/ar'aw kay"nee euhn/, n.
1. a member of an Indian people of central Chile.
2. the language of the Araucanians, spoken in central Chile and northern Argentina.
3. pertaining to the Araucanians or to their language.
[1900-05; ARAUCANI(A) + -AN]

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South American Indian people who are now concentrated in the valleys and basins between the Bío Bío and Toltén rivers in south-central Chile.

When the Spanish conquistadores arrived in Chile, they encountered three Araucanian populations: the Picunche, who were accustomed to Inca control; the Huilliche, who were too few and scattered to resist the conquistadores; and the Mapuche, successful farmers and artisans. The first two were soon assimilated, but the Mapuche managed to resist Spanish and Chilean control for some 350 years. They were subdued in the late 19th century and were settled on reservations; they now live independently.

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      any member of a group of South American Indians that are now concentrated in the fertile valleys and basins of south-central Chile, from the Bío-Bío River in the north to the Toltén River in the south.

      Although the pre-Columbian Araucanians did not themselves recognize political or cultural unity above the village level, the Spanish distinguished three Araucanian populations geographically: the Picunche living in the north between the Choapa and Bío-Bío rivers, the Mapuche inhabiting the middle valleys, and the Huilliche dwelling in the south between the Toltén River and Chiloé Island. The first Araucanians encountered by the Spanish (c. 1536) were the Picunche, who had lived under Inca cultural influence or political domination since the 15th century. The Picunche were accustomed to outside rule and put up very little resistance to the Spanish. By the end of the 17th century, the Picunche had been assimilated into Spanish society and had become part of the peasant population. The southernmost people, the Huilliche, were too few and too scattered to resist the Spanish for long. They, like the Picunche, were assimilated into the rural population of Chile.

      At the time of the Spanish arrival in Chile, most of central Chile was settled by scattered populations of Mapuche (q.v.) farmers who grew corn (maize), beans, squash, potatoes, and other vegetables. They hunted, fished, and kept guinea pigs for meat; llamas were both pack animals and sources of wool for weaving fine fabrics that were traded with the Inca to the north. They had established metalsmithing and pottery-making traditions.

      The Mapuche were more numerous and less tolerant of foreign domination than the Picunche of the north. In the face of the Spanish threat, the Mapuche formed widespread alliances above the village level, adopted the strategic use of horses in battle, and, in a series of conflicts called the Araucanian wars, successfully resisted Spanish and Chilean control for 350 years.

      When Pedro de Valdivia (Valdivia, Pedro de)'s expedition occupied central Chile and founded Santiago in 1541, it met with strong resistance from the Mapuche. In 1550 Valdivia pressed southward and founded Concepción at the mouth of the Bío-Bío River, but in 1553 he and his followers were defeated by the Mapuche under Lautaro, a chief who had spent about two years in Valdivia's service. After Valdivia's disaster the Mapuche nearly captured Santiago, but the death of Lautaro on the battlefield and a smallpox epidemic among the Indians saved the colony. Another chief, Caupolicán, continued the fight until his capture by treachery and subsequent execution by the Spaniards in 1558. Thereafter the Spaniards pushed the Mapuche into the forest region south of the Bío-Bío, which remained the boundary between the two peoples for three centuries.

      After the Chileans had annexed slices of Peruvian and Bolivian territory in the War of the Pacific (1879–84), they subdued the remaining Mapuche in the south; the Mapuche had begun to raid German-speaking settlements there in the late 1840s and had thus prevented further expansion into the Araucanian homeland. After their defeat by the Chilean army, the Mapuche signed treaties with the Chilean government and were settled on reservations farther to the south.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Araucanian — or Araucan [ə rô′kənar΄ô kā′nē ən, ə rô΄kā′nē ən] n. [< Sp Araucano, after Arauco, region (now a province) in Chile < Araucanian rau, clay + ko, water] 1. a member of a group of South American Indian peoples of Chile and the Argentine… …   English World dictionary

  • Araucanian — also Araucan noun Etymology: Spanish araucano, from Arauco, former province in Chile Date: 1788 1. a member of a group of Indian peoples of south central Chile and adjacent regions of Argentina 2. the language of the Araucanian people that… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Araucanian — 1. noun a) Mapuche b) Mapudungun 2. adjective a) Mapuche b) Mapudungun language …   Wiktionary

  • Araucanian — [ˌarɔ: keɪnɪən] noun 1》 a member of a group of American Indian peoples of Chile and parts of Argentina. 2》 the language of the Araucanians. adjective relating to the Araucanians or their language. Origin from Sp. Araucania, a region in Chile …   English new terms dictionary

  • araucanian — arau·ca·nian …   English syllables

  • Araucanian — Ar•au•ca•ni•an [[t]ˌær ɔˈkeɪ ni ən[/t]] n. 1) peo a member of an American Indian people of S central Chile and adjacent areas of Argentina 2) peo the language of the Araucanians • Etymology: 1900–05 …   From formal English to slang

  • Araucanian — /ærɔˈkeɪniən/ (say araw kayneeuhn) noun 1. one of an indigenous South American people, in central Chile. 2. a linguistic stock of Chile and northern Argentina. –adjective 3. of or relating to this people or their linguistic stock …   Australian English dictionary

  • araucanian — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Araucanian Indians —    The gods of this tribe of South American Indians included Aka Kanet, Epunamun, Cuccubu, and Pilan …   Who’s Who in non-classical mythology

  • Caupolicán — ▪ Araucanian chief also spelled  Quepolicán   born 16th century, Palmaiquén, Chile died 1558, Cañete       Mapuche chief and a leader of the Indian resistance to the Spanish invaders of Chile.       With the assistance of Lautaro, another Mapuche …   Universalium

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