Central Valley, which extends from Salamanca, north of Santiago, for over 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) south to Puerto Montt.
The country has a total area of 292,260 square miles (756,950 square kilometers). Chile has a longitude of 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) making of it one of the longest countries in the world.
The majority of Chileans (65 percent) are of mixed European-indigenous descent ("mestizos," though this term is not in use in Chile).
Since the late 1980s, the country's economic prosperity and sociopolitical stability have attracted an increasing number of immigrants from Korea and from other Latin American countries (largely from Peru, Argentina, and Cuba). The official language of Chile is Spanish ( castellano as Chileans call it), which is spoken by practically all the country's inhabitants.
In the northern region some twenty thousand indigenous people also speak Aymará, while most of Chile's Mapuche population speak or at least understand their ancestral language, Mapudungu.
There exist different explanations about the origins of the name "Chile." The most accepted one is that it is derived from the native Aymará word chilli meaning "the land where the earth ends." Chile is considered to be one of the most homogeneous nations of Latin America in both ethnic and cultural terms.
In contrast to many other Latin American nations, Chile has not experienced the emergence of strong regionalism or conflicting regional cultural identities.
Nevertheless, many Chileans are often not even aware of their ethnic and cultural backgrounds and they firmly embrace the dominant culture of mainstream society. Chilean culture is located within the confines of the Republic of Chile, although today some 800,000 Chileans are living abroad.