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To the south, the cold waters of the Drake Sea announce the nearness of Antarctica.To the west, Chile looks at endless masses of the South Pacific water.Since the late nineteenth century, Chilean culture has also been nurtured by the arrival of a large group of immigrants, mainly Germans, British, French, Italians, Croatians, Palestinians, and Jews.Today they fill leading positions in academic and cultural circles as well as within the country's political leadership.Chile is a large and narrow strip situated in southwest South America, bounded on the north by Peru, on the east by Bolivia and Argentina, and on the west and south by the Pacific Ocean.Formidable natural barriers mark present-day Chile's boundaries, isolating the country from the rest of South America.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.
The majority of Chileans (65 percent) are of mixed European-indigenous descent ("mestizos," though this term is not in use in Chile).
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.
Chile is administratively divided in twelve regions (subdivided in thirty-one provinces) and a metropolitan region that includes the capital city. Chile has a population of 15,017,800 inhabitants (from a June 1999 estimate) with an annual growth rate of 1.8 percent.
The national population density is 46.5 persons per square mile.In Eastern Island the two thousand native inhabitants speak their own language of Polynesian origin.