From Polar Winds to Tropical Breezes
Chapter 12: The Successful Women of Chile
Mahia S. Saracostti, Silvia Inés Monserrat and ComunidadMujer1 CHILE: LAND OF POETS Chile is located in south-west South America (Figure 12.1), stretching far south to Antarctica, a country of startling contrasts and extreme beauty, with attractions ranging from the towering volcanic peaks of the Andes to the ancient forests of the Lake District. As home of Literature Nobel Prize winners, Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, Chile is, indeed, the Land of Poets. Gabriela Mistral was the ﬁrst Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945. In her acceptance speech she said: ‘At this moment, by an undeserved stroke of fortune, I am the direct voice of the poets of my race and the indirect voice for the noble Spanish and Portuguese tongues.’ With both a European and native American heritage, she personiﬁes the Chilean culture: a blending of Hispanic and European elements brought by the soldiers, missionaries and women who colonized the Chilean territory from 1535, combined through intermarriage with the indigenous civilizations that were already established in that territory: Aymaras, Diaguitas, Changes, Quechuas, Mapuches, Picunches, Pehuenches, Onas and Yamana among others. Most of these original indigenous peoples no longer exist, except for the Aymara (close to 90 000) and Atacameños (around 10 000) in the north; Mapuche, or people of the earth, (around a million) in the south-central zone; Rapanui (3500); and some Kawaskhar and Yagans on the islands of the extreme south. Their customs and cultural heritage are protected by the...
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