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400

CHILE.

[waters into the Majpo. The mountains of Caren,
which terminate it on the n. abound witli veins of
gold ; and in that part of tlie Andes whicli bounds
it at the e, arc found several rich mines of silver.
Valdivia, who liad endeavoured to penetrate as far
as possible into the country, in order to render it
ditlicnlt for Ids soldiers to return to Peru, deter
mined to make a settlement in this province,
which, from its natural advantages, and its remote
ness, appeared to him more suitable than any other
for the centre of his conquests.

9. Capital founded.—Wiih. this view, having
selected a convenient situation on the left shore of
the Mapocho, on the 24th February 1541, he
laid the foundations of the capital of the kingdom,
to which, in honour of that apostle, he gave the
name of St. Jago. In laying out the city, he di
vided the ground into plats or squares, each con
taining 4096 toises, a fourth of Avhich he allowed
to every citizen, a plan which has been pursued
in the foundation of all the other cities ; one of these
plats, lying upon the great square, he destined for
the cathedral and the bishop’s palace, Avhich he
intended to build there, and the one opposite for
that of the government. He likewise appointed a
magistracy, according to the forms of Spain, from
such of his army as were the best qualified ; and
to protect the settlement in case of an attack, he
constructed a fort upon a hill in the centre of tlie
city, Avhich has since received the name of St.
Lucia. Many have applauded the discernment
of Valdivia, in having made choice of this situa
tion for the seat of the capital of the colony. But
considering the wants of a great city, it would have
been better placed 15 miles farther to the s. upon
the Maypo, a large river, Avhich has a direct com
munication with the sea, and might easily be ren
dered navigable for ships of the largest size. This
city, however, contained in 1807 more than 40,000
inhabitants, and is rapidly increasing in popula
tion, from its being the seat of government, and
from its great commerce, supported by the luxury
of the Avealthy inhabitants. Meanwhile the na
tives saw Avith a jealous eye this new establishment,
and concerted measures, although late, for freeing
themselves of these unAvelcome intruders, Valdivia
having discovered their intentions in season, con
fifiedthe chiefs of the conspiracy in the fortress ;
and suspecting some secret intelligence betAveen
them and the neighbouring Promaucians, repaired
with 60 horse to the river Cachapoal to Avatch
their movements. But this measure was unneces
sary ; that fearless people had not the policy to
think of uniting Avith their neighbours in order to
secure themselves from the impending danger.

10. Steady unanimity of the Mapochinians . —
The Mapochinians, taking advantage of the de
parture of the general, fell upon the colony with
inconceivable furj^, burned the half-built houses,
and assailed the citadel, wherein the inhabitants had
taken refuge, oh all sides. Notwithstanding the
ultimate defeat Avhich the Mapochinians expe
rienced in this battle, and others of not less import
ance Avhich they afterwards experienced, the}
never ceased, for the space of six years, until their
utter ruin, to keep the Spaniards closely besieged,
attacking them upon every occasion that offered,
and cutting off their provisions, in such a manner
that they Avere compelled to subsist upon unwhole
some and loathsome viands, and upon the little
grain that they could raise beneath the cannon of
the place. The fertile plains of the neighbour
hood had become desert and uncultivated, as the
inhabitants had destroyed their crops and retired
to the mountains. This mode of life did not fail to
disgust the soldiers of Valdivia, but he contriAmd
Avith much prudence and address to sooth their
turbulent spirits, painting to them in seducing
colours the happy prospect that aAvaited them.

11. The mine of Valdivia had often

heard in Peru that the valley of Quillota abounded in
mines of gold, and imagined that he might obtain
from thence a sufficient quantity to satisfy his sol
diers ; in consequence, notwithstanding the diffi
culties Avith which he was surrounded, he sent
thither a detachment of troops, with orders to
superintend the digging of this precious metal.
The mine that Avas opened Avas so rich that its
product surpassed their most sanguine hopes ;
their present and past sufferings were all buried in
oblivion, nor Avas there one among them who had
the remotest wish of quitting the country. The
governor, (for Valdivia had persuaded the magis
tracy of the city to give him this title), Avho Avas
naturally enterprising, encouraged by this success,
had a frigate built in the mouth of the river Chile,
Avhich traverses the valley, in order more readily
to obtain succours from Peru, without which he
was fully sensible he could not succeed in accom
plishing his vast undertakings. In the mean time,
as the state of affairs was urgent, Valdivia was
resolved to send to Peru by land two of his cap
tains, Alonzo Monroy and Pedro Miranda, with
six companions, whose spurs, bits, and stirrups he
directed to be made of gold, hoping to entice, by
this proof of the opulence of the country, his fel
loAV-citizens to come to his assistance. These mes
sengers, though escorted by 30 men on horseback,
who were ordered to accompany them to the bor
ders of Chile, Avere attacked and defeated by 100]

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