Palestinian immigration from Latin American and middle eastern perspectives

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The data obtained from Chile and Palestine suggests that there was only one significant immigration wave from Palestine to Chile - from the end of the nineteenth century until the First World War. This immigration was enabled by favourable global conditions such as available and reliable transportation, rather than being provoked by the exceptional hardship alleged to have occurred during those years. Palestinian immigration was chain migration: family members followed those who had immigrated earlier. Nonetheless, these were relatively short chains, which included only a handful of links. Those who arrived from Bethlehem and Bayt-Jala tended to marry Palestinian partners. These partners probably also stemmed from the same towns. Palestinians who arrived from other places often found local partners. Agar and Saffie have already demonstrated that the number of Palestinians in Chile is far fewer than the 350,000 suggested by Baeza, not to mention the 500,000 indicated by less credible sources. Yet, Agar and Saffie dealt with descendants, which is merely a technical term indicating someone with at least one Arab great-grandparent. It seems very difficult to determine to what extent such people identify themselves with their Arab or Palestinian origins. Therefore, the number of those who consider themselves Chileans of Palestinian origin is lower than 50,000, but how large precisely can only be speculated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-532
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Migration History
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2019.


  • Chain migration
  • Chile
  • Palestine


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