German Influence in Chile
by Hank Morrison

Law of Selective Immigration of 1845
The Law of Selective Immigration was meant to bring people of medium and high social/cultural levels to colonize the southern regions of Chile, between the cities of Valdivia and Puerto Montt. It was reported that about 11,000 Germans came to Chile and other parts of South America as a result. Another contributing factor to the German population in Chile is the Revolution of 1848.

German Revolution of 1848

At the time of the revolution , Germany was a collection of 39 states bound in the German Confederation. As nationalist sentiments turned into resistance, calls for unity, freedom and democracy came to threaten the monarch of the Confederation . Demands for political reform, such as freedom of the press and a parliament to represent the citizen, were granted as many of the monarchs feared the fate of Louis-Philippe of France. Along with the Law of Selective Immigration of 1845, the Revolution sparked an immigration to Chile.
Flag of the German Revolution
Flag of the German Revolution

Club Alemán de Valparaíso
This club was the first cultural organization in Chile developed for Germans.
It allowed for visitors and residents to hold cultural functions such as musical, theatre, and literary
productions and eventually became a stepping-stone in the cultural life of Valparaíso. The club had choirs and orchestras that would perform works by local musicians .
Exterior of the Club Alemán de Valparaíso
Exterior of the Club Alemán de Valparaíso

German-Chileans Today
  • · There are approximately 26,000 people who are known to have been born in Germany.
  • · About 600,000 direct descendents
  • · German is spoken by about 200,000 Chileans in daily life
  • · There are German schools and [[óndor_(newspaper)|German newspapers]]
  • Settled mainly in the Southern part of the country in cities like Validivia, Valparaiso, Temuco, Talca, Osorno, and Puerto Varasexternal image chile-map.gif

Cultural Effects of German in Chile
  • · Linguistically, the word “cachai” came from German, meaning, “ did you catch it?” or, “understand?”
  • · The food in Chile has a big German influence, such as pastries and sandwiches.
  • · Beers are very popular in Chile and the South is known for it. Kuntzman, Cristal, Austral, and Valbier are all made in Southern Chile, and have strong German influences.

Video Interview

My close friend, Analis Arámburo-Downer, is a junior here at the University of Oregon. She spent the last term studying abroad in Santiago, Chile. She has an interesting insight into the culture of Chile, and learned a lot about the German influence in the southern part of the country.

Works Cited
Aramburo-Downer, Analis. "Spanish Dialects Interview." Online interview. 6 Dec. 2009.
"German Chilean -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 08 Dec. 2009. <>.
"Reisen in Chile." Welcome to the Frontpage. Web. 08 Dec. 2009. <>.
Robertson, Priscilla. Revolutions of 1848: A Social History. New York: Princeton UP, 1967. Print.