Latinos & blond

In contrast to most countries in South America, the indigenous element is less dominant in the Chilean population. Scientific studies assume a proportion of 32 to 44 percent of American (Indian) origin and put the European influence at 52 to 68 percent. The majority of Chileans are light-skinned mestizos of Southern European appearance. In addition to the Spanish who quickly blended with the native population, many other groups of immigrants, e.g., Italians, Germans, the French, Serbo-Croats, have left their marks in Chile in terms of hair color, facial features, and family names.

The descendants of the native population who still identify with their ethnic group number about 1.6 mio. today. The largest group among these by far, the Mapuche (1.4 mio.), are concentrated in the area around Temuco, and in the Central Region they are mostly found on the periphery of the big cities. Many try their luck here in the urban centers after they have been torn from their original surroundings.

Not much has remained of the rich culture and the way of life - in harmony with the earth - of the Mapuche. Over the centuries, they have been decimated by the European conquerors, exploited as cheap labor, cheated out of their land, and forced into social isolation. And so it should hardly come as a surprise that today in the Temuco area the conflicts between Mapuche communities, who are reclaiming their ancestral land, and timber companies and settlers are escalating. On the one hand, there are more or less radical groups who want to draw attention to their situation with land occupations and arson attacks; on the other hand, there is the central government, which has so far reacted mainly with massive police violence.

Unlike in other South American countries, being of native heritage is a disgrace in Chile - the beauty ideal is being blonde, easily confirmed by TV advertising as well as the countless artificial blondes.

Despite the influence of the various immigration waves, the proportion of foreigners living in Chile in the first generation is limited, at around 8%, compared to industrialised countries. This is certainly due not least to Chile's peripheral geographical location. Venezuelans make up the lion's share of the approximately 1.5 million registered foreigners (30%) - many of whom only immigrated in the wake of the crisis in Venezuela in recent years - followed by Peruvians (16%), Haitians (12%) and Colombians (11%, all figures from 2019). Incidentally, the descendants of immigrants born in Chile automatically receive Chilean citizenship.