Status: Complete
Show Translation



[beds. From their swine, which are very nume-
rous, they make excellent haras, the most esteemed
of any in S. America. Notwithstanding the
great quantity of timber taken from them, these
islands are covered with thick woods ; and as it
rains there almost incessantly, the cultivated
grounds continue w'et the whole year. From hence
it follows that the inhabitants, although they have
cattle, make no use of them for ploughing, but till
the earth in a very singular manner. About three
months- before sowing time they turn their sheep
upon their lands, changing their situation every
three or four nights. When the field is sufficiently
manured in this manner, they strew the grain over
it. One of their strongest men then attempts to
harrow it by means of a machine formed of two
large sticks of hard wood, made sharp, and fas-
tened together, which he forces against the ground
with his breast, and thus covers the seed. Not-
withstanding this imperfect tillage, a crop of wheat
will yield them ten or twelve for one. They also
raisegreat quantities of barley, beans, peas, qidnoa^
and potatoes, which are the largest and best of any
in Chile. From the excessive moisture of the at-
mosphere, the grape never acquires sufficient ma-
turity to be made into wine, but its want is supplied
by various kinds of cider, obtained from apples
and other wild fruits of the country. The neces-
sity they are under of often going from one island
to another, where the sea is far from deserving the
name of the Pacific, renders the Chilotes excellent
sailors. Their 'pirogues are composed of three or
five large planks seAved together, and caulked Avith
a species of moss that groAvs on a shrub. These
are in great numbers throughout the Avhole of the
Archipelago, and are managed Avith sails and oars,
and in these frail skiffs the natives Avill frequently
venture as far as Concepcion : and here it may
not be improper to observe, that the Indians, Avho
form the principal part of the sailors of the S. seas,
are very cictive and docile, and excellent seamen.
These people are fond of fishing, an occupation to
which they are led from the great variety of fish
with which their coasts abound. Large quantities
of these are dried and seiit to foreign countries.
They likcAvisc dry the testaceous kinds, particularly
the conchs, the chimps, and thepfio’cs. P'or this
purpose they arrange them in a long trench, co-
vering them Avith the targe leaves of the panlce
tincloria. Over these they place stones, on Avhich
they make a hot fire for several hours. They then
take the roasted animals from their shells, and
string them upon threads, Avhich they hang for
some time in the smoke : in this manner they find
them to keep very well, and so carry them to Cujo,

and other places at a distance from the sea. As
soon as the Christian religion was preached in
Chiloe, it was readily embraced by the natives, who
have ever since continued faithful and obedient to
its precepts. Their spiritual concerns are under
the direction of the bishop of Concepcion, and
their temporal were administered by a governor
appointed by the captain-general of Chile ; but in
1792 it was vested in the viceroyalty of Lima.
The Spaniards at present established in this Archi-
pelago amount to about 15,000, and its commerce
is conducted by means of three or four ships
which trade there annually from Peru and Chile.
These purchase of the natives large quantities of
red cedar boards, timber of different kinds, suitable
for carriages, upwards of 2000 ponchos of various
qualities, hams, pilchards, dried shell-fish, white
cedar boxes, cloaks, embroidered girdles, and a
small quantity of ambergris, which is found upon
the shores; giving in exchange wine, brandy, to-
bacco, sugar, herb of Paraguay, salt, and several
kinds of European goods. Independently of the
above trade, Chiloe has of late years been made an
entrepot of illicit commerce betAveen the Spanish
colonies, and English and N. American ships
engaged in the S. sea fishery.

36. The court of audience established . — But to
return to our history, the continuation of the war,
and the great importance of the conquest, finally
induced Philip II. to erect a court of royal audi-
ence in Chile, independent of that of Peru. This
supreme tribunal, embracing the political, as Avell
as military administration of the kingdom, and
being composed of four judges of law, and a fiscal,
made, on the 13th of August 1567, its solemn entry
into Concepcion, Avhere it fixed its residence. Im-
mediately on assuming its functions, it remoA^ed
Quiroga from the government, and gave the com-
mand of the army, Avith the title of general, to Ruiz
Gamboa. The military government of the royal
audience Avas soon found to be inadequate to the
purpose of its establishment, and accordingly Don
Mclehor de Bravo was, in 1568, invested with the
triple character of president, governor, and cap-
tain-general of Chile. BetAveen him and Paillataru
some serious battles Avere fought, though not such
as to alter the general state of alfairs, when, until
tlie death of the latter commander, (a period of
about four years), the tAvo belligerent nations ob-
served a truce or suspension of arms. This Avas
probably OAving in a great measure to the general
consternation caused by a dreadful earthquake
which Avas felt throughout the country, and did great
injury to the Spanish settlements, partieularly the
city of Concepcion, which Avas entirely destroyed.]

Notes and Questions

Please sign in to write a note for this page


This section is not in Alcedo's text