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In the northern region some twenty thousand indigenous people also speak Aymará, while most of Chile's Mapuche population speak or at least understand their ancestral language, Mapudungu.In Eastern Island the two thousand native inhabitants speak their own language of Polynesian origin.Formidable natural barriers mark present-day Chile's boundaries, isolating the country from the rest of South America.
In contrast to many other Latin American nations, Chile has not experienced the emergence of strong regionalism or conflicting regional cultural identities.
Since the late nineteenth century, both the northern and southern regions have been mainly populated by people coming from the central region, helping to strengthen the country's cultural homogeneity.
In the southern region the Mapuche Indians are a large cultural group who strongly contributed to the formation of Chilean culture.
On Chiloé Island also in the south, a distinct chilote culture emerged over the centuries from a relatively harmonious blending of Indian and Spanish backgrounds; this culture is characterized by rich traditions of music, dance, and mythological tales.
Some two thousand miles off the coast of Chile lies the remote Eastern Island, which is inhabited by twenty-eight hundred native islanders who still keep alive many of their Polynesian cultural traditions.
Since the late nineteenth century, Chilean culture has also been nurtured by the arrival of a large group of immigrants, mainly Germans, British, French, Italians, Croatians, Palestinians, and Jews.There are about 500,000 Mapuche Indians in Chile, constituting the country's largest Native American population.Since the late 1980s, the country's economic prosperity and sociopolitical stability have attracted an increasing number of immigrants from Korea and from other Latin American countries (largely from Peru, Argentina, and Cuba). The official language of Chile is Spanish ( castellano as Chileans call it), which is spoken by practically all the country's inhabitants.The country has a total area of 292,260 square miles (756,950 square kilometers). Chile has a longitude of 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) making of it one of the longest countries in the world.This is in dramatic contrast with the country's average width, which does not exceed 221 miles (356 kilometers).Most Chileans (84 percent) reside in urban areas, while the rest live in an increasingly urbanized rural environment.