Status: Complete
Show Translation



[other laca^ and those who bear but a part of the
name apellaca : these denominations incur an obli-
gation of mutual esteem and aid. Relations by
consanguinity are called in general and

those of affinity quillan. Their table of genealogy
is more intricate than that of the Europeans ; all
the conceivable degrees of relationship being indi-
cated therein by particular names. From the mu-
tual affection which subsists between them, pro-
ceeds their solicitude reciprocally to assist each
other in their necessities. Not a beggar or an in-
digent person is to be found throughout the whole
Araucanian territory ; even the most infirm and
most incapable of subsisting thcm.selves are de-
cently clothed. This benevolence is not, however,
confined only to their countrymen : they conduct
themselves with the greatest hospitality towards all
strangers of Avhatever nation, and a traveller may
live in any part of their country without the least
ex pence.

24. Mode of salutation, — Their usual expression
whenever they meet is marimari ; and when they
quit each other, ventempi or venteni. They are
rather tiresome in their compliments, which are
generally too long, as they take a pride upon such
occasions, as well as every other, in making a dis-
play of their eloquence. The right hand is among
them, as with the Europeans, the most honourable
station, contrary to the practice of the Asiatics,
w ith whom the left enjoys that privilege. They
arc naturally fond of honourable distinction, and
there is nothing they can endure with less patience
than contempt or inattention. From hence, if a
Spaniard speaks to any one of them with his hat
on, he immediately says to him in an indignant
tone, entugo tami c?irt( sia, “ takeoff yoiir hat.” By
attention and courtesy any thing may be obtained
from them, and the favours whicli they receive
make an indelible impression upon their minds ;
Avhile, on the contrary, ill treatment exasperates
them to such a degree, that they proceed to ihc
greatest excesses to revenge themselves.

25. Proper names. — The names of the Arauca-
nians care composed of the proper name, whicii is
generally either an adjective or a numeral, and the
family ajjpellation or surname, Avhich is always
placed after the pro[)er name, according to the Eu-
ropean custom, as Cari-lemu,^ green busli ; Meli-
antu,^ four suns. Nor is there scarcely a material
object which does not furnish them with a discri-
minative name. From hence, we meet among
them with the families of Rivers, Mountains,
Stones, Lions, iScc. These families, which are
called Cuja or Eipa^ are more or less respected ac-

cording to their rank, or the heroes they have
given to their country. The origin of these sur-
names is unknown, but is certainly of a period
much earlier than that of the Spanish conquests.

26. Matrimony. — By the admapu, polygamy is
allowed among the Araucanians, whence they marry
as many wives as they can furnish with a dower,
or more properly purchase, as to obtain them they
must give to their fathers a certain amount of pro-
perty, as has been, and still is, the practice in most
countries of both continents. But in their mar-
riages they scrupulously avoid the more immediate
degrees of relationship. Celibacy is considered as
ignominious. Old bachelors are called by way
of contempt vuchiapra, and old maids citdepra, that
is, old, idle, good for nothing. Their marriage
ceremonies have little formality, or, to speak more
accurately, consist in nothing more than in carry-
ing off the bride by pretended violence ; which is
considered by them, as by the Negroes of Africa,
an essential prerequiste to the nuptials. The hus-
band, in concert with the father, conceals himself
with some friends near the place where they know
the bride is to pass. As soon as she arrives, she is
seized and put on horseback behind the bride-
groom, notwithstanding her pretended resistance
and her shrieks, which are far from being serious.
In this manner she is conducted with much noise
to the house of her husband, where her relations
are assembled, and where they receive the presents
agreed upon, after having partaken of the nuptial
entertainment. Of course, the expences of an
Araucanian wedding are by no means inconsider-
able ; from whence it happens that the rich alone
can maintain any considerable number of wives.
The poor content themselves Avith one, or two at
most. Nor does there arise any inconvenience
from the scarcity of Avomen, as the number of fe-
males is much greater than that of males, Avhich
is, hoAvever doubtful, said to be the case in those
countries where polygamy is permitted. The first
Avife, Avho is called unendomo, is always respected
as the real and legitimate one by all the others,
who are called inando7no, or secondary Avives. She
has the management of the domestic concerns, and
regulates the interior of the house. The husband
has much to do to maintain harmony among so
many women, who are not a little inclined to jea-
lou.sy ; and each night, at supper, makes known
his choice of her who is to have the honour of
sharing his bed, by directing her to prepare it.
The others sleep in the same room, and no one is
permitted to approach them. Strangers, on their
arrivaljiare lodged in a cabin entirely separate from]

Notes and Questions

Please sign in to write a note for this page


This section is not in Alcedo's text