Status: Complete
Show Translation

C H I L E.


[proof that these tribes were in the habit of inter-
course with each other, and were not insulated, or
separated by vast deserts, or by inmiense lakes or
forests, which is the case in many other ])arls of
America. Another proof of their civilization, and
perhaps equally so, as to the amount of population,
is, that they liad in many parts of the country
aqueducts for watering their fields, which were
constructed with much skill. Among these, the
canal which for the space of many miles borders
the rough skirts of the mountains in the vicinity of
the capital, and waters the land to the of that
city, is particularly remarkable for its extent and
solidity. The right of property was fully esta-
blished among the Chilians ; they were found to
have collected themselves in societies, more or less
numerous, in those districts that were best suited to
their occupation ; and here, having established
themselves in large villages, called cora, a name
which they at present give to the Spanish cities, or
in small ones, which they denominated lov, they
enjoyed a specific form of government, and they
had in each village or hamlet a chief, called nlmen,
signitying a rich man, who in certain points was
subject to the supreme ruler of the tribe, who w as
known by the same name. They built their houses
of a quadrangular form, and covered the roof with
rushes ; the walls were made of wood plastered
with clay, and sometimes of brick, called by them
tica. A house of similar construction at the village
of Casa Blanca, is mentioned by Vancouver as
having afforded accommodation to himself and
friends on their way to St. Jago : indeed, they are
still {he common dwellings of the Indians ; and
some of the villages before mentioned exist at
present in several parts of Spanish Chile ; and of
these the most considerable are Bampa, in the pro-
vince of St. Jago, and Lora, in that of Maule.
Tliey manufactured cloths for their garments from
the wool of the Chililiueque : they used two kinds
of looms ; the first not unlike that used in Eurojie,
the other vertical. It is very certain tliat the art
of pottery is very ancient in Chile, as on opening
a large heap of stones in the mountains of Arauco,
an urn of extraordinary size was discovered at the

6. The metals . — The mines of gold, silver, and
other metals, with which this country abounds,
had not yet been fully appreciated ; but they ex-
tracted from the earth gold, silver, copper, tin,
and lead, and after purifying, employed these
metals in a variety of useful and curious works.
They had also discovered the method of making
salt upon the sea-shore, and extracted fossil salt
from several mountains which abounded in that

production. They procured dyes of all colours
for their cloths, not only from the juice of plants,
but also from mineral earths, and had discovered
the art of fixing them by means of the pokiira, a
luminous stone of an astringent quality. Instead
of soap, the composition of which they had not
discovered, although acquainted with lye, they em-
ployed the bark of the quilkii, w hich is an excellent
substitute. From the seeds of the madi they ob-
tained an oil, Avhich is very good to eat and to
burn, though it is not ascertained Avhether they
ever applied it to the latter purpose. Altlioiigh
hunting was not a principal occupation with these
people, thej'^ were accustomed to take such wild
animals as are found in their country, particularly
birds, of which there are great quantities. It is
alleged, that from their connection with the Peru-
vians, they had advanced so far with respect to the
enlargement of the sphere of their ideas, as to in-
vent words capable of expressing any number ;
mari signifying with them 10, i^ataca 100, and
quaranca 1000.

7. Substitute for ximting. — To preserve the me-
mory of their transactions, they made use, as other
nations have done, of the pron, called by the Peru-
vians quippo, which Avas a skein of thread of several
colours, with a number of knots : the subject
treated of Avas indicated by the colours, and the
knots designated the number or quantity. The
progress Avhich they had made in physic and astro-
nomy Avas indeed Avonderful ; but an account of
these, of their religion, their music, and military
skill, is deferred until we treat of the Araucaniiuis,
Avho still continue the faithful dcjxisitories of all
the science and ancient customs of the Chilians,
(See subsequent chapter III.)

Chap. IT.

First expeditions of the Spaniards m Chile ; encoun-
ters with the natives, zeith various success, until

the alliance formed bctzocen the Spaniards and

the Pramaucians,

1. Ahnagro marches against Chile . — Fnmeis
PizaiTO and Diego Almagro having put to death
the Ir.ca Atahuaipa, had subjected the empire of
Peru to the dominion of Spain. Pizarro, desirous
of enjoying w ithout a rival tliis important conquest,
made at their mutual expence, persuaded his com-
panion to undertake the reduction of Cliilc, cele-
brated for its riches throughout all these countries.
Almagro, filled Avith sanguine expectations of
booty, began his march for that territory in the end
of the year 15S3, Avith an army composed of 570
Spaniards and 15,000 Peruvians, under tlie com-
mand of Paullu, the brother of the IncaManco, the]

Notes and Questions

Please sign in to write a note for this page


This section is not in Alcedo's text