Chile Society and Politics

Social development

Compared to other South American countries, the Chilean population is relatively homogeneous. The first Spanish settlers who arrived in this country mixed with the native population of the territory, notably Araucanian and their mestizo descendants, constituting 92% of the population.

At present it has an estimated population of 15 million 116,435 residents, of which more than 5 million 420,000 live in Santiago de Chile, the capital, making it the most populated city.


A contrast predominates between two cultures, the cosmopolitan in the urban population and the more popular culture that has predominantly Spanish influence, but contains Araucanian roots. These influences are very marked in Chilean music and dance. Chile has a strong literary tradition, where two Nobel Prize winners in Literature stand out: Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, both poets.

Typical dances

  • La Cueca Chilena: This dance became the national dance of Chile since it became official through a legal body promulgated on September 18, 1979. However, it has been danced in the country since approximately 1824. The routine of this dance finds -according to some folklorists- a zoomorphic explanation because it comes from the “broody”, a concept that refers to the movements that a cock makes when required by the rooster.
  • La Cueca Chilota: Although essentially this variety preserves the main characteristics of the traditional cueca, the differences lie in the fact that the music of the Chilote dance does not present the initial couplet and the interpreter stands out with his voice over the instruments. The steps are shorter and there is a double
  • La Cueca Nortina: The northern dances are one of the essential expressions during the celebrations of the multiple religious festivities in which the residents of the area fervently participate repeatedly during the year. In the tributes to the patron saints of different localities, such as those made for San Andrés, the Virgen del Carmen de la Tirana and San Pedro, more than a hundred dancing brotherhoods participate, each one made up of more than twenty members and where children and elderly women are also included.

– Other National Dances

The customs and traditions are manifested through folkloric dances; Other national dances or folk dances that take place in different areas of the country are:

  • Nortinos dances
  • Dances of the Central Zone
  • Dancing in the South of Chile
  • The Dances of Easter Island


It is established as the Day of the Chilean National Holiday, on September 18, the date on which the Establishment of the First National Board of Government is celebrated in 1810.


Spanish is the official language and is spoken by almost the entire population, although a small minority still communicate in their native language.


About 79% of the population practice the Catholic religion. The Catholic Church has the greatest power in Chilean society, although it was officially destabilized in 1925. The rest of the believers are Pentecostal Protestants and there is 1% Jewish. A small minority practices the traditional religion of the first settlers of America.


Most of the population has medical insurance, sponsored by the National Health Service. Workers receive a pension and some health and social security benefits.

Politic and government

From an administrative point of view, Chile is divided into 13 regions and these in turn are divided into 40 provinces and the provinces divided into municipalities. Santiago de Chile, the capital has a population of 4,385,000 residents, the other large cities are Concepción, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Talcahuano, Antofagasta, Temuco and Punta Arenas.

The Chilean government was based on the Constitution of 1925, where the legislative power was adjudicated by a National Assembly of two Chambers. The Chamber of Deputies consisted of 120 members, and the Senate, 47 senators, all elected by suffrage. The regions were under the authority of the governors and both these and those responsible for the provinces were appointed by the president.

After the coup of 1973, political activity was suspended and subsequently banned in 1977. Subsequently, a new Constitution known as the 1980 Constitution was approved, which came into force in 1989 where the executive power is exercised by the president who is elected by popular elections for a period of 4 years and is supported by a presidential cabinet.

Political parties were not legalized again until 1987. In the legislative elections of 1993, the center-left parties (the Christian Democratic Party, the Socialist Party and the Party for Democracy), regrouped within the National Concertation for Democracy, won.

Territorial organization

In October 1978, Chile was politically divided into thirteen regions, subdivided into provinces and these into communes in October 1979. As of 2012, the country had 15 regions, 54 provinces and 346 communes in total.

Each of the regions has a Roman number originally assigned according to their order from north to south, except for the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, established later. With the creation of two new regions in April 2007, the numbering lost that meaning. Due to this, there is a bill in process that seeks to eliminate this type of denomination.

No. Region Capital Surface
XV Arica and Parinacota Arica 16 873.3 km 2
I Tarapacá Iquique 42 225.8 km 2
II Antofagasta Antofagasta 126 049.1 km 2
III Atacama Copiapo 75 176.2 km 2
IV Coquimbo La Serena 40 579.9 km 2
V Valparaiso Valparaiso 16 396.1 km 2
RM Metropolitan of Santiago Santiago 15 403.2 km 2
SAW Liberator General Bernardo O’Higgins Rancagua 16 387.0 km 2
VII Maule Talca 30 296.1 km 2
VIII Bio bio region Conception 37 068.7 km 2
IX The Araucanía Temuco 31 842.3 km 2
XIV The rivers Valdivia 18 429.5 km 2
X The lakes Montt port 48 583.6 km 2
XI General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Coyhaique 108 494.4 km 2
XII Magellan and Chilean Antarctica Punta Arenas 132 297.2 km 2

Chile Society