Chile Emigration and Immigration

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How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies of Immigrant Colonists[edit | edit source]

Cultural Groups[edit | edit source]

  • 1840-1990 Fichas de alemanes en Chile, 1840-1990 (Records of Germans in Chile)
  • 1850-1945 Kartei der Auswanderer nach Chile und Mexiko, 1850-1945 Index cards providing genealogical information on German-speaking immigrants and citizens of Chile and Mexico. Cards are arranged alphabetically by husband's surname, and provide information about place of origin, present address, when immigrated, place and date of birth and death, occupation, place and date of marriage, number of children, how many stillborn, which ones were married, living at home, and which children were illegitimate. Includes dates and places of birth and death, confirmation, marriage, religion, where and when children emigrated or moved; pedigrees for parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, often indicating when they immigrated to Latin America; and biographical and family-historical annotations.

Passports[edit | edit source]

Offices and Archives to Contact[1][edit | edit source]

Archivo Nacional de Chile[edit | edit source]

Archivo Nacional de Chile
Miraflores, 50
Santiago, Chile

Tel.: (00 56) 3605213

  • This archive offers information on individual applications for Chilean nationality from 1890 to 1948.
  • From 1935 onwards, passports and other records of foreigners taking Chilean nationality can be found, and also those of foreign nationals with permanent residence in Chile from 1940.
  • It also conserves lists of foreign passengers arriving in Chile registered by maritime departments with bases in Chilean ports.
  • The Archivo Nacional de Chile possesses databases of foreigners taking Chilean nationality or who applied for nationality between the years 1927 and 1947. There are approximately 3,500 records. Persons taking Chilean citizenship prior to 1927 can be consulted in a document published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which covers said procedures from 1890 to 1926.
  • For those interested in obtaining further information, the local newspapers published daily passenger lists and users may visit the newspaper section of the National Library and ask to browse through the relevant publications.

Archivo General Histórico del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores[edit | edit source]

Archivo General Histórico del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Teatinos 180.
Santiago, Chile

Tel.: (00 56 2) 8274200

  • The Fondo Histórico (1818-1860) may possibly hold documentation concerning Spanish immigrants.
  • The Fondo Inmigración holds documentation on migrations to Chile. This collection in general holds visa and settlement applications, national policies on immigration, etc.
  • The Censo General de la República which was taken in 1907 in the territory between the province of Tacna to the north and the province of Magallanes to the south, holds valuable information about Spanish immigrants. Nevertheless, several General Censuses were taken from 1835 which should also be taken into account.

Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) in Seville, Spain[edit | edit source]

Archivo General de Indias
Edificio de la LonjaAv. De la Constitución
3 Edificio de La Cilla
C/Santo Tomás
541071 Seville
Contact Form
Telephone: (34) 95 450 05 28 Fax: (34) 95 421 94 85
The Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, is the repository for Spanish documents dealing with the Spanish colonial period in the Americas. You may want to look for your ancestor’s records in the following sections of the archive:

  • Informaciones de Méritos y Servicios de los Descubridores/Conquistadores (Information on Merits and Services of the Discoverers and Conquerors). This contains documents of the ships and passengers who sailed to the colonies during the early 1500s.
  • Casa de Contratación de las Indias (House of Contracts of the Indies). This is an excellent documentation of passenger lists for ships sailing to the American colonies between 1509 and 1701, as well as petitions and licenses for permission to emigrate during the period 1534 to 1790.
  • Informaciones y licencias de pasajeros (Passenger information and permits)'. This covers the period between 1534 and 1790 and comprises all the information or evidence that had to be submitted to the Casa de la Contratación by anyone who wished to travel to the newly-discovered territories, and the permits issued by the chairman and official judges of the Casa. In this information, passengers had to provide proof of their standing as long-term Christians. Therefore, some files include baptism and marriage certificates which give biographical and genealogical information not only on the passengers, but also on the people that accompanied them.

Online Records From Archivo General de Indias[edit | edit source]

Finding the Town of Origin in Chile[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Chile, see Chile Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Chile Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.==Immigration Records== Ship arrivals and passenger lists provide the best documentation of immigrants who came to South America after the middle of the 19th century. These records are housed in the national archives of each of the countries in South America. For information about archives, see Chile Archives and Libraries. The information contained in passenger lists varies over time but usually includes the name of the emigrant, age, occupation, and destination. In addition, names of other family members, last town of residence, and birthplace may be given.

Immigration Background[edit | edit source]

Spanish Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Spain Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • Spanish immigration was the most important during the colonial period.
  • Before 1775, most of the emigrants from Spain came from the regions of Castilla, Andalucía, or Extremadura.
  • Since Chile became an independent republic, Spanish immigration is estimated at 40,000 people settling between 1880 and 1940.
  • Almost 11,000 Spaniards also arrived in Araucanía between 1883 and 1901, after the Occupation of Araucanía. These colonists were given lands in the Chilean Central Valley and their descendants are principally found in Temuco, Concepción, and Ercilla.
  • The Spanish Civil War spurred some 3,000 people to immigrate to Chile at the end of the 1930s, primarily being Catalan and Basque.[2]

Basque Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Spain Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans
France Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • Estimates of the number of Chileans with Basque ancestry currently range from 10% (1,600,000) to as high as 27% (4,700,000). The Basque community in Chile is large, visible, and has existed since the 16th century.
  • The Basque presence in Chile began in the conquistador period. A contingent from the Basque Provinces, including Navarra, was part of the original Spanish army. In the 16th century, of the 157 families from the Iberian Peninsula that settled in Chile, 39 had Basque surnames. The number grew steadily, and many Chilean governors have been of Basque origin.
  • During the 18th century, Chile saw a mass immigration coming from the Basque country. By the end of the 18th century, Chileans with Basque surnames comprised 27% of the Chilean population. Basques became the most important regional group in the population. These immigrant families initially dedicated themselves to their preferred forms of business, and in successive years entered into many alliances with families of Castilian origin possessing lands and titles, giving birth to a new social group known in Chilean history as the "Castilian-Basque Aristocracy."
  • In the second half of the 19th century came a new wave of Basque immigration, with as many from the French Basque country as from the Spanish Basque country. The migratory flood continued, with varying intensity, almost until the end of the Spanish Civil War.[2]

French Immigrants[edit | edit source]

France Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • There are 800,000 descendants of the French in Chile today. The French came to Chile in the 18th century, arriving at Concepción as merchants, and in the mid-19th century to cultivate vines in the haciendas of the 'Central Valley', the homebase of world-famous Chilean wine.
  • The Araucanía Region also has an important number of people of French ancestry, as the area hosted settlers arrived by the second half of the 19th century as farmers and shopkeepers.
  • By 1854 there were 1654 Frenchmen in Chile, by 1895 it rose to 8266; about 80% of them arrived 'from Southwestern France, especially from Basses-Pyrénées (Basque country and Béarn), Gironde, Charente-Inférieure and Charente and regions situated between Gers and Dordogne.[2]

German Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Germany Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • According to 2019 census and estimations, 9,689 German immigrants resided in Chile at that time, and their descendants are 800,000 people.[43] The origin of the massive immigration of Germans (includes Poles due to Partitions of Poland) to Chile is found in the so-called "Law of Selective Immigration" of 1845. The "law's" objective was to bring middle and upper-class people to colonize regions in the south of Chile, between Valdivia and Puerto Montt. More than 6,000 families arrived in Chile during this period alone.
  • Later years brought a new, great wave of German immigrants who settled throughout the country, especially in Temuco, Santiago, and in the country's principal commercial zones.
  • During World War II, many German Jews' settled in Chile, fleeing the Holocaust.
  • After the war, many leaders and collaborators from Nazi Germany sought to take refuge in the southern region of the country. [2]

British and Irish Immigrants[edit | edit source]

England Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans
Ireland Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans
Scotland Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • British descendants in Chile are estimated to number between 350,000 and 420,000 to 700,000; with 120,000 Irish-Chileans. The English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish population rose to more than 32,000 during the port of Valparaíso's boom period at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century during the saltpeter bonanza.
  • The English immigration and influence was also important in the northern regions of the country during the saltpeter boom, in the ports of Iquique and Pisagua. [2]

Croatian Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Croatia Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • One of the most important groups of European immigrants in Chile are the Croats, whose number of descendants today (2009) is estimated to be 400,000 persons. Other authors claim, on the other hand, that close to 4.6% of the Chilean population must have some Croatian ancestry. According to some references, up to 50% of the population of Punta Arenas are descendants of Croats. Chile is the second-ranked country in the world for number of Croatian descendants, after Croatia itself.
  • The first Croatian immigrants came from Dalmatia, arriving in the mid-19th century in escape from the wars unleashed in that region or from pestilence on the islands in the Adriatic Sea.
  • The major concentrations of Croatians can be found in Santiago, Antofagasta, and Punta Arenas, but a large concentration also exists in Viña del Mar, Porvenir, and La Serena.
  • Most Croatian immigrants, approximately 58,000, arrived in Chile at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, up until World War I. Consequently, the Croatian colony in Chile was officially considered Austro-Hungarian.
  • The Croatian immigrants dedicated themselves to business. In Punta Arenas, they dedicated themselves to the estates, or the extraction of gold, primarily found in Cañón Baquedano. In the north of Chile, they dedicated themselves to mining saltpeter. [2]

Italian Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Italy Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • In 1989, the estimated number of people of Italian descent in Chile was 300,000 persons.
  • After independence, the Chilean government encouraged Italian emigration especially in the 1860s and 1870s.
  • There was a substantial flow of migration 'from Liguria to the area of Valparaíso.
  • Larger numbers of Italian immigrants to Chile were from the Northern Italian regions such as Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and Lombardy. Italian Chileans contributed to the development, cultivation and ownership of the world-famous Chilean wines from haciendas in the Central Valley.
  • At the end of the 19th century many Italian merchants are rooted in the northern part of Arica, where they began exploiting the rich mines of saltpetre.
  • Meanwhile, many Italian families settled in the capital Santiago, Concepción, Viña del Mar, La Serena and Punta Arenas.[2]

Greek Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Greece Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • The Greek community in Chile are estimated to number from 90,000 to 120,000, and reside either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area, mostly. Chile is one of the 5 countries with the most descendants of Greeks in the world.
  • The majority of Greek immigrants arrived in Chile at the beginning of century, some as part of their spirit of adventure and escape from the rigors of World War I and the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922, although many Greeks had already settled in Antofagasta, including crews of the ships for the Pacific War (1879–1883) in the naval battle of Iquique in 1879.[2]

Switzerland[edit | edit source]

Switzerland Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • There are currently 5,000 Swiss citizens residing in Chile, and between 90,000 and 100,000 Swiss descendants, of whom 60,000 are from colonizations sponsored by the State of Chile in 19th century, and another 30,000 are emigrants during World War I and II.
  • Swiss migration to Chile took place at the end of the 19th century, between 1883 and 1900, particularly to the area of Araucanía, especially to Victoria and Traiguén. It is estimated that more than 8,000 Swiss families received grants of land.
  • The Federal Council in 1881 authorized specialized agencies to operate in Switzerland to recruit migrants.
  • The first group was composed of 1311 families who landed in a Chilean port 19 December 1883. Between 1883 and 1886 12,602 people, representing 7% of emigration from Switzerland overseas, traveled to the territory of Araucanía. The operations continued until 1890, when it was recorded that 22,708 Swiss had come to the heart of the Araucania.
  • Between 1915 and 1950, after the last recorded mass exodus of Swiss to Chile 30,000 Swiss residents were found to be installed in the central area of the country, primarily in Santiago and Valparaiso.[2]

Argentinian Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Argentina Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • The first Argentines arrived when the Organization of the Republic of Chile was launched in 1823 after Independence, as was the case with both Manuel Blanco Encalada and Bartolomé Mitre.
  • In the mid-1990s, when the first symptoms of the Argentine economic and social crises began to be noted, and especially when the crisis exploded at the end of 2001, over 100,000 left Argentina for Chile. As a result, in early 2005 they succeeded in becoming the first true foreign colony in the country.[2]

Peruvian Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Peru Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Chileans

  • At the end of the 20th century, Chile's economic prosperity began to produce a rapid growth in Peruvian immigration to the central zone of the country. Although many Peruvian immigrants were professionals and held important positions in companies, the majority were of low socioeconomic origin in search of new opportunities for their families.
  • Peruvian immigrants formed one of the principal foreign colonies in Chile. Some groups of Peruvians have named one of the principal locations of the Peruvian colony "Little Lima" (Pequeña Lima). It is located in the vicinity of the Plaza de Armas in Santiago.
  • The number of Peruvians in Chile is estimated at 85,000, principally residing in Santiago.[2]

3.5 Immigration from the USA and Canada [2]

Middle Eastern Immigrants[edit | edit source]

  • It is estimated that close to 4% of the Chilean population is of Asian origin, who are Asian immigrants and descendants, chiefly of the Middle East. There are a large community of Arab Chileans (i.e. Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Middle East Armenians), and the total number are around 800,000.
  • Chile is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant. Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile. The earliest such migrants came in the 1850s, with others arriving during World War I and later after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. [2]

Smaller Immigrant Groups[edit | edit source]

For background information on immmigration of smaller groups, see Immigration to Chile in Wikipedia. This includes information on immigrants from the Netherlands, , Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Emigration Records[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for immigration records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into.

Emigration Background[edit | edit source]

Emigration of Chileans has decreased during the last decade: It is estimated that 857,781 Chileans live abroad, 50.1% of those being in Argentina (the highest number), 13.3% in the United States, 8.8% in Brazil, 4.9% in Sweden, and around 2% in Australia, with the rest being scattered in smaller numbers across the globe. Other Chilean refugees settled (not ranked by order of size) in Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, and Italy.

Many pro-Allende refugees in the 1970s fled to East Germany. While anti-Pinochet refugees formed a large expatriate community in Europe and a smaller community in North America (the US and Canada).

Over 100,000 Chileans fleeing from both regimes in the 1970s and 1980s settled in the US, a small number compared to other Latino groups. The highest number settled in Miami, Florida, but smaller enclaves are in Washington, D.C.; New York City; and California (the Los Angeles area – Beverly Hills and Long Beach; and San Francisco – San Mateo County).

Approximately 2,500 Chilean exiles fled to the UK in the early 1970s and by most recent estimates the Chilean British population is in its tens of thousands, and represents a significant proportion of the UK's Latin American community. By far the largest concentration of Chileans can be found in London with significant other communities being Birmingham, Sheffield and the Manchester–Liverpool Metropolitan area.

Historic emigration took place in the early 19th century when Chilean ranchers went to Mexico after their independence. Thousands of miners from Chile went to California, the U.S. during the 1850s California Gold Rush, as well in other gold rushes in Colorado (1870s) and the Yukon (1890s). Small numbers of Chilean miners also migrated to South Africa and Australia for the same reason.[3]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 "Immigration to Chile", in Wikipedia,, accessed 25 May 2021.
  3. "Chileans", in Wikipedia,, accessed 25 May 2021.