Mapuche – hombres de la tierra

Mapuche – people of the earth

A comrade sent me this postcard to show me where his family came from – Traiguen. If you look at the long thin country in South America, his village is in the middle, south of Santiago, the capital of Chile.

Traiguen is in the Araucanía Region of Chile but was not fully colonised until the 1880s, when the state occupied the area to end resistance by the indigenous Mapuche by both military and political means. This opened up the area for Chilean and European immigration and settlement.

Conguillío National Park

In the 1900–1930 period, the population of Araucanía grew considerably, as did the economy despite recessions striking the rest of Chile. Araucanía became one of the principal agricultural districts of Chile, gaining the nickname of “granary of Chile”. The administrative Araucanía Region was established in 1974, in what was the core of the larger historic region of Araucanía.

Traiguen is a town of about 20,000 people and is represented by politicians from across the political spectrum – Party for Democracy (Chile) on the Left to UDI – the Independent Democratic Union which was the party of the dictator Pinochet.

Ian Curr
13 Aug 2021