One of Chile’s legends is how the country was created by the hand of God:
In the beginning of time, God created the wonders of the world. When he was finished, he saw that hehad many leftover pieces. He had parts of rivers and valleys, of oceans and lakes, of glaciers and deserts, of mountains and forests, and of meadows and hills. Rather than let such beauty go towaste, God put them all together and cast them to the most remote corner of the Earth. This is how Chile was born.
The diversity of Chile’s geography and climates attest to the validity of this legend.Where else can you find both the driest desert on earth and huge ice glaciers? Chile is a land of contrasts and beauties found nowhere else on Earth.
In reference to the legend’s “remote corner of theearth” statement, many Chileans today refer to Chile as the “end of the world.”
In fact, a large part of Chile is found farther south than Australia or even South Africa which share the southernreaches of the globe’s Southern Hemisphere.
There are numerous ideas of how Chile’s name originated:
According to one theory the Incas of Peru, who had failed to conquer the Araucanians, called thevalley of the Aconcagua “Chili” by corruption of the name of a tribal chief (“cacique”) called Tili, who ruled the area at the time of the Incan conquest.
Another theory points to the similarity ofthe valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley in Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili.
Other theories say Chile may derive its name from the indigenous Mapuche wordchilli, which may mean “where the land ends,” “the deepest point of the Earth,” or “sea gulls;” or from the Quechua chin, “cold”, or the Aymara tchili, meaning “snow.”
Another meaning attributed to chilliis the onomatopoeic cheele-cheele—the Mapuche imitation of a bird call. The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas and the few survivors of Diego de Almagro’s first Spanish...