The Disaster of Curalaba is the name given to the battle (or surprise attack) between Spanish conquerors led by Martín García Óñez de Loyola and Mapuche people led by Pelantaru at Curalaba ("broken stone" in Mapudungun) in southern Chile. In Chilean historiography this event marks the end of the "Conquista" period in Chile's history, although the fast Spanish expansion in the south had already been halted in the 1550s.
On December 21, 1598, governor Martín García Oñez de Loyola traveled to Purén leading only 50 men. On the second day they camped in Curalaba without taking protective measures. The Mapuche people aware of their presence, with their cavalry led by Pelantaru and his lieutenants, Anganamón and Guaiquimilla, with three hundred men, shadowed his movements and made a surprise night raid. Completely surprised, the governor and almost all of his soldiers and companions were killed.
This event was called the Disaster of Curalaba by the Spaniards. It involved not only the death of the Spanish governor, but the news rapidly spread among the Mapuche and triggered a general revolt, long-prepared by the toquiPaillamachu, that destroyed Spanish camps and towns south of the Bío-Bío River over the next few years.