A country of southwest South America with a long Pacific coastline. Originally inhabited by Araucanian Indian peoples, it was colonized by Spain in 1541 and declared its independence in 1818. Chile annexed mineral-rich territory from Bolivia and Peru following the War of the Pacific (1879–1884). After numerous coups d'état and periods of military rule in the 20th century, Chile reestablished democratic rule in 1990. Santiago is the capital and the largest city.