Huilliche people

Huilliches, Mapuche-Huilliche
Total population
17,000 in Chiloé Archipelago[1]
Regions with significant populations
Futahuillimapu and Chiloé Archipelago, Chile
Spanish, Huilliche
Christianity (mainly Roman Catholic)
Related ethnic groups
Mapuche people, Chono people, Picunche people, Chilean people

The Huilliche, Huiliche or Huilliche-Mapuche are the southern partiality of the Mapuche macroethnic group of Chile.[2] The Huilliche are the principal indigenous population of Chile from Toltén River to Chiloé Archipelago.[3] According to Ricardo E. Latcham the term Huilliche started to be used in Spanish after the second founding of Valdivia in 1645, adopting the usage of the Mapuches of Araucanía for the southern Mapuche tribes.[2] Huilliche means 'southerners' (Mapudungun willi 'south' and che 'people'.)

The majority of the Huilliche speaks Spanish while a minority dominated by older adults speaks Huillice language.[1]

The Huilliche calls the territory between Bueno River and Reloncaví Sound Futahuillimapu, meaning "great land of the south".[2]


In the 1540s Spanish conquereros led by Pedro de Valdivia arrived to Central Chile from newly conquered Peru. Between 1549 and 1553 the Spanish founded several cities in Mapuche territory and one in Huilliche territory: Valdivia.[4] Albeit the death of Pedro de Valdivia in 1553 halted the Spanish conquests for a while Osorno and Castro were established in Huilliche territory in 1558 and 1567 respectively.[4][5] The Spanish defeat by Mapuches in the battle of Curalaba in 1598 triggered a general uprising that led to the destruction of all Spanish cities in Huilliche territory except Castro.[2][6]

The portion of Futahuillimapu south of Maipué River became large depulated following a period of pillaging by the Spanish and loyal Huilliches that had relocated from Osorno to the forts of Carelmapu and Calbuco.[2][7] After Valdivia was refounded in 1645 the Spanish struggled to establish a land route to Chiloé Archipelago across independent Huilliche territory.[2][8]

In 1792 the Huilliches were defeated by a Spanish army.[9] A peace parliament and treaty was signed in 1793.[9] In the treaty Huilliche property was recognized by the Spanish.[9]

Sociedad Stuttgart, a society established in the 19th century to bring German settlers, purchased about 15 000 km2 under fraudulent conditions from Huilliches in the Precordillera east of Osorno.[10] This purchase was later ratified by in Chilean courts and serves to illustrate how Chilean authorities ignored its own legal order that guaranteed Huilliche property.[10]

As result of the establishment of Chilean and European settlers, including Germans, around Bueno River and Osorno Huilliches living in the Central Valley migrated to the coastal region of Osorno.[10] The economy of Osorno turned in the 1920s towards cattle farming, with land ownership concentrated among German immigrants and many Huilliches became peasants of large estates (latifundia).[11]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Huilliche". Ethnologue. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Alcamán, Eugenio (1997). "Los mapuche-huilliche del Futahuillimapu septentrional: Expansión colonial, guerras internas y alianzas políticas (1750-1792)" (PDF). Revista de Historia Indígena (in Spanish) (2): 29–76.
  3. Villalobos et al. 1974, p. 49.
  4. 1 2 Villalobos et al. 1974, p. 99.
  5. Hanisch, Walter (1982). La Isla de Chiloe, Capitana de Rutas Australes (in Spanish). Academia Superior de Ciencias Pedagógicas de Santiago. pp. 11–12.
  6. Villalobos et al. 1974, p. 109.
  7. Mansilla Almonacid, José D. (2002), "La Población de Calbuco Evolución de las Cifras. Siglos XVII-XX", Revista Austral de Ciencias Sociales (in Spanish), 6: 125–134, doi:10.4206/rev.austral.cienc.soc.2002.n6-10
  8. Montt 1971, pp. 25-28.
  9. 1 2 3 Foerster, Rolf G. (1998). "Tratado de Paz de 1793. Una aproximación a la gramática de la memoria mapuche-huilliche" (PDF). Revista Austral de Ciencias Sociales (in Spanish) (2): 59–68. doi:10.4206/rev.austral.cienc.soc.1998.n2-06. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  10. 1 2 3 Concha Mathiesen, Martín (1998). Una mirada a la identidad de los grupos huilliche de San Juan de la Costa (Thesis) (in Spanish). Universidad Arcis.
  11. Vergara, Jorge Iván; Gundermann, Hans (2012). "Constitution and internal dynamics of the regional identitary in Tarapacá and Los Lagos, Chile". Chungara (in Spanish). University of Tarapacá. 44 (1): 115–134. doi:10.4067/s0717-73562012000100009.


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