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is an ethnic group of Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...
, belonging to the Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...
culture. They live in mountain valleys in an area south of Toltén River
Toltén River is a river located in the Araucanía Region of Chile. It rises at Villarrica Lake, close to the city of the same name. Its major tributary is Allipén River...
and on Chiloé Archipelago
Chiloé Archipelago consists of several islands lying off the coast of Chile. It is separated from mainland Chile by Chacao Channel in the north, the Sea of Chiloé in the east and Gulf of Corcovado to the southeast. All of the archipelago except Desertores Islands, which are part of Palena...
. The Huilliche spoke the Huillice language
The Huilliche language is an Araucanian language spoken by about 2,000 ethnic Huilliche people in Chile. It is spoken in an area south of the area inhabited by the Mapuche, in the nation's Los Lagos and Los Ríos regions; and mountain valleys, between the city of Valdivia and south toward Chiloé...
or Huilliche dialect of Mapudungun in historic times (i.e., after the arrival of the Spanish), but some people nowadays believe they might have spoken a (possibly) unrelated language before their Mapuche acculturation. Their name means 'southerners' (Mapudungun willi
'south' and che
According to the place where they live, some may prefer the names:
- The huilliches of the Valdivia Province
Valdivia Province is one of two provinces of the southern Chilean region of Los Ríos . The provincial capital is Valdivia. Located in the province are two important rivers, the Calle-Calle / Valdivia River and the Cruces River.It is part of Northern Patagonia and its wild virgin forest embrace the...
- The huilliches of the Osorno Province
Osorno Province is one of the four provinces in the southern Chilean region of Los Lagos . The province has an area of and a population of 221,509 distributed across seven communes . The provincial capital is the city of Osorno....
: the original name Huilliche
- The huilliches of the Chiloé Province
Chiloé Province is one of the four provinces in the southern Chilean region of Los Lagos . It encompasses all of Chiloé Archipelago with the exception of the Desertores Islands. The province spans a surface area of...