- Maria Montt StrabucchiMaria Montt StrabucchiPontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile & Millenium Nucleus ICLAC
China’s growth as a global power in the 21st century offers an opportunity to reexamine its historical relationship with Latin America. An analysis of the connections between China and Chile provide for a better understanding of the formation of the migration, diplomacy, cultural-influence, war, and labor-force networks. Asian-Latin American exchanges and hence Chilean-Chinese relations can be traced back to the Manila Galleon. The first Chinese people arrived in Chile in the 1850s as part of the coolie trade (slavery was forbidden by the Chilean constitution) after Gideon Nye Jr. was named Chilean honorary consul in Guangzhou (Cantón) in 1845. After the war between Peru and Chile (1879–1884) a large number of Chinese working on Peruvian plantations joined the Chilean army as an alternative to the onerous labor conditions imposed upon them. Because of the saltpeter boom and the consequences of the world crisis of 1929, the first decades of the 20th century saw the settlement of many Cantonese workers in Northern Chile.
In 1915, Chile inaugurated diplomatic relations with the newly established Republic of China. These relations were maintained until 1970; that year, Chile opened formal diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the PRC developed a cultural-diplomacy policy, and many Chileans visited the Asian country. In 1952, the Chile-China Cultural Association (Instituto Chileno Chino de Cultura) was established in Santiago, Chile. With the arrival of Salvador Allende to power in 1970, formal diplomatic relations were established, a demand of the Chilean Left. Chilean-Chinese relations have continued uninterrupted to date, completing fifty years of diplomatic ties in 2020. While there is undoubtedly room for improvement in mutual knowledge, which would also help in removing historical prejudices, the early 21st century has seen the Chinese community in Chile grow along with the intensification of exchanges between both countries.
- History of Southern Spanish America
- History of Latin America and the Oceanic World
- Diplomatic History