Chile Under Spanish Rule
The Spanish conquest of Chile was much more eventful and tiring than it had been in the other South American regions; which could never be said to be completely safe and peaceful, still for two centuries after the first settlement, due to the struggle against the Araucani, a salient fact of the colonial period in Chile. Even the very beginning of the Spanish penetration was not very happy. Diego de Almagro’s expedition (1535-1537) failed, and the impression was such that for more than two years no one thought of trying the adventure again.But in 1939 Pedro de Valdivia was able to agree with Pizarro for a new shipment; so in January 1540 he left Cuzco, with 150 Spaniards and 1000 Indians. In less than six months he reached the banks of the Mapocho, where, at the foot of the Huelen hill, he founded Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura (February 12, 1541). And immediately the search for gold began, in the Malga Malga river: the Spaniards directed the work, the Indians gave their arms. But the submission of the natives was only apparent: on the morning of September 11, in the absence of Valdivia, they rebelled and attacked Santiago; and, although rejected, the damage to the Spaniards was enormous, so that it was necessary to send Alonso de Monroy for relief to Peru who was only back in September 1943 – after two very painful years for the settlers – with aid and supplies of men, weapons and food.
According to a2zdirectory, the Indians fled to the south; the valleys close to Santiago were deserted: no possibility, therefore, of starting the exploitation of the soil due to the lack of working arms. The exodus of the natives had to be prevented by force; establish guard posts to block exits; finally widen the conquest. Thus was born La Serena, in the Coquimbo valley (September 1544), while almost at the same time the Genoese Giovan Battista Pastene, later appointed admiral by Valdivia, occupied the bay of San Pedro; finally Valdivia itself in 1946 reached the Bío-Bío. But soon La Serena was destroyed by the natives and it took a new expedition from Francisco de Aguirre to subdue the rebels and rebuild the town. In January 1550 Valdivia again marched south. It reaches the Bío-Bío for the second time; he founds Concepción (March 3, 1550), almost at the mouth of it; defeats the Araucani in open battle (12 March); makes the territory seemingly peaceful. In February 1552 the city of Valdivia was founded; in the same year Villarrica rises; at the end of 1553 Francisco de Aguirre founded Santiago del Estero on the other side of the Andes.
But a sudden catastrophe ensued. On 1 January 1553, surprised by the Araucans in Tucapel, Valdivia was taken prisoner and put to death. On 23 February 1554 Villagra, lieutenant of Valdivia, suffered a second defeat; on 12 December 1555 Concepción fell into the hands of the Araucani, who, led by the famous Lautaro, even moved against the province of Santiago. The invasion was repelled; Lautaro fell in combat on April 29, 1557; on 10 August 1557 the new governor, Don García Hurtado de Mendoza, beat the enemies and could regain the lost land to the south, found new centers, Cañete, Osomo, Mendoza, raid the Araucanian territory, reaching the archipelago of Chiloé. But since then, and for two centuries,
It can be said that the guerrillas never ceased. It is impossible here to follow all the various and minute phases: it is enough to remember, for example, that in 1559 six cities were destroyed by the Indians; that in 1654 a general uprising of the Indians threatened the whole colony, causing enormous damage to the encomenderos ; that in 1723 a new great insurrection brought new disasters. Chile at the time was truly a frontier area that was continually in danger: as is also shown by the fact that, to govern it, the Spanish crown sent mostly experienced soldiers. And as well as serving to enrich the metropolis, it had to be continually supplied with weapons and money, so that more than once at the Spanish court there was talk of abandoning such an expensive conquest. It is also difficult to say whether a method of ruthless repression or a method of peaceful approach to the Araucanians would be better. Violence had been used several times; the peaceful method had been tried at the beginning of the century. XVII, by the Jesuit father Luis de Valdivia, who wanted to ensure peace through harmony with the Araucani. Strengthened by the consent of Philip III, the missionary presented himself to the Araucanians summoned to the assembly, to submit his proposals. But, apparently due to the imprudent behavior of a Spanish delegate who accompanied him, instead of peace there was the massacre of three missionaries and the resumption of the war.