Regions of Chile

Regions of Chile
Regiones de Chile (Spanish)
Category Unitary State
Location Republic of Chile
Number 15
Populations 98,413 (Aysén) – 6,683,852 (Metropolitan Santiago)
Areas 80 km2 (31 sq mi) (Metropolitan Santiago) – 132,291 km2 (51,077.9 sq mi) (Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica)
Government Limited autonomous government
Subdivisions Province
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Chile is divided into 15 regions (in Spanish, regiones; singular región), which are the country's first-level administrative division. Each region is headed by an intendant (intendente), appointed by the President, and an indirectly elected body known as regional board (consejo regional).

Regions are divided into provinces (second-level administrative division), each headed by a governor (gobernador), appointed by the President. There are 54 provinces, in total. Provinces are further divided into communes (third and lowest level administrative division), which are governed by municipalities.


Each region is given a Roman numeral, followed by a name (e.g. IV Región de Coquimbo, read as "fourth region of Coquimbo" in Spanish). When the regional structure was created, Roman numerals were assigned in ascending order from north to south, with the northernmost region designated as I (first) and the southernmost region as XII (twelfth). The Santiago Metropolitan Region, located in the center of the country and home to the country's capital Santiago, was excluded from this naming scheme and given instead the initials RM, standing for Región Metropolitana ("Metropolitan Region" in Spanish). With the creation of regions XIV in the south and XV in the north (XIII is not used) in 2007, the north-south Roman numeral order was broken.

History of the regional structure

The administrative divisions of Chile were created in 1974 and limited to 13 regions (this limitation was eliminated in 2005 via a constitutional reform). Previously, Chile was divided into 25 provinces, which were further divided into departments, and then into communes. The new territorial organization was implemented in phases with some initial "pilot regions" beginning to operate in 1974, extending the process on January 1, 1976 to the rest of the country. The Santiago Metropolitan Region began to operate in April 1980.

In December 2006, two new regions were created: the northern Arica and Parinacota Region, by taking out the two northernmost provinces from the Tarapacá Region; and Los Ríos Region in the south, encompassing the provinces of Valdivia, formerly part of the Los Lagos Region, and Ranco, formerly part of Valdivia.[1] Both regions became operative in October 2007.

List of regions

Key[2][3] Flag Name
Capital Area (km2) Population
Order from
north to south
01 Tarapacá
Región de Tarapacá
Iquique 42,225.8 336,769 2
02 Antofagasta
Región de Antofagasta
Antofagasta 126,049.1 622,640 3
03 Atacama
Región de Atacama
Copiapó 75,176.2 312,486 4
04 Coquimbo
Región de Coquimbo
La Serena 40,579.9 771,085 5
05 Valparaíso
Región de Valparaíso
Valparaíso 16,396.1 1,825,757 6
06 O'Higgins
Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins
Rancagua 16,387 918,751 8
07 Maule
Región del Maule
Talca 30,296.1 1,042,989 9
08 Bío Bío
Región del Bío Bío
Concepción 37,068.7 2,114,286 10
09 Araucanía
Región de La Araucanía
Temuco 31,842.3 989,798 11
10 Los Lagos
Región de Los Lagos
Puerto Montt 48,583.6 841,123 13
11 Aisén
Región Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Coihaique 108,494.4 108,328 14
12 Magallanes
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena
Punta Arenas 132,291.1 164,661 15
14 Los Ríos
Región de Los Ríos
Valdivia 18,429.5 404,432 12
15 Arica and Parinacota
Región de Arica y Parinacota
Arica 16,873.3 239,126 1
16 Santiago
Región Metropolitana de Santiago
Santiago 15,403.2 7,314,176 7

See also


  1. La Nación
  2. "Regiones, Provincias y Comunas de Chile". Subsecretaria de Desarrollo Regional y Administrativo. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  3. "CODIGO UNICO TERRITORIAL" (PDF). Subsecretaria de Desarrollo Regional y Administrativo. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
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