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Nicolas Massu.jpg
Notable Arab Chileans: Nicolas Massu
Total population

5% of Chile's population

Regions with significant populations
Valparaiso, Serena, Santiago

Chilean Spanish, Arabic, French


Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism), with Muslim and Jewish minorities

Related ethnic groups

Palestinians , Lebanese, Syrians

Arab Chileans, are immigrants to Chile from the Arab world. Most are Christian and are the descendants of immigrants from the Ottoman Empire, from the lands that are now Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Gaza, and the Palestinian Territories, who arrived in Chile in the mid-19th to early-20th centuries to escape both poverty and the religious persecution of Christians in the Ottoman Empire.[1][2][3][4] Ethnically Arab Chileans are often called "Turks," (Spanish: Turkos) a term believed to derive from the fact that they arrived from the Ottoman Turkish Empire. [5] Most arrived as members of one of the Eastern Orthodox churches, but became Roman Catholic. [6] A minority are Muslim.

It is estimated that near the 5% of the Chilean population is of Arab origin immigrants descendant, chiefly of the Middle East (i.e. Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Middle East Armenians), are around 800,000.[7] Note that Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of the nation of Israel may be included.

Chile is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant.[8] Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile. [9][10] And the effects of their migration are widely visible. The earliest such migrants came in the 1850s, with others arriving during World War I and later the 1948 Palestine war. The Club Palestino is one of the most prestigious social clubs in Santiago.[11] They are believed to form the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world.[12][13] Aside from these migrants of previous decades, Chile has also taken in some Palestinian refugees in later years, as in April 2008 when they received 117 from the Al-Waleed refugee camp on the Syria-Iraq border near the Al-Tanf crossing.[14] The situation in Gaza has caused tensions even thousands of miles away between the Israeli and Palestinian communities in Chile.[15]

Historically, the Arabs of Chile were called Turks, Moors, Arabs or Lebanese. In recent years they have often called themselves Palestinians.[16] In the past decade, most of the Arab immigration are Iraqis from U.S.-occupied Iraq.[17]

The Christian Orthodox, built the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Santiago and All Chile in Santiago in 1917. It is a cathedral of the Church of Antioch with six parishes.[18]


Chilean Arab organizations

  • Sports: Club Deportivo Palestino, founded in 1920
  • Social Club Palestinian (1938), Bethlehem 2000 Palestinian Foundation-Chile (2001)
  • Policy: Palestinian Federation of Chile and the General Union of Palestinian Students in Chile (UGEP-Chile)
  • General Union of Palestinian Students in Chile (UGEP-Chile)
  • AJPP (Youth Association for Palestine)
  • Union Club Palestinian Valparaiso and Vina del Mar
  • Company Tenth Fire Pump Valparaíso Chilean Eduardo Arab Farley
  • Ladys Syrian Palestinian Society.
  • Arab Union Club La Calera
  • Palestine Bethlehem Foundation 2000
  • Home of Syrian-Palestinian Children
  • Palestinian Union Club de Talca
  • Palestinian Union Club of San Fernando
  • Arab Stadium Design
  • JUPAC (Youth Palestinian Concepción)
  • Palestinian Conception School
  • Palestinian College of Viña del Mar

Notable Arab Chileans

  • Benedicto Chuaqui Ketlun, writer (Syrian descent)
  • Yanina Halabi, model (Syrian descent)
  • Alberto Haddad, politician (Syrian descent)
  • Sergio Valech, priest (Syrian descent)
  • Sergio Bitar, politician, minister and senator (Lebanese and Syrian descent)
  • Jorge Awad, businessman (Syrian descent)
  • Luis Enrique Yarur, businessman (Palesinian descent)
  • Ricardo Abumohor
  • Jorge Massoud Sarquis, businessman and politician (Syrian descent)
  • Luna Albagli, model (Syrian Jewish descent)
  • Paula Sharim
  • Nissim Sharim, actor (Syrian Jewish descent)
  • Karen Atala
  • Mariana Derderián, actress (Armenian Syrian descent)
  • Miguelo Esbir, singer (Syrian descent)
  • Carlos Abumohor, businessman and investor (Palestinian descent)
  • José Said, businessman (Palestinian descent)
  • Miguel Littin, movie director and screenwriter
  • Álvaro Saieh, businessman
  • Raúl Hasbún, Roman Catholic priest (Palestinian descent)
  • Roberto Bishara, footballer
  • Checho Hirane, comedy and TV host (Lebanese descent)
  • Jessica Mualim Fajuri, politician (Palestinian descent)
  • Hosaín Sabag, politician (Lebanese descent)
  • Fernando Chomalí, Roman Catholic priest (Lebanese descent)
  • Nicolás Massú, tennis player (Lebanese descent)
  • Pedro Sabat, politician
  • Marcela Sabat, model and politician
  • Daud Gazale, footballer (Palestinian descent)
  • Pablo Zalaquett Said, politician, mayor of Santiago (Palestinian descent)

See also


  1. ^ The Lebanese in the world: a century of emigration, Albert Habib Hourani, Nadim Shehadi, Centre for Lebanese Studies (Great Britain), Centre for Lebanese Studies in association with I.B. Tauris, 1992
  2. ^ Arab Chileans.
  3. ^ Between Argentines and Arabs: Argentine orientalism, Arab immigrants, and the writing of identity, Christina Civantos, SUNY Press, 2005, p. 6.
  4. ^ Arab and Jewish immigrants in Latin America: images and realities‎, by Ignacio Klich, Jeff Lesser, 1998, pp. 165, 108.
  5. ^ Arab and Jewish immigrants in Latin America: images and realities‎, by Ignacio Klich, Jeff Lesser, 1998, p. 165.
  6. ^ In Santiago Society, No One Cares If Your Name Is Carey or de Yrarrazaval, By ENID NEMY September 14, 1969, Sunday, Arab and Jewish immigrants in Latin America.
  7. ^ Arab Chileans.
  8. ^ Arab.
  9. ^ Chile: Palestinian refugees arrive to warm welcome.
  10. ^ 500,000 descendientes de primera y segunda generación de palestinos en Chile.
  11. ^ Holston, Mark (2005-11-01), "Orgullosos palestinos de Chile", Américas, ISSN 0379-0975,, retrieved 2009-07-29  
  12. ^ Un chileno "da la pelea por Palestina."
  13. ^ "Los palestinos miran con esperanza su futuro en Chile sin olvidar Gaza e Irak", El Economista, 2009-02-11,, retrieved 2009-07-29  
  14. ^ Henríquez, Andrea (2008-03-31), "Chile recibirá a refugiados palestinos", BBC World,, retrieved 2009-07-29  
  15. ^ Aguirre, Leslie; Prieto, M. Francisca (2008-12-29), "Palestinos e israelíes en Chile: La situación en Gaza es una "pena"", El Mercurio,, retrieved 2009-07-29  
  16. ^ So far from Allah, so close to Mexico: Middle Eastern immigrants in modern Mexico, Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp, University of Texas Press, 2007, p. 14.
  17. ^ (Spanish) Arab immigration.
  18. ^ Antiochian Orthodox of Santiago to Chile.

External links



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