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Chile

Formation Date:1810
Population:15211000
Land area:756626.00
GNP:72949.00
Government Form:Republic
Head of State:Ricardo Lagos Escobar

Chile, or Chili (one source says it is derived from the Quichua language, chin, meaning “cold”; or tchili, meanng “snow”), a republic of South America, occupying the narrow western slope of the continent between Peru and its southern extremity.

Today’s flag was conceived by José Ignacio Zenteno and designed by Antonio Arcos, although some say that is was Gregorio de And’a y Varela who drew it. It was declared the official flag on October 18, 1817 during Bernardo O’Higgins’ government. This was just before Chile won its independence from Spain (in 1818).

White stands for the snowy peaks of the Andes; red symbolizes the blood shed by the freedom fighters; blue represents the clear Andean skies. One view states that the single star stresses the fact that Chile is a unitarian republic, not a federal republic; while another view says the five pointed white star represents the “Powers of the State that guard the integrity of the Nation”. One more version suggests the white five-pointed star is “a guide to progress and honor”.

The design is said to have been inspired by the Stars and Stripes of the United States.