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.
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.
Most of them left the country since the mid-1970s as a result of the political and economic hardships of the military regime that ruled from 1973 to 1990.
The language is Spanish and its currency is the peso which has an exchange rate of aprox. Chile has a diverse climate ranging from the driest desert in the north through a mild climate in the center to an very cold climate in the east and south of the country.
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In some places Chile is so narrow that the Andes peaks of its eastern border can be seen from the Pacific coastline.The southern region by contrast is chilly and rainy, having icy fjords and glaciers at the southernmost tip.The capital city, Santiago, is located in the central region and constitutes the political, cultural, and economic center of the country, and the homeland of the historically dominant Central Valley culture.To the north the arid Atacama Desert separates it from Peru.The high Andes peaks constitute its natural frontier with Bolivia and Argentina.
Almost six million people live in the metropolitan region of Santiago, while the northern and southern regions are sparsely populated.