“The most famous Indians in all the Indies are those from Chile, called Araucos. The next in New Spain, called Guachichiles or Chichimecs, who are now conquered.” : pacification projects in two frontiers of the New World’ Spanish Empire : New Galicia and Chile (1529-1626)
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This dissertation seeks to unravel some of the most interesting and least known characteristics of the early Spanish Empire in the New World borderlands: the origin and application of the first policy of non-violent pacification in the lands of New Galicia, and its subsequent transfer to Mapuche territory in southern Chile, whose materialization ended in a resounding failure. It is assumed that an empire is a political, social, economic and cultural system in which information circulates through different means –mainly written texts and people–, so that the experiences of a corner of this system could serve as a reference to the moment of making decisions for another region. The Franciscans were the promoters of the first successful pacification project in a borderland of the American continent, which put an end to the prolonged Chichimec War in northwestern Mexico. This plan of pacification was the heir of other attempts carried out in various conflictive regions of the continent, in which numerous tests of trial and error were carried out. Along this process mixed in a tense relationship the theological and philosophical positions on the nature of Indians, the desires of wealth and glory of the diverse social strata that developed in these spaces, the role played by the religious orders, and the resistance of the Indians to the invasion of their territories. Aware of the peacemaking success in Chichimec lands, the Jesuits tried to implement the essential guidelines of this project in southern Chile to put an end to the bloody Arauco War, but the ecological and cultural peculiarities of southern Chile, as well as the personalism of the main promoter of this transfer, prevented reaching the same happy result: in this way, a successful model would not necessarily have the same result in another region of the Spanish Empire.