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On September 11, 1541, Michimalonco attacked the newly founded Spanish settlement of Santiago, Chile after seven caciques were taken hostage by Spaniards following an uprising. Michimalonco was said to lead 8,000 to 20,000 men. The defense of the outnumbered town was led by Inés de Suárez, a female conquistador, while commander Pedro de Valdivia was elsewhere. Much of the town was destroyed when Suárez decapitated one of the caciques herself and had the rest decapitated to surprise the natives. The natives were then driven off by the Spanish.
After fighting the Spaniards, he fled to the Andes mountain valleys. There he hid for a couple of years but feeling homesick he came back to the valley and allied his forces with the Spaniards and went to fight the Mapuches on the south. He was reputedly raised in Cuzco and acquired a Quechua accent when speaking his native language, therefore he was named the "Foreigner Chief".