27 Facts About Mapuche


Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia.

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In times of war, the Mapuche would unite in larger groupings and elect a toki to lead them.

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At the time of Spanish arrival, the Araucanian Mapuche inhabited the valleys between the Itata and Tolten rivers.

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Since then the Mapuche have become subjects, and then nationals and citizens of the respective states.

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Name "Mapuche" is used both to refer collectively to the Picunche, Huilliche and Moluche or Nguluche from Araucania, or at other times, exclusively to the Moluche or Nguluche from Araucania.

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Mapuche identify by the geography of their territories, such as:.

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Archaeological finds have shown that Mapuche culture existed in Chile and Argentina as early as 600 to 500 BC.

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Genetically the Mapuche differ from the adjacent indigenous peoples of Patagonia.

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Spanish expansion into Mapuche territory was an offshoot of the conquest of Peru.

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The northern Mapuche tribes, known as Promaucaes and Picunches, fought unsuccessfully against Spanish conquest.

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Between 1550 and 1553 the Spanish founded several cities in Mapuche lands including Concepcion, Valdivia, Imperial, Villarrica and Angol.

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Mapuche numbers decreased significantly following contact with the Spanish invaders; wars and epidemics decimated the population.

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The Mapuche then initiated a general uprising which destroyed all the cities in their homeland south of the Biobio River.

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In 2010 the Mapuche launched a number of hunger strikes in attempts to effect change in the anti-terrorism legislation.

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In 2018, the Mapuche were suing Exxon, French company TotalEnergies and Pan American Energy.

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At the time of the arrival of Europeans, the Mapuche organized and constructed a network of forts and defensive buildings.

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Ancient Mapuche built ceremonial constructions such as some earthwork mounds recently discovered near Puren.

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Mapuche quickly adopted iron metal-working Mapuche learned horse riding and the use of cavalry in war from the Spaniards, along with the cultivation of wheat and sheep.

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Mapuche made headdresses with coins, which were called trarilonko, etc.

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Central to Mapuche cosmology is the idea of a creator called, who is embodied in four components: an older man, an older woman, a young man and a young woman.

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Also, Mapuche cosmology is informed by complex notions of spirits that coexist with humans and animals in the natural world, and daily circumstances can dictate spiritual practices.

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Part of Mapuche ritual is prayer and animal sacrifice, required to maintain the cosmic balance.

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Mapuche have incorporated the remembered history of their long independence and resistance from 1540, and of the treaty with the Chilean and Argentine government in the 1870s.

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Such trading enabled the Mapuche to obtain those goods that they did not produce or held in high esteem, such as horses.

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At present, the fabrics woven by the Mapuche continue to be used for domestic purposes, as well as for gift, sale or barter.

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Many Mapuche women continue to weave fabrics according to the customs of their ancestors and transmit their knowledge in the same way: within domestic life, from mother to daughter, and from grandmothers to granddaughters.

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Notable Mapuche poets include Sebastian Queupul, Pedro Alonzo, Elicura Chihuailaf and Leonel Lienlaf.

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