Diego de Rosales

Last updated
Diego de Rosales
Died1677 (aged 7576)
Nationality Spanish
Occupation Chronicler, author

Diego de Rosales (Madrid, 1601 - Santiago, 1677) was a Spanish chronicler and author of Historia General del Reino de Chile. [1]


He studied in his hometown, where he also joined the Society of Jesus. He came to Chile in the year 1629, without having taken his last vows still being sent to the residence that the Jesuits had in Arauco. He served as an Army chaplain in the Arauco War during the government of Don Francisco Laso de la Vega and in 1640 was ordained a priest in Santiago. During this time he acquired his knowledge of the language and customs of the Mapuche.

He was close to the governors Francisco López de Zúñiga and Martín de Mujica y Buitrón, accompanying them and participating in the parliaments held in 1641 and 1647 during the Arauco War.

In 1650, the Governor Antonio de Acuña Cabrera tasked him to conduct a journey to the Pehuenche tribes east of Villarica and later to Lake Nahuelhuapi. During the Mapuche uprising of 1655 he was in Boroa, long besieged by the Mapuche until January 1656, when it was abandoned. He was taken to Concepción and appointed rector of the Jesuit college in the city, where he stayed until 1662. He was then appointed superior of the Jesuit Province of Chile, having moved to Santiago. He held this office until 1666, and then assumed the rectorship of the Colegio Máximo of the order in the capital. He took up the direction of the Jesuits again between 1670 and 1672.

Work as a chronicler

In 1674 he finished writing his Historia General del Reino de Chile. His first two books describe the geography, fauna, flora, and the life and customs of the natives. The second part deals with the history of the Kingdom from the arrival of Diego de Almagro until the General Rising of 1655. However it was not published until 1877 in Valparaiso, due to Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, who acquired it in 1870 in London.

Diego de Rosales Historia documents a series of events such as the Dutch expedition to Valdivia. [2]

Diego de Rosales is also known to have written a chronicle about the Society of Jesus in Chile, which was called Conquista Espiritual del reino de Chile. It was a series of biographies of the main missionaries of the order, combined with the descriptions of their personalities with tales of miracles, appearances and all sorts of wonders common in the minds and documents of the time. Unfortunately, this manuscript has only survived in part.

In his works Rosales used chiefly second hand sources such as those of Garcilaso de la Vega. [3] Comparison to other written work have shown that Rosales writings are prone to errors and exaggerations. [3]


  • Rosales, Diego de (1877). Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna (ed.). Historia general de el Reyno de Chile: Flandes Indiano (1425–1553) (in Spanish). I. Valparaíso, Chile: Imprenta i Libreria del Mercurio.
  • Rosales, Diego de (1878). Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna (ed.). Historia general de el Reyno de Chile: Flandes Indiano (1554–1625) (in Spanish). II. Valparaíso, Chile: Imprenta i Libreria del Mercurio.
  • Rosales, Diego de (1878). Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna (ed.). Historia general de el Reyno de Chile: Flandes Indiano (1625–1655) (in Spanish). III. Valparaíso, Chile: Imprenta i Libreria del Mercurio.

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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.

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Cadeguala or Cadiguala was a Mapuche toqui elected in 1585 following the death in battle of the previous toqui Nangoniel. Cadeguala was a noted warrior and the first Mapuche toqui known to have used cavalry successfully in battle. He was killed in a duel with the garrison commander of the Spanish fort at Purén in 1586.

Paineñamcu or Paynenancu or Alonso Diaz, was the Mapuche toqui from 1574 to 1584. Alonso Diaz was a mestizo Spanish soldier offended because the Governor of Chile did not promote him to the officer rank of alféres, who subsequently went over to the Mapuche in 1572. He took the Mapuche name of Paineñamcu and because of his military skills was elected toqui in 1574 following the death of Paillataru.

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  1. "Des Indes Occidentales A L'Amerique Latine". Openedition.org (in Spanish).
  2. Rosales 1878, p. 219.
  3. 1 2 Silva Galdames, Osvaldo (1983). "¿Detuvo la batalla del Maule la expansión inca hacia el sur de Chile?". Cuadernos de Historia (in Spanish). 3: 7–25. Retrieved January 10, 2019.