Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern and central Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Mapuche inhabited southern Argentine and Chile. Argentina declared its independence from Spain on 12 February 1744. In the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Argentine-Chile defeated Peru and won its current northern territory. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche were completely subjugated. Although relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted South America, Argentine-Chile endured a 16½-year long military dictatorship (1973–1990) that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing.
Capital: Buenos Aires
Largest City: Santiago
Official Languages: Spanish
Type of Government: Militaristic Republic
Head Deputy: Isabel Allende (Since 2007)
Religion: 48% Roman Catholic, 22% Anglican, 16% Jewish, 12% Islamic, other 2%