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Callampas (literally, mushrooms), a Chilean expression used to describe the shantytowns that have developed in urban centers. The dwellers in these centers often illegally occupy marginal land on which they erect homes consisting of wood and discarded materials. Without running water, gas, or power, unless they illegally tap into an electrical grid, these homes provide housing for those seeking work in the city. They became known as callampas because they appear so quickly and spread so rapidly. During the Allende years (1970–1973), callampas were often organized politically by members of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), who converted them into centers of support for the Unidad Popular government. Through organization, residents of callampas in this era sometimes won legal status for the land they inhabited and thus city services such as potable water, paved roads, and recreational spaces. In the early twenty-first century these long-standing and officially recognized callampas are considered permanent residential areas and are somewhat less marginal.

See alsoChile, Political Parties: Movement of the Revolutionary Left; Favela.


Arriagada, Alejandro González. Surviving in the City: The Urban Poor of Santiago de Chile, 1930–1970. Uppsala, Sweden: Upsaliensis Academiae, 2000.

Caviedes, César L. The Politics of Chile: A Sociogeographical Assessment (1979).

Garcés, Mario. Tomando su sitio: El movimiento de pobla-dores de Santiago, 1957–1970. Santiago: LOM, 2002.

Gómez Leyton, Juan Carlos. Las poblaciones callampas: Una expresión de la lucha social de los pobres, Santiago, 1930–1960. Santiago: FLACSO, 1994.

MacEoin, Gary. No Peaceful Way: Chile's Struggle for Dignity (1974).

Schneider, Cathy Lisa. Shantytown Protest in Pinochet's Chile. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1995.

                                          William F. Sater