Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia

Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia
Reino de la Araucanía y la Patagonia
Unrecognized state
Flag of Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia
Flag Coat of arms
Spanish: Independencia y Libertad
English: Independence and Liberty
Location of the claimed territory of the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia, in Chile and Argentina
Location of the claimed territory of the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia, in Chile and Argentina
Capital Perquenco, in current Cautín Province, La Araucanía Region, Chile
Capital-in-exile Paris, France[1]
Languages Mapudungun, French and Spanish
Government Monarchy
   18601878 Orélie-Antoine I (Aurelio Antonio I)
Historical era Occupation of the Araucanía/Conquest of the Desert
   Established 1860
   Disestablished 1862
Preceded by
Succeeded by

The Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia (Spanish: Reino de la Araucanía y de la Patagonia; French: Royaume d'Araucanie et de Patagonie, sometimes referred to as New France) was a proposed state and kingdom conceived in the 19th century by a French lawyer and adventurer named Orélie-Antoine de Tounens. Orélie-Antoine de Tounens claimed the regions of Araucanía and eastern Patagonia. It was an unrecognized state[2] that enjoyed only marginal sovereignty in a brief period of time, through alliances with some Mapuche lonkos, in a reduced area of Araucanía, in current Chile.

At the time the local indigenous Mapuche population of Araucanía and Patagonia were engaged in a desperate armed struggle to retain their independence in the face of hostile military and economic encroachment by the governments of Chile and Argentina, who coveted the Mapuche lands for economical and political reasons. The successors of Orélie-Antoine all lived in France.[1]


Orélie-Antoine I, King of Araucanía and Patagonia.

While visiting the region in 1860, Orélie-Antoine came to sympathise with the Mapuche cause, and a group of loncos (Mapuche tribal leaders) in turn elected him to the position of King —possibly in the belief that their cause might be better served with a European acting on their behalf. Orélie-Antoine then set about establishing a government in his capital of Perquenco, created a blue, white and green flag, and had coins minted for the nation under the name of Nouvelle France.

His efforts at securing international recognition for the Mapuche were thwarted by the Chilean and Argentinian governments, who captured, imprisoned and then deported him on several occasions. The supposed founding of the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia led to the approval of the Occupation of Araucanía by Chilean forces. Chilean president José Joaquín Pérez authorized Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez, commander of the Chilean troops invading Araucanía to capture Orélie-Antoine. He did not receive further punishment because he was deemed to be insane by both Chilean and Argentine authorities and sent to a madhouse in Chile. King Orélie-Antoine I eventually died penniless in France in 1878 after years of fruitless struggle to regain his perceived legitimate authority over his conquered kingdom. Historians Simon Collier and William F. Sater describe the Kingdom of Araucanía as a "curious and semi-comic episode".[3]

The later history of the "kingdom" belongs rather to "the obsessions of bourgeois France than to the politics of South America."[4] A French champagne salesman, Gustave Laviarde, impressed by the story, decided to assume the vacant throne as Aquiles I.[5] He was appointed heir to the throne by Orélie-Antoine.[6]

The first Araucanian king's present-day successor, Prince Philippe, lived in France until his death in 2014. Philippe, aka Philippe Boiry, is said to have purchased the title.[7] He renounced his predecessor's claims to the Kingdom, but he has kept alive the memory of Orélie-Antoine, and lent continued support to the ongoing struggle for Mapuche self-determination. He authorised the minting a series of commemorative coins in cupronickel, silver, gold, and palladium since 1988.[8] When he visited Argentina and Chile once, he was met with hostility by the local media and cold-shouldered by most of the Mapuche organisations.[9]

As of August 2014, Prince Philippe's successor remains contested.[10]

Pretenders to the throne

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia.


  1. 1 2
  2. Verónica Méndez Montero; Carolina Santelices Ariztía; Rodrigo Martínez Iturriaga (2009). Historia, Geografía y Ciencias Sociales 2° Educación Media (in Spanish). Santillana. ISBN 978-956-15-1557-4.
  3. Collier, Simon; Sater, William F.: A history of Chile, 1808-2002. Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-82749-3, p.96.
  4. Chatwin, Bruce: In Patagonia. Random House, 2012, ISBN 9781448105618, p. 25.
  5. Minnis, Natalie: Chile Insight. Langenscheidt Publishing, 2002, ISBN 981-234-890-5, p. 41.
  6. Nicholas Shakespeare, The Men who would be King, 1983.
  7. Ray, Leslie: Language of the land. The Mapuche in Argentina and Chile. IWGIA, Copenhagen 2007, ISBN 978-87-91563-37-9, pp. 61.
  8. Modern coins of the Kingdom
  9. Ray, Leslie: Language of the land. The Mapuche in Argentina and Chile. IWGIA, Copenhagen 2007, ISBN 978-87-91563-37-9, pp. 61-2.
  10. Chassain, Hervé (2014-07-22). "Dordogne: un nouveau rebondissement au royaume d'Araucanie". Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  11. 1 2 3 Piccirilli, R: "Diccionario histórico argentino", p. 260. Ediciones Historicas, 1953.
  12. Sociedad Chilena de Historia y Geografía, Archivo Nacional (Chile): "Revista chilena de historia y geografía", p. 277. Impr. Universitaria, 1931.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Braun Menéndez, A: "Pequeña historia patagónica", p. 128. Emecé Editores, 1959.

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