Chile - Dependencies



Easter Island

About 3,700 km (2,300 mi) W of Chile is Easter Island (Isla de Pascua or Rapa Nui), a volcanic island roughly 24 km (15 mi) long by 16 km (10 mi) wide. Easter Island is inhabited by a mostly Polynesian-speaking population and a few hundred people from the mainland. Easter Island's population exceeded 2,000 in the mid-1990s. The people raise bananas, potatoes, sugarcane, taro roots, and yams. The island is famous for its moai , the massive monolithic stone heads of unknown origin, carved from tufa, a soft volcanic stone. The cryptic sculptures have attracted increasing numbers of visitors to the island from both mainland Chile and around the world. In 1975, the government engaged Spanish consultants to undertake major tourist development on the island. The number of tourist arrivals has been increasing since the 1980s. In 1986, about one-third of the island was a national park.

Easter Island was discovered by Edward Davis, an English buccaneer, in the late 1680s and was named on Easter Day 1722 by Roggeveen, a Dutch navigator. Claimed by Spain in 1770, the island was taken over by Chile in 1888 and is now administered as part of Valparaíso Province.

Diego Ramírez Islands

About 100 km (60 mi) SW of Cape Horn, at 56°30′ S and 68°43′ W , lies the small, uninhabited Diego Ramírez archipelago.

Juan Fernández Islands

Some 580 km (360 mi) W of Valparaíso, at 33°36′ to 48′ S and 78°45′ to 80°47′ W , is a group of rugged volcanic, wooded islands belonging to Chile. The two principal islands, about 160 km (100 mi) apart E W , are Robinson Crusoe, formerly Más a Tierra (93 sq km/36 sq mi), and Alejandro Selkirk, previously Más Afuera (85 sq km/33 sq mi); the smaller island of Santa Clara (or Goat Island) is off the southwest coast of Robinson Crusoe. The chief occupation is lobster fishing. Discovered by Juan Fernández around 1563, the islands achieved fame in 1719, when Daniel Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe, generally acknowledged to have been inspired by the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who quarreled with his captain and was set ashore at his own request on Más a Tierra, where he lived alone until he was rescued (1704–09). The islands are administered by Valparaíso Province.

Sala-y-Gómez Island

About 3,380 km (2,100 mi) W of Chile and some 400 km (250 mi) ENE of Easter Island, at 26°28′ S and 105°28′ W , lies arid, volcanic Sala-y-Gómez Island. Almost 1,200 m (4,000 ft) long and about 150 m (500 ft) wide, this uninhabited island belongs to and is administered by Valparaíso Province.

San Ambrosio Island

Volcanic San Ambrosio Island, uninhabited, lies 965 km (600 mi) W of Chile, at 26°21′ S and 79°54′ W , rising to 479 m (1,570 ft).

San Félix Island

Situated 19 km (12 mi) ESE of San Ambrosio Island, at 26°17′ S and 80°7′ W , is small, uninhabited San Félix Island (about 8 sq km/3 sq mi). Of volcanic origin, the island rises to about 180 m (600 ft). The islet of González is at its southeastern tip. San Félix, along with San Ambrosio, was discovered in 1574.

Chilean Antarctic Territory

Chile claims the section of Antarctica lying between 53° W and 90° W , the Antarctic (or O'Higgins) Peninsula, parts of which are also claimed by Argentina and the UK.

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