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Mapuche [archive]

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Location: Southern Chile and Argentina

History: The Mapuche are the only indigenous group which withstood the attacks of the Inca and were never conquered by them. They are also the only south American indigenous group which was never conquered by the Spaniards. In the late 19th century, the Chilean armies put down a major uprising and finally "pacified" the Mapuche. They were then settled on "reducciones" or reserves. This process continued until 1929 when 3,078 reserves had been created. By 1979, the date of the current law which provides for the division and liquidation of the Mapuche reserves, the amount of land available to the Mapuche had been further reduced.

Language: Mapuche language is called Mapudungun.

Daily Life: The traditional Mapuche lifestyle is agricultural, but many Mapuche have moved to cities like Santiago (the capital of Chile), or Temuco which is a regional center of commerce.

Best Known Features: National pride and resistance to the conquering forces of the Inca and Spanish.


Arnold, Jennifer, Dept. of Linguistics, Stanford University

Center For World Indigenous Studies

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 Languages in Chile

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