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422

CHILE.

ftime (1555) extended over the whole of S.
America, did not think proper to commit the go
vernment to either, but in their place directed that
tlie corre^idors ot the city should have the com
mand, each in his respective district, until further
orders.

17. Concepcion rehuiU^ and destroyed by Lau
taro . — Upon a remonstrance of the inhabitants to
the court of audience, Villagran was afterwards
appointed to the command, but merely, however,
with the ti(l<‘ of correffidor, receiving orders at
the same time to rebuild the city of Concepcion.
No sooner was this order executed, than the young
Lantaro rallied his array, and, exasperated against
what he termed “ obstinacy,” passed the Biobio
without delay, and attacked tlie Spaniards, who
imprudently confiding in their valour, awaited
him in the open plain. The first encounter de
cided the fate of the battle. The Amucanians en
tered the fort with those citizens who fled with
precipitation, and killed a great number of them ;
some indeed embarked in a ship which was in the
port, and others fled into the woods. Thus Lau
taro, having plundered and burned the city as
before, returned laden with spoils to his wonted
station. Continued victories had so heightened
the confidence of this commander, that nothing
appeared to him impossible, and he formed the
determination of attacking the Spaniards in their
very capital, of carrying his arms against Santiago
itself. He accordingly passed with a chosen band
of 600 followers through the country of the Pro
maucians, where his indignation did not fail to
I vent itself upon these people : a people detested
by him for having submitted to the Spanish yoke.
The inhabitants of Santiago could not at first be
lieve it possible that he should have had the bold
ness to undertake a journey of SOO miles in order
to attack tliem ; but being undeceived as to the
fact, thought proper to make some preparations of
defence.

18. Lauiaro arrives at Saiitiago . — Lautaro had
now encamped his army in a low meadow, on the
shore of the Matiquito ; a measure he had been
obliged to adopt from repeated loss he had sus
tained in some skirmishes with young Villagran,
who had taken the command on account of his fa
tlier being confined by sickness ; but the father
having recovered his health, and being strongly
solicited by the citizens, who every moment ex
pected to see the Araucaniaris at their gates, at
length, in 1556, began his march with 196 Spa
niards, and 1000 auxiliaries, in search of Lautaro;
but too well remernberingthe defeat of Mariguenu,
he resolved to attack him by surprise. With this

intent ho quitted the great road, secretly directed
his march by the sea-shore, and under the guid
ance of a spy, by a private path, came at day
break upon the Araucanian encampment,

19. Death of Lautaro. — Lautaro, who at that
moment had retired to rest, after having been upon
guard, as was his custom during the night, leap
ed from his bed at the first alarm of the sentinels,
and ran to the entrenchments to observe the enemy ;
at this moment a dart, hurled by one of the Indian
auxiliaries, pierced his heart, and he fell lifeless
in the arms of his companions. It would seem
that fortune, hitherto propitious, was desirous by
so sudden a death to save him from the mortifica
tion of finding himself, for the first time in his life,
defeated. It is, however, not improbable that his
genius, so fertile in expedients, would have sug
gested to h ira some plan to have baffled the at
tempts of the assailants, if this fatal accident had
not occurred. Encouraged by this unexpected
success, Villagran attacked the fortifications on all
sides, and forced an entrance, notwithstanding
the obstinate resistance of the Araucanians, who,
retiring to an angle of the works, determined ra
ther to be cut to pieces than to surrender them
selves to those who had slain their beloved general.
In vain the Spanish commander repeatedly oilered
them quarter ; none of them accepted it, excepting
a few of the neighbouring Indians who happened
to be in their camp. The Araucanians perished
to a man, after having fought with such obstinacy,
that a few of the last souglit their death by throw
ing themselves on the lances of their enemies.
This victory, which was not obtained without
great loss by the victors, was celebrated for three
days in succession in Santiago, and in all the other
Spanish settlements, with the utmost demonstra
tions of joy. The Spaniards felicitated themselves
on being at last freed from an enemy, who at the
early age of 19 had already obtained so many
victories over their nation, and who possessed ta
lents capable of entirely destroying their establish
ments in Chile, and even harassing them in Peru,
as he liad resolved upon, when he had restored the
liberty of his native country. The Araucanians
tor a long time lamented the loss of their valiant
countryman, to whom they owed all the success
of their arms, and on whose conduct and valour
th(*y entirely relied for the recovery of their liber
ties. His name is still celebraied in their heroic
songs, and his actions proposed as the most glo
rious model for the imitation of their youth.

20. Caupolican raises the siege of Imperial.
But above all, Caupolican felt this fatal loss; as
he was a sincere lover of his country, far from]

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