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Captaincy General of Chile
Capitanía General de Chile
Map of the Captaincy General of Chile in 1796 and claimed territories
|Common languages|| Spanish |
|Pedro de Valdivia|
|Casimiro Marcó del Pont|
|Historical era||Spanish Empire|
|February 12 1818|
|ISO 3166 code||CL|
The Captaincy General of Chile (Capitanía General de Chile [kapitaˈni.a xeneˈɾal ðe ˈt͡ʃile] ) or Govenorate of Chile (known colloquially and unofficially as the Kingdom of Chile), was a territory of the Spanish Empire from 1541 to 1818 that was, for most of its existence, part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. 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.
The Captaincy General of Chile was incorporated to the Crown of Castile as were all the other Spanish possessions in the New World. The Captaincy General of Chile was first known as New Extremadura (a name subsequently given to a part of Mexico) and then as Indian Flanders .
The administrative apparatus of the Captaincy General 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."
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. In a colloquial and unofficial way it was known as the Kingdom of Chile (Reyno de Chile in old Spanish spelling) for figuratively speaking the Chilean dominions, although in official documentation, letters, trades, etc., the country is referred to as "Reyno de Chile".
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.
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.
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).
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.
|History of Chile|
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 setback 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.
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.Mestizos were not a homogeneous group and were judged more by appearance than by actual ancestry. 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. Black slaves were often used as housekeepers and other posts of confidence. 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. 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.Scholar Louis Thayer Ojeda estimates that during the 17th and 18th centuries fully 45% of all immigrants in Chile were Basques.
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.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.
16th century Spaniards are known to have been pessimistic about marriage.Many of the initial conquistadores had left their wives in Spain and engaged in adultery in Chile. Examples of this is Pedro de Valdivia who held Inés de Suárez as lover. Adultery was explicitly forbidden for Catholics and the Council of Trent (1545–1563) made the climate prone for accusations of adultery. Over the course of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries marital fidelity increased in Chile.
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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
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.
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.
The Strait of Magellan, also called the Straits of Magellan, is a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The strait is considered the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It was discovered and first traversed by the Spanish expedition of Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, after whom it is named.
The Huilliche[wi.ˈʝi.tʃe], Huiliche or Huilliche-Mapuche are the southern partiality of the Mapuche macroethnic group of Chile. The Huilliche are the principal indigenous population of Chile from Toltén River to Chiloé Archipelago. According to Ricardo E. Latcham the term Huilliche started to be used in Spanish after the second founding of Valdivia in 1645, adopting the usage of the Mapuches of Araucanía for the southern Mapuche tribes. Huilliche means 'southerners'
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 servitude. It subsequently evolved over time into phases, drawn-out sieges, slave-hunting expeditions, pillaging raids, punitive expeditions, and renewed Spanish attempts to secure lost territories. Abduction of women and war rape was common on both sides.
Alonso de Ribera y Zambrano was a Spanish soldier and twice Spanish royal governor of Chile.
The Chilean Antarctic Territory or Chilean Antarctica is the territory in Antarctica claimed by Chile. The Chilean Antarctic Territory ranges from 53° West to 90° West and from the South Pole to the 60° South parallel, partially overlapping the Argentine and British Antarctic claims. It is administered by the Cabo de Hornos municipality in the South American mainland.
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 (1645–1820), 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.
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.
Cuncos or Juncos is a poorly known subgroup of Huilliche people native to coastal areas of southern Chile and the nearby inland. Mostly a historic term, Cuncos are chiefly known for their long-running conflict with the Spanish.
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, who 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.
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.
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.
In Colonial times the Spanish Empire diverted significant resources to fortify the Chilean coast as consequence of Dutch and English raids. The Spanish attempts to block the entrance of foreign ships to the eastern Pacific proved fruitless due to the failure to settle the Strait of Magellan and the discovery of the Drake Passage. As result of this the Spanish settlement at Chiloé Archipelago became a centre from where the west coast of Patagonia was protected from foreign powers. In face of the international wars that involved the Spanish Empire in the second half of the 18th century the Crown was unable to directly protect peripheral colonies like Chile leading to local government and militias assuming the increased responsibilities.
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.
Chilean expansionism refers to the foreign policy of Chile to expand its territorial control over key strategic locations and economic resources as a means to ensure its national security and assert its power in South America. Chile's significant territorial acquisitions, which occurred mostly throughout the 19th century, paved the way for its emergence as one of the three most powerful and wealthiest states in South America during the 20th century. It also formed Chile's geopolitical and national identity as a tricontinental state and one of the countries with the longest coastlines in the world.
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