Santiago de Chile


May 17, 2022

Santiago de Chile, officially Santiago for short, is the capital and primate city of Chile. The urban area is part of the capital region (Región Metropolitana), which includes the province of Santiago and five other provinces. 5,220,161 people live in the urban settlement area (área urbana), in the entire Región Metropolitana there are 7,112,808 (as of 2017). This means that around 44 percent of all Chileans live in the capital or in its immediate vicinity. Santiago is actually just the municipality that includes the city center and the government district. 404,495 people live here (2017 census). The agglomeration of Santiago, on the other hand, even includes cities and municipalities from other provinces, such as Puente Alto or San Bernardo. The city is the undisputed political center of Chile, even though the Chilean parliament, the Congreso Nacional (National Congress), meets in Valparaíso. Santiago is an important traffic junction as well as the most important economic and cultural center of Chile with numerous universities, colleges, museums and monuments. The most important companies in Chile are based in Santiago, as are many foreign branches. The capital is also the media center of the country. Since 1561, Santiago has also been the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese, which was raised to the Archdiocese of Santiago de Chile in 1840. Episcopal Church is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago de Chile.


Santiago is located in a basin on the Río Mapocho. This basin forms the northern end of the large Chilean longitudinal valley, which runs meridional between the coastal cordillera in the west and the Andes in the east and further south, near Puerto Montt, plunges into the sea and forms the straits between the mainland and the offshore islands (including Chiloé , Chonos archipelago). The city is bounded on the north by the Aconcagua Valley, on the south by the Rancagua Basin and on the sides by the Andes and Coastal Cordillera. The Río Mapocho rises northeast of Santiago in the Andes. After about 50 kilometers, the river flows through the capital of Chile. Within Santiago, the water quality decreases sharply. The river flows via Peñaflor to El Monte, where it then flows into the Río Maipo. A large number of canals emanate from the river, the most famous being the Maipo Canal and the San Carlos Canal. The urban area (areá urbana) has an area of ​​641.4 square kilometers. Of this, 22.4 square kilometers belong to the municipality of Santiago. The Santiago Metropolitan Region (Región Metropolitana) has an area of ​​15,103.2 square kilometers. The plain of the capital region is covered with wheat, wine and fruit crops. The basin location in connection with car and industrial exhaust gases often leads to smog in winter, which is often so dense that the mountain range that borders directly on the city area can no longer be seen from the western parts of the city.


Between the 27th and 33rd degrees of latitude, which roughly corresponds to the height of Santiago, is the high cordillera, whose peaks are up to 5,000 meters high. On the Argentinian side, about 100 kilometers north-east of the Chilean capital, the Andes reach their highest elevation here between 32 and 33 degrees of latitude with the Aconcagua. The overburden in this area consists of Mesozoic-Cenozoic sediments and volcanics, which are repeatedly broken by granitic intrusions. At the level of Vallenar (29th degree of latitude) even the old bedrock of gneisses and mica slates appears. This block is free of young volcanism. Strong volcanism is characteristic of the Greater Region. Many active volcanoes are still present today. However, Aconcagua, at 6961 meters the highest peak in the Andes, is not a volcano, although like Mount Everest it was long thought to be one due to the frequent cloud plumes on its summit