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Palestinians in Chile Constitute the Largest Population Outside of the Arab World

First Posted: Aug 14, 2014 02:32 PM EDT

Several hundred thousand Palestinians living in Chile constitute the largest population outside an Arab nation, according to BBC.

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation -- an international institution originating in Germany -- estimated that of the 10 million Palestinians living worldwide, no other country has the largest population outside of Arab countries.

The population in Chile surpasses Egypt and Lebanon but is just less than Syria.

Recently, about 5,000 people -- including a number of Palestinians among other groups -- marched in the Chilean capital of Santiago to encourage the government to break ties with Israel, according to Reuters.

The government would be acting as an accomplice to this huge massacre that Israel is carrying out against Palestine," Palestinian descendant Uasim Barros said.

Similarly, any attacks or apparent political moves that offend Palestinian is noted in the country.

When a cartoon about the bombings in Gaza was published in a Chilean newspaper, several businessmen penned letters against it, BBC reported.

But the exact number of Palestinians is hard to know, including the number of descendants, due to the various influxes throughout history.

A Palestinian mayor visited Chile and said the population was at least 20 times the 400,00 residents in his town.

During the time of the Ottoman Empire, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese migrated to Chlie.

Between 1885 and 1940, the Arabs numbered between 8,000 and 10,000 people in Chile, half of them Palestinian, according to the book "The Arab world and Latin America," BBC reported.

"They come in a favorable situation," Professor Eugene Chahuán, at the Center for Arabic Studies at the University of Chile, told BBC. "The country was in a process of modernization. Those who came brought a larger socio-cultural level, were more cosmopolitan because Jerusalem was closer to the center of the world in Chile."

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