396

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396

C H I L E.

[tlieir country was peopled from the w. However
diis may be, that it was originally peopled by one
nation appears possible, as all the Aborigines in-
habiting it, however independent of each other,
speak the same language, and have a similar ap-
pearance.

1. Language. — Their language is copious, full
of harmony and richness. Each verb, either de-
rivatively or conjunctively, becomes the root of
numerous other verbs and nouns, as well adjectives
as substantives, which in their turn reproduce
others, which are secondary, modifying themselves
in an hundred different ways. There is no part of
speech from which an appropriate verb cannot be
formed by the addition of a final en. Even from
the most simple particles vmrious verbs are derived,
that giv'e great precision and strength to conversa-
tion : but what is truly surprising in this language
is, that it contains no irregular verb or noun.
Every thing in it may be said to be regulated with
a geometrical precision, and displays much art
with great simplicity : it contains words, appa-
rently of Greek and Latin derivation, and of a
similar signification in both languages. But what
is most remarkable, it differs from every other Ame-
rican language, not less in its w'ords than in its
construction ; and with all its richness and har-
mony, its theory is so easy that it may be readily
learned in a few days. Several grammars of this
language are to be met with, but that of Febres,
printed at Lima in 1765, is particularly to be re-
commended for its method and clearness. One ar-
gument further in favour of the simplicity of this
tongue, is the circumstance of its having main-
tained itself in its pure state, and of its not liaving
sunk into an unintelligible unconnected jargon,
■when it is considered that the Chilians, to the afore-
mentioned period, had no ideas of writing, and that
their traditionary accounts were so crude and im-
perfect, as to afford not the least degree of informa-
tion to the inquisitive mind. Hence it follows that
the first accounts of them are contained in the Peru-
vian annals ; that nation, as it was more civilized,
being more careful to preserve the memory of re-
markable events.

2. Original state . — When the Inca Yupanqui
began to attempt the conquest of Chile, its inhabi-
tants were supposed to be numerous. They were
divided into 15 tribes or communities, independent
of each other, but subject to certain chiets called
ulmenes. These tribes, beginning at the n. and
proceeding to the s. were called Copiapins, Co-
quimbanes, Quillotanes, Mapochiniaus, Promau-
cians. Cures, Cauques, Penconcs, Aruucanians,
Clinches, Chilotes, Chiquilanians, Pehuenches, Pu-

elches, and Huilliches. Of these were subjugated
to the Peruvian government, more by persuasion
than force, the Copiapins, Coquimbanes, Quillo-
tanes, and Mapochinians ; but the valour of the
Promaucians put a stop to the success of the arms
of the Inca, or rather to Sinchiruca, (a prince of
the blood royal), to whom was entrusted the com-
mand of the expedition : for these brave people,
naturally addicted to pleasures and diversions, and
Avhose very name signifies the free dancers.^ op-
posed the Peruvian army with the most heroic
valour, and entirely defeated it in a battle which,
according to Garcilasso the historian, was conti-
nued for three days in succession.

S. Divided into free and subjugated. — Thus
Chile became divided into two parts, the one free,
and the other subject to foreign domination. The
tribes who had so readily submitted to the Peru-
vians Avere subjected to an annual tribute in gold,
an imposition which they had never before expe-
rienced ; but the conquerors, Avhether they dared
not hazard the attempt, or were not able to effect
it, never introduced their form of government into
these provinces. Of course, the subjected Chilians,
as well as the free, preserved until the arrival of
the Spaniards their original manners, which were
by no means so rude as many are led to imagine.

4. Agriculture . — Agriculture was already knoAvn

to them ; but being in Avant of animals to till the
ground, they were accustomed to turn it up with
a spade made of hard wood. Tiie plants which
either necessity or accident made known to them,
Avere the maize, the the guegen, the tweer,

the quinoa, pulse of various kinds, the potato, the
oxalis tuberosa, the common and the yellow pump-
kin or gourd, the Guinea pepper, the madi, and
the great straAvberry. To these provisions of the
vegetable kind, may be added the following of the
animal, the little rabbit, and the Chiliheuque or
Araucaniau camel, Avhose flesh furnished excellent
food, and Avhose avooI, clothing for these people.
If tradition may be credited, they had also the hog
and the domestic fowl. With these productions,
Avhich required a very moderate degree of indus-
try, they subsisted comfortably, and even Avith a
degree of abundance, considering the few things
Avhich their situation rendered necessary. Subsist-
ence, the source of population, being thus secured,
the country became rapidly peopled under the in-
fluence of so mild a climate ; Avhence it appears,
that the first Avriters Avho treated of Chile, cannot
liave greatly exaggerated in saying, that the Spa-
niards found it filled Avith inhabitants.

5. Civilized state. — It is a fact that there was but
one language spoken throughout the country ; a]

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