Siege of Concepción

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Siege of Concepcion
Part of Arauco War
DateFebruary 1 - April 1, 1564 [1] [ failed verification ]
Location
Vicinity of Concepcion, Chile
Result Spanish Victory
Belligerents
Flag of New Spain.svg Spanish Empire Lautaro flag.svg Mapuche
Commanders and leaders
Flag of New Spain.svg Pedro de Villagra Lautaro flag.svg Loble
Lautaro flag.svg Millalelmo
Strength
200 soldiers, 6 cannon and citizens and indios amigos of Concepcion. 20,000 warriors
Casualties and losses
? ?

During the Siege of Concepcion of the Arauco War, 20,000 warriors of the army of the Mapuche laid siege to the Spanish garrison and civil population in the fortress of Concepcion, Chile.

Contents

History

In early 1564, Spanish governor Pedro de Villagra was taking measures to protect all the towns and forts he already held against the growing Mapuche revolt and to organize a field army in Concepcion. He knew that one of the Mapuche objectives was to surround Concepcion, and preparations were made to support a long siege.

Raids by Mapuche bands had made it unsafe for Spaniards to go farther than a league from the city. After a brief fight, 3,000 Mapuche in the Itata River valley under Loble defeated the troops of captain Francisco de Vaca coming with reinforcements from Santiago. Meanwhile, another 3,000 warriors under Millalelmo defeated the troops coming from Angol under captain Juan Perez de Zurita, at a crossing of the Andalién River two leagues from Concepcion. [2] Both defeats had reduced the garrison of Concepcion to defensive measures and cut off Concepcion from aid by land. The survivors of the two battles had to retreat to Santiago and were in no condition to break through the investment around Concepcion.

Meanwhile, the caciques Millalelmu and Loble with 20,000 warriors from the area between the Itata and Bio-Bio rivers, had looted and destroyed Spanish estancias in the vicinity of Concepcion, took their herds, and then settled down to besiege Concepcion in early February 1564. The Mapuche entered the city, sacking and burning it, the population crowding within the walls of its fortress with its 200-man garrison under governor Pedro de Villagra. The Mapuche then built a fortified camp on heights overlooking the city from which they descended to attack it.

The siege lasted two months with continuous skirmishes. At the end of March two Spanish ships arrived bringing food that permitted the population to continue to withstand the siege for a much longer time. On the other side the Mapuche had used up local sources of food, and without pack animals and transport vehicles were finding it difficult to bring in enough to maintain their large force. Also the harvest season was coming and failure to bring in the crops would result in a winter of hunger for their families. With the recent news of the defeat of the Mapuche toqui Illangulién at the Battle of Angol, they were also nervous that their undefended homes might be attacked from Angol or Santiago. On the first of April the Mapuche army raised the siege and dispersed to their homes for the winter. [3]

Additional information

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The Battle of Millarapue that occurred November 30, 1557 was intended by the Toqui Caupolicán as a Mapuche ambush of the Spanish army of García Hurtado de Mendoza that resulted in a Spanish victory when the ambush failed.

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The Battle of Lagunillas was a battle in the Arauco War on November 8, 1557, between the army of García Hurtado de Mendoza and the Mapuche army near some shallow lakes a league south of the Bio-Bio River.

The Battle of Angol was a battle fought between the Mapuche and the Spanish in March 1564. In Los Infantes captain Lorenzo Bernal del Mercado had discovered that the rebels had constructed a pukara close by, establishing a blockade of the city, additionally natives under the toqui Illangulién had chosen an impregnable position in a marsh. A Mapuche detachment located themselves in a third position awaiting reinforcements from their main body at the old position. Seeing that this position was weak the Spanish engaged this position. In the battle the Spanish drove the Mapuche out of their pukara and pursued them down to the river bank and drove them into the river, where they were trapped and 1,000 Mapuches were killed including the toqui Illanguelén.

Lorenzo Bernal del Mercado (1530–1593) was a Spanish captain who was one of the more successful soldiers in the Arauco War in Chile rising to the rank of Maestre de Campo and temporary Capitán General of the Captaincy General of Chile.

Millalelmo or Millarelmo was a Mapuche military leader in the second great Mapuche rebellion that began in 1561 during the Arauco War. Probably the toqui of the Arauco region, he commanded the Mapuche army of that area at the siege of Arauco from May 20 to June 30, 1562.

'Loble, also known as Lig-lemu or Lillemu,(d. ca. 1565) was the Mapuche vice-toqui of the Moluche north of the Bio-Bio River who led the second Mapuche revolt during the Arauco War.

Llanganabal was a Moluche toqui who led the Mapuche army that defeated the Spanish led by Martín Ruiz de Gamboa in the Battle of Catirai in 1569. In 1560 Llanganabal is listed as one of the caciques heading an encomienda along the Bio Bio River. Shortly after began the outbreak of the 1561 Mapuche revolt. By 1569 Llanganabal had risen to command the Araucan army with Millalelmo and other captains as his subordinates. To resist the Spanish who had been burning the fields and houses on the south bank of the Bio Bio, Millalelmo had built a strong fortress on a hill in Catirai in a difficult position on steep wooded slopes. Despite the warnings of Lorenzo Bernal del Mercado who had reconnoitered the position, Spaniards new to Chile and the Arauco War prevailed on Governor Melchor Bravo de Saravia to order Martín Ruiz de Gamboa to take his command and attack the place. Meanwhile, Llanganabal had gathered all his army there to resist the attack. Gamboa's force was badly defeated while attempting to attack up the steep thickly wooded hill into Llanganabal's fortified position.

The Battle of Catirai took place on January 7, 1569 near Catirai, Chile between the Mapuche army of Toqui Llanganabal and the Spanish army led by Martín Ruiz de Gamboa that resulted in a Mapuche victory.

References

  1. Lobera, Crónica del Reino de Chile, Capítulo XXII
  2. Marmolejo, Historia..., Capítulo XLV
  3. Diego Barros Arana, Historia General De Chile, Tomo Segundo, Parte Tercera La Colonia desde 1561 hasta 1610, Capitulo Segundo Sec. 4

Sources