Infobox Ethnic group
group = flagicon|Germany German-Chilean flagicon|Chile

caption = Notable German Chileans:
Rodolfo Armando PhilippiHans HelfritzMiguel KastPatricio Manns
poptime = 500,000Fact|date=November 2007
popplace = Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Santiago de Chile, Rancagua, Talca, Concepción, Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Varas.
langs = Chilean Spanish, German
rels = Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic and Protestant), Judaism
related = German, German Americans, German-Argentinians, German-Brazilian, German Mexican, German-Paraguayan

German-Chileans (Spanish: "Alemán Chileno" or "Germano-chileno"; German: "Deutsch-Chilenen") are an ethnic group in the south of the country, mainly in the Los Lagos Region. Their establishment dates to the second half of the 19th century. The number of descendents today surpasses 500,000Fact|date=November 2007 in the original southern communities. There are perhaps 500,000 more in the rest of the country, about 2.5% of the total Chilean population. They have had an important influence on Chilean culture.

Most of the thousands of German descendants (by surname) in the center of Chile came from the southern provinces of Valdivia, Osorno and Llanquihue. While most of the group originates from Germany, the German-Chilean community also consists of Austrians from Austria, Swiss Germans from Switzerland and German Argentines from neighboring Argentina.


Valdivian Settlement

The first mention of a German in Chile was in the 16th century. This was at the time of the Spanish conquest of the country and the foundation of the current capital, Santiago.

With the independence from Spain (1810), trade began with other countries, including Germany. The Chilean government encouraged German immigration in 1848, a time of revolution in Germany. Before that Bernhard Eunom Philippi encouraged nine working families to emigrate from Hesse to Chile.

The origin of the German immigrants in Chile began with the Law of Selective Immigration of 1845. The objective of this law was to bring people of a medium social/high cultural level to colonize the southern regions of Chile; these were understood to be between Valdivia and Puerto Montt. Some reports that 20,000 immigrated as a result. The process was administered by Vicente Pérez Rosales by mandate of the then-president Manuel Montt. The German immigrants revived the domestic economy and they changed the southern zones. An example of this constructive spirit was stated by the leader of the first colonists Carlos Anwandter, who proclaimed to all the colonists:

::"We shall be honest and laborious Chileans as the best of them, we shall defend our adopted country joining in the ranks of our new countrymen, against any foreign oppression and with the decision and firmness of the man that defends his country, his family and his interests. Never will have the country that adopts us as its children, reason to repent of such illustrated, human and generous proceeding,... "::::::::::::::::::::::::- Carlos Anwandter

The expansion and economic development of Valdivia were limited in the early 19th century. To stimulate economic development, the Chilean government initiated a highly-focused immigration program under Vicente Pérez Rosales as government representative. Through this program, thousands of Germans settled in the area, incorporating then-modern technology and know-how to develop agriculture and industry. Some of the new immigrants stayed in Valdivia but others were given forested land, which they cleared for farms [Luis Otero, La Huella del Fuego: Historia de los bosques y cambios en el paisaje del sur de Chile (Valdivia, Editorial Pehuen)] while the indigenous Mapuche and Huilliche) moved to reservations and remote areas.

German immigrants to Corral arrived in August, 1846, at Valdivia harbor, and settled on land acquired from the Indians.

::"Valdivia, situated at some distance from the coast, on the Calle-calle river, is a German town. Everywhere you meet German faces, German signboards and placards alongside the Spanish. There is a large German school, a church and various "Vereine", large shoe-factories, and, of course, breweries..."::::::::::::::::::::::::- Carl Skottsberg

For ten years after the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, immigrants came from Germany. They established themselves principally in the Llanquihue, Osorno and Puerto Montt areas. This area continues as the only completely-German language settlement in Chile.

Valdivia prospered with industries, including shipyards, the Hoffmann Gristmill, the Rudloff shoe factory and many more enterprises. The steel mills of Corral were the biggest recorded private investment in Chile at the time, and were the first steel mills in South America. In 1891 Valdivia became a commune according to a law that created that subdivisions in Chile. After that the Malleco Viaduct had been built in 1890 the railroads advanced further south reaching Valdivia in 1895. The first train with passengers arrived in 1899.

The German military culture had great influence on the Army of Chile. At the end of the 19th century, adopted the Prussian military tradition, especially after the Civil War of 1891. A German-Chilean, Emil Körner, reached the rank of commander-in-chief of the Army in 1900.

Subsequently, a new wave of German immigrants arrived in Chile, with many settling in Temuco, and Santiago. Many founded businesses; for example, Horst Paulmann's small store in the capital of the IX Region of the Araucanía grew into Cencosud, one of the largest businesses in the region.

German-Chilean relations

German values have influenced Chilean culture and economic development. For example,

* The establishment of commercial houses and German shipping businesses in Valparaíso
* The foundation of the German Club in 1838
* The exploration of the Patagonia by the German Bernardo Phillipi, and his participation in the Chilean possession of the Strait of Magallanes
* The German immigration to the south of Chile after World War II
* Colonization and development of the city of Valdivia and the outskirts
* The exploitation of the Nitrate fields
* The close relations between the ports of Valparaíso and Hamburg
* The establishment of a number of Chilean-German fire companies. (Nearly 20)
* Migration of ethnic Germans into Chile from Argentina in the early 20th century.

In Germany is also possible to find testimonies of the links between Chile and Germany. The building Chilehaus (The House of Chile) in the port of Hamburg symbolizes the past trade relations between the countries. The building was constructed in the middle of the 19th century, designed with the form of a bow of ship.

20th Century

During World War II, many German Jews fled to Chile before and during the Holocaust. For example, the families of Mario Kreutzberger and Tomás Hirsch came to Chile during this time.

After World War II, many leaders of the Nazi Germany tried to take refuge in the central and southern regions of the country, fleeing trials against them in Europe and elsewhere. Paul Schäfer even founded Colonia Dignidad, German enclave in the Maule Region and in which abuses against human rights were allegedly carried out.

German Chileans today

The exact number German-Chileans is unknown, because many of the early arrivals' descendants have intermarried and assimilated over the past 150 years. Almost 6,000 are known to have been born in Germany, and approximate figures suggest 300,000 direct descendants. [Cf. Oliver Zöllner: Generating samples of diasporic minority populations: A Chilean example (2005). Internet resource [ Full article] ]

Today the German language is still spoken by about 20,000 Chileans in daily life. There are German schools and German language newspapers and periodicals (e.g., CONDOR - a weekly newspaper, levy: 6,000 / economy in Chile).

Religious affiliations

Many Germans who migrated to Chile practice Roman Catholicism but there are others with Protestant affiliation. Germans introduced the first Evangelical Protestant (such as Lutheranism) churches to Chile. Many German Jews who escaped the Nazi persecution in the 1940s established synagogues.

Notable German Chileans

*Marlene Ahrens athlete
*Carlos Anwandter Immigrant, one of the pioneers of the colonization
*Otto Anwandter Architect/Engineer
*Alex Von Appen Entrepreneur
*Bartolomé Blumen First Engineer in Chile, who arrived with Pedro de Valdivia's expedition
*Edgardo Boeninger Politician
*Juan de Bohon Founder of La Serena
*Hans Gildemeister Former Tennis Player
*Óscar Hahn writer and poet
*Fernanda Hansen TV hostess and journalist
*Peter Hansen General of Artillery in the Waffen-SS, at the WWII
*Tomás Hirsch Politician
*Gastón Von Mühlenbrock Deputy
*Miguel Kast Economist
*Sebastián Keitel athlete
*Mathias Klotz architect
*Emil Körner Commander in chief of the Chilean Army
*Ricardo Krebs Historian
*Mario Kreutzberger TV personality
*Carlos Kuschel Senator
*Rolf Lüders Economist
*Patricio Manns singer, composer, author, writer, and journalist.
*Evelyn Matthei senator
*Fernando Matthei Air Force chief commander (retired), during the Pinochet regime
*Fernando Paulsen journalist
*Bruno Philippi Businessman
*Rodolfo Armando Philippi paleontologist and zoologist
*Horst Paulmann Businessman
*Paul Schäfer criminal and founder of Colonia Dignidad
*Óscar Schnake politician co-founder of the Socialist Party of Chile
*Erich Schnake Politician
*René Schneider Commander in chief of the Chilean Army killed in 1970
*Rodolfo Stange Former Chief of the Police Force

ee also

* Ethnic German


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