Latin America

Santiago


  • Aerial view of the financial district
  • Palacio de la Moneda
  • Plaza de Armas
  • Statue of Virgin Mary

The cultural, political and financial centre of Chile as well as its capital, Santiago is located in the country’s central valley, dominated by the Andes to the east and a smaller coastal mountain range in the west.

Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago in February 1541.  By the end of the century, the town was still quite small with infrastructure only beginning to expand in the 18th century.  As a result of the California gold rush in the middle of the 19th century which triggered a great deal of exports, Santiago’s population began to grow. 

After a coup d’état in 1973 which saw liberal president Salvador Allende removed by the military regime of General Pinochet, Santiago witnessed a great deal of violence and atrocities aimed at those who were believed to be anti-Pinochet.  In 1990, a democratically elected leader was put in power and the city, and the country gradually began to recover.

Today, Santiago is a modern city that appears more Western than many of its neighbours.  A cultural hub, Santiago hosts many universities as well as a thriving arts and culinary scene.  While there is much to do within the city itself, its stunning setting among the Andes ensures that there are opportunities for exciting activities like trekking, hiking, kayaking and more just beyond the city limits.


 

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