Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. After years of preliminary exploration and military skirmishes, 168 Spanish soldiers under conquistador Francisco Pizarro, his brothers, their native allies captured the Sapa Inca Atahualpa in the 1532 Battle of Cajamarca, it was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting but ended in Spanish victory in 1572 and colonization of the region as the Viceroyalty of Peru. The conquest of the Inca Empire, led to spin-off campaigns into present-day Chile and Colombia, as well as expeditions towards the Amazon Basin; when the Spanish arrived at the borders of the Inca Empire in 1528, it spanned a considerable area and was by far the largest of the four grand pre-Columbian civilizations. Extending southward from the Ancomayo, now known as the Patía River, in southern present-day Colombia to the Maule River in what would be known as Chile, eastward from the Pacific Ocean to the edge of the Amazonian jungles, the empire covered some of the most mountainous terrain on Earth.
In less than a century, the Inca had expanded their empire from about 400,000 km2 in 1448 to 1,800,000 km2 in 1528, just before the arrival of the Spanish. This vast area of land varied in cultures and in climate; because of the diverse cultures and geography, the Inca allowed many areas of the empire to be governed under the control of local leaders, who were watched and monitored by Inca officials. However, under the administrative mechanisms established by the Inca, all parts of the empire answered to, were under the direct control of, the Emperor. Scholars estimate that the population of the Inca Empire numbered more than 16,000,000; some scholars, such as Jared Diamond, believe that while the Spanish conquest was undoubtedly the proximate cause of the collapse of the Inca Empire, it may well have been past its peak and in the process of decline. In 1528, Emperor Huayna Capac ruled the Inca Empire, he could trace his lineage back to a "stranger king" named Manco Cápac, the mythical founder of the Inca clan, who according to tradition emerged from a cave in a region called Paqariq Tampu.
Huayna Capac was the son of the previous ruler, Túpac Inca, the grandson of Pachacuti, the Emperor who, by conquest, had commenced the dramatic expansion of the Inca Empire from its cultural and traditional base in the area around Cusco. On his accession to the throne, Huayna Capac had continued the policy of expansion by conquest, taking Inca armies north into what is today Ecuador. While he had to put down a number of rebellions during his reign, by the time of his death, his legitimacy was as unquestioned as was the primacy of Inca power. However, expansion had resulted in its own problems. Many parts of the empire maintained distinctive cultures and these were at best resistive participants in the imperial project; the large extent of the empire, the difficult terrain of much of it, the fact that all communication and travel had to take place on foot or by boat, seems to have caused increasing difficulty in the Incas' effective administration of the empire. Huayna Capac relied on his sons to support his reign.
While he had many legitimate and illegitimate children, two sons are important. Prince Túpac Cusi Hualpa known as Huáscar, was the son of Coya Mama Rahua Occllo of the royal line; the second was Atahualpa, an illegitimate son, born of a daughter of the last independent King of Quitu, one of the states conquered by Huayna Capac during the expansion of the Inca Empire. These two sons would play pivotal roles in the final years of the Inca Empire; the Spanish conquistador Pizarro and his men were aided in their enterprise by invading when the Inca Empire was in the midst of a war of succession between the princes Huáscar and Atahualpa. Atahualpa seems to have spent more time with Huayna Capac during the years when he was in the north with the army conquering Ecuador. Atahualpa was thus closer to, had better relations with the army and its leading generals; when both Huayna Capac and his eldest son and designated heir, Ninan Cuyochic, died in 1528 from what was smallpox, a disease introduced by the Spanish into the Americas, the question of who would succeed as emperor was thrown open.
Huayna had died. At the time of Huayna Capac's death, Huáscar was in the capital Cuzco, while Atahualpa was in Quitu with the main body of the Inca army. Huáscar had himself proclaimed Sapa Inca in Cuzco; the resulting dispute led to the Inca Civil War. The civil war between Atahualpa and Huascar weakened the empire prior to its struggle with the Spanish. Historians are unsure of whether a united Inca Empire could have defeated the Spanish in the long term due to factors such as the high mortality from disease and its related social disruption, the superior military technology of the conquistadors, who possessed horses, metal armor, swords and primitive, but effective, firearms. Atahualpa appeared to be more popular with the people than his brother, he was more valued by the army, the core of, based in the conquered northern province of Quitu. At the outset of the conflict, each brother controlled his respective domains, with Atahualpa secure in the north, Huáscar controlling the capital of Cuzco and the large territory to the south, including the area around Lake Titicaca.
This region had supplied large numbers of troops
The Spanish Empire known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies", it included territories in Europe and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description given to the Portuguese Empire, it was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets". Castile became the dominant kingdom in Iberia because of its jurisdiction over the overseas empire in the Americas and the Philippines; the structure of empire was established under the Spanish Hapsburgs and under the Spanish Bourbon monarchs, the empire was brought under greater crown control and increased its revenues from the Indies.
The crown's authority in The Indies was enlarged by the papal grant of powers of patronage, giving it power in the religious sphere. An important element in the formation of Spain's empire was the dynastic union between Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, known as the Catholic Monarchs, which initiated political and social cohesion but not political unification. Iberian kingdoms retained their political identities, with particular administration and juridical configurations. Although the power of the Spanish sovereign as monarch varied from one territory to another, the monarch acted as such in a unitary manner over all the ruler's territories through a system of councils: the unity did not mean uniformity. In 1580, when Philip II of Spain succeeded to the throne of Portugal, he established the Council of Portugal, which oversaw Portugal and its empire and "preserv its own laws and monetary system, united only in sharing a common sovereign." The Iberian Union remained in place until in 1640, when Portugal overthrew Hapsburg rule and reestablished independence under the House of Braganza.
Under Philip II, rather than the Hapsburg empire, was identified as the most powerful nation in the world eclipsing France and England. Furthermore, despite attacks from other European states, Spain retained its position of dominance with apparent ease; the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis confirmed the inheritance of Philip II in Italy. Spain's claims to Naples and Sicily in southern Italy dated back to the Aragonese presence in the 15th century. Following the peace reached in 1559, there would be no Neapolitan revolts against Spanish rule until 1647; the Duchy of Milan formally remained part of the Holy Roman Empire but the title of Duke of Milan was given to the King of Spain. The death of the Ottoman emperor Suleiman the Magnificent in 1566 and the naval victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 gave Spain a claim to be the greatest power not just in Europe but in the world; the Spanish Empire in the Americas was formed after conquering large stretches of land, beginning with Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean Islands.
In the early 16th century, it conquered and incorporated the Aztec and Inca Empires, retaining indigenous elites loyal to the Spanish crown and converts to Christianity as intermediaries between their communities and royal government. After a short period of delegation of authority by the crown in the Americas, the crown asserted control over those territories and established the Council of the Indies to oversee rule there; some scholars consider the initial period of the Spanish conquest as marking the most egregious case of genocide in the history of mankind. The death toll may have reached some 70 million indigenous people in this period. However, other scholars believe the vast majority of indigenous deaths were due to the low immunological capacity of native populations to resist exogenous diseases. Many native tribes and their cultures were wiped out by the Spanish conquest and disease epidemics; the structure of governance of its overseas empire was reformed in the late 18th century by the Bourbon monarchs.
Although the crown attempted to keep its empire a closed economic system under Hapsburg rule, Spain was unable to supply the Indies with sufficient consumer goods to meet demand, so that foreign merchants from Genoa, England and The Netherlands dominated the trade, with silver from the mines of Peru and Mexico flowing to other parts of Europe. The merchant guild of Seville served as middlemen in the trade; the crown's trade monopoly was broken early in the seventeenth century, with the crown colluding with the merchant guild for fiscal reasons in circumventing the closed system. Spain was unable to defend the territories it claimed in the Americas, with the Dutch, the English, the French taking Caribbean islands, using them to engage in contraband trade with the Spanish populace in the Indies. In the seventeenth century, the diversion of silver revenue to pay for European consumer goods and the rising costs of defense of its empire meant that "tangible benefits of America to Spain were dwindling...at a moment when the costs of empire were climbing sharply."The Bourbon monarchy attempted to expand the possibilities for trade within the empire, by allowing commerce between all ports in the empire, took other measures to revive economic activity to the benefit of Spain.
The Bourbons had inherited "an empire invaded by
Conquest of the Canary Islands
The conquest of the Canary Islands by the Crown of Castille took place between 1402 and 1496. It can be divided into two periods: the Conquista señorial, carried out by Castilian nobility in exchange for a covenant of allegiance with the crown, the Conquista realenga, carried out by the Spanish crown itself, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs; the ties between the Canaries and the Mediterranean world which had existed since antiquity were interrupted by the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire. Although these linkages were weakened, they were not severed, the Canaries' isolation was not total. During the Middle Ages, the first reports on the Canaries come from Arabic sources, which refer to some Atlantic islands which may have been the Canaries. What does seem clear is that this knowledge of the islands did not signify the end of the cultural isolation of the native inhabitants. Visits to the archipelago began to increase after the end of the 13th century for reasons including: The economic expansion of some European states, such as the Republic of Genoa, the Kingdom of Aragon, the Kingdom of Castille, the Kingdom of Portugal.
Maritime trade along the Moroccan coast was a'fait accompli' for all of these nations. Development of new navigation techniques and the development of cartography: a portulan map by Angelino Dulcert of Majorca, from 1339, is the first to show some of the Canary Islands, this date might in fact coincide with the effective rediscovery of the islands by the Genoese seaman Lanzarotto Malocello; the first expedition to visit all the islands of the archipelago took place two years in 1341, under the command of fellow Genoese seaman and explorer Niccoloso da Recco, at the service and on behalf of Portuguese king Afonso IV. Ideological and political motives: the monarchies of Southern Europe entered an expansive phase. In the case of the Iberian monarchies, their territorial expansion was spurred by the so-called reconquista of Moorish southern Spain. For this reason, territorial expansion represented a reinforcement of royal power, imbued with crusader and missionary spirit; the first visit by a European to the Canary Islands since antiquity was by Genoese captain Lanceloto Malocello traditionally dated 1312.
Malocello's motives were unclear - it is believed he might have been searching for traces of the Vivaldi brothers who had disappeared off Morocco, around Cape Non back in 1291. Malocello made landfall on Lanzarote island, remained there for nearly twenty years. Malocello may have attempted to erect himself as a ruler among the aboriginal peoples and been expelled by them. According to some sources, shortly after his return to Europe, in 1336, Malocello led a return expedition to the Canaries, sponsored by the Portuguese crown. However, the existence of this expedition has been dismissed by most modern historians, as being based on forged documents. Evidently drawing from the information provided by Malocello, in 1339 appeared the portolan map by Angelino Dulcert of Majorca showing the Canary island of Lanzarote, as well as the island of Forte Vetura and Vegi Mari. Although earlier maps had shown fantastical depictions of the "Fortunate Islands", this is the first European map where the actual Canary islands make a solid appearance.
In 1341, a three-ship expedition sponsored by King Afonso IV of Portugal, set out from Lisbon, commanded by Florentine captain Angiolino del Tegghia de Corbizzi and Genoese captain Nicoloso da Recco, employing a mixed crew of Italians and Castilians. Cruising the archipelago for five months, the expedition mapped thirteen islands and surveyed the primeval aboriginal inhabitants, the'Guanches', bringing back four natives to Lisbon. European interest in the Canaries picked up after the 1341 mapping expedition; the descriptions of the primeval Guanches, in particular, drew the attention of European merchants, who saw the prospect of new and easy slave-raiding grounds. In 1342, two Majorcan expeditions, one under Francesc Duvalers, another under Domenech Gual, assembled by private merchant consortia with a commission from Roger de Robenach set out for the Canary islands; the results of these expeditions are uncertain. The Catholic Church was drawn by the news. In 1344, the Castilian-French noble Luis de la Cerda serving as a French ambassador to the papal court in Avignon, submitted a proposal to Pope Clement VI, offering the Church the more palatable vision of conquering the islands and converting the native Canarians to Christianity.
In November 1344, Pope Clement VI issued the bull Tuae devotionis sinceritas granting the Canary islands in perpetuity to Luis de la Cerda and bestowing upon him the title of sovereign "Prince of Fortuna". The pope followed this up with another bull, in January 1345, giving the projected Cerda-led conquest and conversion of the islands the character of a crusade, granting indulgences to its participants, papal letters were dispatched to the Iberian monarchs urging them to provide material assistance to Cerda's expedition; the Portuguese king Afonso IV lodged a protest, claiming priority of discovery, but conceded to the authority of the pope. Alfonso X
Venezuelan War of Independence
The Venezuelan War of Independence was one of the Spanish American wars of independence of the early nineteenth century, when independence movements in Latin America fought against rule by the Spanish Empire, emboldened by Spain's troubles in the Napoleonic Wars. The establishment of the Supreme Caracas Junta following the forced deposition of Vicente Emparan as Captain General of the Captaincy General of Venezuela on April 19, 1810, marked the beginnings of the war. On July 5, 1811, seven of the ten provinces of the Captaincy General of Venezuela declared their independence in the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence; the First Republic of Venezuela was lost in 1812 following the 1812 Caracas earthquake and the Battle of La Victoria. Simón Bolívar led an "Admirable Campaign" to retake Venezuela, establishing the Second Republic of Venezuela in 1813. Only as part of Bolívar's campaign to liberate New Granada in 1819-20 did Venezuela achieve a lasting independence from Spain. On 17 December 1819, the Congress of Angostura declared Gran Colombia an independent country.
After two more years of war, the country achieved independence from Spain in 1821 under the leadership of its most famous son, Simón Bolívar. Venezuela, along with the present-day countries of Colombia and Ecuador, formed part of the Republic of Gran Colombia until 1830, when Venezuela separated and became a sovereign state; the French invasion of Spain in 1808 led to the collapse of the Spanish Monarchy. Most subjects of Spain did not accept the government of Joseph Bonaparte, placed on the Spanish throne by his brother, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France. At the same time, the process of creating a stable government in Spain, which would be recognized throughout the empire, took two years; this created a power vacuum in the Spanish possessions in America, which created further political uncertainty. On 19 April 1810 the municipal council of Caracas headed a successful movement to depose the Spanish Governor and Captain General, Vicente Emparán. A junta was established in Caracas, soon other Venezuelan provinces followed suit.
The reverberations of this act of independence could be felt throughout Venezuela immediately. Across Venezuela and cities decided to either side with the movement based in Caracas or not, de facto civil war ensued throughout much of Venezuela; the Caracas Junta called for a congress of Venezuelan provinces to establish a government for the region. Both the Junta and Congress upheld the "rights of Ferdinand VII," meaning that they recognized themselves to still be part of the Spanish Monarchy, but had established a separate government due to the French invasion of the Iberian Peninsula; as the Congress deliberated, a faction proposing outright independence won favor. Persons such as Francisco de Miranda, a long-term Venezuelan expatriate, Simón Bolívar, a young, Criollo aristocrat—both influenced by Age of Enlightenment ideas and the example of the French Revolution—led the movement; the Congress declared Venezuela's independence on 5 July 1811, establishing the Republic of Venezuela. Before the Congress began its sessions in November 1810, a civil war started between those who supported the juntas, independence, royalists who wanted to maintain the union with Spain.
Two provinces, Maracaibo Province and Guayana Province, one district, never recognized the Caracas Junta and remained loyal to the governments in Spain. Military expeditions to bring Coro and Guayana under the control of the Republic failed. In 1811 an uprising in Valencia against the Republic was suppressed. By 1812 the situation became aggravated for the young Republic, it was short of funds, Spanish Regency set up a blockade, shortly after, on 26 March 1812, a devastating earthquake affected republican areas. In these desperate moments, Miranda was given dictatorial powers he was unable to stem the royalist advance headed by Captain Domingo de Monteverde. By midyear, after the Battle of San Mateo, the Republic collapsed. Miranda capitulated to Monteverde and signed an armistice on 25 July 1812. Bolívar and other republicans continued the resistance from other parts of the Spanish South America and the Caribbean, or organized guerrilla movements in the interior of the country. In 1813 Bolívar joined the army of United Provinces of New Granada.
After winning a series of battles, Bolívar received the approval of the New Granadan Congress to lead a liberating force into Venezuela in what became known as the Admirable Campaign. At the same time, Santiago Mariño invaded from the northeast in an independently organized campaign. Both forces defeated the royalist troops in various battles, such as Alto de los Godos. Bolívar entered Caracas on 6 August 1813, proclaiming the restoration of the Venezuelan Republic and his supreme leadership of it, something, not recognized by Mariño based in Cumaná, although the two leaders did cooperate militarily. In the viceroyalties of La Plata and New Granada the Creoles displaced the Spanish authorities with relative ease, as Caracas had done at first; the autonomous movement swept through New Granada. Bogotá inherited the role of capital from Spain, but the royalists were entrenched in southern Colombia. Cali was a bastion of the independence movement just north of royalist territory. Cartagena declared independence not only from Spain but from Bogotá.
Bolívar arrived in Cartagena and was well received, as
Spanish conquest of Oran (1509)
The conquest of Oran by the Spanish Empire took place on May 1509, when an army led by Pedro Navarro on behalf of the Cardinal Cisneros seized the north-African city, controlled by the moors of Tlemcen. A fleet left port from Cartagena on 16 May and sailed towards Mers el-Kebir, a city located near Oran and under Spanish control; the fleet had 10 galleys, plus additional small boats. They carried around 3000-4000 cavalry-men; the army spent the night of 17 May in Mers el Kebir. The Christians stormed the city of Oran part of the Kingdom of Tlemcen, combining the use of the fleet with a ground assault on 18 May. After breaking through the walls of the city the casualties numbered less than 30 on the assaulting side, while the 12,000 defenders suffered 4,000 casualties. On 20 May, Cisneros entered the city conquered; the city remained a part of the Spanish Empire until 1708, when it was seized by the Ottoman Dey of Algiers taking advantage of the War of the Spanish Succession. The city was conquered again by the Spanish in 1732.
After the 1790 earthquake, they abandoned Oran and Mers el-Kebir in 1792. Fernández Duro, Cesáreo. 1895. Armada Española. Imprenta Real. Accessed 2016. Sánchez Doncel, Gregorio. 1991. Presencia de España en Orán, 1509-1792. Estudio Teológico de San Ildefonso
Spanish conquest of the Muisca
The Spanish conquest of the Muisca took place from 1537 to 1540. The Muisca were the inhabitants of the central Andean highlands of Colombia before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, they were organised in a loose confederation of different rulers. The leaders of the Confederation at the time of conquest were zipa Tisquesusa, zaque Quemuenchatocha, iraca Sugamuxi and Tundama in the northernmost portion of their territories; the Muisca were organised in small communities of circular enclosures, with a central square where the bohío of the cacique was located. They were called "Salt People" because of their extraction of salt in various locations throughout their territories in Zipaquirá, Nemocón and Tausa. For the main part self-sufficient in their well-organised economy, the Muisca traded with the European conquistadors valuable products as gold and emeralds with their neighbouring indigenous groups. In the Tenza Valley, to the east of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense where the majority of the Muisca lived, they extracted emeralds in Chivor and Somondoco.
The economy of the Muisca was rooted in their agriculture with main products maize, yuca and various other cultivations elaborated on elevated fields. Agriculture had started around 3000 BCE on the Altiplano, following the preceramic Herrera Period and a long epoch of hunter-gatherers since the late Pleistocene; the earliest archaeological evidence of inhabitation in Colombia, one of the oldest in South America, has been found in El Abra, dating to around 12,500 years BP. The main part of the Muisca civilisation was concentrated on the Bogotá savanna, a flat high plain in the Eastern Ranges of the Andes, far away from the Caribbean coast; the savanna was an ancient lake, that existed until the latest Pleistocene and formed a fertile soil for their agriculture. The Muisca were a religious civilisation with a polytheistic society and an advanced astronomical knowledge, represented in their complex lunisolar calendar. Men and women had specific and different tasks in their egalitarian society; the guecha warriors were tasked with the defence of the Muisca territories against their western neighbours.
To impress their enemies, the Muisca warriors wore mummies of important ancestors on their backs, while fighting. In their battles, the men used poisoned arrows and golden knives. Although gold deposits were not abundant on the Altiplano, through trading the Muisca obtained large amounts of the precious metal which they elaborated into fine art, of which the Muisca raft and the many tunjos were the most important; the Muisca raft pictures the initiation ritual of the new zipa. When the Spanish who resided in the coastal city of Santa Marta, founded by Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1525, were informed about this legend, a large expedition in the quest for this El Dorado was organised in the spring of 1536. A delegation of more than 900 men left the tropical city of Santa Marta and went on a harsh expedition through the heartlands of Colombia in search of El Dorado and the civilisation that produced all this precious gold; the leader of the first and main expedition under Spanish flag was Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, with his brother Hernán second in command.
Several other soldiers were participating in the journey, who would become encomenderos and take part in the conquest of other parts of Colombia. Other contemporaneous expeditions into the unknown interior of the Andes, all searching for the mythical land of gold, were starting from Venezuela, led by Bavarian and other German conquistadors and from the south, starting in the founded Kingdom of Quito in what is now Ecuador; the conquest of the Muisca started in March 1537, when the reduced troops of De Quesada entered Muisca territories in Chipatá, the first settlement they founded on March 8. The expedition went further inland and up the slopes of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense into Boyacá and Cundinamarca; the towns of Moniquirá and Guachetá and Lenguazaque were founded before the conquistadors arrived at the northern edge of the Bogotá savanna in Suesca. En route towards the domain of zipa Tisquesusa, the Spanish founded Chía. In April 1537 they arrived at Funza; this formed the onset for further expeditions, starting a month towards the eastern Tenza Valley and the northern territories of zaque Quemuenchatocha.
On August 20, 1537, the zaque was submitted in his bohío in Hunza. The Spanish continued their journey northeastward into the Iraka Valley, where the iraca Sugamuxi fell to the Spanish troops and the Sun Temple was accidentally burned by two soldiers of the army of De Quesada in early September. Meanwhile, other soldiers from the conquest expedition went south and conquered Pasca and other settlements; the Spanish leader returned with his men to the Bogotá savanna and planned new conquest expeditions executed in the second half of 1537 and first months of 1538. On August 6, 1538, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada founded Bogotá as the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada, named after his home region of Granada, Spain; that same month, on August 20, the zipa who succeeded his brot
The Arauco War was a long-running conflict between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche people fought in the Araucanía. The conflict begun at first as a reaction to the Spanish conquest attempt establishing cities and forcing Mapuches into unfree labour, it subsequently evolved over time into phases of low intensity warfare, drawn-out sieges, slave-hunting expeditions, pillaging raids, punitive expeditions and renewed Spanish attempts to secure lost territories. After many initial Spanish successes in penetrating Mapuche territory, the Battle of Curalaba in 1598 and the following destruction of the Seven Cities marked a turning point in the war leading to the establishment of a clear frontier between the Spanish domains and the land of the independent Mapuche. From the 17th to the late 18th century a series of parliaments were held between royal governors and Mapuche lonkos and the war devolved to sporadic pillaging carried out by Spanish soldiers as well as Mapuches and outlaws; the Chilean War of Independence brought new hostilities to the frontier, with different factions of Spaniards and Mapuches fighting for independence, royalism or personal gain.
Mapuche independence ended with the Chilean occupation of Araucanía between 1861 and 1883. The modern Mapuche conflict is inspired by the Arauco War; the beginning of the conflict is placed at the Battle of Reynogüelén, which occurred in 1536 between an expedition of Diego de Almagro and a well-organized and numerous group of Mapuche soldiers, near the confluence of the Ñuble and Itata rivers. During the early phase of the Conquest of Chile, the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia conducted a nine-year campaign to secure the city of Santiago, destroyed on September 11, 1541 by the Mapochoes under the direction of their chief, Michimalonco. 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. In 1544, sent a naval expedition comprising the barks, San Pedro and Santiaguillo, under the command of Juan Bautista Pastene, to reconnoiter the southwestern coast of South America to the Strait of Magellan.
The expedition set sail from Valparaíso, entered the bay of San Pedro, made landings at what is now known as Concepción and at Valdivia, named in honor of the commander. Encountering severe storms further south, he returned to Valparaiso. Valdivia himself set out in 1546, with sixty horsemen plus guides and porters, crossed the Itata River and were attacked by Mapuche warriors in the Battle of Quilacura near the Bío-Bío River. Realizing that it would be impossible to proceed in such hostile territory with so limited a force, Valdivia elected to return to Santiago after finding a site for a new city at what is now Penco and that would become the first site of Concepción. In 1550, a new expedition was launched, consisting of a naval force under Pastene, 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 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 Spanish marched toward the Sea through the valleys of the Laja and Bío-Bío rivers, towards the coast at Penco. On the banks of the Andalién River, they camped for two days between the river and a lake, where they were attacked on the second night by a large force of Araucanians under their toqui Ainavillo in the Battle of Andalien; the night attack was defeated in a furious battle, the Spaniards suffered one killed and many wounds to men and 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. On February 23, Pastene's fleet anchored in the bay, brought supplies and provided materials to finish the fort. 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.
This force was routed despite the small size of the Spanish forces. Despite the resulting submission of the local tribes, Valdivia sent an emissary to the Viceroy of Peru, asking for additional forces. After reinforcement at Concepción in 1551, he organized another expedition to establish the fort La Imperial on the banks of the Imperial River, 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, Valdivia left with two hundred soldiers in the direction of Fort Imperial. 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 established a fort there. Meanwhile, Valdivia's 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 sou