Araucanía Region

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Araucanía Region

Región de La Araucanía  (Spanish)
Mapu Raqko  (Mapudungun)
Looking out over Lago Conguillio.jpg
Flag of La Araucania, Chile.svg
Coat of Arms of La Araucania Region.svg
Coat of arms
Araucania in Chile 2018.svg
Map of Araucanía Region
Coordinates: 38°54′S72°40′W / 38.900°S 72.667°W / -38.900; -72.667 Coordinates: 38°54′S72°40′W / 38.900°S 72.667°W / -38.900; -72.667
Country Flag of Chile.svg  Chile
Capital Temuco
Provinces Malleco
   Intendant Víctor Manoli (RN)
  Total31,842.3 km2 (12,294.4 sq mi)
Area rank8
Highest elevation
3,125 m (10,253 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2017 census) [1]
  Density29/km2 (76/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code CL-AR
Website Official website (in Spanish)

The Araucanía [2] ( /ˌærɔːˈkniə/ ARR-aw-KAY-nee-ə [ citation needed ]), Araucanía Region [3] [4] [5] (Spanish : Región de La Araucaníapronounced  [aɾawkaˈni.a] ) [6] is one of Chile's 16 first-order administrative divisions, and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south. Its capital and largest city is Temuco; other important cities include Angol and Villarrica.


Chile did not incorporate the lands of the Araucanía Region until the 1880s, when it occupied the area to end resistance by the indigenous Mapuche by both military and political means. This opened up the area for Chilean and European immigration and settlement.

In the 1900–1930 period, the population of Araucanía grew considerably, as did the economy despite recessions striking the rest of Chile. [7] Araucanía became one of the principal agricultural districts of Chile, gaining the nickname of "granary of Chile". The administrative Araucanía Region was established in 1974, in what was the core of the larger historic region of Araucanía.

In the 21st century, Araucanía is Chile's poorest region in terms of GDP per capita. [8] About a third of the region's population is ethnic Mapuche, the highest proportion of any Chilean region. [9] The Araucanía Region has been the main location of the confrontations of the ongoing Mapuche conflict, as the Mapuche have pressed their land claims against the central government.


Virgin forests, featuring coigüe , raulí , and tepa , as well as bay and cypress trees, criss-cross the region in all directions. The majestic araucaria, or monkey puzzle tree, also known locally as pehuén, towers above the other trees. Its fruitthe piñón, a type of pine nutis still a staple food for the indigenous Pehuenches.

A large part of this natural wealth is protected in various national parks (Nahuelbuta, Tolhuaca. Conguillío, Villarrica, and Huerquehue National Parks), or national reserves (Malalcahuello, Las Nalcas, and Alto Biobío).


Early Mapuche resistance

The Araucanía is the heartland of the indigenous Mapuche people, who resisted both Inca and Spanish attempts at conquest. After the government accomplished the occupation of the Araucanía, it subdued the people, and since 1885, the territory has been part of Chile. After sending many forces against the Mapuche, the Spanish had earlier ended their losses by establishing the southern border of their colony in this area at the northern banks of the Biobío River.

Chilean conquest

Following independence, the Chilean government opted for peaceful relations with the Mapuche. Effective territorial occupation did not begin until 1862. During this time, the government allowed settlers to found new towns and constructed the railroad, telegraph, and roads into the area. After an occupation and sustained military action, Araucanía was fully incorporated into Chile in 1882. Many cities and towns in Araucanía were first developed as army outposts during and after the occupation of Araucanía. The last portions of the region to be reached by the army were Alto Biobío and Tolten River's lowlands.

These are the regions where Mapuche communities have thrived the best since the Chilean conquest. With the construction of the Malleco viaduct in the 1890s, the region became more accessible. Settlements in southern Chile became more consolidated.

Granary of Chile

Until the mid-20th century, the large agricultural estates ( estancias ) that were established in Araucanía were cultivated in wheat, led to its being called the "Granary of Chile". With naturally fertile soil and the implementation of modern technology such as tractors, wheat harvests were extraordinarily high, but because the farmers did not perform crop rotation, and indiscriminate logging and burning of woodlands was permitted, soils were prone to extensive erosion. They lost their fertility and much topsoil was lost to erosion.

Beginning in the 1930s, Villarrica Lake was developed as a tourism area.

Economic expansion and renewed Mapuche conflict

With the return of democracy in Chile in 1990, Mapuche organizations renewed their land claims on certain territories. Rising violence has accompanied what is now called the Mapuche conflict. Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco and similar activist groups have sometimes used arson attacks and death threats to back up their claims; other organizations, such as the Consejo de Todas Las Tierras, have sought and enjoyed international support from nongovernmental and their indigenous organizations.


Spanish settlers first arrived in Aracunia (one of two regional names) in the 1550s, but were unable to subdue the indigenous Mapuche.

In the late 19th century, the Chilean government endorsed a large-scale immigration and settlement program for the area. At the time, Chile often endorsed land allotment advertisement to Europeans, notably in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, from where most of the new arrivals came. Beginning in the mid-19th century with the German Revolutions, immigrants were often fleeing political upheaval and poor economies, and seeking a new place to live. Other immigrants were Basques from northern Spain or southwest France, and some Argentines from across the Andes.

The current population is descended mostly from internal migration from the Central Zone of Chile; to a lesser extent, it consists of descendants of European settlers who arrived during and after the "pacification of Araucanía". The region has the highest proportion of indigenous residents of any in Chile, around 25%, of which the majority is Mapuche people. About 25% of the population is white or castizo (another form of mestizo (50%) of partial European-Amerindian descent), and a large proportion of them is at least partially descended from Spanish colonists.

Smaller numbers of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Arab, and Turkish immigrants, and people of (North) American and Australian descent settled in La Araucania in the early 20th century. Temuco has a thriving Chinese, Taiwanese, and Syrian presence, and Capitán Pastene has a largely ethnic Italian community. Villarrica was where several thousand Afrikaners or Dutch South Africans settled after their expulsion from South Africa following the Boer War (1899–1903). These towns also were influenced by early Dutch colonists in the 16th century, when the region was nicknamed New Flanders. The Netherlands later ceded it to Spanish colonial rule. [10] [11]

During the past three decades, the city of Temuco has had the highest rate of growth in the nation. According to the census of 1970, about 88,000 inhabitants lived in Temuco. In the census of 2000, 30 years later, the population had tripled to 250,000. The resort town of Villarrica, on Lago Villarrica, has expanded rapidly. It is located next to the fast-growing resort of Pucon, now one of the four largest tourist destinations of Chile. According to the 2002 census, the most populated cities are: Temuco (260,783, includes Padre Las Casas), Villarrica (45,531), Angol (43,801), Victoria (23,977), Lautaro (18,808), New Imperial (14,980), Collipulli (14,240), Loncoche (14,191), and Traiguén (14,140).


Until recently, Araucanía was dependent on cereal farming and was known as Chile’s granary. Agriculture has become highly diversified; wheat is still the main crop, but production of oats, grapes, and lupines has increased significantly, and fruit and flower growing are also emerging.

The main tourism centre in the region is the Villarrica Lake and Pucón.


The region consists of 38 municipalities:

See also

Related Research Articles

Biobío River River in Chile

The Biobío River is the second largest river in Chile. It originates from Icalma and Galletué lakes in the Andes and flows 380 km to the Gulf of Arauco on the Pacific Ocean.

Angol City and Commune in Araucanía, Chile

Angol is a commune and capital city of the Malleco Province in the Araucanía Region of southern Chile. It is located at the foot of the Nahuelbuta Range and next to the Vergara River, that permitted communications by small boats to the Bío-Bío River and Concepción. This strategic position explains the successive foundations of this city during the Arauco War. It was first founded in 1553 as a "conquistador" fort of Confines, the fort was later destroyed and rebuilt several times and it was not until the Pacification of Araucania in the late 19th century that it was rebuilt with the name of Angol. The city has a current population of approximately 53,000. Within the electoral divisions of Chile, it belongs to the 48th electoral district and the 14th senatorial circumscription.

Villarrica, Chile City and Commune in Araucanía, Chile

Villarrica is a city and commune in southern Chile located on the western shore of Villarrica Lake in the Province of Cautín, Araucanía Region 746 km (464 mi) south of Santiago and close to the Villarrica Volcano ski center to the south east. Residents of Villarrica are known as Villarriquences.

Cautín Province Province in La Araucanía, Chile

Cautín Province is one of two provinces in the southern Chilean region of La Araucanía (IX), bounded on the north by Arauco and Malleco provinces, on the east by Argentina, on the south by Valdivia Province, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Its population at the 2012 census was of 692,582. The most important communes are Temuco, Villarrica, Padre Las Casas, and Nueva Imperial. Cattle, forestry, and agriculture make up most of Cautin's economy. Its climate is humid, rainy in winter, and generally warm in summer.

Collipulli City and Commune in Araucanía, Chile

Collipulli is a city and commune forming part of the Malleco Province in the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. Its name means "coloured lands" in the Mapuche language spoken in the area. It has a population of 22,354 (2005) and an area of 1,296 km2 (500 sq mi). Its current mayor is Manuel Macaya Ramírez.

Pucón city in Araucanía, Chile

Pucón is a Chilean city and commune administered by the municipality of Pucón. It is located in the Province of Cautín, Araucanía Region, 100 km to the southeast of Temuco and 780 km to the south of Santiago. It is on the eastern shore of Lake Villarrica, and Villarrica volcano is located roughly 17 km to the south.

Purén City and Commune in La Araucanía, Chile

Purén is a city and commune in Malleco Province of La Araucanía Region, Chile. It is located in the west base of the Nahuelbuta mountain range. The economical activity of Purén is based in forest exploitation and agriculture. The most characteristic product of Purén is the white strawberry which is one of two species of strawberry that were hybridized to create the modern garden strawberry.

Renaico City and Commune in Araucanía Region, Chile

Renaico is a city and commune forming part of the Malleco Province in the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. The city is located on the south bank of the Renaico River.

Occupation of Araucanía

The Occupation of Araucanía or Pacification of Araucanía (1861–1883) was a series of military campaigns, agreements and penetrations by the Chilean army and settlers into Mapuche territory which led to the incorporation of Araucanía into Chilean national territory. Pacification of Araucanía was the expression used by the Chilean authorities for this process. The conflict was concurrent with Argentine campaigns against the Mapuche (1878–1885) and Chile's wars with Spain (1865–1866) and with Peru and Bolivia (1879–1883).

Toltén Commune in Araucanía, Chile

Toltén is a Chilean commune located at the lower flows Toltén River at the southern coast of Cautín Province which is part of Araucanía Region. The commune is administered by the municipality Nueva Toltén, the main harbour and town within the commune.

Loncoche City and Commune in Araucanía, Chile

Loncoche is a city and commune in the Araucanía Region, southern Chile. It is located near the border to Los Ríos Region and the city of Lanco.

Caburgua Lake

Caburgua Lake is located 23 km northeast of the city of Pucón, in the La Araucanía Region of Chile. Huerquehue National Park lies to the east of the lake. Like Villarrica Lake, it is part of Toltén River basin. During summer the outflow river may dry out but due to high levels of underground infiltration the waterfalls Ojos del Caburgua never run dry.

Curarrehue Town and commune in Araucanía, Chile

Curarrehue is a town and commune in Cautín Province of Araucanía Region, Chile. The origin of Curarrehue dates back to the occupation of Araucanía and the Conquest of the Desert by the Chilean and Argentine army respectively in the 1870s and 1880s when Mapuches were pushed by the Argentine Army through Mamuil Malal Pass into the valley of Curarrehue where they settled.

Lumaco Town and Commune in Araucanía, Chile

Lumaco is a town and commune in Malleco Province in the Araucanía Region of Chile. Its name in Mapudungun means "water of luma". Lumaco is located to 120 km (75 mi) northeast of Temuco and 52 km (32 mi) from Angol. It shares a boundary to the north with the communes of Purén and Los Sauces, to the east with Traiguén and Galvarino, to the south with Cholchol and Carahue in Cautin Province, and the west with Tirúa and Contulmo in the Arauco Province of the Biobío Region.

Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco Indigenist organization

Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) is an indigenous organization advocated to the creation of an autonomous Mapuche state in Araucanía, which is, they say, the revindication and recovery of former Mapuche lands. They are mostly renowned for their violent methods, often recurring to arson and armed attacks against "Fuerzas Especiales" of Carabineros de Chile. It was founded in 1998, in Tranaquepe, Chile, and is responsible for land occupation in the zones of Tirúa, Contulmo, Cañete and Temucuicui. Protesters from radicalized Mapuche communities have used these tactics against multinational forestry corporations and private individuals backed by CAM paramilitary power as a form of exerting political pressure.

The Mapuche conflict is the name given to the conflict originated from the claims of indigenous Mapuche communities and organizations to the States of Chile and Argentina. The activist in favor of the 'Mapuche cause' claim greater autonomy, recognition of rights, and the 'recovery' of land since the Chilean transition to democracy.

Traiguén City and Commune in Araucanía, Chile

Traiguén is a Chilean city and commune in the Malleco Province, Araucanía Region.

The Mapuche uprising of 1881 was the last major rebellion of the indigenous Mapuches of Araucanía. The uprising took place during the last phase of the Occupation of Araucanía (1861–1883) by the Chilean state. It was planned by Mapuche chiefs in March 1881 to be launched in November the same year. Mapuche support for the uprising was not unanimous, some Mapuche factions sided with the Chileans and others declared themselves neutral. The organizers of the uprising did however succeed in involving Mapuche factions that had not previously been at war with Chile. With most of the attacks repelled within a matters of days Chile went on the next years to consolidate its conquests.

The Mapuche people of southern Chile and Argentina have a long history dating back as an archaeological culture to 600–500 BC. The Mapuche society had great transformations after Spanish contact in the mid–16th century. These changes included the adoption of Old World crops and animals and the onset of a rich Spanish–Mapuche trade in La Frontera and Valdivia. Despite these contacts Mapuche were never completely subjugated by the Spanish Empire. Between the 18th and 19th century Mapuche culture and people spread eastwards into the Pampas and the Patagonian plains. This vast new territory allowed Mapuche groups to control a substantial part of the salt and cattle trade in the Southern Cone.

Weichán Auka Mapu

Weichán Auka Mapu (WAM) is a Mapuche armed and revolutionary organization that operates mainly in southern Chile, being a supporter of armed struggle through arson attacks, sabotage actions and clashes with firearms against police officers, in order to achieve authentic autonomy for the Mapuche people.


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