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Croatian Chileans (Chileno-croatas, Spanish pronunciation: [tʃiˈleno kɾoˈata]; Croatian: čileanski Hrvati) are an important ethnic group in Chile; they are citizens of Chile who were either born in Europe or are Chileans of Croatian descent deriving their Croatian ethnicity from one or both parents. Chile has one of the largest communities of ethnic Croats outside the Balkan Peninsula and it is one of the most significant Croatian communities – second only to Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are one of the main examples of successful assimilation of a non-Spanish-speaking European ethnic group into Chilean society. Many successful entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and prominent politicians holding the highest offices in the country have been of Croatian descent.

Croatia Croatian Chileans Chile
Total population
2.2% of Chile's population[1][2][better source needed]
Regions with significant populations
Punta Arenas, Santiago, Antofagasta, Iquique
Chilean Spanish, Croatian
Christianity, mainly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Croatian diaspora, Croats


19th Century ad-poster of Croatian ship ready to travel to South America.

The oppression of the Croatian people and the denial of an internationally recognised nation was the principal factor leading them to embark on a constant migration to Chile. At first they were recognised and officially registered as former citizens of the countries or empires from which they had fled. For example, until 1915 they were recognised as Austrians, and since then to 1990 as Yugoslavians. Since 1990, and in accordance to the establishment of the new internationally recognised Republic of Croatia, Chilean Croats have reasserted their cultural and ethnic identity.[3]

The Croatian community first established itself in two provinces situated in the extreme ends of Chile: Antofagasta, in the Atacama desert of the north and Punta Arenas in the Patagonian region in the south. The massive arrival of Croats in Chile began in 1864 and the migration grew steadily until 1956 – reaching a number of more than 6,000. In the early part of this 1864–1956 era more Croats settled in Argentina than in Chile. For example, in Argentina the number reached 80,000, but only about 57% of these Croats remained in Argentina. Some of these returned to Europe or moved and settled in Chile where Croats had a more rapid and successful assimilation, which led to a significant increase in the Chilean-Croat population in periods when there was no migration of Croats from Europe to the Americas.[4] Included are Istro-Romanians, who became adjusted to Chilean society because of the linguistic similarities between Istro-Romanian and Spanish, as well as Latin identity of Istro-Romanians.

It is estimated that there are up to 100,000–140,000 Chileans of Croatian descent.[5][6] Even though the number may be much higher with some demographic analysts estimating a figure of 200,000.[7]

Dalmatian-Croatian in ChileEdit

The first issue of the publication Sloboda was published in March 1902, in Antofagasta. It was the first newspaper of the Croatian immigrants in Latin America. The Croatian immigrants in Chile conducted extensive journalistic work since 1902, which includes more than 50 newspapers, publications and newsletters.

The Dalmatian coast, with its thousands of islands of white rock covered with vineyards, pine forests and olive trees, is similar to the geographical conditions of Chile. Most families have a relative or descendant in Chile. Chile's name, unlike other parts of the world where it is almost unknown, is loved and admired by many Dalmatians as a second home.[8] The Dalmatians once spoke their own Italo-Balkans (Romance) language in the turn of the 20th century.

Croatians in Punta ArenasEdit

Punta Arenas is the most prominent settlement on the Strait of Magellan and the capital of the Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile. It has a population of over 146,000 inhabitants (2008). The city has its roots among the population origin of the European colonists (Croatian and Spanish) that populated the area in the mid-nineteenth century. There are also descendants of people from other countries (i.e. German, English, Italian, Swiss and others).

Croatian immigration in Punta Arenas was a crucial development in the region of Magallanes and the city in particular. Currently, it is possible to see this influence in the names of shops and many buildings.[9]

Chilean CroatsEdit

Political figuresEdit

Academics and scientistsEdit



Media personalitiesEdit

Business peopleEdit

Other notable Chilean croatsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "La presencia croata en Chile forma parte de la historia nacional. Se calcula que actualmente la colectividad está compuesta por cerca de 400.000 mil descendientes, muchos de los cuales han contribuido destacadamente al progreso de este país que acogió a sus familias". Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  2. ^ International Relations Quarterly Vol 2. Archived 23 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Immigración croata en Chile (1864-1930): Reafirmando una identidad croata". 10 April 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Croacia y Chile: DUBROVNIK, EL ÚLTIMO BALUARTE". 10 April 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  5. ^ Croatian Chilean.
  6. ^ Splitski osnovnoškolci rođeni u Čileu. Archived 17 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ hrvatski. Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ (in Spanish) Brač una isla "chilena" en la costa Dálmata
  9. ^ Congreso Mundial Croata: Los croatas de Chile.

External linksEdit