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1883: the emigration to Chile

In 1883, the first European and Valaisan immigrants arrived at Araucania in the south of Chile, a region that had been annexed only two years before.
In 1883, the first European and Valaisan immigrants arrived at Araucania in the south of Chile, a region that had been annexed only two years before.

Inhabited mainly by Mapuche Amerindians, it was conquered after a 20-year-long war of territorial expansion that the government labelled a war of "pacification".

A number of Valaisans who eventually settled in Chile first emigrated to Argentina, then crossed the Andes, especially into the province of Victoria. In 1900, there were 172 Valaisans established in Chile.

The emigration to Chile was organized mainly by the general agency Rommel & Cie. in Basel, which was represented in the Valais by the notary Joseph Brindlen in Sion. As with the other emigration countries, the Valaisan press spread propaganda aimed at dissuading people from leaving for Chile in late 1883; the Department of the Interior issued a memorandum warning people about the conditions of settling in Chile, while the Federal Council prevented Rommel & Cie. from drawing up further emigration contracts.

 

Bibliography

Alexandre CARRON & Christophe CARRON, Nos cousins d’Amérique. Histoire de l’émigration valaisanne en Amérique du Sud au XIXe siècle (2 vols.). Sierre, 1989 and 1990.

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