Accepted paper:

Troubled negotiations: Mapuche-Chilean relations in the early independence era


Joanna Crow (University of Bristol)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the complexities of Mapuche-Chilean relations during the early independence years, focusing on written communications and the formal meetings known as parlamentos.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the complex, dynamic relationship that developed between the Mapuche and Chilean state authorities in the first decades following independence from Spain. It shows that the lands south of the Bio Bio River remained under the control of the Mapuche (despite constitutions claiming the contrary), and that successive governments were obliged to take this people seriously. We know from existing scholarship that many Mapuche supported royalist forces during the wars of independence, but that there were also several important Mapuche leaders who allied themselves with the insurgents and, after the latter's victory, entered into negotiations with the fledgling Chilean republic. My paper investigates further the intricacies of these negotiations - how they were carried out, the processes involved and the vocabularies used - and seeks to compare them with Mapuche-Spanish negotiations during the late colonial period, and indigenous-state negotiations elsewhere in Latin America during the early independence era.It focuses particularly on the parlamentos and written communications, and suggests that during this period of political experiments a number of Chileans and Mapuche envisaged and promoted a very different state-building project to that (centralised, exclusionary model) which was adopted by the Portalian regime and subsequent administrations.

panel P13
New perspectives on political ideas and practices in post-independent Chile (1818-1830)