Santiago Program Introduction
Santiago is the capital of one of the world's most rapidly developing countries. South America's fifth most populous city with an estimated 5.6 million residents, Santiago covers an area six times the size of New York City. This major metropolis was founded in 1541 and has been the focal point of the intellectual and cultural development of Chile from colonial times to the present. Since independence from Spain in 1818, it has been a home to intellectuals and scientists from various parts of the world who have contributed to a vibrant cultural environment. Its location and history have inspired two Nobel prize winners, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, as well as numerous world-class artists and thinkers. Currently, Santiago is the nation's political, commercial, financial, and industrial center as well as the seat of its government. Chile has also emerged as the most solid economy in the region, with close commercial ties to a wide diversity of nations.