There are about half a million Palestinians residing in Chile today. It is the largest Palestinian community outside the Arab world. Majority of the early migrants were Christians, who made their way from Argentine ports, crossed the Andes and arrived at Chile.
Though most of them came as a result of war, & fleeing religious oppression by Ottoman colonial forces in the region, they were considered economic migrants from Syria, Lebanon & Palestine. Some were refugees under UNHCR but not UNRWA, with no right of return.
The first wave of Palestinian migrants came during the Crimean War 1853-1856. The immediate cause of the war involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, then a part of the Ottoman Empire, which Russia threatened to capture and control.
The second wave of migration, due to Ottoman Empire oppression, arrived during World War I. By origin they primarily came from the cities of Beit Jala, Bethlehem, and Beit Sahour.
They were mistakenly called turcos due to Ottomans forcing on them a Turkish nationality.
The Christian Palestinian segment of Chile make 95% of the Arab population. Their lore has it that virtually the entirety of their extended community traces its lineage to four men the "Four Jorges", pioneers who encouraged their community to follow them to a new "promised land".
Chileans of Palestinian descent have become thoroughly integrated into the mainstream of the country's society, branching out from their virtual monopoly of the textile industry to make advances in other professions. Many have risen to the upper ranks of academia, & the military.
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