Robert Kerr.

A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea a online

. (page 33 of 52)
Online LibraryRobert KerrA General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea a → online text (page 33 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

he fortified so strongly as to be defensible by a few men against any
number of enemies unprovided with artillery. On being informed of this
measure, Don Garcia marched thither immediately with his army in order
to dislodge the Araucanian general, but observing the strength of the
position, he delayed for some time making an attack, in hope of drawing
the enemy from their strong ground, so that his cavalry might have an
opportunity of acting to advantage. In the mean time, frequent
skirmishes took place between the two armies, in one of which the
celebrated Millalauco was taken prisoner, and who reproached Don Garcia
so severely for his cruel manner of making war, that he ordered him
instantly to be impaled. While the Araucanians were thus blockaded in
their intrenched camp, the traitor Andrew had the temerity to go one day
with a message from Don Garcia to Caupolican, threatening him with the
most cruel punishment if he did not immediately submit to the authority
of the Spaniards. Caupolican, though much enraged at seeing before him
the man who had betrayed his father, ordered him immediately to retire,
saying that he would assuredly have put him to death by the most cruel
tortures, if he had not been invested with the character of an
ambassador. Yet Andrew ventured next day to come into the Araucanian
camp as a spy, when he was taken prisoner, suspended by his feet from a
tree, and suffocated with smoke.

At length Don Garcia commenced his attack upon the camp of the
Araucanians, by a violent cannonade from all his artillery. Caupolican
and his valiant followers made a vigorous sally, and attacked the
Spaniards with so much fury as to kill about forty of them at the first
charge, and continued the battle for some time with much success. After
a short time, Don Garcia, by a skilful evolution, cut off the retreat of
the Araucanians and surrounded them on every side. Yet Caupolican and
his intrepid soldiers fought with such desperate valour that the issue
of the engagement remained doubtful for six hours; till, seeing
Tucapel, Colocolo, Rencu, Lincoyan, Mariantu, Ongolmo, and several
others of his most valiant officers slain, Caupolican attempted to
retreat with the small remnant of his army: But, being overtaken by a
party of horse from which he could not possibly escape, he slew himself
to avoid a similar, cruel fate as that which his father had endured.

Though Don Garcia had already been mistaken in supposing that the spirit
of the Araucanians was entirely broken after their terrible overthrow at
Canete, he now again thought he had good reason to believe the war
wholly at an end. This victory of Quipeo seemed to him completely
decisive, as the nation was now left without chiefs or troops, all their
principal officers, and those who chiefly supported the courage of the
Araucanians, having perished, with the flower of their soldiers, so that
he believed the nation would henceforwards be entirely submissive to the
will of the conquerors. Impressed with these hopes, he now devoted his
whole attention to repair the losses occasioned by the war, rebuilding
the fortifications which had been destroyed, particularly Arauco, Angol,
and Villarica, all of which he repeopled and provided with competent
garrisons. He caused all the mines which had been abandoned to be
reopened, and others to be explored: And obtained the establishment of a
bishopric in the capital of Chili, to which place he went in person to
receive the first bishop, Fernando Barrionuevo, a Franciscan monk.
Having a considerable number of veteran troops under his command, for
most of whom he believed there was no longer occasion in Chili, he sent
off a part of them under Pedro Castillo to complete the conquest of
Cujo, formerly commenced by Francisco de Aguirre. Castillo subjected the
Guarpes, the ancient inhabitants of that province, to the Spanish
dominion, and founded two cities on the eastern skirts of the Andes,
which he named San Juan and Mendoza, the latter in compliment to the
family name of the governor Don Garcia. The extensive and fertile
province of Cujo remained for a considerable time dependent on the
government of Chili, but has been since transferred to the vice-royalty
of Buenos Ayres, to which it seems more properly to appertain from its
situation and natural boundaries.

While Don Garcia thus took advantage of the apparent calm which
prevailed in Chili, he received information that Francisco Villagran had
arrived from Spain at Buenos Ayres, appointed to succeed him in the
government of Chili, and that the king had promoted himself to the
viceroyalty of Peru in reward for his services in his present
government. In consequence of this information, he confided the interim
government of Chili to the care of Rodrigo de Quiroga, and withdrew into
Peru, to take possession of the exalted situation of viceroy which his
father had formerly occupied.

Villagran, who had been governor of Chid previous to Don Garcia, had
gone to Europe when deprived of that government, and had procured his
reinstatement from the court of Spain. Believing, from the information
of Don Garcia and Quiroga, that the Araucanians were in no condition to
give any future trouble, Villagran turned his whole attention after his
arrival in Chili, to the reaquisition of the province of Tucuman, which
had been annexed by himself to the government of Chili in 1549, and had
been since attached to the viceroyalty of Peru. Gregorio Castaneda, whom
he employed on this occasion, defeated the Peruvian commander, Juan
Zurita, the author of the dismemberment, and restored that country to
the authority of the governor of Chili. It continued however only a
short time under their government, as, before the close of that century,
they were again obliged by order from Spain to surrender it to the
viceroy of Peru.

Though Don Garcia and Quiroga had been long experienced in the character
of the Araucanians, they had formed a very erroneous opinion of their
temper and public spirit, when they deemed them finally subdued in
consequence of the victories gained in the late war. Such is the
invincible spirit of that brave nation, that even the severest reverses
of fortunes are insufficient to induce them to submit. Even the heaviest
losses, so far from filling them with dejection and dismay, served to
inspire them with increased valour. Their heroic constancy under
repeated defeats is perfectly wonderful, and the successful and
determined perseverance with which they have ever defended their
liberties and independence against the superior arms and power of the
Spaniards, is without parallel in the history of the world. The scanty
remains of the ulmens or Araucanian chiefs who had escaped from the late
sanguinary conflicts against Don Garcia, were more resolved than ever to
continue the war. Immediately after their late entire defeat at Quipeo,
the ulmens assembled in a wood, where they unanimously elected an
inferior officer named Antiguenu, who had signalized himself in the last
unfortunate battle, to the vacant office of supreme toqui. Antiguenu
readily accepted the honourable but hazardous command; but represented
to the assembled chiefs, that as almost all the valiant youth of the
nation had perished, he deemed it expedient for them to retire to some
secure situation, until a new army could be collected of sufficient
strength to keep the field. This prudent advice was approved by all, and
accordingly Antiguenu retired with the small remains, of the Araucanian
army to the inaccessible marshes of Lumaco, called Rochela by the
Spaniards, where he caused high scaffolds to be erected to secure his
men from the extreme and noxious moisture of that gloomy retreat. The
young men who enlisted from time to time into the national army, went to
that place to be instructed in the use of their arms, and the
Araucanians still considered themselves free since they had a toqui who
did not despair of vindicating the independence of their country.

As soon as Antiguenu saw himself at the head of a respectable force, he
issued from his retreat, and began to make incursions into the territory
which was occupied by the Spaniards, both to inure his troops to
discipline, and to subsist them at the expence of the enemy. When this
unexpected intelligence was brought to St Jago, it gave great uneasiness
to Villagran, who foresaw all the fatal consequences which might result
from this new war, having already had long experience of the daring and
invincible spirit of the Araucanians. In order if possible to stifle the
threatening flame at its commencement, he immediately dispatched his son
Pedro into the south, with as many troops as could be collected in
haste, and soon after took the same direction himself with a more
considerable force. The first skirmishes between the hostile armies were
unfavourable to Antiguenu, and an attempt which he made to besiege
Canete was equally unsuccessful. Antiguenu attributed his failure on
these occasions to the inexperience of his troops, and sought on every
occasion for opportunities of accustoming them to the use of arms. At
length he had the satisfaction of convincing them that the Spaniards
were not invincible, by defeating a body of Spaniards on the hills of
Millapoa, commanded by Arias Pardo. To keep up the ardour and confidence
which this success had excited in his soldiers, he now took possession
of the strong post on the top of Mount Mariguenu, a place of fortunate
omen for his country. Being either so much afflicted with the gout, or
averse from exposing himself to the hazard of attacking that strong
post, which had formerly proved so unfortunate to him, Villagran gave
it in charge to one of his sons to dislodge the enemy from that
formidable position. The rash yet enterprising young man attacked the
Araucanian entrenchments with so little precaution that almost all his
army was cut in pieces, and himself killed at the entrance of the
encampment, and on this occasion the flower of the Spanish troops and a
great number of their auxiliaries were cut off.

Immediately after this signal victory, Antiguenu marched against the
fortress of Canete, rightly judging that it would not be in a condition
to resist him in the present circumstances. Villagran was likewise
convinced of the impossibility of defending that place, and anticipating
the design of the Araucanian general, ordered all the inhabitants to
withdraw, part of whom retired to Imperial and the rest to Conception.
Antiguenu, therefore, on his arrival at that place, so fatal to his
nation, had only the trouble of destroying the fortifications and
setting fire to the houses, all of which he completely destroyed.

Overcome with grief and anxiety, Villagran died soon after the
disastrous battle of Mariguenu, universally regretted by the Spanish
inhabitants of Chili, who lost in him a wise humane and valiant
governor, to whose prudent conduct on several trying occasions they had
been much beholden for the preservation of their conquests. Before his
death, in virtue of special powers vested in him by his commission from
the court of Spain, he appointed his eldest son Pedro to succeed him in
the government, whose endowments of mind were in no respect inferior to
those of his father. By the death of the governor, Antiguenu conceived
that he had a favourable opportunity for undertaking some important
enterprise. He divided his army, which now consisted of 4000 men, into
two bodies, one of which he ordered to lay siege to Conception under the
command of his vice-toqui Antunecul, to attract the attention of the
Spaniards in that quarter, while he marched with the other division to
invest the fort of Arauco, which was defended by a strong garrison under
the command of Lorenzo Bernal.

Antunecul accordingly crossed the Biobio and encamped in a place called
Leokethal, where he was twice attacked by the governor of Conception,
against whom he defended himself so vigorously that he repulsed him with
considerable loss, and followed him after the second attack to the city
which he closely invested, by disposing his troops in six divisions
around its walls. He continued the siege for two months, almost every
day of which period was distinguished by some gallant assault or
successful skirmish; but finding all his attempts to gain possession of
the place unavailing, and being unable to prevent the introduction of
frequent succours by sea to the besieged, he at length withdrew with the
intention of making a new attempt at a more favourable opportunity.

In the mean time Antignenu pressed the siege of Arauco with the greatest
vigour, but was resisted by the Spanish garrison with determined
bravery. Observing that in all his attacks his bravest officers were
pointed out to the Spaniards by their Indian auxiliaries, and made a
mark for their artillery, he contrived by menus of emissaries to
persuade the Spanish commander that the auxiliaries had plotted to
deliver up the fort to the Arancanians. Bernal gave such credit to this
false report, that he immediately ordered these unfortunate men to quit
the place, and turned them out in spite of their remonstrances and
entreaties. This was the very object aimed at by the politic toqui, who
immediately caused them all to be seized and put to a cruel death in
sight of the Spaniards, who were exceedingly exasperated at seeing
themselves so grossly imposed upon by one whom they counted an ignorant
barbarian. As the siege was protracted to a considerable length and
Antiguenu was impatient for its conclusion, he challenged the governor
to single combat, in hope of becoming master of the place by the death
of Bernal; who, deeming himself secure of the victory, accepted the
challenge in spite of the remonstrances of his soldiers. The battle
between these champions continued for two hours, without either being
able to obtain any advantage, or even to give his antagonist a single
wound; when at length they were separated by their men. What Antiguenu
had been unable to attain by force, was performed for him by famine.
Several boats loaded with provisions had repeatedly attempted in vain to
relieve the besieged, as the vigilance of the besiegers opposed an
invincible obstacle to their introduction. At length Bernal found
himself compelled to abandon the place for want of provisions, and the
Araucanians permitted him and the garrison to retire without
molestation, contenting themselves with burning the houses and
demolishing the fortifications. The capture of Angol, after that of
Caneto and Arauco, appeared so easy to Antiguenu, that he gave it in
charge to one of his subalterns; who defeated a body of Spaniards
commanded by Zurita, while on his march to invest Angol: But the
Araucanian officer was defeated in his turn near Mulchen[77] by Diego
Carranza, who had been sent against him by the inhabitants of that city.

[Footnote 77: No such name occurs in the modern maps of Chili, but a
town called Millaqui is situated about 20 miles to the north of
Angol. - E.]

Solicitous to maintain the reputation of his arms, Antiguenu marched in
person at the head of two thousand men to resume the attack upon Angol.
Before proceeding to attack that place, he encamped at the confluence of
the river Vergosa with the Biobio, where he was attacked by a Spanish
army under the command of Bernal. In this engagement the Araucanians
made use of some Spanish musquets which they had taken at their late
victory of Mariguenu, which they employed with much skill, and bravely
sustained the assault for three hours. At length, when four hundred of
the auxiliaries and a considerable number of Spaniards had fallen, the
infantry began to give way, upon which Bernal gave orders to his cavalry
to put to death every one who attempted flight. This severe order
brought back the Spanish infantry to their duty, and they attacked the
entrenchments of the enemy with so much vigour that at length they
forced their way into the camp of the Araucanians. Antiguenu exerted his
utmost efforts to oppose the assailants; but he was at length forced
along by the crowd of his soldiers, who were thrown into irretrievable
confusion and fled. During the flight, he fell from a high bank into the
river and was drowned. The Araucanians were defeated with prodigious
slaughter, many of them perishing in the river in their attempt to
escape by swimming. In this battle, which was fought in the year 1564,
almost the whole of the victorious army was wounded, and a considerable
number slain; but they recovered forty-one musquets, twenty-one
cuirasses, fifteen helmets, and a great number of lances and other
weapons which the Araucanians had obtained in their late victories, and
had used against their former proprietors.

While these events were passing on the banks of the Biobio, an
Araucanian officer named Lillemu, who had been detached by Antiguenu to
lay waste the provinces of Chillan and Itata, defeated a Spanish
detachment of eighty men commanded by Pedro Balsa. To repress these
ravages, the governor of Conception marched against Lillemu with an
hundred and fifty men, and cut off a party of Araucanians who were
desolating the province of Chillan. Lillemu hastened to their succour,
but finding them defeated and dispersed, he was only able to save the
remainder of his troops by making a gallant stand in a narrow pass with
a small select band, by which he checked the advance of the enemy, and
gave time to his army to effect their escape; but he and his brave
companions sacrificed their lives in this gallant effort of patriotism.

On the death of the valiant Antiguenu, the Araucanians elected as his
successor in the toquiate a person named Paillataru, who was brother or
cousin to the celebrated Lautaro, but of a very different character and
disposition. Slow and circumspect in all his operations, the new toqui
contented himself during the first years of his command in endeavouring
to keep up the love of liberty among his countrymen, whom he led from
time to time to ravage and plunder the possessions of the Spaniards,
always avoiding any decisive conflict. About this time likewise the
royal audience of Lima appointed Rodrigo de Quiroga to succeed the
younger Villagran in the government of Chili; and Quiroga began his
administration by arresting his predecessor in office, whom he sent
prisoner into Peru.

Having received a reinforcement of three hundred soldiers in 1565,
Quiroga invaded the Araucanian territory, where he rebuilt the fort of
Arauco and the city of Canete, constructed a new fortress at the
celebrated post of Quipeo, and ravaged all the neighbouring provinces.
Towards the end of the year 1566, he sent Ruiz Gamboa with a detachment
of sixty men to reduce the archipelago of Chiloé to subjection. Gamboa
met with no resistance in this enterprise, and founded in the large
island of Ancud or Chiloé, the small city of Castro, and the sea-port of
Chacao. The islands of this archipelago are about eighty in number,
having been produced by earthquakes, owing to the great number of
volcanoes with which that country formerly abounded, and indeed every
part of them exhibits the most unequivocal marks of fire. Several
mountains in the great island of Chiloé, which has given name to the
archipelago, are composed of basaltic columns, which could have only
been produced by the operation of subterranean fire[78]. Though
descended from the Chilese of the continent, as is evident from their
appearance, manners, and language, the natives of these islands are
quite of a different character, being of a pacific and rather timid
disposition; insomuch that, although their population is said to have
exceeded seventy thousand, they made no opposition to the handful of
Spaniards sent on this occasion to reduce them, nor have they ever
attempted to shake off the yoke until the beginning of the eighteenth
century, when an insurrection of no great importance was excited, and
very soon quelled[79].

[Footnote 78: These are the opinions of Molina, not of the editor, who
takes no part in the discussion between the Huttonians and Wemerians;
neither indeed are there any data in the text on which to ground any
opinion, were he even disposed by inclination or geognostic knowledge to
become a party on either side. - E.]

[Footnote 79: In the text, Molina gives here some account of the natives
of Chiloé, which is postponed to the close of this chapter. - E.]


_Continuation of the Araucanian war to the Destruction of all the
Spanish settlements in the territories of that Nation_.

The long continuance of the Araucanian war, and the great importance of
the kingdom of Chili, at length determined Philip II. to erect a court
of Royal Audience in Chili, independent upon that which had long
subsisted in Peru. To this court, which was composed of four oydors or
judges and a fiscal, the civil and military administration of the
kingdom was confided; and its members made a solemn entry into the city
of Conception, where they fixed their residence, on the 13th of August
1567. Immediately on assuming their functions, the judges removed
Quiroga from the government, and appointed Ruiz Gamboa to the command of
the army with the title of general. Learning that Paillataru, the toqui
of the Araucanians, was preparing to besiege the city of Canete, Gamboa
hastened to that place with a respectable force, and finding the toqui
encamped not far from the threatened city, he attacked his fortified
post, and defeated him after a long and obstinate contest. After this
victory, Gamboa overran and laid waste the Araucanian territories for a
whole year without opposition, and carried off great numbers of women
and children into slavery. He employed every effort however, repeatedly
to induce the Araucanians to enter into negotiations for peace, but to
no purpose, as they preferred the endurance of every possible evil
before the loss of their national liberty, and continually refused to
listen to his proposals.

As peace, so necessary to the well being of the Spanish settlements in
Chili, seemed every day more remote, in spite of every effort for its
attainment, it at length, appeared to the court of Spain that the
government of a country in a continual state of war was improperly
placed in the hands of a court of justice: Accordingly it was again
confided to the management of a single chief, under the new titles of
President, Governor, and Captain-general. Don Melchior Bravo de Saravia
was invested with this triple character in 1568; a man well qualified to
act as president of the court of audience and civil governor of the
kingdom, but utterly incompetent to sustain the charge of
captain-general; yet he was anxious to signalize the commencement of his
government by the attainment of a splendid victory over the redoubtable
Araucanians, for which an opportunity soon offered, but which redounded
to his own disgrace.

Paillataru had collected a new army, with which he occupied the strong
position of Mariguenu, so fatal to the Spaniards, and which for some
unaccountable reason they had neglected to fortify. Immediately on
learning this circumstance, the governor marched against the toqui at
the head of three hundred Spanish soldiers and a large auxiliary force.
Like several of his predecessors, Paillataru had the glory of rendering
this mountain famous by the total defeat of the Spanish army. The
governor had the good fortune to make his escape from this battle, and
precipitately withdrew with a small remnant of his troops to Angol,
where he resigned the command of the army, appointing Gamboa
major-general and Velasco[80] quarter-master. He was at this time so
intimidated by his defeat, that he ordered these officers to evacuate
the fortress of Arauco, so often already destroyed and rebuilt. While
escorting the inhabitants of that place to Canete, these officers fell
in with a division of the Araucanians, which they attacked and defeated.
Yet Paillataru, who had removed from Mariguenu to the post of Quipeo,
marched two days afterwards against Canete, which he proposed to
besiege; but Gamboa advanced to meet him with all the troops he could
collect, and gave him battle. The engagement continued more than two
hours, and was one of the bloodiest and hardest contested ever fought in
Chili. Though severely handled, the Spaniards remained masters of the
field, and the Araucanians were compelled to retreat. Gamboa now invaded
the Araucanian territory, intending to ravage it as formerly; but
Paillataru, having repaired his losses in a short time by fresh levies,
returning to defend his country, and compelled Gamboa to retreat with

Online LibraryRobert KerrA General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea a → online text (page 33 of 52)