There exist different explanations about the origins of the name "Chile." The most accepted one is that it is derived from the native Aymará word chilli meaning "the land where the earth ends." Chile is considered to be one of the most homogeneous nations of Latin America in both ethnic and cultural terms.
In the northern provinces near Bolivia, Aymará Indians have been able to preserve many aspects of their Andean culture.
In the southern region the Mapuche Indians are a large cultural group who strongly contributed to the formation of Chilean culture.
Chile is administratively divided in twelve regions (subdivided in thirty-one provinces) and a metropolitan region that includes the capital city. Chile has a population of 15,017,800 inhabitants (from a June 1999 estimate) with an annual growth rate of 1.8 percent.
The national population density is 46.5 persons per square mile.
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.