Swiss Chileans

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Swiss Chileans
Regions with significant populations
Punta Arenas, Valparaíso, Temuco, Santiago de Chile
Chilean Spanish, German, French, Italian, Romansh
Christianity (Protestantism and Roman Catholic), Jewish minorities
Related ethnic groups
Swiss people, Swiss diaspora, German Chileans, Italian Chileans, and French Chileans

Swiss Chileans are Chilean citizens of Swiss ancestry. There are currently 5,000 Swiss citizens residing in Chile.[citation needed]


The number of Swiss in Chile is minor, despite having a relatively large number of members. This is because their linguistic and cultural characteristics are commonly confused with Germans, Italians and French. Swiss migration to Chile took place at the end of the 19th century, between 1883 and 1900, particularly in the area of Araucanía, especially in Victoria and Traiguén. It is estimated that more than 8,000 thousand families received grants of land.[1]

Swiss Benevolent Society in Victoria, Araucanía Region.

In the 19th century, opening up new lands in the New World and the economic crisis in Europe help was mobilize migrants to the most impoverished sectors of society. People migrated mainly to United States in North America, Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. This was an organized exodus and had limited duration. As economic immigration, the State assumed a regulatory role by granting or denying requests for leave.

Through official reports of the Swiss Consulate in Valparaíso, highlighting the advantages or disadvantages that Chile offered to migrants in Europe.

Only 28 years after the commencement of the German colonization in the southern Chile, the Federal Council in 1881 authorized the specialized agencies to operate in Switzerland to recruit migrants. The Federal Council after years of examining the advantages and disadvantages that would authorize the removal of migrants, poses as a premise the assumption that the Chilean authorities insist on peace Araucanía whose possession for Chileans, it was not yet in those years fully accomplished.

The first contingent departed in November 1883, would be the pilot and its success would depend on subsequent authorizations.

Agencies colonization[edit]

In 1880 he was named Don Francisco De B. Echeverría, General Agent of Colonization in Europe, given in Paris. Agent General Benjamin Davila Larrain entrusted the work of recruitment of settlers to the house of Rommel Basel in Switzerland. The preparation of the convoys meant the operation of a real network. Starting with the shipping companies, especially the English company of the Pacific", which ensured the French port of Bordeaux, a regular line up with the vapors Valparaíso Cotopaxi, Potosi, Sorata, The Valparaíso, Aconcagua and Britain, among others, the main boats that sailed Swiss settlers. To ensure reductions in the third class and volume or weight limits for luggage.[2]

Between April 1876 and May 1877 migrants came to the area of the Magallanes Region (Punta Arenas and Fresh Water) a contingent of Swiss immigrants comprising 119 families.

These farmers received government land grants consisting of hectares of prime Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub land which they proceeded to transform into agricultural lands suitable for pasture and crop farming.

Mass immigration[edit]

The first group of immigrants was composed of 1,311 families who landed in Valparaíso on 19 December 1883. Between 1883 and 1886 they were shipped to the territory of Araucanía 12,602 Swiss, representing 7% of emigration Switzerland overseas. The operations continued to evolve until 1890, when it recorded 22,708 Swiss spread over the 31 colonies in the heart of the Araucania. 72.7% of them are established in the 7 most important colonies of the time:

  • Victoria
  • Traiguén
  • Faja Maisan
  • Temuco
  • Quino
  • Galvarino
  • Ercilla
  • Pitrufquen

Later during 1915 to 1950 was the last recorded mass exodus of Swiss to Chile recorded 30,000 residents installed in the central area of the country, primarily in Santiago and Valparaíso.[3]

Notable Chileans of Swiss descent[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (in Spanish) Los suizos del fin del mundo.
  2. ^ Swiss colonization in southern Chile. (2006-07-21). Retrieved on 7 September 2011.
  3. ^ (in Spanish) Suizos en Chile. Archived 25 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine.