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Reconstruction of a dalca in the museum of Dalcahue.

The dalca or piragua is a type of canoe employed by the Chonos, a nomadic indigenous people of southern Chile. It was a light boat and ideal for navigating local waterways, including between islands of the Chiloé Archipelago, through the Chacao Channel to mainland Chile, and along the coast of the Gulf of Penas.[citation needed] Spanish chronicles called it best-suited for those waters, far superior to ships of the conquistadores.[citation needed]

The dalca was essential for many activities in Chiloé Archipelago including the logging of alerce wood, the Circular Mission system, and the various expeditions to Nahuel Huapi Lake and the channels of Patagonia.[1] By 1886 dalcas had been replaced by other boat types and were not longer in use in Chiloé.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hanisch, Walter (1982). La isla de Chiloé, Capitana de Rutas Australes (in Spanish). Santiago, Chile: Academia Superior de Ciencias Pedagógicas de Santiago. p. 23.
  2. ^ de Vea, Antonio (1886). "Expedición de Antonio de Vea". Anuario Hidrográfico de la Marina de Chile (in Spanish). Valparaíso. p. 579.

Further reading[edit]

  • Garcia, Jose (1889). "Travel Diary i navigation made by Father José Garcia of the Company of Jesus from its mission of Cailã n, in Chiloe, toward the south, in the years 1766-1767 ".
  • Hydrographic Yearbook of the Chilean Navy. Took 14 Valparaiso : Hydrographic Institute of the Chilean Navy. pp. 3–42.
  • Cárdenas, Renato. Dante Montiel and Catherine Hall (1991). The Chono and the regattas of Chiloé. Santiago, Chile: Olimpho.
  • Edwards, Clinton R (1965) "Aboriginal Watercraft on the Pacific Coast of South America." University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.