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Chile is one of the most prosperous nations in South America. It gained independence from the Spanish Empire in 1818. after WW2, Chile and its neighbor Peru received significant aid from the US, in its programs to strengthen its Pacific alliances. Chile is also an important member of POTO, the Pacific Ocean Treaty Organization.
History of Post-War Chile
After World War 2, the United States provided Chile with thousands of dollars in development funds in order to develop the vast mineral resources in the Atacama desert, and to cement Chile's dominance of the South Pacific. Chile was also a founding member of POTO in 1949. Chile participated in several POTO operations during this period.
The 60's and 70's were an era of great prosperity for Chile. thanks to the rapidly growing demand for electricity in both China and the United States, the demand for Chilean copper was immense. the income from taxing the copper industry gave the Chilean government a large surplus, which it used to encourage both industrial and agricultural growth.
Thanks to the robust economic growth of Chile in the 60's and 70's, Chile became a dominant force in South American politics, despite their small population. in 1973, the Chilean president signed a free trade agreement with both Bolivia and Peru, creating the South American Free Trade Zone, or SAFTZ, which was later extended to include Ecuador in 1975.
The 80's and 90's marked a significant shift in Chilean foreign policy. Thanks to the decline of the Soviet Union, Chile and many other South American nations began to feel that they needed to band together, to prevent their economies from being dominated by either the US or China. the 80's saw significant Chilean investment in the economies of surrounding nations, most significantly Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. thanks to this massive infusion of capital, the poverty rates in all three of these countries plummeted. the late 80's and early 90's saw greatly increased cooperation between the four Andean nations, culminating in the creation of the Andean Conglomeration in 1995. after the creation of the Conglomeration, much of Chile's natural resources were invested in the expansion of infrastructure in its fellow Andean nation. for example, in 1990, approximately 60% of Chile's copper exports went to either the US or China. however, in 1996, after the Act of Conglomeration, that number dropped to only 30%. this caused a minor downturn in both the Chinese and American economies, but gave Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador a huge boost, allowing thousands of people to enter the growing middle classes in all three nations.
The new millennium brought with it a new attitude of fiscal responsibility to the Chilean government. while investment in other Andean economies stayed relatively high, the government made deep cuts to military spending, with most of the remaining budget going to a few rapid response teams in the Pacific, and to counter-terror operations throughout the AC. the government also adopted several austerity measures, to help curtail a rising budget deficit. the deficit is currently set to be paid off in 2020. with the adoption of the Andean Peso throughout the AC in 2003, the stability of the Chilean economy became vital to the continued rapid economic growth of the region, so the government has increased regulations on banks and other important Chilean economic institutions, in order to prevent a total financial meltdown. the future is looking bright for Chile, as recently discovered lithium deposits may be the largest in the world. since lithium is required for the rapidly expanding electric car industry in the US, China and the AC, these deposits will be vital to Chile's continued economic growth.
As a member of POTO, Chile has traditionally had a close relationship with both the US and China, but in recent years Chile no longer feels the need to seek protection from the great democracies. Recently, Chile has been focusing on improving relations with its neighboring Latin American nations. the best example of this is the AC, whose creation Chile spearheaded. Chile has also greatly improved relations with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, and has taken on the role of mediator in several international disputes in Latin America.
Chile is an economic hub is South America, and an exporter of both agricultural products and consumer goods. Valparaiso, Chile's main port, is the largest and most active in South America. as one of the major economies of the Andean Economic Zone, Chile is directly responsible for the stability of the currency of 3 other nations. Chile's economy is mostly based on light industry, agriculture, foreign trade and high tech manufacturing, although they have a relatively large heavy industry sector.
Northern Chile's economy mostly revolves around the extraction and processing of minerals. Thanks to the massive copper deposits in the Atacama desert, a large industrial base has grown up around it, mostly for turning the copper extracted from the ground into useful goods, like wire for transmission lines. thanks to the recently discovered lithium deposits, a respectable high-tech battery industry has sprang up around Antofagasta, earning it the nickname "Lithuim Bay".
Central Chile is where most of Chile's manufacturing and international trade occurs. most of Chile's light industry is spread though Chile's central valley, and a respcetable heavy industry sector has grown up around Santiago in recent years. not only that, Valparaiso is the center of one of the worlds largest shipbuilding industries. in addition, much of Chile's central valley is extremely fertile, so a large amount of grain is grown here, although much of it is sent north to the barren Atacama desert, or used to feed.
Southern Chile is Chile's breadbasket. it provides food for much of Argentina and Peru, and is the center of one of the worlds largest wine-making industries. also, livestock are a incredibly important part of Southern Chile. much of South America's wool and beef are produced in Chile's southern highlands. in fact, the only South American nation which produces more beef is Argentina.
while the Chilean military has been significantly downsized since the 1980's, it still remains a powerful force in the South Pacific. the Chilean military is also one of the most advanced in the world. Chile maintains several squadrons of hunter-killer submarines and a single carrier group in the South Pacific, to guard from the treat of Russian missile submarines. the Chileans maintain a second carrier group as a home fleet, and operates a large Coast Guard along its shores. the Chilean Army has very few heavy armor units, instead focusing on speed and maneuverability. the Chilean Air Force is one of the strongest in south America, and certainly the most advanced.