Chileans are basically descendants of Spaniards and Amerindians, with a small but significant influence of European immigrants, during the 19th and 20th centuries.
People of indigenous origin (cultural or genetic) are mainly found in rural areas. Initially in the post-independence era, immigrants represented no more than 2% of the total population, but this percentage has increased considerably to hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of German, English, French, Croatian, and Palestinian origin, to name the most representative. Between 2014 and 2017, immigration has shown an upward flow that led to a 232% increase in the number of foreign citizens living in Chile, reaching an estimated 1,251,225 by 2018, mainly from Peru (266,244), Colombia (145,139), Venezuela (134,390), Bolivia (122,773), Haiti (112,414), Argentina (87,926) and Ecuador (39,556).
Approximately 12,000 years ago, numerous indigenous peoples settled in the central and southern part of Chile; the predominant and most important culture is the Mapuche (meaning "people of the land") until the Spanish conquest. During the colonial period, Spanish troops were sent by the crown to ensure control of them. Spaniards arrived from all regions of Spain, mainly from Andalusia, Extremadura, the Basque Country, Asturias, Navarra and Castile. The Mapuche people heroically resisted the Spanish invasion, being able to maintain their territories in the south of Chile until the end of the colonization.
The typical and best known folklore of Chile, is of Spanish origin and is represented by the "Huaso" which is the country man, located mainly in the central part of the country. Its main activities are related to agriculture and cattle raising. The Spanish influence is evident, for example in the huaso's clothing which has clear Andalusian influences, as well as their dances which have been adapted to local conditions.
The Rapanui settled on what is now known as Easter Island (Rapa Nui), around the 4th century AD, coming from eastern Polynesia, probably from the Marquesas. These travelers led by Hotu Matu'a, escaping from a war or a flooded island, arrived at the beach known today as Anakena. They started to build the "Ahu", a kind of altars and tombs, which evolved over the centuries into large statues (Moais) several meters long with a type of construction very similar to Inca walls thousands of kilometers away. On September 9, 1888, Captain Policarpo Toro Hurtado signed a treaty of cession and annexation with the chiefs of the island. In this treaty, Chile committed itself to being a "friend of the island" and in practice this meant that Easter Island or Rapanui became part of the state of Chile.
Aimara or Aymara, is the name given to a people from South America who have inhabited the Andean plateau of Lake Titicaca for thousands of years since pre-Columbian times, dividing its population between western Bolivia, southern Peru, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina. Aymara speakers associate themselves as the civilization centered in Tiahuanaco (Tiwanaku), although Tiahuanaco is a later culture followed by the Incas. There is linguistic evidence to suggest that the Aymara came from further north, occupying the Titicaca plateau after the fall of Tiahuanaco. No evidence has been found of inhabitants of the Tiahuanaco civilization having a written language. In Chile there are 48,000 Aymaras in the areas of Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta.
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