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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 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.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.Chile is a large and narrow strip situated in southwest South America, bounded on the north by Peru, on the east by Bolivia and Argentina, and on the west and south by the Pacific Ocean.
Notwithstanding the existence of a strong dominant national culture, some cultural regional traditions can be identified.Between the huge Andes Mountains (to the east) and the lower Coastal mountains (to the west) is the great Central Valley, which extends from Salamanca, north of Santiago, for over 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) south to Puerto Montt.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.To the north the arid Atacama Desert separates it from Peru.The high Andes peaks constitute its natural frontier with Bolivia and Argentina.