Alonso de Ercilla

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Alonso de Ercilla
Caballero de Santiago
AlonsoDeErcilla.jpg
Born August 7, 1533
Madrid, Spain
Died November 29, 1594(1594-11-29) (aged 61)
Madrid, Spain
Signature
Appletons' Ercilla y Zuniga Alonso de signature.png

Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga (Spanish pronunciation:  [aˈlonso ðe eɾˈθiʝa] ; August 7, 1533 November 29, 1594) was a Spanish nobleman, soldier and epic poet, born in Madrid. While in Chile (1556–63) he fought against the Araucanians (Mapuche), and there he began the epic poem La Araucana , considered one of the greatest Spanish historical poems.[ citation needed ] This heroic work in 37 cantos is divided into three parts, published in 1569, 1578, and 1589. It tells of the courageous insurrection of the Araucanians and also relates the history of Chile and of contemporary Spain.

Madrid Capital of Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (EU), smaller than only London and Berlin, and its monocentric metropolitan area is the third-largest in the EU, smaller only than those of London and Paris. The municipality covers 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).

Mapuche ethnic group

The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia. The collective term refers to a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage as Mapudungun speakers. Their influence once extended from the Aconcagua River to the Chiloé Archipelago and spread later eastward to the Argentine pampa. 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 and Buenos Aires area for economic opportunities.

<i>La Araucana</i> Epic Poem of the Spanish conquest of Chile

La Araucana is a 16th-century epic poem in Spanish about the Spanish Conquest of Chile by Alonso de Ercilla. It was considered the national epic of the Captaincy General of Chile and one of the most important works of the Spanish Golden Age.

Contents

Biography

Ercilla was born into a Basque noble family. His father was Fortuño García de Ercilla, and his mother Doña Leonor de Zúñiga, both from Bermeo (Biscay). In 1548, after his father's death, his mother became lady-in-waiting to the Infanta María and made young Alonso a page to the heir-apparent, Prince Philip (afterwards King Philip II). Ercilla received a very thorough education, for, besides having the most learned teachers, he enjoyed the advantages of very extensive travelling and of living at court where he came in contact with high personages. When he was only fifteen he accompanied Philip through Italy and Germany; and their travels lasted three years. Later, Ercilla accompanied his mother to Bohemia where he left her and then visited Austria, Hungary, and other countries. Returning to Spain, he soon started out again with Philip. In this capacity Ercilla (sometimes spelled Arcilla) visited Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, and was present in 1554 at the marriage of his master to Queen Mary I of England. [1]

Bermeo Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

Bermeo is a town and municipality in the comarca of Busturialdea. It is in the province of Biscay, which is part of the autonomous region of the Basque Country in northern Spain.

Biscay Province of Spain

Biscay is a province of Spain located just south of the Bay of Biscay. The name also refers to a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lordship of Biscay. Its capital city is Bilbao. It is one of the most prosperous and important provinces of Spain as a result of the massive industrialization in the last years of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Since the deep deindustrialization of the 1970s, the economy has come to rely more on the services sector.

Philip II of Spain King of Spain who became King of England by marriage to Queen Mary I

Philip II was King of Spain (1556–98), King of Portugal, King of Naples and Sicily, and jure uxoris King of England and Ireland. He was also Duke of Milan. From 1555 he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands.

In London, he made the acquaintance of Jerónimo de Alderete (1555), whose stories of his thrilling adventures in the New World so fired Ercilla's imagination that he determined to accompany Alderete to the New World. He therefore obtained leave from Philip, and they set sail for America, 15 October 1555. Soon after their arrival, however, Alderete died (near Panamá, April 1556).

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Jerónimo de Alderete Spanish conquistador

Jerónimo de Alderete y Mercado was a Spanish conquistador who was later named governor of Chile, but died before he could assume his post.

In 1556 Ercilla continued on his way to Peru and accompanied García Hurtado de Mendoza, recently named Governor and Commander-in-chief of Chile, where the Araucanians had revolted. He distinguished himself in the ensuing campaign. Apparently he remained in Chile seventeen months, between 1557 and 1559. He participated in the battles of Lagunillas, Quiapo and Millarapue, and witnessed the death of Caupolicán, protagonist of La Araucana . This is an epic poem of military exaltation in 37 "cantos" or verses, where the narrator relays the most significant facts of the Arauco War against the Araucanos (mapuches) and which he began to write during the campaign.

Peru republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

García Hurtado de Mendoza, 5th Marquis of Cañete Royal Governor of Chile

García Hurtado de Mendoza y Manrique, 5th Marquis of Cañete was a Spanish soldier, governor of Chile, and later viceroy of Peru. He is often known simply as "Marquis of Cañete". Belonging to an influential family of Spanish noblemen Hurtado de Mendoza successfully fought the native Mapuche during his stay as Governor of Chile, and got the city of Mendoza named after him. In his later position as Viceroy of Peru he sponsored Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira expedition to the Solomon Islands and had the Marquesas Islands named after him.

Commander-in-chief supreme commanding authority of a military

A commander-in-chief, sometimes also called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government.

Statue of Alonso de Ercilla in Blanco Encalada, Santiago de Chile 2017 Santiago de Chile - Estatua de Alonso de Ercilla - Plaza Ercilla, avenida Blanco Encalada con Ejercito.jpg
Statue of Alonso de Ercilla in Blanco Encalada, Santiago de Chile

In March 1558, García Hurtado de Mendoza founded the city of San Mateo de Osorno and while their neighbours were preoccupied with the celebrations in the new city, García left by a secret entrance, disguised by a helmet with closed visor, accompanied by Ercilla and Pedro of Eyrie. They were confronted by Juan de Pineda, an old enemy of Alonso de Ercilla, and there was a fight. García was warned of the situation.

Osorno, Chile City and Commune in Los Lagos, Chile

Osorno is a city and commune in southern Chile and capital of Osorno Province in the Los Lagos Region. It had a population of 145,475, as of the 2002 census. It is located 945 kilometres (587 mi) south of the national capital of Santiago, 105 kilometres (65 mi) north of the regional capital of Puerto Montt and 260 kilometres (160 mi) west of the Argentine city of San Carlos de Bariloche, connected via International Route 215 through the Cardenal Antonio Samoré Pass. As such, it's a gateway for land access to the austral regions of Aysén and Magallanes, that would otherwise be accessible only by sea from the rest of the country.

Juan de Pineda was a writer and a historian of the Spanish Golden Age.

Alonso de Ercilla ran to a church and looked for asylum. The governor imprisoned both duelists and condemned them to be executed on the following day. However, many people considered the sentence unjust and tried to persuade García to reprieve them. The preparations for the execution continued and all hope of saving them was lost. Then two women, one Spanish and another Native American, approached the house of García, entering by the window, and managed to convince the governor to spare the lives of both. Ercilla was imprisoned for three months and soon afterwards was exiled to Peru.

Later life

After Ercilla's return to Spain in 1562, he made several diplomatic journeys to Austria, where his mother was a maid of honor at the imperial court, and also visited Italy, France, Germany and Bohemia. In 1570, he married Doña María de Bazán, a woman of illustrious family and of intellectual attainments and, after other diplomatic missions, settled permanently in Spain in 1577. In 1571 he was made a knight of the Order of Santiago, and in 1578 he was employed by Philip II on a mission to Zaragoza. He complained of living in poverty but left a modest fortune, and was obviously disappointed at not being offered the post of secretary of state. [1] Ercilla's later years were saddened by the loss of his only son, and his own death occurred in Madrid in 1594.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Bohemia Historical land in Czech Republic

Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.

Knight An award of an honorary title for past or future service with its roots in chivalry in the Middle Ages

A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch or a Christian church, especially in a military capacity. Historically, in all Europe, knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings. The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on horseback.

Works

Alonso de Ercilla in the Retratos de Espanoles Ilustres ("Portraits of Illustrious Spaniards"), 1791. Alonso de Ercilla 1.jpg
Alonso de Ercilla in the Retratos de Españoles Ilustres ("Portraits of Illustrious Spaniards"), 1791.

Ercilla's great work is La Araucana , an epic poem of thirty-seven cantos, describing the difficulties encountered by the Spaniards during the insurrection in Arauco, and the heroic deeds of the natives as well as his companions. The epic partakes of the character of history, and the author adheres with such strict fidelity to the truth, that subsequent historians characterize his work as thoroughly trustworthy. In it the difficult art of story-telling is carried to perfection. Places are admirably described, dates are given with accuracy, and the customs of the native faithfully set forth, giving to the narrative animation and colouring.

The poem was published in three parts, of which the first, composed in Chile and first appearing in 1569, is a versified narrative adhering strictly to historic fact; the second, published in 1578, is encumbered with visions and other romantic machinery; and the third, which appeared in 1589-1590, contains, in addition to the subject proper, a variety of episodes mostly irrelevant. [1] Nevertheless, many scholars[ who? ] consider it the most successful Renaissance epic in the Classical mode written in Spanish. The best editions are those published by the Spanish Academy in 1776 and 1828.

In literature

In his novel In Search of the Castaways (1867), Jules Verne wrote, [2] "Araucania is populated by the Mapuche, the native Chilean race extolled in verse by the poet Ercilla".

Legacy

There is a municipality in the Araucania Region of Chile named after Ercilla.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ercilla y Zúniga, Alonso de". Encyclopædia Britannica . 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 734.
  2. In Search of the Castaways, Chapter XI, "Traversing Chile".

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References