Lautaro was a young Mapuche toqui who achieved notoriety for leading the indigenous resistance against Spanish conquest in Chile. Lautaro begun his career as a captive of Pedro de Valdivia, the outbreak of a typhus plague, a drought and a famine prevented the Mapuches from taking further actions to expel the Spanish in 1554 and 1555. Between 1556 and 1557 a small group of Mapuches commanded by Lautaro attempted to reach Santiago to liberate the whole of Central Chile from Spanish rule, Lautaros attempts ended in 1557 when he was killed in an ambush by the Spanish. Today Lautaro is revered among Mapuches and non-Mapuche Chileans for his resistance against foreign conquest, Lautaro was the son of a Mapuche lonko called, Curiñancu and was born in 1533. He lived a life until in 1550, when he was about 17 years old, he was captured by the Spanish and forced into servitude by Don Pedro de Valdivia. Since it was difficult for the Spaniards to pronounce Lautaro’s original name, Don Pedro de Valdivia was a Spanish conqueror of Chile and became the captain general of Chile.
Lautaro learned the ways and skills of the Spaniards army by observation. He was witness to atrocities committed by the Spanish on captive Mapuche warriors and it is said that because of Valdivia’s command to cut off the toes of the Mapuche warriors, the Spanish soldiers named the place “El Valle de La Mocha”, whose name has been maintained over time. A great hatred of the Spanish and particularly of Pedro de Valdivia was born in the young Lautaro because of this incident, after his capture they made him a Yanakuna, meaning a “black slave” in Quechua. He remained a prisoner of the Spanish for three years, because he kept his personal hatred of Valdivia hidden, Lautaro soon became his personal page. Among his daily tasks as a page, he was in charge of taking care of Valdivia’s horses and always accompanying them into battle and this is how he learned not to fear horses and even become a good rider himself. This was a typical practice because as a yanakuna Lautaro was responsible to serve as an assistant during battles.
In any case, he fled twice, first in 1550, in 1553, the Mapuches convened to decide how to respond to the Spanish invasion. The toqui Caupolicán chose Lautaro as vice toqui because he had served as a page in the Spanish cavalry, Lautaro introduced use of horses to the Mapuche and designed better combat tactics. He organized a large, cohesive army—a military formation unfamiliar to the Mapuche, with 6,000 warriors under his command, Lautaro attacked Fort Tucapel. The Spanish garrison couldnt withstand the assault and retreated to Purén, Lautaro seized the fort, sure that the Spaniards would attempt to retake it. That is exactly what Governor Valdivia tried to do with a reduced force, the Battle of Tucapel would be Pedro de Valdivias last, as he was captured and killed. However, Mapuche tradition dictated a lengthy victory celebration, which kept Lautaro from realizing his desire to pursue the military advantage he had just gained
Battle of Tucapel
This battle happened in the context of the first stage of the Arauco War, named the offensive war within a larger uprising by Araucanians against the Spanish conquest of Chile. It was a defeat for the Spaniards, resulting in the capture, the Arauco War was a large scale war that took place in what is now Chilean territory between Spanish conquerors and Mapuches. Pedro de Valdivia was the Spanish conqueror, who founded the first cities in Chilean territory, around 1550, he took a Mapuche man who had offered his services as his servant. The conqueror baptized him as Felipe Lautaro, under Pedro de Valdivias wing, Lautaro quickly learned horse-riding and Spanish military techniques that he would use in the war that was taking place at the moment. Once he had learned this knowledge, he went back to his village. At the same time, Pedro de Valdivia was using a policy of founding cities. His forces built forts, like Tucapel and Purén. Valdivia went on an tour of a group of forts constructed to secure the Chilean interior for the Spanish.
He left Concepción in December 1553 and worked his way south to Quilacoya, Mapuche spies observed his column from the hills, but merely followed and did not present themselves for battle. Meanwhile, the Mapuche leader Lautaro kept the forces of Gómez de Almagro bottled up in the fort of Purén through various trickery. He learned through his spies of the movements of Valdivia. Valdivia became perturbed by the lack of news from Tucapel and by the lack of hostility on the road, on December 24, he decided that he would make for the fort, hoping to find Almagro and his troops there. Tucapel fort was located on a hill in the mountain range. In December 1553, Mapuche forces, under the command of the vice toqui Lautaro attacked and destroyed the fort using the battle tactics learned from the Spanish, Pedro de Valdivia had left Concepción with only 50 soldiers and sent a message to Purén fort to send reinforcements. The message, was intercepted by Lautaros men, Valdivia received no reports from his leading element, and spent the night a half days journey from Tucapel.
On Christmas Day, December 25,1553, he early in the morning for the fort. Neither Gómez de Almagro nor Bobadilla was anywhere to be found and he decided to make camp amidst the damp ruins of the fort, but the contingent had hardly begun to make preparations when there were shouts from the surrounding forest. Without advance warning, a mass of Mapuche warriors charged out towards the Spanish enclave, a veteran soldier, Valdivia had time to form and arm his defensive line and repulsed the first attack
The Spanish Empire was one of the largest empires in history. The Spanish Empire became the foremost global power of its time and was the first to be called the empire on which the sun never sets, the Spanish Empire originated during the Age of Discovery after the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Following the Spanish–American War of 1898, Spain ceded its last colonies in the Caribbean and its last African colonies were granted independence or abandoned during Decolonisation of Africa finishing in 1976. The unity did not mean uniformity, some historians assert that Portugal was part of the Spanish monarchy at the time, while others draw a clear distinction between the Portuguese and Spanish empires. During the 15th century and Portugal became territorial and commercial rivals in the western Atlantic. The conquest was completed with the campaigns of the armies of the Crown of Castile between 1478 and 1496, when the islands of Gran Canaria, La Palma, and Tenerife were subjugated. The Portuguese tried in vain to keep secret their discovery of the Gold Coast in the Gulf of Guinea, chronicler Pulgar wrote that the fame of the treasures of Guinea spread around the ports of Andalusia in such way that everybody tried to go there.
Worthless trinkets, Moorish textiles, and above all, shells from the Canary and Cape Verde islands were exchanged for gold, slaves and Guinea pepper. The Crown officially organized this trade with Guinea, every caravel had to get a government license, the treaty delimited the spheres of influence of the two countries, establishing the principle of the Mare clausum. It was confirmed in 1481 by the Pope Sixtus IV, in the papal bull Æterni regis, the limitations imposed by the Alcáçovas treaty were overcome and a new and more balanced worlds division would be reached at Tordesillas between both emerging maritime powers. Seven months before the treaty of Alcaçovas, King John II of Aragon died and Isabella drove the last Moorish king out of Granada in 1492 after a ten-year war. The Catholic Monarchs negotiated with Christopher Columbus, a Genoese sailor attempting to reach Cipangu by sailing west, Castile was already engaged in a race of exploration with Portugal to reach the Far East by sea when Columbus made his bold proposal to Isabella.
Columbus discoveries inaugurated the Spanish colonization of the Americas and these actions gave Spain exclusive rights to establish colonies in all of the New World from north to south, as well as the easternmost parts of Asia. The treaty of Tordesillas was confirmed by Pope Julius II in the bull Ea quae pro bono pacis on 24 January 1506, Spains expansion and colonization was driven by economic influences, a yearning to improve national prestige, and a desire to spread Catholicism into the New World. The Catholic Monarchs had developed a strategy of marriages for their children in order to isolate their long-time enemy, the Spanish princes married the heirs of Portugal and the House of Habsburg. Following the same strategy, the Catholic Monarchs decided to support the Catalan-Aragonese house of Naples against Charles VIII of France in the Italian Wars beginning in 1494. As King of Aragon, Ferdinand had been involved in the struggle against France and Venice for control of Italy, these conflicts became the center of Ferdinands foreign policy as king.
Only a year later, Ferdinand became part of the Holy League against France and this war was less of a success than the war against Venice, and in 1516, France agreed to a truce that left Milan in its control and recognized Spanish control of Upper Navarre
The Arauco War was a long-running conflict between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche people, mostly fought in the Araucanía. The Chilean War of Independence brought new hostilities to the frontier, with different factions of Spaniards and Mapuches fighting for independence, Mapuche independence finally ended with the Chilean occupation of Araucanía between 1861 and 1883. The modern Mapuche conflict is partially inspired in the Arauco War, Valdivia hoped to enlarge the territory under his jurisdiction and, despite injuries from a fall from his horse, resolved to take personal command of a land expedition into Araucanía. The expedition set sail from Valparaíso, entered the bay of San Pedro, and made landings at what is now known as Concepción and at Valdivia, encountering severe storms further south, he returned to Valparaiso. Valdivia himself set out in 1546, with sixty horsemen plus guides and porters, in 1550, a new expedition was launched, consisting of a naval force under Pastene, and a land force of two hundred Spaniards mounted and foot and a number of Mapocho auxiliaries under Valdivia.
They planned to reunite on the shores of the Bay of Concepción, the expedition advanced beyond the Itata River and Laja River, to the shores of the Bío-Bío River. Along the way they had several battles with groups of Mapuches as they explored the region killing many with little loss to themselves. After spending over a week in the area and encountering increasing opposition, the night attack was defeated in a furious battle, the Spaniards suffered one killed and many wounds to men and especially their mounts. After a day treating their wounds they continued towards their rendezvous at the Bay of Concepción, there Valdivia began building a fort at what is now Penco. On February 23, Pastenes fleet anchored in the bay, brought supplies, reinforcements, on March 1 Valdivia founded here the city of Concepción del Nuevo Extremo. On March 3 of that year, the fort was completed and was attacked nine days by the largest force of Mapuches yet seen in the Battle of Penco and this force was broken and routed despite the small size of the Spanish forces.
After reinforcement at Concepción in 1551, he organized another expedition to establish the fort La Imperial on the banks of the Imperial River and he returned to Concepción to prepare another expedition and await the reinforcements the Viceroy had promised to send by sea. Leaving orders that the new troops should disembark on the Tierras de Valdivia that Pastene had discovered earlier, once he had passed it on his way south, he ordered Jerónimo de Alderete to drive inland and establish a fort, with the goal of securing his eastern flank. To this end, Alderente reached Lake Villarrica and established a fort there, Valdivias column advanced southwards and joined the reinforcements sent from Peru, under the command of Francisco de Villagra. There, the city of Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia was established, after garrisoning these new places, Valdivia returned to his base at Concepción in 1552 where rich placer gold mines were found in the Quilacoya River valley. With the goal of securing the lines of communication with the forts, Valdivia launched a third expedition which established forts at Tucapel, Purén, Confines.
The Araucanians didnt offer any resistance to the conquistadors in their fort-building, in October 1553, the Quilacoya gold mine was opened and large numbers of Mapuche were forced to work in it. In 1553, the Mapuches held a council at which, because of the growth of Spanish forces in their territory, with six thousand warriors under his command, Lautaro attacked the fort at Tucapel
Toqui is a title conferred by the Mapuche on those chosen as leaders during times of war. The toqui is chosen in an assembly or parliament of the chieftains of various clans or confederation of clans, the toqui commanded strict obedience of all the warriors and their loncos during the war, would organize them into units and appoint leaders over them. This command would continue until the toqui was killed, was deposed in another parliament, some of the more famous Toqui in the Arauco War with the Spanish introduced tactical innovations. For example Lautaro introduced infantry tactics to defeat horsemen, lemucaguin was the first Toqui to use firearms and artillery in battle. Nongoniel was the first Toqui to use cavalry with the Mapuche army, cadeguala was the first to successfully use Mapuche cavalry to defeat Spanish cavalry in battle. Anganamón was the first to mount his infantry to keep up with his fast-moving cavalry, lientur pioneered the tactic of numerous and rapid malóns into Spanish territory.
Juan Ignatius Molina, The Geographical and Civil History of Chili, Vol II. Longman, Hurst and Orme, London,1809 José Ignacio Víctor Eyzaguirre, Historia eclesiastica, Politica y literaria de Chile, IMPRENTA DEL COMERCIO, VALPARAISO, June 1830 List of Toquis, pg
Francisco de Villagra
Francisco de Villagra Velázquez was a Spanish conquistador, and three times governor of Chile. Born at Santervás de Campos, he was the son of Alvaro de Sarría and Ana Velázquez de Villagra, for this reason he took the name of his mother. Upon arrival in America, he went to Peru, where he planned with Captain Alonso de Mesa an attempt to free Diego de Almagro, discovered in this plot, he was condemned to death, but Hernándo Pizarro spared his life. He traveled to Chile with Pedro de Valdivia and participated in the conquest of Chile, when Valdivia decided to travel to Peru in search of reinforcements in 1548, he made Villagra Lieutenant Governor of Chile. Villagra was not so benevolent, and he was executed, without giving him time to confess himself. This death caused problems for Valdivia, a judgment against him was made for various irregularities, in 1551 Villagra was sent to Peru to recruit the men necessary for further campaigns in the south against the Mapuches and returned to take part in them.
Valdivia died in the Battle of Tucapel, on 25 December 1553, in his testament, that was only to be opened upon his death, he first named Jerónimo de Alderete governor of Chile, second choice was to be Francisco de Aguirre and lastly Villagra. Alderete was in Spain negotiating recognition of Valdivias position with the king, the cities of the south proclaimed Villagra as governor. In Santiago where the testament of Valdivia was not opened and Rodrigo de Quiroga proclaimed himself governor, when he arrived in Santiago to recover the situation, he convinced Quiroga to leave his office. When Aguirre received the news, he was in Tucumán, and Villagra had already been named governor, due to the death of Alderete and the absence of Aguirre. Apprised of the situation by his friends in La Serena, Aguirre immediately returned there and he communicated this choice to Santiago, letting it be known that the troops under his command were prepared to maintain his position, which was his by right of Valdivias will.
The town council of Santiago, refused to acknowledge the declaration, if the term expired, Villagra would be the governor, in command of the army of the south. Aguirre wanted to ignore the verdict, but his forces were too small to match Villagras if there was a confrontation, the War of Arauco continued its course, and Lautaro returned to defeat the Spaniards in Angol and destroyed once again the newly restored Conception. Pedro de Villagra turned back Lautaros march on Santiago at the Battle of Peteroa, the Governor marched to the south, managed to reinforce the beleaguered cites there and returned to surprise and defeat the Mapuches and kill Lautaro, in the Battle of Mataquito. Soon after Villagra prevailed at Mataquito the new governor designated by the viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza and this was his son Don García Hurtado de Mendoza. Among the first actions of the new governor, was to take both Aguirre and Villagra prisoners, sent to Lima to be judged on his performance, the sentence was favorable to Villagra.
This gained the confidence of many who saw in his arrest an act of abuse by the son of the viceroy, years later, he was named by the King as the successor to Hurtado de Mendoza, and he took office in 1561. His government began with an event, since the boat in which he came brought the smallpox to Chile
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia. Their influence once extended from the Aconcagua River to the Chiloé Archipelago, today the collective group makes up over 80% of the indigenous peoples in Chile, and about 9% of the total Chilean population. They are particularly concentrated in Araucanía, many have migrated to the Santiago area for economic opportunities. The Mapuchen is used both to refer collectively to the Picunche and Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía, or at other times, the Mapuche traditional economy is based on agriculture, their traditional social organisation consists of extended families, under the direction of a lonko or chief. In times of war, they would unite in larger groupings and they are known for the textiles woven by women, which have been goods for trade for centuries, since before European encounter. The Araucanian Mapuche inhabited at the time of Spanish arrival the valleys between the Itata and Toltén rivers, South of it, the Huilliche and the Cunco lived as far south as the Chiloé Archipelago.
In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Mapuche groups migrated eastward into the Andes and pampas and establishing relationships with the Poya and Pehuenche. At about the time, ethnic groups of the pampa regions. The Tehuelche adopted the Mapuche language and some of their culture, historically the Spanish colonizers of South America referred to the Mapuche people as Araucanians. However, this term is now considered pejorative by some people, the name was likely derived from the placename rag ko, meaning clayey water. The Quechua word awqa, meaning rebel, enemy, is not the root of araucano. Some Mapuche mingled with Spanish during colonial times, and their descendants make up the group of mestizos in Chile. But, Mapuche society in Araucanía and Patagonia remained independent until the Chilean Occupation of Araucanía, since Mapuches have become subjects, and nationals and citizens of the respective states. Today, many Mapuche and Mapuche communities are engaged in the so-called Mapuche conflict over land, archaeological finds have shown the existence of a Mapuche culture in Chile and Argentina as early as 600 to 500 BC.
Genetically Mapuches differ from the adjacent indigenous peoples of Patagonia and this suggests a different origin or long lasting separation of Mapuche and Patagonian populations. Troops of the Inca Empire are reported to have reached the Maule River and had a battle with the Mapuches between the Maule River and the Itata River there. The southern border of the Inca Empire is believed by most modern scholars to have been situated between Santiago and the Maipo River or somewhere between Santiago and the Maule River, thus the bulk of the Mapuche escaped Inca rule. Through their contact with Incan invaders Mapuches would have for the first time met people with state organization and their contact with the Incas gave them a collective awareness distinguishing between them and the invaders and uniting them into loose geo-political units despite their lack of state organization
Battle of Quiapo
Battle of Quiapo in the Arauco War was the final battle in the campaign of García Hurtado de Mendoza against the Mapuche under the toqui known as Lemucaguin or Caupolicán the younger. It was fought in Quiapo, Arauco Province, Chile on the December 13,1558. Capítulo XXX De cómo don García llegó a Cañete y de las cosas que hizo, y de cómo desbarató el fuerte que los indios tenían hecho en Quiapo, y del castigo que en ellos hizo. Mariño de Lobera, Pedro, Crónica del Reino de Chile, edición digital a partir de Crónicas del Reino de Chile Madrid, Atlas,1960, pp. 227-562. Y la prisión de Caupolicán en la quebrada, diego de Rosales Historia general de el Reino de Chile, Flandes Indiano, Tomo II, Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, Impr. XXI Como los indios aprendieron a disparar arcabuzes y hizieron un fuerte en Quiapo, the Geographical and Civil History of Chili By Don Juan Ignatius Molina, Hurst and Orme, Paternoster-Row, London,1809