Archaeological evidence suggests the earliest settlements in Chile date from around 10,500 BC. A discovery at Monte Verde, near Puerto Montt in southern Chile, indicates that its inhabitants were hunter-gatherers in a temperate rainforest. They were probably the descendents of Paleo-Indians who crossed from Siberia by way of the Bering Strait (at various times a land bridge). Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the indigenous peoples included the Atacameno (living in small settlements in the northern deserts and influenced by the cultures of the central Andes, such as the Inca empires of Chincha and Quechua), the Araucanians (farmers in the more temperate valleys of central Chile) and the Chono (Alacaluf and Yahgan nomads from the mountainous southern areas).
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