APRIL 29, 1557


Lautaro was probably born in northern Chile sometime before 1535. According to legend, during his boyhood he was captured by the Spanish and forced to serve as a groom in the stables of the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia. Escaping southward into Araucanian Indian country soon after Valdivia began conquering it in 1550, Lautaro joined the Araucanians, unified their tribal organization, and with their chief, Caupolicán, led them in battle. In a battle near Tucapel  in December 1553, Lautaro captured Valdivia and executed him the next month. Lautaro himself was killed in a battle at the Mataquito River in 1557. The Araucanians, under Caupolicán, continued their resistance, and the region was not finally pacified until the 1880s. Now regarded by Chileans as a national hero, Lautaro is a protagonist of the epic poem La Araucana (1569–89), written by Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, one of Valdivia’s officers.

Source: “Lautaro, Mapuche Leader,” Britannica.  Retrieved 9/28/2021, Lautaro | Mapuche leader | Britannica
Photo: GringoInChile, 1/20/2007. Permissive Use.  

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