The importance Chile has given to safety as a main foundation for development has meant that the country is known worldwide as one of the nations with the lowest crime rates in the region.
According to the Safe Cities Index, recently prepared by The Economist, Santiago is the safest city in Latin America. Meanwhile, a worldwide study prepared by Newsweek rates Chile as the best country in Latin America to live.
At the same time, Chile is among South America’s most peaceful countries, being part of the ranking of countries in the region with the lowest serious felonies rates according to a report of Global Peaceful Index of 2015 prepared by the Institute for Economics & Peace.
The strength and stability of our banking and financial systems have generated high credibility indexes on foreign markets, which has meant that big companies want to invest in the country, improving access to goods and services for all the people.
The achievements and values of our sportsmen and women passionately unite everyone throughout the country.
Stories of effort and sacrifice that turn men and women into heroes. That inspires us all. They have brought recognition to all corners of the country.
In Chile, soccer is fundamental. There are ambassadors inside and outside the most important leagues in the world. Ivan Zamorano and Marcelo Salas led to “La Roja” of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, the national team that made us Champions of America.
Tennis has also been a source of joy. We reached number one with the serves of Marcelo Rios and were Olympic champions twice with Fernando González and Nicolás Massú.
Our land offers us thousands of kilometers of coast, with waves that turned Ramón Navarro into a surfing icon and wild landscapes to live challenging adventures. We constantly have to outdo ourselves with dedication and perserverance.
Spanish is our official language and although spoken by all Chileans, there are other languages or dialects still used by the different indigenous communities of the country.
With Spanish inherited from the Spanish Conquistadores and the inclusion, over the years, of local and foreign expressions, our language developed its own particular nature. In this way, phonetic, syntactic and lexical traits helped to create our own words or “Chilenisms”.
Despite the big changes, indigenous languages are still present reinforcing the identity of their peoples and inhabitants. In the northern Andean area, you can discover Aymara and Quechua. The Rapa Nui or Easter Island language enchants the Polynesian Easter Island. And Mapudungun covers some areas of the south of the country with a mystic aura, thanks to the Mapuche people.
Social heritage and cultural tradition are intertwined to express the essence of the end of the world.
In Chilean society, religion plays an important role and has always been relevant in events throughout our history.
The religious world in Chile sees Catholicism as the predominant faith. Its legacy can be admired in the rich architecture present throughout the country. The cathedral of Santiago is a landmark right at the heart of the capital. And the more than 400 churches made of wood in Chiloé, 16 of which were declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco, are a living testimony of it.
In our society, a variety of beliefs and practices co-exist. Followers of the evangelical church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter Day Saints, and Jews have discovered that our lands have a broad freedom of religion. There are religious festivities dedicated to the Patron Saints and to the Virgin and from this faith and traditional base, celebrations full of identity such as the Tirana or the Quasimodo Festivals are born.
Customs and Traditions
The wisdom and expressions of the soul that are passed on from generation to generation are manifested in customs that are as diverse as our landscapes.
Festivals that enchant and capture their participants, feature costumes and masks that shine under the Altiplanic sun during the Tirana Festival. Myths and legends come to life in the magical Polynesian rituals of Easter Island. While in Chiloé, the solidarity of the Minga celebrates the common effort of building or moving a local house by a group of people.
There is a broad diversity of festivities, where the Independence Day celebrations are central. During September 18th and 19th, we celebrate our independence with parties. We gather in “fondas” to enjoy typical food, while we dance to the rhythm of “cueca” and other popular music.
It is the imaginarium of a country and its people, which preserves and recreates the essence of an ancestral past throughout the entire country.
Indigenous cultures and peoples, which for centuries avoided contact with the European explorers, were finally colonized by the Spaniards that came to South America in search of riches and glory for their Crown.
The Kings of the Old Continent, the Conquests and Reconquests gave way to the country’s founding fathers. The territory became a Republic and today celebrates a little more than 200 years of independence.
Civil wars, liberal governments and radical regimes paved the way to Presidential rule in the 20th century. Our country had been on its way to progress previously under democratic governments, but big changes came about in the 70’s and 80’s with over 15 years of military regime before a return of democracy.
We are a sound and trustworthy country that through sacrifice and hard work, has maintained its borders secure. We have learned from our history’s different styles of government. The resulting experience and their contrasts have created awareness among the citizens that continually allows us to adapt to the pace of the world and its constant changes.
In the richness of the Chilean soil, food grows that is full of the flavor of nature and is then exported to the world.
Our ingredients carry in their taste the more than 4,000 kilometers of coast and the life of 17 climates, making them unique, with wines that share the traditions of the Old World and keep the secrets of the earth.
With these products, after preparation with local techniques, we create unique dishes which give the food its own identity and a new life. Among the most famous local dishes you’ll find pastel de choclo (corn-based dish), the beef empanadas and the curanto from Chiloé. In the latter, the food is steamed in a hole covered with native leaves and cooked over hot stones.
Thanks to a chain that begins with the efforts of those working the land, the food is produced, transported, cooked and reaches its full potential when people all over the world enjoy it at their tables.
Expressions born from the land spread out into the world to portray the stories of a magical people and are creations that truly express elements of Chile’s soul.
For a traditionally silent people, music is a way to communicate with a multitude of voices, a way of feeling and dreaming. Our music is a local sounding creation that reaches a universal audience.
The works of Los Jaivas and Víctor Jara transcend even today, acting to revive and promote rural poetry, which is Violeta Parra´s legacy to the world. Sebastián Silva and Andrés Wood have found a way to express national identity through their films that have been projected at important international festivals.
Chilean visual art has reached the most important museums and exhibitions of the world with renowned artists such as the surrealist master Roberto Lira or Pedro Lira, founder of the National Museum of Fine Arts. Art is also in the streets, like the murals of Valparaiso, where the anonymous and collective talent gives Chilean art its multiple shades.
Culture is alive and beating in Chile, it moves forward, is nurtured and permanently grows, inviting the entire world to become explorers.
Literature and Poetry
Inspiration comes from the end of the world. Where poets and anti-poets create realities and points of view as diverse as their own exponents.
Our country has given birth to Nobel Prize winners. Creators who expand their vision of life and the world through words that, with ink, express emotions from the soul.
The waves of the Pacific Ocean that crashed violently onto the rocks of Isla Negra inspired Pablo Neruda. His hermetically somber works on passionate love made him the most reproduced poet in the world. And the landscapes of Vicuña, in the Elqui Valley, left their imprint on the life and works of the first Latin American Literature Nobel Prize winner, Gabriela Mistral.
There are also contemporary geniuses that inspire new generations. Through an ironic and iconoclastic revelation of a problematical world, Nicanor Parra created anti-poetry and the influence of his aesthetic proposal became a landmark of Chilean literature.
The novels of Isabel Allende come to life through Hollywood productions. And Alejandro Jodorowsky has become a spiritual guru on expanding the frontiers of the imagination.
Our cultural and social identity maintains traits from the past. From the Spanish conquests, European immigrations and the traces of our indigenous peoples. Our character is a result of the multiple contrasts of a land whose heart beats between the ocean and the Andes.
We are hard-working by nature and are united despite the distances imposed by geography, so as to always lift ourselves up once again. Our love for our country leads us to lay down roots and form families that are always reinventing themselves, but ones that always hold center stage in our society.
Although for years we were considered as one of the most conservative countries in South America, today we are a country that looks forward and fearlessly opens up to the world.