Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Santiago
nickname =
language= Spanish
motto =

imagesize = 248px
image_caption = Santiago's Skyscrapers


image_shield = Coat of arms of Santiago, Chile.svg

mapsize = 200px
map_caption = Location of Santiago commune in Greater Santiago
subdivision_type = Region
subdivision_name = Santiago Metropolitan Region
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 = Santiago Province
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Raúl Alcaíno Lihn
established_title = Foundation
established_date = February 12 1541
unit_pref = Metric
area_as_of = 2002
area_total_km2 = 22.4
area_total_sq_mi = 8.6
area_magnitude =
area_footnotes =
area_urban_km2 = 641.4
area_metro_km2 =15403.2
population_as_of = 2002
population_total = 200,792
population_note =census
population_footnotes =
population_density_km2 = 8,964
population_density_sq_mi = 23,216
population_urban = 5428590
population_metro = 6402552
timezone = Chile Time (CLT) [cite web |url= |accessdate=2007-05-05 |title=Chile Time |publisher=World Time Zones .org]
utc_offset = -4
timezone_DST = Chile Summer Time (CLST) [cite web |url= |accessdate=2007-05-05 |title=Chile Summer Time |publisher=World Time Zones .org]
utc_offset_DST = -3
latd=33 |latm=27 |lats=0 |latNS=S
longd=70 |longm=40 |longs=0 |longEW=W
elevation_m =520
elevation_ft =1706
website = []
footnotes =

Santiago (Audio-es|Santiago de Chile|StgoEsp.ogg) (litteraly in spanish: "Saint James") is the capital of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation (Greater Santiago). It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of 520 m (1,700 ft) AMSL. Although Santiago is the capital, legislative bodies meet in nearby Valparaíso.

Approximately two decades of uninterrupted economic growth have transformed Santiago into one of Latin America's most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping malls, and impressive high-rise architecture. The city has some of Latin America's most modern transportation infrastructure, such as the growing Santiago Metro (the metropolitan underground train system) and the new Costanera Norte, a toll-based highway system that passes below downtown and connects the Eastern and Western extremes of the city in a 25-minute drive. Santiago is headquarters to many important companies and is a regional financial center.

Usage note

Throughout this article the term "Santiago" will normally refer to the Greater Santiago area; however, there are several other entities which bear the name of Santiago and need to be explained: The commune ("comuna") of Santiago (sometimes referred to as "Santiago Centro"), is a subdivision of the Santiago Province, which is itself a subdivision of the Santiago Metropolitan Region. The commune is administered by the Santiago municipality ("Municipalidad de Santiago"), a separate legal entity with an elected mayor and council. It encompasses the oldest part of Greater Santiago —that enclosed by old rail lines— including downtown, and houses all major government infrastructure, including the government palace La Moneda. It has an area of convert|22.4|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on and a population of 200,792 (2002 census). [ [ Chile: Ciudades, Pueblos, Aldeas y Caseríos 2005] , Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas - June 2005.]


Santiago was founded by Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia on February 12, 1541 with the name "Santiago del Nuevo Extremo", as a homage to Saint James and Extremadura, Valdivia's birth place in Spain. The founding ceremony was held on Huelén Hill (later renamed "Cerro Santa Lucía"). Valdivia chose the location of Santiago because of its climate, abundant vegetation and the ease with which it could be defended—the Mapocho River then split into two branches and rejoined further downstream, forming an island. [,0,38035857_152309029_242338947,00.html Llega Pedro de Valdivia al valle del Mapocho] , Icarito.]

The first buildings were erected with the help of the native Picunche. The south bank of the Mapocho River was later drained and converted into a public promenade, known as the "Alameda" (now "Avenida Alameda Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins"). The city was built following the traditional Hispanic grid pattern used in American colonies, made up of 126 square blocks of 138 varas in length separated by 12 varas wide lanes. A main square was located at the city's center, along with a chapel, some warehouses, and the dwellings of the most important residents. The first settlers formed a cabildo or town council for administrative purposes. The Santiago council became the administrative center of all of Chile, while Spanish forces continued their conquest southward. The Council was freed from its executive and military power when the Spanish King named a new governor for Chile. Because the governor had its residence in Santiago, the city became the capital of the Kingdom of Chile. [ El preludio urbano de la Colonia en Chile, 1541-1552] .]

The first few years of settling were harsh and proved to be a great endeavor. Mineral wealth was rare, the near surroundings did not provide with sufficient foods and the indigenous inhabitants fiercely refused to be subjugated by the invaders. On September 11, 1541 the city was completely destroyed by native forces under the chief Michimalonco, endangering the whole process of colonization. During the 1550s Santiago was able to consolidate its position thanks to the construction of the Port of Valparaíso, which allowed for speedier reinforcements and provisions from Peru. it also became more peaceful as the conflict with the Indians moved south, which gave the inhabitants more time and resources to invest in the city. The Spanish King acknowledged this progress and conferred Santiago the title of city along with a coat of arms in April 5 1552.

With the Disaster of Curalaba in 1599, several settlers from the south of Chile took refuge in Santiago, and the city's population grew exponentially. The city was severely damaged by earthquakes in 1647 and 1730. During the War of Independence (1810–18), in the Battle of Maipú, which was fought south-west of the city, there was only slight damage. Santiago was named capital of the republic in 1818.

During the early 19th century, Santiago remained a small town with few buildings excepting Palacio de La Moneda, the building used as the colonial mint, and a few churches and other civic buildings. The Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús caught fire during an 1863 church service, and 2000 people died, one of the worst modern fires. [ [ Brief report of the fire (Spanish)] ]

In the 1880s extraction of nitrate fertilizer in Northern Chile brought prosperity to the country, and promoted the capital city's development. Important landmarks were built in 1910 during the Centennial celebrations of independence from Spain, such as the National Library, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mapocho Train Station ("Estación Mapocho", now an events center).

Santiago began its transformation into a modern city in the 1930s, with the building of the Barrio Cívico, surrounding Palacio de La Moneda. The city also grew in population, due to migration from the north and south of Chile. In 1985 an earthquake destroyed some historically significant buildings in the downtown area.

Nowadays, Santiago is among the largest and most important financial centers in Latin America. [ [ Sao Paulo repite como mejor ciudad para hacer negocios en Latinoamérica] ]


The city lies in the center of the ""Santiago Basin"," a large bowl-shaped valley consisting of a broad and fertile plain surrounded by mountains. It is flanked by the main chain of the Andes on the east and the Chilean Coastal Range on the west. On the north, it is bound by the "Cordón de Chacabuco", a transverse mountain range of the Andes, whereas at the southern border lies "Angostura de Paine", where an elongated spur of the Andes almost reaches the Coastal Range. Santiago Basin is part of the Intermediate Depression and is remarkably flat, interrupted only by a few hills. Among those are Cerro Renca, Cerro Blanco and Cerro Santa Lucía.

The Andes mountains around Santiago are quite tall, culminating in Tupungato volcano at Convert|6570|m|ft|0|abbr=on. Other volcanoes include Tupungatito, San José and Maipo. Cerro El Plomo is the highest mountain visible from Santiago's urban area.


Santiago has a mild Mediterranean climate: relatively hot dry summers (November to March) with temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) on the hottest days; winters (June to September) are more humid with cold mornings, typical maximum daily temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit), and minimums of a few degrees above freezing. Occasional snowfall occurs in suburbs at higher altitudes, and may extend throughout the city, though this happens infrequently (the last snowfall reaching down to the city center was in August 2007). Mean rainfall is 370 mm per year.

Infobox Weather
location=Santiago, Chile
Jan_Hi_°C = 29 |Jan_REC_Hi_°C = 37
Feb_Hi_°C = 28 |Feb_REC_Hi_°C = 36
Mar_Hi_°C = 25 |Mar_REC_Hi_°C = 34
Apr_Hi_°C = 19 |Apr_REC_Hi_°C = 31
May_Hi_°C = 14 |May_REC_Hi_°C = 25
Jun_Hi_°C = 13 |Jun_REC_Hi_°C = 23
Jul_Hi_°C = 12 |Jul_REC_Hi_°C = 19
Aug_Hi_°C = 13 |Aug_REC_Hi_°C = 23
Sep_Hi_°C = 15|Sep_REC_Hi_°C = 24
Oct_Hi_°C = 20 |Oct_REC_Hi_°C = 30
Nov_Hi_°C = 25 |Nov_REC_Hi_°C = 33
Dec_Hi_°C = 27 |Dec_REC_Hi_°C = 37
Year_Hi_°C = 19|Year_REC_Hi_°C = 37
Jan_Lo_°C = 14 |Jan_REC_Lo_°C = 6
Feb_Lo_°C = 14 |Feb_REC_Lo_°C = 5
Mar_Lo_°C = 12 |Mar_REC_Lo_°C = 4
Apr_Lo_°C = 7 |Apr_REC_Lo_°C =-2
May_Lo_°C = 5 |May_REC_Lo_°C =-3
Jun_Lo_°C = 3 |Jun_REC_Lo_°C =-6
Jul_Lo_°C = 2 |Jul_REC_Lo_°C =-7
Aug_Lo_°C = 3 |Aug_REC_Lo_°C =-7
Sep_Lo_°C = 4 |Sep_REC_Lo_°C =-5
Oct_Lo_°C = 7 |Oct_REC_Lo_°C =-3
Nov_Lo_°C = 10 |Nov_REC_Lo_°C = 2
Dec_Lo_°C = 14 |Dec_REC_Lo_°C = 7
Year_Lo_°C = 8 |Year_REC_Lo_°C =-7

Jan_Precip_cm = |Jan_Precip_mm = 0.4
Feb_Precip_cm = |Feb_Precip_mm = 1.8
Mar_Precip_cm = |Mar_Precip_mm = 3.2
Apr_Precip_cm = |Apr_Precip_mm = 20.4
May_Precip_cm = |May_Precip_mm = 52.2
Jun_Precip_cm = |Jun_Precip_mm = 70.4
Jul_Precip_cm = |Jul_Precip_mm = 86.6
Aug_Precip_cm = |Aug_Precip_mm = 61.8
Sep_Precip_cm = |Sep_Precip_mm = 42.0
Oct_Precip_cm = |Oct_Precip_mm = 13.4
Nov_Precip_cm = |Nov_Precip_mm = 10.2
Dec_Precip_cm = |Dec_Precip_mm = 5.1
Year_Precip_cm = |Year_Precip_mm =367.5
source =

Environmental issues

Thermal inversion (a meteorological phenomenon whereby a stable layer of warm air holds down colder air close to the ground) causes high levels of smog and air pollution to be trapped and concentrate within the Central Valley during winter months. In the 1990s air pollution fell by about one-third, but there has been little progress since 2000.

As of March 2007, only 61% of the wastewater in Santiago was treated [cite web |url= |title=Cruzada ambiental por el Mapocho limpio |accessdate=2008-02-11 |author=Revista Ecoamérica |authorlink=http://www.ecoamé|language=Spanish |quote=permitirá pasar del 68 al 81% en el tratamiento de las aguas servidas ] , which increased up to 71% by the end of the same year, however, the Mapocho river, which crosses the city from the north-east to the south-west of the Central Valley, remains contaminated by household, agricultural and industrial sewage, and by upstream copper-mining waste (there are a number of copper mines in the Andes east of Santiago), being dumped unfiltered into the river. [cite web |url= |title=Región Metropolitana saneará el 100% de aguas servidas al 2010 |accessdate=2008-02-11 |author=El Mercurio |authorlink= |publisher=Fundación Terram |language=Spanish ] Laws force industry and local governments to process all their wastewater, but are loosely enforced. [cite web |url= |title=Agua, Recurso Escaso y Vital |accessdate=2008-11-02 |author=Comisión Regional Metropolitana del Medio Ambiente |authorlink= |language=Spanish |quote=se calcula que sólo el 77% de las industrias del país cumple con la norma de RILES existente ] There are now a number of large wastewater processing and recycling plants under construction. There are ongoing plans to decontaminate the river [cite web |url= |title=Mapocho urbano limpio: El río soñado |accessdate=2008-11-02 |quote=Proyecto Mapocho Urbano Limpio ] and make it navigable [cite web |url= |title=Proyecto Mapocho |author=Fundación Futuro |language=Spanish] .

Noise levels on the main streets are high [cite web |url= |title=Ruidos molestos en Santiago |accessdate=2008-02-11 |author=Comisión Regional Metropolitana del Medio Ambiente |authorlink= |language=Spanish |quote=cerca de un 70% de la población santiaguina está expuesta a serias interferencias de su sueño por ruido que excede 65 dB ] , mostly because of noisy diesel buses. Diesel trucks and buses are also major contributors to winter smog. A lengthy replacement process of the bus system began in 2005 and will last until 2010 (see Transportation section below).


The population of Santiago's urban agglomeration grew from 0.982 million in 1940 to 2.82 million in 1970 and 4.75 million in 1992.cite web
author=Alexander Galetovic; Pablo Jordán
title=Santiago: ¿Dónde estamos?, ¿Hacia dónde vamos?
date=Summer 2006
publisher=Estudios Públicos
] According to the 2002 census, it contains a population of 5,428,590, equivalent to nearly 36% of the total population of the country and 42% of the total urban population, making it one of the largest cities in Latin America. Santiago's Metropolitan Area, according to an official estimate from 2006, has a population of 6.293 million people.


Santiago is the industrial and financial center of Chile, and generates 45 percent of the country's GDP. Fact|date=March 2008 The city, along with São Paulo and Buenos Aires, is one of the main financial centres of South America. Some international institutions, such as ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), have their offices in Santiago.

In recent years, due to the strong growth and stability of the Chilean economy Fact|date=March 2008, many multinational companies have chosen Santiago as the place for their headquarters in the region, such as HP, Reuters, Procter & Gamble, JP Morgan, Intel, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestlé, Kodak, BHP Billiton, IBM, Motorola, Microsoft, Ford, Yahoo!, and many more.


The construction sector is booming in Santiago. Fact|date=March 2008 Several large apartment complexes are being built throughout the city and construction cranes are a common sight. Currently under construction is the Costanera Center, a mega project in Santiago's Financial District. This includes a convert|280000|m2|sqft|-3|sing=on mall, a convert|300|m|ft|-1|sing=on|spell=us tower, two office towers of convert|170|m|ft|0|spell=us each, and a hotel convert|105|m|ft|0|spell=us tall. When completed in 2010 it will be the tallest building in South America. Near Costanera Center another skyscraper is being built, Titanium La Portada, and this will be convert|190|m|ft|0|spell=us tall. Although these are the two biggest projects, there are many other office buildings under construction in Santiago, as well as hundreds of high rise residential buildings.



Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is Santiago's national and international airport.


Trains operated by Chile's national railway, Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado, connect Santiago to Chillan, in the central-southern part of the country. All such trains arrive and depart from the "Estación Central" ("Central Station").


Bus companies provide passenger transportation from Santiago to most areas of the country, while some also provide parcel-shipping and delivery services.


Toll road, inter-urban free flow highways connect the city's extremes, including the Vespucio Highway (which surrounds the city describing a semi-circle), Autopista Central (which crosses the city in a North-South direction), and the Costanera Norte (which runs from the eastern edge, in Las Condes to the international airport and the highways to Valparaíso on the western side of the city).

Public transport


The Santiago Metro has five operating lines. Two subway lines (Line 4 and 4A) and an extension of Line 2 were inaugurated during late 2005 and 2006. The system is under expansion, and extensions are going to be built on Lines 1 and 5 throughout 2009 and 2010.


Transantiago is the name for the city's public transport system. It works by combining local (feeder) bus lines, main bus lines and the Metro network. It includes an integrated fare system, which allows passengers to make bus-to-bus or bus-to-metro transfers for the price of one ticket, using a single contactless smartcard.


Taxicabs can usually be found on the streets and are painted black with yellow roofs; unmarked taxis may be called up by telephone ("Radiotaxis"). "Colectivos" are shared taxicabs that carry passengers along a specific route, for a fixed fee.

Political divisions

Greater Santiago extends throughout 37 municipalities and covered 64,140 ha in 2002. The majority of Santiago lies within the same named province, with some peripheral areas contained in the provinces of Talagante, Maipo and Cordillera. Specifically, Santiago joins the cities of San Bernardo (Maipo province) and Puente Alto (Cordillera province) to form the Greater Santiago conurbation.

The province of Santiago is divided into 32 municipalities ("comunas" in Spanish). Each municipality in Chile is headed by a mayor "(alcalde)" elected by voters every four years. The members of the municipal council "(concejales)" are elected in the same election on a separate ballot.



Cultural life


There are two symphonic orchestras:
*Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, which performs in the "Teatro Municipal"
*Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile, dependent of the Universidad de Chile, performs in its theater.

There are also various jazz establishments, the most notable being the [ Club de Jazz] in Ñuñoa. The city has a very vibrant underground music scene. Some of its most popular venues are La Batuta in Ñuñoa and Blondie's disco in downtown Santiago.


Museums include:
* [ Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda] , newest and biggest cultural space, beneath the Citizenry Square, in the south front of the government palace La Moneda
* [ Museo Arqueológico de Santiago]
* [ Museo de Santiago Casa Colorada]
*Museo Catedral Metropolitana
* [ Museo Colonial San Francisco]
* [ Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino]
* [ Museo Histórico Nacional]
* [ Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes]
*Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
* [ Museo Interactivo Mirador]
* [ Museo Artequín]
*Museo de Ciencia y Tecnología
* [ Museo Ferroviario]
*Museo de la Solidaridad "Salvador Allende"
* [ Palacio Cousiño]
*La Chascona, Pablo Neruda's house, now a museum


The city's main parks are:

*Cerro San Cristóbal - San Cristóbal Hill, which includes the Santiago Metropolitan Park Zoo
*"Parque O'Higgins" - O'Higgins Park
*"Parque Forestal" - Forestal Park, park located at the city centre alongside Mapocho river
*Cerro Santa Lucía - Santa Lucía Hill

Modern ski resorts within an hour's drive east from the city include:
* Farellones
*Valle Nevado
*La Parva
*Portillo is about three hours away.

Some of the country's most important winegrowing areas lie in the nearby Maipo and Aconcagua Valleys. Several vineyards are located in this area.

Cultural places to visit include:

*Museo de Bellas Artes - Fine Arts Museum
*Barrio Bellavista, cultural and bohemian neighborhood
*Central Station, railway station designed by Gustave Eiffel
*Chile Stadium
*Ex National Congress
*Plaza de Armas, downtown square
*Palacio de La Moneda, government palace

Main Sport Venues:

*Estadio Nacional (site of the 1962 World Cup final) "65.000 all-seated"
*Estadio Monumental David Arellano "62.000 all-seated"
*Estadio Santa Laura "28.500 all-seated"
*Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo "20.000 all-seated"


Most of Chile's population is Catholic and Santiago is no exception. According to the National Census, carried out in 2002 by the National Statistics Bureau (INE), in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, 3,129,249 people 15 and older identified themselves as Catholics, equivalent to 68.7% of the total population, while 595,173 (13.1%) described themselves as Evangelical Protestants. Around 1.2% of the population declared themselves as being Jehovah's Witnesses, while 0.9% identified themselves as Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 0.25% as Jewish, 0.11% as Orthodox and 0.03% as Muslim. Approximately 10.4% of the population of the Metropolitan Region stated that they were atheist or agnostic, while 5.4% declared to follow other religions. [ [ INE, Chile, 2002 Census] ]

Higher Education


* Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC)
* Universidad de Chile (U, UCh)
* Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH)
* Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación (UMCE)
* Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (UTEM)


* Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano
* Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI)
* Universidad Alberto Hurtado (UAH)
* Universidad Bernardo O'Higgins
* Universidad Bolivariana
* Universidad Católica Raúl Silva Henríquez
* Universidad Central de Chile
* Universidad de Artes y Ciencias Sociales (Arcis)
* Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicación (UNIACC)
* Universidad de Ciencias de la Informática
* Universidad de las Américas
* Universidad de Los Andes
* Universidad del Desarrollo
* Universidad del Pacífico
* Universidad Diego Portales
* Universidad Europea de Negocios
* Universidad Finis Terrae
* Universidad Gabriela Mistral (UGM)
* Universidad Mayor (UM) []
* Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello (Unab)
* Universidad Pedro de Valdivia (Upv)
* Universidad Santo Tomás
* Universidad San Sebastián
* Universidad Tecnológica Vicente Pérez Rosales


* Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg's "Postgraduierten- und Weiterbildungszentrum der Universität Heidelberg" in Santiago []
* David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) Regional Office in Santiago []
* Stanford Faculty in Santiago []


External links

* [ Municipality homepage]

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