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The «Odyssey» of Greeks in Chile, recorded in a historical and sociological study

After a systematic 15 year research, even in the cemeteries of the most remote town of Chile, with information for Greeks – dating from 1536 – and more recent immigrant interviews, “Greeks in Chile” was published. The book is based on a historical and sociological study, recording the “Odyssey” of Greeks in Chile.

The authors are Alexandros D. Zorbas, former director of the Center of Greek, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of Universidad de Chile and Nikiforos Nikolaidis, SAE Coordinator in Latin America and successful businessman in Chile.

The book presentation took place in Santiago in a crowded hall of University De Las Americas, on the occasion of the 200 year celebration for the independence of Chile. The presentation was attended by representatives of the Greek and Chilean state, as well as many Greeks and Philhellenes.

“Their migration causes, their relations with the locals, their effort to keep the language alive, religion, customs and traditions, here in this corner of the Latin American south, are described in a picturesque manner in this edition. The book “Greeks in Chile” is a life’s work, a dedication to the historical memory of the Greek Diaspora in Chile, which has been through a lot all these years and continues its course, with pride and faith in the ideals and values of cultural heritage”, stated the ambassador of Greece in Chile, Chryssoula Karykopoulou – Vlavianou.

“This book is a comprehensive study, objective and accurate. It is a part of the history of Diaspora Greeks, but also a part of the history of Chile”, mentioned Marina Gonzales Beker to ANAMPA, director of the Greek Studies Centre of University de Playa Ancha – Valparaiso, who also presented the book during the event.

“We needed to have our history in a book. So that the older will remember, but more importantly for the younger generations to learn. This book is a legacy to keep us Greeks in Chile united, but also to make us more proud.” Stated the President of the Greek community in Santiago, Mario Mancuso.

“Greeks in Chile” is a bilingual edition, in Greek and Spanish, while the cost for research and publishing was covered by the authors. As it is explained by the authors in the preface, their aim is not to make a profit from this publication.

“All Greeks in Chile helped the writing of this book. There are those who have a good memory and those who don’t. Those who remember more, helped unfold the unknown history of Greeks in this faraway country. Our research however will not stop with the publication of this book. Every day we have more evidence. The history of Greeks in Chile is long, starting from 1536. Today we realize that the 439 pages of this book are too few to accommodate this Odyssey. Thus, we will continue our research efforts” states Nikiforos Nikolaides, author of the book.

“I think we should make a special reference to Greek immigrant women. At least from the data we have on Chile, one can easily realize the importance of her role towards the success of Greeks in this corner of the earth, through her intellectual value and hard work”, added professor Alexandros D. Zorbas.

Source: ANAMPA

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