|Battle of Mataquito|
|Part of the Arauco War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|120 Spanish soldiers and a number of indios amigos||700 Mapuche and 500 allied warriors, from the provinces of "Itata, Nuble and Renoguelen"|
|Casualties and losses|
|1 Spaniard, over half of the indios amigos||250 – 500 Mapuche|
The Battle of Mataquito was fought in the Arauco War on April 30, 1557, between the Spanish forces of the governor, Francisco de Villagra, and Mapuche headed by their toqui Lautaro. It was a dawn surprise attack on Lautaro's fortified camp between a wooded mountain and the shore of the Mataquito River.The battle is notable for ending Mapuche pretensions to expulse the Spanish from Santiago, while also avenging the death of former governeor Pedro de Valdivia who had been killed by Lautaro's warriors four years earlier.
The Arauco War was a long-running conflict between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche people, mostly 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.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
Francisco de Villagra Velázquez was a Spanish conquistador, and three times governor of Chile.
In early 1557, following the defeat and retreat of Lautaro after the Battle of Peteroa, Francisco de Villagra felt strong enough to gather a strong force of soldiers and march south to aid the remaining cities against the Mapuche besetting them. Discovering that the city of Santiago was now relatively unprotected, Lautaro evaded the army of Villagra, letting them pass to the south. He soon marched again toward Santiago gathering a new army of 6,000 men joined by allies under Panigualgobringing it to 10,000 men. However once the army reached the banks of the Mataquito River, Lautaro's treatment of the local Indians in a manner similar to that of the Spaniards had created many enemies, and after a quarrel with his ally over this mistreatment, most of the allies and many of the Mapuche refused to follow him. He moved over a league up river from Lora and established himself in a fortified camp in a place called Mataquito.
Battle of Peteroa was a battle in the Arauco War in 1556, in a plain beside a river in the Mataquito River valley, called Peteroa. The battle was between the Spanish forces of Pedro de Villagra, and Mapuche headed by their toqui Lautaro.
Lora is a town on the Mataquito River, in the Licantén commune of the Curicó Province, Maule Region, in Chile. It was named for the tribe of Promaucaes that inhabited the region.
Villagra became aware that the location of the camp had been betrayed by local Indians previously abused by Lautaro. Villagra sent word to Juan Godíñez near Santiago to meet him as he hurriedly returned from the south with seventy men. The Spanish forces met at a location in the province of Gualemo three leagues from Lautaro's camp,without Lautaro being warned by the local Indians. The unified force of Francisco de Villagra and Juan Godíñez came to 120 men, with 57 horsemen (including Pedro Mariño de Lobera), five arcabuzeros and more than four hundred yanakuna , made a surprise night march over the hills of Caune, to the one overlooking Lautaro's camp, on the shore of the Mataquito River. Villagra sent a body of Spanish infantry (including Alonso López de la Eaigada) with arquebus or swords and shields into the carrizal under Gabriel de Villagra.
Gualemo was the name by which the Spaniards knew the tribe of Promaucaes inhabiting the Lontué River valley of Chile and was the name early Spaniards gave to that region. Gualemo is also the name of one of the arms of the lower Lontué River that created several islands of fertile alluvium that existed near the confluence with the Teno River as late as 1899.
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At dawn Villagra made his surprise attack on the camp. The infantry burst into the fortress while Juan Godíñez and Villagra led the charge of the cavalry down the hill against the fortress with their Indian allies in advance.In the beginning of the battle they killed Lautaro, coming out of the doorway of his ruca . When the Spaniards shouted Lautaro was dead, the allied warriors from Itata, Ñuble and Renoguelen fled any way they could, leaving only Lautaro's Mapuche fighting a six-hour battle, putting up a stubborn resistance despite the death of their leader. At the end of the battle Lautaro and from 250 to 500 Mapuche were killed while the Spaniards lost Juan de Villagra and over half of their yanacona killed or wounded along with many of the Spaniards' horses. Lautaro's head was then taken and displayed in the main plaza of Santiago.
Colocolo was a Mapuche leader in the early period of the Arauco War. He was a major figure in Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga's epic poem La Araucana, about the early Arauco War. In the poem he was the one that proposed the contest between the rival candidates for Toqui that resulted in the choice of Caupolicán. As a historical figure there are some few contemporary details about him. Stories of his life were written long after his lifetime and display many points of dubious historical accuracy.
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Of these sources Pedro Mariño de Lobera and Alonso López de la Eaigada participated in the battle. While Jerónimo de Vivar and Alonso de Góngora Marmolejo were both living in Chile at the time, Vivar was in Santiago compiling his history, Marmolejo was in the south. Diego de Rosales wrote about one hundred years after the battle, Vicente Carvallo y Goyeneche over two hundred years later.
Jerónimo de Vivar was a Spanish historian of the early conquest and settlement of the Kingdom of Chile, and author of Crónica y relación copiosa y verdadera de los reinos de Chile.
Alonso de Góngora Marmolejo (1523–1575) was a Spanish conquistador and chronicler of the early conquest and settlement of the Captaincy General of Chile, and the start of the Arauco War.
José Toribio Medina Zavala was a Chilean bibliographer, prolific writer, and historian.