September 18, 2011 - Chile's Independence Day

This long, skinny nation is a strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. 

Not surprisingly, with a length of 4,600+ kilometers (or 2,800+ miles), Chile is the longest north-south country in the world. Even though it is such a narrow stretch of land (only 420 km, or 265 mi, at its widest), the landscapes vary a lot. There is everything from the driest desert in the world—the Atacama Desert—to rainy forests and lakes, to fertile valleys, to a string of volcanoes and a maze of fjords, islands, peninsulas, and canals. Chile even has glaciers and icebergs. Check out this variety in a short video called “Chile * All Ways Surprising.” 

On this day in 1810, Chile proclaimed itself a separate republic within the Spanish monarchy. At this time, Europe was in a bit of a mess. Napoleon was busy attacking and conquering much of continental Europe, and he'd kicked out Spain's king, Charles IV, and put on the throne his own brother Joseph. In faraway Chile, the people didn't want to acknowledge Joseph as their ruler and instead declared their loyalty to Ferdinand, the son of the deposed king. After that, a movement for true independence for Chile began to be popular.

Pepe's Chile website  features a list of ten things to do to celebrate Chile's Fiestas Patrias (“Patriotic Festival,” or Independence Day). 

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