Americans and Canadians in Chile
|Small minority (unknown population figures).|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Roman Catholicism · Protestantism · Atheism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Americans · Canadians · British Chileans.|
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American Chileans and Canadian Chileans are Chileans of North American ancestry (Americans and Canadians). Over 300,000 Chileans have North American ancestors, with 100,000 said to be of Cherokee Indian descent. 19th century settlement and land speculation deals brought tens of thousands of U.S. Americans to Chile with the rest of Central and South America.
Along with the British, U.S. citizens came to Chile to develop the country's economy and trade from the early 19th century onwards. Even though very few compared to the British, they did contribute to Chile's wealth and economic development well into the 20th century. Other Anglosphere immigrants included Irish, New Zealanders and Australians.
Valparaíso was on the route from Britain to California, which the US won from Mexico in 1845. That same port was even the scene of one of the battles of the Anglo-American War of 1812. One American who was in Chile was Wheelwright, who introduced the railway in Chile and nearby Argentina in the 1850s. In the California Gold Rush, a massive influx of Chilean miners went to California and many had returned to Chile wealthier than before.
To Chileans, Americans, almost all of British ancestry at the time, were so similar to the British that they were both lumped together as gringos, a term still used for Americans. Nowadays, most Chileans are much familiar with U.S. American culture than British culture, due to Hollywood and popular music.
It was not only European Americans who emigrated to Chile. In the 18th and 19th centuries, a group of Cherokee Indians settled in Chile and finally integrated into the Spanish Chilean majority, making themselves invisible. Joaquin Murieta, a legendary figure was considered a Chilean of Cherokee descent. He was part of a migration of Cherokee and other American Indian settlers from the Southeastern United States and Indian Territory in the late 19th century into Chile and other South American countries like Brazil.
Americo-Chileans played a role in international diplomacy between the two countries (see United States-Chile relations). The relationship turned tense during the Salvador Allende era (1970–73), in which the U.S. CIA-backed coup replaced him with general Augusto Pinochet to head a right-wing military regime (1973–89).
Also the American Chilean community were instrumental in reformation of the economy of Chile since the Chicago Boys experiment in U.S. business schools from the late 1950s to early 1990s known as El Milagro Economico (economic miracle) or Miracle of Chile.
Historically, some Chilean immigrants to the U.S. (see Chilean American) originated from the Central Valley of Chile from the San Antonio, Chile and Los Angeles, Chile areas, usually to California during the gold rush era (1846–54). Many Chileans prospered there and some were established enough to return home with their new wealth.
In August 18, 1906; a major earthquake struck Valparaíso with great devastation and thousands of deaths. Chilean doctor Carlos Van Buren, of U.S. American descent, was involved in medical care of earthquake victims. He later established a modern hospital Carlos Van Buren Hospital in 1912. American and European medical staffers improved medical care in Chile, where it has a universal health system since 1925.
Military experts from the U.S. and Great Britain when the British Empire peaked in the turn of the 20th century, and pre-1914 Prussia (now Germany) developed and modernized the Chilean armed forces (the army, national police, navy and air force).
Today, (North) American culture is a dominant force in Chilean society, and an increase of North American tourists from the US and Canada in the 1990s and 2000s attracted to the world-renowned scenery and increasing economic opportunity in Chile.