By Richard A Crooker
Concise, but full of details, those hassle-free volumes are introductions to trendy countries of the area.
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Additional resources for Chile (Modern World Nations)
Now, Chile’s politics began to reflect the nation’s long-standing but largely ignored economic and social problems. Many of the problems lay at the feet of the aristocracy. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, the ruling class was allowing agricultural production to stagnate. It was investing money in mines and urban-based factories instead. This policy was a formula for disaster, because jobs on estates employed 75 percent of Chile’s rural population. What is more, the days when the gentile landowner lived on his estate and showed compassion for the tenant workers who toiled on his land were over.
Chilean society absorbed the Middle Easterners, many of whom became productive members of the business community and the government. There are about 300,000 people of Middle Eastern origin living in Chile today. LANGUAGE AND RELIGION Most Chileans share a common language and religion. Spanish is the official language of Chile. Except for small minorities of Indians and Germans, everyone speaks the language. The Spanish word for the language is español. Guillermo Castillo-Feliâu, author of Culture and Customs of Chile, points out that in Chile, as well as most other countries of Spanish America, people prefer to say castellano, rather than español.
Chile as a nation became even stronger as the government brought outlying regions under control. The country’s triumph in the War of the Pacific secured its northern region. A treaty with the Mapuche natives in 1881 finally brought the southern region under Chilean rule. The country’s transportation network also expanded outward from Santiago, literally tying the periphery (outer regions) to the center. William Wheelwright, an American industrialist, adopted Chile as his new home. In 1840, he created the first steamship line, which ran between Valparaíso and Panama.