An Encounter with the Greeks of Chile

There has been a community of Greeks in Chile since the sixteenth century. According to official figures there are between 90,000 and 120,000 Chileans of Greek origin.[citation needed] Most reside either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area.

The first immigrants arrived during the sixteenth century from Crete, so named “Candia” in honor of the island’s capital, the current Heraklion. The surname, although at present, is very disconnected from its ancient origins. 

The majority of Greek immigrants arrived in Chile at the beginning of century, some as part of their spirit of adventure and escape from the rigors of the World War and the catastrophe of Smyrna in Asia Minor, although many Greeks had already settled in Antofagasta, including crews of the ships commanded by Arturo Prat for the Pacific War (1879–1883) in naval battle of Iquique (boatswain Constantine Micalvi).

Amid this flood of foreigners who populated northern Chilean appeared the Greeks. There were numerous Collectivité Hellenic whose records were listed in two sources. 

One of these was the extensive collaboration that gave the Chilean press through its pages in the newspaper El Mercurio. The other end of the fire under the rubble of the first home that housed the proto-Hellenes of Chile.

According to El Mercurio of Antofagasta, between the years 1920 and 1935 there were about 4,000 Greeks in the city and other 3,000 in saltpeter offices.

In 1926 the first women’s association for excellence, filóptoxos (friends of the poor) which was chaired by Xrisí Almallotis. Since then to date there have been about four or five generations of descendants of Greeks. 

Some have moved south and are grouped mainly in Santiago and Valparaíso. Others returned to the motherland after the first war but most of the immigrants stayed in their new country and founded numerous Greek-Chilean families.

The main member of this community the employer is Don Constantino Kochifas Carcamo, owner of the ships Skorpios at Cruceros Skorpios in Puerto Montt.

Antofagasta is a community in Latin America established in 1890, notable for a town anniversary on the 14th of February, in which foreign communities present a stand. Many of the original families moved to Santiago and Valparaíso, however there are still an estimated seventy current residents who were born in Greece.

 Notable people

Mónica de Calixto, TV journalist.

Giakumis Kodogiannis, footballer.

Uranía Haltenhoff Nikiforos, model.

Alexandros Jusakos, public figure.

Constantino Kochifas, public figure.

Miguel Littín Cucumides, film director and writer.

Demetrio Marinakis, public figure.

Diana Massis, political.

Patricio Mekis Spikin, public figure.

Federico Mekis, political.

Gabriel Orphanopoulos Barker, Sportsmanship.

Arístides Progulakis, TV journalist.

Stavros Mosjos, CNN journalist and radio host.

Víctor Tevah Tellias, public figure.

Leonor Varela, actress.

Alex Zisis, actor.

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