Araucanization of Patagonia
The Araucanization of Patagonia (Spanish: Araucanización de la Patagonia) was the process of the expansion of Mapuche culture, influence, and language from Araucanía into the plains of Patagonia. Historians disagree over the time periods during the expansion took place, but it would probably have occurred sometime between 1550 and 1850. Amerindian peoples such as the Puelches and Tehuelches adopted the Mapudungun language as their main language (their own name is in Mapudungun). Together with Quechua, Aymara, Guarani, and Nahuatl, Mapudungun was among the few Amerindian languages that extended their territories after the European arrival.
Mapuches that migrated to Patagonia lived often as nomads rising cattle or pillaging the Argentine countryside. The cattle stolen in the incursions (malones) would later be taken to Chile through the mountain passes and traded for goods, especially alcoholic beverages. The main trail for this trade was called Camino de los chilenos and run a length of about 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) from Buenos Aires Province to the mountain passes of Neuquén Province. The lonco Calfucurá crossed the Andes from Chile to the Pampas around 1830 after a call from the governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas, to fight the Boreanos tribe. In 1859 he attacked Bahía Blanca in Argentina with 3,000 warriors. As in the case of Calfucura, many other bands of Mapuches became involved the internal conflicts of Argentina until the Conquest of the Desert. To counter the cattle raids, a trench called Zanja de Alsina was built by Argentina in the pampas in the 1870s.
Argentine authorities were worried that strong connections between Araucanized tribes and Chile would give Chile influence over the pampas. In the case of war with Chile over Patagonia, they feared the natives would side with the Chileans, who would then be able to carry the war all the way to the vicinity of Buenos Aires.
The decision to plan and execute the Conquest of the Desert was probably triggered by the 1872 attack conducted by Cufulcurá and his 6,000 followers on the cities of General Alvear, Veinticinco de Mayo and Nueve de Julio, where 300 residents were killed, and 200,000 head of cattle taken.
- Conquest of the Desert
- Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia
- List of Mapudungun placenames
- Occupation of Araucanía
- War of Arauco
- Argentina and Chile: The Struggle for Patagonia 1843-1881. JSTOR 981291. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
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