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The Araucanization (Spanish: Araucanización) was the process of expansion of Mapuche culture, influence and language from Araucanía into the Patagonic plains. Historians disagree in the time of the expansion but it would have occurred sometime between 1550 and 1850. Amerindian peoples such as the Puelches and Tehuelches adopted the Mapudungun as their main language (their own name is in Mapudungun). Together with Quechua, Aymara, Guarani and Nahuatl, Mapudungun was among the few Amerindian languages that extended their territories after the European arrival.

Mapuches that migrated to Patagonia lived often as nomads rising cattle or pillaging the Argentine countryside. The cattle stolen in the incursions (malónes) would later be taken to Chile through the mountain passes and traded for goods, especially alcoholic beverages. The main trail for this trade was called Camino de los chilenos and run a length of about 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) from the Buenos Aires Province to the mountain passes of Neuquén Province. The lonco Calfucurá crossed the Andes from Chile to the Pampas around 1830 after a call from the governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas, to fight the Boreanos tribe. In 1859 he attacked Bahia Blanca in Argentina with 3,000 warriors. As in the case of Calfucura many other bands of Mapuches got involved the internal conflicts of Argentina until Conquest of the Desert. The counter the cattle raids a trench called Zanja de Alsina was built by Argentina in the pampas in the 1870s.

Argentina authorities worried the As the strong connections araucanized tribes had with Chile that alledgelly gave Chile certain influence over the pampas.[1] Argentine authorities feared an eventual war with Chile over Patagonia where the natives would side the Chileans and that it would therefore be fought in the vicinities of Buenos Aires.[2]

The decision of planning and executing the Conquest of the Desert was probably triggered by the 1872 attack of Cufulcurá and his 6,000 followers on the cities of General Alvear, Veinticinco de Mayo and Nueve de Julio, where 300 criollos were killed, and 200,000 heads of cattle taken.

See also




Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




From Spanish araucanización, from Araucanía





  1. The process of expansion of the Mapudungun language and others elements of the Mapuche culture from their homeland Araucania into the plains of Patagonia, so as to assimilate such other native Amerind peoples as the Puelches and Tehuelches
    The Araucanization of the minor Patagonian tribes troughout the colonial era would only be ended by the similar cultural imperialism of the Hispanophones which swept over the Mapuche as well after the 19th century Argentinian and Chilean independence.

Related terms


  • German: Araucanisierung


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