Captaincy General of Chile

Last updated
Capitanía General de Chile
1541–1818
Flag of New Spain.svg
Captaincy General of Chile (orthographic projection).svg
Map of the Captaincy General of Chile in 1796 and claimed territories
Status Spanish colony
Capital Santiago
Common languages Spanish
Mapudungun
Religion
Roman Catholicism
Government Monarchy
King  
 1541–1556
Charles I
 1808–1813
Joseph I
 1813–1818
Ferdinand VII
Royal Governor  
 1541–1553
Pedro de Valdivia
 1815–1817
Casimiro Marcó del Pont
Historical era Spanish Empire
 Established
1541
February 12 1818
Currency Peso
ISO 3166 code CL
Succeeded by
Conservative Republic Flag of Chile.svg

The General Captaincy of Chile (Capitanía General de Chile [kapitaˈni.a xeneˈɾal ðe ˈt͡ʃile] ) or Gobernación de Chile, was a territory of the Spanish Empire, from 1541 to 1818. It comprised most of modern-day Chile and southern parts of Argentina. Its capital was Santiago de Chile. In 1818 it declared itself independent, becoming the Republic of Chile. It had a number of Spanish governors over its long history and several kings.

Spanish Empire world empire from the 16th to the 19th century

The Spanish Empire, historically 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 also included territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also 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 had been called "the empire on which the sun never sets".

Chile Republic in South America

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

Argentina Federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Contents

Name

The General Captaincy of Chile was incorporated to the Crown of Castile as were all the other Spanish possessions in the New World. The General Captaincy of Chile was first known as New Extremadura (a name subsequently given to a part of Mexico) and then as Indian Flanders . The Captaincy was a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Crown of Castile Former country in the Iberian Peninsula

The Crown of Castile was a medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne. It continued to exist as a separate entity after the personal union in 1469 of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs up to the promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees by Philip V in 1715.

New World Collectively, the Americas and Oceania

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.

Viceroyalty of Peru Spanish Imperial colony

The Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima. Peru was one of the two Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

The administrative apparatus of the General Captaincy of Chile was subordinate to the Council of the Indies and the Laws of the Indies, like the other Spanish colonial possessions. The day-to-day work was handled mostly by viceroys and governors, who represented the king in the overseas territories. The areas of the Americas, which had been the site of complex civilizations or became rich societies were usually referred to by the Spanish as "kingdoms," such as the "New Kingdom of Granada", the "Kingdom of Mexico", or the "Kingdom of Guatemala."

Council of the Indies administrative organ of the Spanish Empire for the Americas and the Philippines

The Council of the Indies; officially, the Royal and Supreme Council of the Indies, was the most important administrative organ of the Spanish Empire for the Americas and the Philippines. The crown held absolute power over the Indies and the Council of the Indies was the administrative and advisory body for those overseas realms. It was established in 1524 by Charles V to administer "the Indies," Spain's name for its territories. Such an administrative entity, on the conciliar model of the Council of Castile, was created following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521, which demonstrated the importance of the Americas. Originally an itinerary council that followed Charles V, it was subsequently established as an autonomous body with legislative, executive and judicial functions by Philip II of Spain and placed in Madrid in 1561. The Council of the Indies was abolished in 1812 by the Cádiz Cortes, briefly restored in 1814 by Ferdinand VII of Spain, and definitively abolished in 1834 by the regency, acting on behalf of the four-year-old Isabella II of Spain.

Laws of the Indies

The Laws of the Indies are the entire body of laws issued by the Spanish Crown for the American and the Philippine possessions of its empire. They regulated social, political, religious, and economic life in these areas. The laws are composed of myriad decrees issued over the centuries and the important laws of the 16th century, which attempted to regulate the interactions between the settlers and natives, such as the Laws of Burgos (1512) and the New Laws (1542).

Americas Landmass comprising North America, Central America and South America

The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere and comprise the New World.

Chile never reached the status of a viceroyalty and was instead classified as a captaincy general because this was a very warlike territory and thus was ruled by a military and not a nobleman like a viceroy.

History

Exploration and conquest

In 1536 Diego de Almagro formed the first expedition to explore the territories to the south of the Inca Empire, which had been granted to him as the Governorship of New Toledo. After Almargo's death, Pedro de Valdivia solicited and was granted in 1539 the right to explore and conquer the area with Francisco Pizarro's approval. Valdivia founded the city of Santiago del Nuevo Extremo and a few months later its cabildo (municipal council) appointed him governor and Captain General of New Extremadura on June 11, 1541. Other cities founded during Valdivia's administration were Concepción in 1550, La Imperial in 1551, Santa María Magdalena de Villa Rica and Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia in 1552, and the following year Los Confines and Santiago del Estero on the eastern side of the Andes. In 1553 Valdivia also founded a series of forts for protection of the settled areas: San Felipe de Araucan, San Juan Bautista de Purén and San Diego de Tucapel. After Valdivia's death that same year, these last forts, Villarica and Concepcion were lost. they were recovered following the war with Lautaro and Caupolicán. Following the defeat of the Mapuche by García Hurtado de Mendoza, settlements continued to grow and more cities were founded: Cañete de la Frontera on the site of the former Fort San Diego de Tucapel and Villa de San Mateo de Osorno in 1558, San Andrés de Angol in 1560, Ciudad de Mendoza del Nuevo Valle de La Rioja in 1561, San Luis de Loyola Nueva Medina de Rioseco and San Juan de la Frontera in 1562, and Santiago de Castro in 1567. Martín García Óñez de Loyola founded a last city south of the Bio Bio River, Santa Cruz de Coya, in 1595.

Diego de Almagro Spanish conquistador

Diego de Almagro, also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo, was a Spanish conquistador known for his exploits in western South America. He participated with Francisco Pizarro in the Spanish conquest of Peru. From Peru Almagro led an expedition that made him the second European to set foot in central Chile. Back in Peru a longstanding conflict with Pizarro over the control of the former Inca capital of Cuzco erupted into a civil war between the two bands of conquistadores. In the battle of Las Salinas in 1538 Almagro was defeated by the Pizarro brothers and months later he was executed.

Inca Empire Empire in pre-Columbian America

The Inca Empire, also known as the Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. Its political and administrative structure is considered by most scholars to have been the most developed in the Americas before Columbus' arrival. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in the city of Cusco. The Inca civilization arose from the Peruvian highlands sometime in the early 13th century. Its last stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572.

Pedro de Valdivia español conquistador, first royal governor of Chile

Pedro Gutiérrez de Valdivia or Valdiva was a Spanish conquistador and the first royal governor of Chile. After serving with the Spanish army in Italy and Flanders, he was sent to South America in 1534, where he served as lieutenant under Francisco Pizarro in Peru, acting as his second in command. In 1540 he led an expedition of 150 Spaniards into Chile, where he defeated a large force of indigenous natives and founded Santiago in 1541. He extended Spanish rule south to the Biobío River in 1546, fought again in Peru, and returned to Chile as governor in 1549. He began to conquer Chile south of the Biobío and founded Concepción in 1550. He was captured and killed in a campaign against the Mapuche. The city of Valdivia in Chile is named after him.

Collapse of southern Chile

Illustration of the Arauco War in Jeronimo de Vivar's book Cronica y relacion copiosa y verdadera de los reynos de Chile (1558). Guerra Arauco.jpg
Illustration of the Arauco War in Jerónimo de Vivar's book Crónica y relación copiosa y verdadera de los reynos de Chile (1558).

A Mapuche revolt was triggered following the news of the battle of Curalaba in on the 23 of December 1598, where the vice toqui Pelantaru and his lieutenants Anganamon and Guaiquimilla with three hundred men ambushed and killed the Spanish governor Martín García Óñez de Loyola and nearly all his companions.

Mapuche Ethnic group in South America

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. Mapuches are particularly concentrated in Araucanía. Many have migrated to the Santiago and Buenos Aires area for economic opportunities.

The Battle of Curalaba is a 1598 battle and ambush where Mapuche people led by Pelantaru soundly defeated Spanish conquerors led by Martín García Óñez de Loyola at Curalaba, southern Chile. In Chilean historiography, where the event is often called the Disaster of Curalaba, the battle marks the end of the Conquest of Chile period in Chile's history, although the fast Spanish expansion in the south had already been halted in the 1550s. The battle contributed to unleash a general Mapuche uprising that resulted in the Destruction of the Seven Cities. This severe crisis reshaped Colonial Chile and forced the Spanish to reassess their mode of warfare.

Toqui Mapuche leader in times of war

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 (coyag) of the chieftains (loncos) of various clans (Rehues) or confederation of clans (Aillarehues), allied during the war at hand. 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, abdicated (Cayancaru), was deposed in another parliament, or upon completion of the war for which he was chosen.

Over the next few years the Mapuche were able to destroy or force the abandonment of seven Spanish cities in Mapuche territory: Santa Cruz de Coya (1599), Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia (1599), San Andrés de Los Infantes (1599), La Imperial (1600), Santa María Magdalena de Villa Rica (1602), San Mateo de Osorno (1602), and San Felipe de Araucan (1604).

Santa Cruz de Coya was a city established by the governor of Chile Martín García Oñez de Loyola on the site of the fort of Santa Cruz de Oñez, in 1595. It was named for his wife Beatriz Clara Coya, a member of the royal Incan house. The Mapuche called the city Millacoya, meaning gold princess from the mapudungun milla, gold and the quechua coya, princess.

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 49,000. Within the electoral divisions of Chile, it belongs to the 48th electoral district and the 14th senatorial circumscription.

La Imperial, Chile

La Imperial or Ciudad Imperial was a city founded by Pedro de Valdivia on 16 April 1552 and named in honor of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, then (also) king of Spain. It was abandoned on 5 April 1600 and destroyed as a result of the Mapuche Uprising of 1598 during the War of Arauco. The ruins were called Antigua Imperial. A city was refounded there in 1882 under the name Carahue.

17th century: Consolidation of the colony

In the 17th century, the Spanish colony of Chile saw a rearrangement of its population center. While in the 16th century, most of the cities founded by the Spanish were located from Bio-Bio southward, with only Santiago, La Serena and some transandine cities located north of it, in the 17th century, Spanish authority and settlements were bought down south of Bío-Bío Region. The colony went from being a gold exporter with potential for expanding to the Strait of Magellan to being one of the Spanish Empire's most problematic and poor in natural resources. The Spanish Empire had to divert silver from Potosí to finance a standing army in Chile to fight in the Arauco War. Since the raids of Francis Drake in Chilean waters more seaborne assaults followed in the 17th century, mostly from Dutch corsairs. The Spanish Empire's attempts to block the entrance to the Pacific Ocean by fortifying the Straits of Magellan were abandoned after the discovery of Drake's Passage, focusing then on fortifying the coastal cities of Chile.

18th century: Reforms and development

Political history

As noted, the area had been designated a governorship (gobernación) during the initial exploration and settlement of the area, but because the local Amerindian peoples demonstrated fierce resistance, a more autonomous, military-based governmental authority was needed. Thus, the governor was given command of the local military and the title of captain general. This arrangement was seen in many places of the Spanish Empire.

The greatest set back the Spanish settlements suffered was the Disaster of Curalaba in 1598, which nearly wiped them out. All cities south of the Biobío River with the exception of Castro were destroyed. The river became La Frontera the de facto border between Spanish and Native areas for the next century. (See Arauco War.)

Chile lost more than half of its territory with the Bourbon reforms of Charles III, when all of its trans-Andean possessions were transferred to the domain of the newly created Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776[ citation needed ]. Chile gained two intendancies, Santiago and Concepción in 1786 and became a Bourbon-style Captaincy General in 1789.

Society

Societal groups

"Baile del Santiago antiguo" by Pedro Subercaseaux. Chile's colonial high society were made up by landowners and government officials. Baile del Santiago antiguo.jpg
"Baile del Santiago antiguo" by Pedro Subercaseaux. Chile's colonial high society were made up by landowners and government officials.

The Chilean colonial society was based on a caste system. Local of criollos (American born Spaniards) enjoyed privileges like the ownership of encomiendas (Indian labor jurisdictions) and were allowed to access some public charges like corregidor or alférez. Mestizos made up initially a small group but came with time to make up the bulk of Chilean society becoming more numerous than indigenous peoples. [1] Mestizos were not a homogeneous group and were judged more by appearance than by actual ancestry. [1] Indians had the lowest prestige among societal groups in colonial Chile; many of them were used as cheap labor in encomienda but their numbers decreased over time due to diseases and mestization. Pehuenche's, Huilliches and Mapuches living south of La Frontera were not part of the colonial society since they were outside the de facto borders of Chile. Black slaves made up a minority of the population in colonial Chile and had a special status due to their high cost of import and maintenance. [1] Black slaves were often used as housekeepers and other posts of confidence. [1] Peninsulares, Spaniards born in Spain, were a rather small group in late colonial times, some of them came as government officials and some other as merchants. Their role in high government positions in Chile led to resentment among local criollos. [1] Mixing of different groups was not uncommon although marriage between members of the different groups was rare.

During late colonial times new migration pulses took off leading to large numbers of Basque people settling in Chile mingling with landowning criollos, forming a new upper class. [1] Scholar Louis Thayer Ojeda estimates that during the 17th and 18th centuries fully 45% of all immigrants in Chile were Basques. [2]

Sex and marriage

Indigenous women in the colonial society were noted, from a Spanish point of view, for their sexual liberalism and engaged often sexually with men from other ethnicities. [3] The same was true for the black slaves who due to their "many" intercourses with other groups were strictly prohibited by law to engage in sexual activities with other ethnicities in order to avoid the proliferation of black individuals. [3]

16th century Spaniards are known to have been pessimistic about marriage. [3] Many of the initial conquistadores had left their wives in Spain and engaged in adultery in Chile. [3] Examples of this is Pedro de Valdivia who held Inés de Suárez as lover. [3] Adultery was explicitly forbidden for Catholics and the Council of Trent (1545–1563) made the climate prone for accusations of adultery. [3] Over the course of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries marital fidelity increased in Chile. [3]

Chilean Antarctica in colonial times

World Map by Abraham Ortelius (1570), where appears the Terra Australis Incognita. OrteliusWorldMap.jpeg
World Map by Abraham Ortelius (1570), where appears the Terra Australis Incognita.

For many years, cartographers and European explorers speculated about the existence of the Terra Australis Incognita , a vast territory located in the south of the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego and reached the South Pole.

The Treaty of Tordesillas, signed on June 7 of 1494, set the areas of influence of Spain and Portugal, west and east, respectively, of a line running from pole to pole that was never demarcated (at 46° 37 'W in the Spanish classical interpretation, and further west, according to the Portuguese interpretation), so the Antarctic areas claimed by Chile today, while still unknown at that time, fell within the control of Spain. The treaty, backed by the papal bull Ea quae pro bono pacis in 1506 was made mandatory for all Catholic countries, was not recognized by European non-Catholic states and even by some that were, like France. For Britain, Dutch, Russia and other countries, the Antarctic areas were considered res nullius , a no man's land not subject to the occupation of any nation.

In 1534, The Emperor Charles V divided in three governorates the South American territory :

In 1539, a new governorate was formed south of New León called Terra Australis to Pedro Sanchez de la Hoz. In 1554, the conqueror Pedro de Valdivia, who led the Governorate of Chile, he talked to the Council of the Indies to give the rights of New León and the Terra Australis to Jeronimo de Alderete, which, after the death of Valdivia the following year, became governor of Chile and annexed the Chilean colonial territory.

Proof of this are numerous historical documents, among which include a Royal Decree of 1554:

Because it was personally consulted, we will grant, to the Captain Jeronimo de Alderete the land across the Magellan Strait

Later, in 1558, the Royal Decree of Brussels it prompted the Chilean colonial government to take ownership in our name from the lands and provinces that fall in the demarcation of the Spanish crown in Referring to the land across the Strait, because at that time it was thought that Tierra del Fuego was an integral part of the Terra Australis.

One of the most important works of Spanish literature, the epic poem La Araucana by Alonso de Ercilla (1569), is also considered by Chile as favorable to their argument, as you can read in the seventh stanza of his Canto I:

Is Chile North South very long,
new sea coast of the south called;
will from East to West of wide
one hundred miles, so wider taken,
under the Antarctic Pole height
twenty-seven degrees,
prolonged until the sea Ocean and Chilean
mix their waters within narrow.

In the fourth stanza of his Canto III:

This was the one who found the sections
Indians of Antarctic regions.

There are also stories and maps, both Chilean and Europeans, indicating the membership of the Terra Australis Antarctica as part of the Captaincy General of Chile.

The Spanish navigator Gabriel de Castilla sailed from Valparaiso in March 1603 in command of three ships in an expedition entrusted by his brother cousin viceroy of Peru, Luis de Velasco y Castilla, to repress the incursions of Dutch privateers in the Southern Seas, reaching 64 degrees south latitude. There have not founded in the Spanish archives documents confirming the reached latitude and sighted land; however, the story of the Dutch sailor Laurenz Claesz (is a testimony dateless, but probably after 1607), documents the latitude and time. Claesz said:

Sailed under the Admiral don Gabriel of Castile with three ships along the coasts of Chile towards Valparaiso, and from there to the strait. In March of 1603 he reached 64 degrees and they had a lot of snow there. In the following April they returned back to the coast of Chile

Another Dutch document, published in Amsterdam in three languages in 1622, says that at 64°S there are "very high and mountainous, snow cover, like the country of Norway, all white, land It seemed to extend to the Solomon Islands" This confirms a previous sighting of the lands would be the South Shetland Islands.

Other historians attribute the first sighting of Antarctic land to the Dutch marine Dirk Gerritsz, which would have found the islands now known as South Shetland. According to his account, his ship was diverted from course by a storm after transposing the Strait of Magellan, in the journey of a Dutch expedition to the East Indies in 1599. There are doubts about the veracity of Gerritsz.

At this time was already known the existence of a white continent in south of the Drake Passage, separated from the Tierra del Fuego. In 1772, the British James Cook circumnavigated the waters of the Southern Ocean.

Economy

See also

Related Research Articles

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The Fort System of Valdivia are a series of Spanish colonial fortifications at Corral Bay, Valdivia and Cruces River established to protect the city of Valdivia, in southern Chile. During the period of Spanish rule (1552–1820), it was one of the biggest systems of fortification in the Americas. It was also a major supply source for Spanish ships that crossed the Strait of Magellan.

La Frontera is the name given to a geographical region in Chile. La Frontera can denote either the area just around Bío Bío River or the whole area between the Bío Bío and Toltén River being in this later definition largely coterminous with the historical usage of Araucanía.

Pelantaro or Pelantarú was one of the vice toquis of Paillamachu, the toqui or military leader of the Mapuche people during the Mapuche uprising in 1598. Pelantaro and his lieutenants Anganamon and Guaiquimilla were credited with the death of the second Spanish Governor of Chile, Martín García Óñez de Loyola, during the Battle of Curalaba on December 21, 1598.

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Destruction of the Seven Cities Destruction of Spanish settlements by an indigenous uprising

The Destruction of the Seven Cities is a term used in Chilean historiography to refer to the destruction or abandonment of seven major Spanish outposts in southern Chile around 1600 caused by the Mapuche and Huilliche uprising of 1598. The Destruction of the Seven Cities is in traditional historiography the defining event that marks the end of the Conquest period and the beginning of the proper colonial period.

The Conquest of Chile is a period in Chilean historiography that starts with the arrival of Pedro de Valdivia to Chile in 1541 and ends with the death of Martín García Óñez de Loyola in the Battle of Curalaba in 1598, and the destruction of the Seven Cities in 1598–1604 in the Araucanía region.

Juan Jufré Spanish conquistador

Juan Jufré de Loayza y Montesa (1516–1578) was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the 1541 expedition of Pedro de Valdivia to Chile. He was the first alcalde of Santiago, Chile and held the position of governor of the Argentine province of Cuyo. He founded the city of San Juan de la Frontera and re-founded the city of Mendoza.

Alonso de Figueroa y Cordova was a Spanish soldier who, in the days of the reign of Philip IV of Spain, temporarily carried out the position of Captain General and Royal Governor of Chile, besides president of its Real Audiencia of Chile. His government lasted for 13 months, between April 1649 and May 1650. He was the grandfather of the Chilean historian Pedro de Cordoba y Figueroa.

Francisco Antonio de Acuña Cabrera y Bayona was a Spanish soldier and governor of the Captaincy General of Chile between 1650 and 1656. He was son of Antonio de Cabrera y Acuña y de Agueda de Bayona, was a knight of the Order of Santiago and a professional military man. After serving in Flanders and France, he went to Peru as Maestre de Campo of El Callao and a general, being designated later Royal Governor of Chile. He was married to Juana de Salazar.

In Chilean historiography, Colonial Chile is the period from 1600 to 1810, beginning with the Destruction of the Seven Cities and ending with the onset of the Chilean War of Independence. During this time the Chilean heartland was ruled by Captaincy General of Chile. The period was characterized by a lengthy conflict between Spaniards and native Mapuches known as the Arauco War. Colonial society was divided in distinct groups including Peninsulars, Criollos, Mestizos, Indians and Black people.

Discovery of Chile

The first European to discover Chile was Ferdinand Magellan, in 1520, following the passage in the Strait which bears his name on a wall, at the southern tip of Latin America. Following the conquest of Aztec Empire by Hernán Cortés between 1518 and 1521, a new wave of territorial expansion occurs in the direction of the Inca Empire from 1532. This is done by Francisco Pizarro. The conquest of part of Chile started from 1535. This conquest is in a particular context and results in a partial settlement of the Spaniards in today's Chile.

Dutch expedition to Valdivia

The Dutch expedition to Valdivia was a naval expedition, commanded by Hendrik Brouwer, sent by the Dutch Republic in 1643 to establish a base of operations and a trading post on the southern coast of Chile. With Spain and the Dutch Republic at war, the Dutch wished to take over the ruins of the abandoned Spanish city of Valdivia. The expedition sacked the Spanish settlements of Carelmapu and Castro in the Chiloé Archipelago before sailing to Valdivia. The Dutch arrived in Valdivia on 24 August 1643 and named the colony Brouwershaven after Brouwer, who had died several weeks earlier. The short-lived colony was abandoned on 28 October 1643. Nevertheless, the occupation caused great alarm among Spanish authorities. The Spanish resettled Valdivia and began the construction of an extensive network of fortifications in 1645 to prevent a similar intrusion. Although contemporaries considered the possibility of a new incursion, the expedition was the last one undertaken by the Dutch on the west coast of the Americas.

The Parliament of Las Canoas was a diplomatic meeting between Mapuche-Huilliches and Spanish authorities in 1793 held at the confluence of Rahue River and Damas River near what is today the city of Osorno. The parliament was summoned by the Royal Governor of Chile Ambrosio O'Higgins after the Spanish had suppressed an uprising by the Mapuche-Huilliches of Ranco and Río Bueno in 1792. The parliament is historically relevant since the treaty signed at the end of the meeting allowed the Spanish to reestablish the city of Osorno and secure the transit rights between Valdivia and the Spanish mainland settlements near Chiloé Archipelago. The indigenous signatories recognized the king of Spain as their sovereign but they kept considerable autonomy in the lands they did not ceded. The treaty is unique in that it was the first time Mapuches formally ceded territory to the Spanish.

Coastal fortifications of colonial Chile

In Colonial times the Spanish Empire diverted significant resources to fortify the Chilean coast as consequence of Dutch and English raids. During the 16th century the Spanish strategy was to complement the fortification work in its Caribbean ports with forts in the Strait of Magellan. As attempts at settling and fortifying the Strait of Magellan were abandoned the Spanish began to fortify the Captaincy General of Chile and other parts of the west coast of the Americas. The coastal fortifications and defense system was at its peak in the mid-18th century.

The Mapuche uprising of 1655 was series of coordinated Mapuche attacks against Spanish settlements and forts in Colonial Chile. It was the worst military crisis in Chile in decades and contemporaries even considered the possibility of a civil war among the Spanish. The uprising marks the beginning of a ten–year period of warfare between the Spanish and Mapuches.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Villalobos, Sergio. Historia De Chile, Tomo 2. Editorial Universitaria, Chile.
  2. William A. Douglass, Jon Bilbao (2005). " Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World ". University of Nevada Press. p.81. ISBN   0-87417-625-5
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Historia de la vida privada en Chile. El Chile tradicional. De la conquista a 1840. 2005. Aguilar Chilena de Ediciones S.A. pp. 53-63.