Compared with other South American countries, Chile has a population that is relatively homogeneous. The early Spanish settlers intermarried with the Native Americans, notably the Araucanian. Mestizos, people of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry, constitute 93 percent of the current population. Only 3 percent of the population is pure Native American, mainly Araucanians who are concentrated in the southern region, and 2 percent of the country’s population is of unmixed European stock. European immigration has not been as important in Chile as in other countries of the Americas.
German immigrants have, however, been an important influence in the southern and south-central provinces of Valdivia, Llanquihue, and Osorno. An Irish Chilean, Bernardo O’Higgins, led Chile’s struggle for independence.
German immigrants arrived in Chile following the failure of the liberal revolutions of 1848 in Germany. They settled the rainy and, until then, largely unimproved provinces south of the Biobío River. This region had remained largely controlled until the mid-19th century by the indigenous Araucanians. The German settlers introduced small industries and farming and in the lake district established resorts that remain popular with tourists.
Small groups of settlers from Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and Yugoslavia also came in the mid-19th century. Most of them settled in the same area as the Germans.
The population of Chile at the 2018 census was 18,150,435. The 2009 estimated population was 16,601,707, giving the country an overall population density of 22 persons per sq km (57 per sq mi). About nine-tenths of the people live in the central region between Concepción and La Serena. Chile is one of the most urbanized countries in South America. About 88 percent of the population lives in urban centers, and nearly one-third of the country’s population lives in the capital city of Santiago.
Communities both in the south and in the northern desert are generally isolated and separated by vast, virtually unpopulated stretches. Most of the people in the north work in mining towns or seaports. Punta Arenas in southern Chile is one of the southernmost cities in the world. "Chile" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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