French Chilean

France French Chilean Chile
Regions with significant populations
Throughout Chile
Chilean Spanish, French, Basque, Occitan
Predominantly Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
French people, French Argentine, French Uruguayan, French Canadian

A French Chilean (French: Franco-Chilien, Spanish: franco-chileno) is a Chilean citizen of full or partial French ancestry. Between 1840 and 1940, 20,000 to 25,000 French people immigrated to Chile.[1] The country received the fourth largest number of French immigrants to South America after Argentina (239,000), Brazil (40,000) and Uruguay (more than 25,000).

French immigration to Chile

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. With akin Latin culture, the French immigrants quickly assimilated into mainstream Chilean society.

From 1840 to 1940, around 25,000 Frenchmen immigrated to Chile. 80% of them were coming from Southwestern France, especially from Basses-Pyrénées (Basque country and Béarn), Gironde, Charente-Inférieure and Charente and regions situated between Gers and Dordogne.[2]

Most of French immigrants settled in the country between 1875 and 1895. Between October 1882 and December 1897, 8,413 Frenchmen settled in Chile,[3] making up 23% of immigrants (second only after Spaniards) from this period. In 1863, 2,650 French citizens were registered in Chile. At the end of the century they were almost 30,000.[4] According to the census of 1865, out of 83,220 foreigners established in Chile, 6,483 were French, the third largest European community in the country after Germans and Englishmen.[5] In 1875, the community reached 3,000 members,[6] 12% of the almost 85,000 foreigners established in the country. It was estimated that 10,000 Frenchmen were living in Chile in 1912, 7% of the 149,400 Frenchmen living in Latin America.[7]

In World War II, a group of over 10,000 Chileans of French descent joined the Free French Forces and fought the Nazi occupation of France .

Today it is estimated that 500,000 Chileans are of French descent.

Current president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet is of French origin. Former dictator Augusto Pinochet is another Chilean of French descent. A large percentage of politicians, businessmen, professionals and entertainers in the country are of French ancestry.


French painter Raymond Monvoisin lived in Chile from 1842 to 1854 and founded the Academy of Fine Arts of Santiago. French architect François Brunet de Baines founded the city's first school of architecture.[8]

Prominent French Chileans

See also


  1. "L'émigration française au Chili". En l'espace d'un siècle, entre 20.000 et 25.000 de nos concitoyens ont quitté la France pour s'installer au Chili.
  2. "La emigración francesa en Chile, 1875-1914". El 80% de los colonos que llegan a Chile provienen del País Vasco, del Bordelais, de Charentes y de las regiones situadas entre Gers y Périgord.
  3. "La emigración francesa en Chile, 1875-1914: entre integración social y mantenimiento de la especificidad". Según los documentos oficiales del Ministerio chileno de relaciones exteriores, entre octubre de 1882 y diciembre de 1897 la entrada de franceses en el país se estima en 8.413 personas
  4. "La influencia francesa en la vida social de Chile de la segunda mitad del siglo XIX" (PDF). Los datos que poseía el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Francia ya en 1863, cuando aúno se abría Agencia General de Colonización del Gobierno de Chile en Europa, con sede en París, daban cuenta de 2.650 ciudadanos franceses residentes. Esta cifra fue aumentando paulatinamente hasta llegar, tal como lo consignaba el Ministerio Plenipotenciario Francés en Chile, a un número cercano a los 30.000 franceses residentes a fines del siglo.
  5. Journal des économistes. Le recensement de la population du Chili a constaté la présence de 23,220 étrangers. (...) Nous trouvons les étrangers établis au Chili répartis par nationalité de la manière suivante : Allemands (3,876), Anglais (2,818), Français (2,483), Espagnols (1,247), Italiens (1,037), Nord-Américains (831), Portugais (313) (page 281).
  6. A history of Chile, 1808-2002. p. 29. The census of twenty-one years later put the total at around 35,000 - including 5,000 French.
  7. L'Amérique latine et l'Europe à l'heure de la mondialisation. p. 194. Chili : 10 000 (7%).
  8. France and the Americas. p. 30. Raymond Monvoisin lived in Chile from 1842 to 1854, founding the Academy of Fine Arts of Santiago. François Brunet de Baines (1799-1855) founded the city's first school of architecture

External links

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