Destruction of the Seven Cities

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Settlements of the Conquistadores before the Destruction of the Seven Cities

The Destruction of the Seven Cities (Spanish: Destrucción de las siete ciudades) is a term used in Chilean historiography to refer to the destruction or abandonment of seven major Spanish outposts in southern Chile around 1600 caused by the Mapuche and Huilliche uprising of 1598. The Destruction of the Seven Cities is one of the events that mark the end of the Conquest period and the beginning of the proper colonial period.

The revolt was triggered following the news of the Disaster of Curalaba on 23 December 1598, where the vice toqui Pelantaru and his lieutenants, Anganamon and Guaiquimilla, with three hundred men ambushed and killed the Spanish governor Martín García Óñez de Loyola and nearly all his companions.

Over the next few years, the Mapuche were able to destroy or force the abandonment of many cities and minor settlements including all the seven Spanish cities in Mapuche territory south of the Biobío River: Santa Cruz de Coya (1599), Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia (1599, reoccupied in 1602 and abandoned again in 1604), San Andrés de Los Infantes (1599), La Imperial (1600), Santa María Magdalena de Villa Rica (1602), San Mateo de Osorno (1603), and San Felipe de Araucan (1604).

The Destruction of the Seven Cities came to have longstanding effects on the future development of Chile transforming the area from Aconcagua to Biobío River into Chile's heartland.

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