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This is in dramatic contrast with the country's average width, which does not exceed 221 miles (356 kilometers).

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 indigenous population represents some 7 percent of the population.

There are about 500,000 Mapuche Indians in Chile, constituting the country's largest Native American population.

Chile is administratively divided in twelve regions (subdivided in thirty-one provinces) and a metropolitan region that includes the capital city. Chile has a population of 15,017,800 inhabitants (from a June 1999 estimate) with an annual growth rate of 1.8 percent.

The national population density is 46.5 persons per square mile.

Its length explains the great variety of climates and regions one can find from north to south.