Many personalities with Arabic names shone in Latin American countries, whether in economics, art and in the political sphere with the highest positions, which highlighted the “shawam” of Latin America.
Some reports say that Lebanon is home to more than 6 million people, while in the rest of Latin America, 18 million people are of Lebanese origin.
Immigration Services of some Latin American countries called the new immigrants who came from the Arab region “Los Turkos”, because the region was under Ottoman control.
Immigrants from Arab countries, the majority of whom are Christians and from the Levant region specifically arrived in various countries of the American continent, to Brazil, Argentina, Sicily, Uruguay, Bolivia, Mexico, Ecuador and Honduras.
Studies, for example, indicate that Palestinians were among the first to migrate to South America in the late fifties of the nineteenth century, settling mainly in Chile.
Not only large numbers of Middle Eastern Christians of various denominations, but also numbers of Muslims and Druze arrived on the American continent.
The figures alone are enough to take note of the size and importance of those early migrations, which continued in the Fifties of the last century as well, where about 3% of Latin Americans, numbering about 18 million people, are descendants of immigrants from Arab Middle Eastern countries, especially from Lebanon, while this percentage is much higher in some countries, reaching, for example, in Argentina to about 9% of the total population.
The children and grandchildren of immigrants from the Levant region have made great contributions to the economy, politics, culture, art and science in the countries of the region, and many prominent figures in the ranks of economic, political and cultural elites in Latin America have become famous from these.
In this context, it can be recalled that the richest man in the world in 2012 is the Mexican of Lebanese origin, Carlos Slim, as well as the president of Argentina for a long time, Carlos Menem, of Syrian origin, and the former president of Brazil, Michel Tamer, not to mention the names that have been repeated more than others in recent decades, such as Steve Paul jobs, the famous inventor of Syrian origin, the former CEO of Apple (the owner of the Apple), as well as the Mexican actress of Lebanese origin, Salma Hayek, and the famous Colombian singer Shakira Mubarak.
In addition to the sectarian strife in the sixties of the nineteenth century, many residents of Lebanon, southern Syria and Palestine decided to emigrate to Latin America purely for a new life for economic reasons since the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century, and this migration continued from 1860 and stopped only in 1914 due to the first World War, and a second wave of immigration took place in the interwar period, and reached its peak in 1920, especially to Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, and a third between 1950 – 1960 with the Arab-Israeli conflict.