Culture in Chile

Explore the fascinating culture of Chile

In early times, Chile was a center for indigenous culture. With the Inca's extending their rule in the North here, and the local Mapuche and Araucanian tribes lending their cultures from the central and southern regions, it was a virtual center-stage for diversity. However, when the Spaniards arrived during the colonial period, they greatly influenced local cultures and customs almost eradicating certain practices. Much later in the 19th century, the English and French started to exert their influence on the country. However, a few traditions and cultures have managed to survive and others have mingled with the new cultures to produce something truly unique to the region.

The national dance of the cueca is one example of this. Another traditional item is the song called the tonada. The tonada is derived from the music brought to the country with Spanish colonists. The 1960s saw a revival of traditional native music and some songs even became associated with political activism. Many traditional performers emerged at about this time, becoming famous for their music and performances. In the 1970s this wonderful freedom of musical expression was surpressed. All protest songs that were contrary to the junta were repressed. The 1980s and 1990s saw a resurgence in local music and many new musical bands began to appear.

Besides music, Chileans are also famous for their poets and writers. Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda both won Nobel Literature prizes for their work. Several Chilean novelists have achieved worldwide fame through their works, while many more have become popular in their own country. Isabel Allende is one such writer whose stories of magic realism in the country have proved to appeal to a much larger audience than just that of her own country.

Though Chile has not made great waves in the way of film production, it has been very involved in the industry. Many great film-makers have emerged from the country and the industry continues to grow - faster now than ever before. One can be sure that Chile will soon emerge as a great presence on the cinematic scene.


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