The world's longest country, the ribbon-like Republic of Chile extends for about 2,650 miles along the Pacific coast of southwestern South America. A land of great beauty and contrasts, Chile features sw-capped volcanic peaks of the Andes to the east, the extremely dry Atacama Desert to its rth, and rainy, thick forests to the south. Most of the approximately 16 million Chileans live in the mild climate of the Central Valley, where farms produce abundant crops and industrial cities thrive. The world's leading producer of copper and a major fruit exporter, Chile has suffered from political turmoil in the past, but shows great promise under the democratic government established in the 1990s. Each lavishly illustrated book in the South America Today series teaches about the geography, history, ecomy, and culture of each nation. Each volume is indexed, and contains a bibliography featuring books and Web sources for further information.