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Frontera norte

On-line version ISSN 2594-0260Print version ISSN 0187-7372

Frontera norte vol.31  México  2019  Epub Jan 01, 2019 


Multiple Articulations in the Southern Cordoba Border and Mamüel Mapu (1836-1851)

1Universidad Nacional del Río Cuarto, Argentina


This article studies the interethnic conflict in the south of the province of Córdoba (Argentina) between 1836 and 1852. Its purpose is to address the complexity and multiplicity of the links between the Ranquel people and Chilean Indians who traveled to the Indian villages ( tolderías ) in the dry pampa, and also analyze the sociopolitical processes triggered in Argentina and Chile in the 19 th century. This was achieved by reviewing border documentation (both published and unpublished). The study argues that the bonds that supported these political articulations reveal mechanisms that overlap and complement social forces in conflict. These were relevant enough to make the processes that occurred in this section of the Argentine internal border distinctive.

Keywords: South Frontier; Córdoba; Rosism; Ranquel; ties


El trabajo estudia el conflicto interétnico en el sur de la provincia de Córdoba (Argentina) entre 1836 y 1852. Su propósito es abordar la complejidad y multiplicidad de los vínculos entre los ranqueles y los indios chilenos , quienes se desplazaban hacia sus tolderías ubicadas en la pampa seca, así como analizar los procesos sociopolíticos desatados en Argentina y Chile en el siglo XIX; para esto se revisaron fuentes documentales de frontera (publicadas e inéditas). El análisis sostiene que los lazos que dieron sustento a estas articulaciones políticas dan cuenta de los mecanismos que imbrican y complementan fuerzas sociales en conflicto, los cuales fueron lo suficientemente relevantes como para dotar de especificidad a los procesos acaecidos en este tramo de la frontera interior argentina.

Palabras clave: frontera sur; Córdoba; rosismo; ranqueles; vínculos


The Spanish began to explore the expansive lowlands of the Pampas, in modern-day Argentina, in the late 16th century and found various indigenous hunter-gatherer-fisher communities that had inhabited the area since at least 7000 BC. Archeological and early colonial records both documented the existence of ties with groups that inhabited the fertile lowlands of Chile; by the 19th century, these communities had formed a large sociocultural unit that spanned from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Martha Bechis (2008a, p. 268) coined the term “Arauco-Pampas-Northern Patagonia area” 2 to refer to this vast space in which no political unit or group was able to reproduce itself independently, which in itself points to mutual dependence between the units it contained, which competed among themselves and helped to strengthen unity in the area. The Pampas indigenous peoples’ expertise in warfare, the Criollo commercial and bureaucratic organization ingrained in the Araucanian groups of Chile, toll fees, and other characteristics and processes within each political unit can only be understood by taking into account the full area they occupy, as the stage upon which the sovereign indigenous peoples act encompasses this entire geographical area, despite the fact it has been divided by nation states ( Bechis, 2008a, p. 268 ).

The problem of migration toward the Pampas lowlands by different indigenous groups from the western slopes of the Andes falls within this context. These movements began upon the outbreak of the Guerra a Muerte in Chile, which refers to the last stage of the war for independence and took place in the center and south of the country between 1819 and 1832. Both sides attempted to lure the indigenous peoples to stoke up ancient rivalries between tribes. Allies of local caudillos 3 , such as the Pincheira brothers 4 , roamed the southwestern region of Buenos Aires in montoneras 5 until most settled in Salinas Grandes and Guaminí, leading to a significant transformation of their sociocultural practices with the establishment of a complex, organized exchange network. These migrations reached their peak when Calfucurá established himself in Salinas Grandes after dismantling the Borogano people 6 ( León Solís, 1982 , 1991 ; Bechis, 1984 ; Bengoa, 1991 ; Mandrini, 1984 ; Mandrini & Ortelli, 2002 ; Rocchietti, 2008 ; Villar & Jiménez, 2011 , Ratto, 2015 ; de Jong, 2016 ).

Authors specializing in the Buenos Aires border have studied in depth the characteristics of the settlement of Borogano and Salinero caciques on the Pampas plains, and the problems this entailed. Yet there are few studies that examine the presence of indigenous people across the mountain range in Mamüel Mapu 7 – or the “land of woods” – which is the land inhabited by Ranquel indigenous groups since the end of the 18 th century and borders the internal provinces of Mendoza, San Luis, Córdoba, and Santa Fe ( Barrionuevo Imposti, 1988, p. 145 ; Zink & Salomón Tarquini, 2014, p. 52 ; Tamagnini, 2015a , 2015b ). This gap, which is associated with the lack of attention given to other sections of the so-called Argentine Southern Frontier , has made it difficult to construct explanatory frameworks that simultaneously identify differences and similarities in the processes that took place in different parts of this border. This study intends to make headway in that sense, as its focus is on the unrest between Ranquel people and Christians on the southern border of Córdoba between 1836 and 1852, and is part of a line of analysis centered on investigating the political articulations of the Ranquel people with other social forces during the years of the Rosist confederation, which in Argentine history refers to the period of provincial autonomies between 1829 and 1852 8 , when the Buenos Aires province imposed economic and political rule over all the internal and littoral provinces through its governor, Juan Manuel de Rosas.

Other studies have examined the links between the barbarians of the South and the Unitarian savages , who sought shelter in the Ranquel camps ( tolderías ) following their defeat at the hands of Federalists in 1841 ( Tamagnini, 2016a , 2016b ). This study seeks to build on this analysis and explore the connections established with the Chilean Indians that moved each year to the camps in Mamüel Mapu, and take into account the difficulties this alliance between different indigenous groups entailed for the government of the province of Córdoba. In what was one of the moments of greatest unrest in Rosist federalism, the complexity and multiplicity of the ties established within the Ranquel territory not only enabled the demographic and economic recovery of this group, but put to test the government of Córdoba, beleaguered by depopulation, uprisings, desertions, economic hardship, etc.

An analysis of the links between the Ranquel people and the Chilean Indians calls for clarification of the scope of this last term – considered anachronic by authors such as Madrini and Ortelli (2002) – before Araucanía was incorporated into the national state of Chile at the end of the 19 th century. However, these authors acknowledge that some caciques maintained that they were Chilean or Argentine in their dealings with authorities, either out of political expediency or a need to distinguish themselves from other caciques or groups in agreements ( Mandrini & Ortelli, 2002, p. 251 ). On the other hand, regarding the problem of identifying labels, Nacuzzi (2014) advocates using the “provisional vocabulary employed by the sources” and not the labels drawn up by mid- 20 th-century ethnography. This proposal is relevant for the purposes of this study as the term is very frequently used in border documentation 9 (authored both by Christians and indigenous peoples 10 ) to refer to groups that moved towards the Pampas from the western slope of the Andes. In the 1840s, the expression was employed to indicate the place of origin and not the territory of a nation state. Synonyms include the terms moluche, muluche, molucho, and mapuchis . 11

Sources in the government reserve of the Historical Archive of the Province of Córdoba (AHPC) and the Rosas Secretariat reserve of the General Archive of the Nation (AGN) of Argentina provide documentation of the presence of indigenous people from Araucanía in Ranquel camps and the southern Córdoba border. The memoirs of Santiago Avendaño, who was held captive by the Ranquel people for seven years, are another significant contribution ( Hux, 2004 ).

This study is divided into two sections. The first offers a historical synthesis of southern Córdoba, with a central focus on the wars that affected the area over this period. The second tracks the presence of Chilean Indians in Mamüel Mapu and the southern Córdoba border, reconstructing their links with the Ranquel people, Unitarian refugees, and some Chilean officials who played a role in developments inland .


The lands of southern Córdoba are on the western fringe of the Pampas lowlands. The Spanish reached the area early on and included it in the lands gifted to the descendants of Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, founder of the capital. 12 Their control of the territory was quickly subject to the fluctuating conflict with the indigenous population that inhabited the Pampas, which led to the construction, in the mid-18 th century, of a fort in Punta del Sauce (today La Carlota). Soon thereafter, and to address the need to keep watch over the Pampas trail that linked Buenos Aires to Cuyo and Chile, two more were built in Las Tunas and Santa Catalina. When Rafael Núñez, the marquis of Sobremonte, took over the newly-created Governorship-Intendancy of Córdoba del Tucumán in 1783, he decided to consolidate this initial structure by interspersing new fortifications, establishing a line of both large and small forts, each about 20km apart. These were Concepción del Río Cuarto, San Bernardo, Reducción, San Carlos, Pilar, Punta del Sauce and, near El Saladillo, San Rafael. Many years later, during the Rosist period (1829-1852), the escalation of the conflict with the Raquel people and their geographic proximity were the driving forces behind progress in building two new forts (Achiras and Los Jagüeles) and strengthening the fort in Santa Catalina, where the “fertility of the land and abundance of water” 13 encouraged the foundation of a true stronghold.

Small villages sprang up around these fortifications and sheltered the men who defended them, along with a few traders, priests, and sutlers. There was also a rural population in the districts of the villa 14 of Concepción, Piedra Blanca, San Bartolomé, Achiras, the villa of La Carlota, and Reducción, where the domestic economy revolved around sheep-rearing and weaving. These products were traded for others with peddlers that wandered the fields. However, the plains’ low population was a constant that prevented territorial affirmation and governmental organization at a provincial level.

To the south of the military line were the ranquil-ches, rancacheles or ranqueles (Ranquel people). Their establishment in Mamüel Mapu may well have come about in the last third of the 18 th century after a long migration from the lands east of the mountain range. Today, it is believed that they are the product of mixing between groups from the trans-Andean plains (Mapuches) and settlers from the Andean valleys (Pehuenches) and the Limay river basin (Huilliches) ( Villar & Jiménez, 2006 ). By the late 1830s, their political structure was based on co-government by two bloodlines in constant rivalry, which extended their power to the end of the border with indigenous peoples in 1879. The heads of these two bloodlines were the caciques Payne-Calvan-Mariano Rosas and Pichún-Baigorrita.

During the period considered in this study, the population and economic base of the Ranquel people is said to have been compromised by droughts and attacks by Juan Manuel de Rosas and other governors who delegated the power to define border policy to him ( Ratto, 2011, p. 176 ; Zink & Salomón Tarquini, 2014, p. 62 ). The most notable confrontations between Ranquel people and Christians include the siege of the villa of Concepción del Río Cuarto by the cacique Yanquetruz 15 in August 1831, the colonel Manuel Baigorra taking refuge in Ranquel camps after the fall of the League of the Interior, and the Desert Campaign led by Rosas between 1833 and 1834 to expand the southern lands of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, San Luis, and Mendoza. The Córdoba column of this expedition, at the command of José Ruiz Huidobro, dealt a severe blow to Yanquetruz but was unable to bring him down, leading the governor of Buenos Aires to order new military action over the entire Ranquel territory between 1835 and 1836. Consideration must also be given to the massacre of a group of tame Indians living near the fort of La Carlota, ordered in April 1836 by the governor of Córdoba, Manuel López, and the advance on the huts by Carrané, established by the Quinto River. Although the Ranqueles resisted, losses are said to be considerable ( Barrionuevo Imposti, 1988, p. 134 ; Fernández, 1999, p.411-412 ; Mayol Laferrère, 1996, p. 88 ).

Although this review shows that war is a key aspect in interethnic relations, the complexity it took on in a border region like southern Córdoba must also be taken into consideration, as manifestations of war were the result of different levels of conflict. The interethnic war and civil war , as they are traditionally known, did not develop in parallel but their paths intersected and overlapped, making it difficult to distinguish between the two ( Tamagnini, 1998, p. 127 ). This was confirmed by the outbreak of a series of conflicts in the late 1830s, many driven by the Unitarians, who put the federal system in check: the revolution of the Freemen of the South, the Maza conspiracy, the campaign by Juan Lavalle, the uprising of the Northern Coalition, and the French blockade ( Halperín Donghi, 1980 ). One of the most significant revolts in Córdoba took place in 1840, when forces associated with the Northern Coalition and Juan Lavalle managed to depose the governor and occupy the capital city. However, the insurrection only lasted two months as Federals regained control and drastically suppressed, far and wide, all those who had rebelled. In the south of the jurisdiction, many escaped this repression by taking refuge in Ranquel camps.

Finally, any consideration of the war on the southern Córdoba border cannot be removed from the international context, as phenomena such as the Guerra a Muerte or the exile of defeated Unitarians in Chile influenced developments on the border with the Ranquel people. At the same time, the arrival of warlike and/or commercial expeditions by Chilean Indians in Ranquel camps escalated the conflict and put the provincial government on the defensive. The numerous links established in Mamüel Mapu following the displacement of indigenous people from the western slope of the mountain range to the Pampas are explored below.


Ties – whether parental, social, political, or economic in nature – constitute the main foundation for many personal and social relationships within any human group. Such ties entail rules, practices, and contradictions specific to the fabric of each stage in history. Many stand the test of time, but others concern a specific objective at a given moment and may disappear once this is achieved ( Reguera, 2017, p. 11 ). The relationships between the Ranquel people and the numerous indigenous groups that arrived in Mamüel Mapu from the western flank of the Andes mountain range exhibit a labyrinth of complex social ties primarily based on kinship between different groups through matrimonial exchanges 16 that produced an elaborate, complex network in which everyone was related. Although difficult to imagine from other cultural perspectives, ties between families related through women not only made it easier to move around and exchange goods but also produced territorial reorganizations, both in Araucanía and the Pampas ( Bengoa, 2007, p. 81-84 ; Bechis, 2010, p. 126 ; Bello, 2011, p. 56 ).

In addition to kinship, this network of relationships was based on three internal structural factors: 1) the language spoken on both sides of the mountain range, 2) a thought system that incorporated innovation and change while remaining coherent, and 3) a socio-political structure that rejected territorial concentration and tended to move centrifugally ( Bechis, 2008a, p. 278 ; Zavala Cepeda, 2011, p. 60 ). This last factor was also highlighted by Bello (2011) , who pointed out that the combination of these mechanisms enabled the establishment of an indigenous territory made up of different spaces that were nonadjacent or geographically distant, as is the case with Araucanía and the Pampas. This territory was made up of areas for keeping livestock, trails for moving livestock, residential areas, and political and military alliance networks ( Bello, 2011, p. 38 ).

Regarding the visits and trips made by indigenous people from Araucanía to the Pampas plains 17 , Bengoa (2007) highlights the overwhelming importance of the visiting ceremony for a stateless society like that of the Mapuches. Groups from the western side of the mountain range organized long trips to perform this ceremony, which was also a cornerstone in preparing Mapuches for war. Bengoa’s synthesis includes some key clues that help to identify Chilean Indians in Ranquel territory and on the southern Córdoba border based on border documentation produced by provincial governors (in Córdoba and Buenos Aires) and commanders. The many letters sent by Ranquel caciques to government authorities, from 1840 onwards, also make reference to Chilean caciques, those from Chile, and Chilean heads . Payne and Pichun’s confirmation in writing of the names of some of these Chilean caciques gives these letters added value because it shows the extent of the contrast in official discourse on indigenous peoples.

Beyond the visibility of the term Chilean Indians in this documentation, it is complicated to analyze the problem posed by their presence in Mamüel Mapu and their links to the Ranquel people because the sources, which refer to various contexts of production, do not provide sufficient descriptive elements to expand the scope of the problem. Few documents contain details of movements, places of origin, destinations, or the driving forces behind these movements. A further problem is the fact that border authorities used to write the names of caciques in different ways (depending on how they interpreted the Mapudungun pronunciation), making it difficult to distinguish between people and places. From 1840, the visibility of Chilean Indians in documentary records increases due to the fact that Christians made greater efforts to indicate the names of certain caciques and lower chiefs ( capitanejos ), their kinship with the Ranquel people, the reasons they arrived in the Indian villages, a description of the state of the forces, the makeup of the bands of Indians heading to the villa of Concepción del Río Cuarto, etc. The names of the caciques are found both in the documentation produced by border and government authorities and in Ranquel letters, with in both cases only very sporadic mentions of the faction they belonged to.

This analysis of the problem of the presence of Chilean Indians in Mamüel Mapu and on the southern Córdoba border takes as a starting point a statement given by one Chilean Indian, named José Millan, who was taken prisoner in an indigenous invasion comprising “600 Indians with spears and sabers, and 100 with bolas , not to mention the huge mob that was just there to drive cattle,” and which had arrived at the gates of the villa of Concepción del Río Cuarto in early October 1837 18 . It should be mentioned that, within the universe of border documentation , statements are a peculiar kind of document because they reproduce an interrogation conducted by a public servant on a third party following a pre-established protocol or model. At the same time, these documents produce a “transposition from the spoken word to the written word” that endeavors to reproduce the deponent’s words as faithfully as possible ( Nacuzzi & Lucaioli, 2015, p. 29-30 ).

Something else is peculiar about José Millan’s statement: it was not taken at the border checkpoint, as was customary, but in the city of Córdoba, where he was quickly transferred. He made the statement to Rafael Carrillo, “senior aide of the line cavalry, and aide-de-camp of this government” 19 and Mauricio Moyano, 3 rd official of the Government Secretariat appointed as clerk. The fact that the prisoner was transferred to Córdoba bears witness to the importance that the provincial government attached to the information he could provide. Furthermore, since the deponent did not speak Spanish, Simón Cuevas (a well-known bilingual mediator [ lenguaraz ] from that period) acted as interpreter, promising to “relay truthfully and with no changes whatsoever whatever the Indian José Millan stated in response to the questions I asked him” 20 . This reveals that there was a second transposition, in this case from the Mapudungun language to Spanish, which may call into question the truthfulness of the statement.

When asked which group of Indians he and the other invaders belonged to, he said: the Chileans.

When asked who ordered it, when they left their lands, and how many had come, he said: the caciques from his land were requested by the cacique Pichun, who was from here, that they left their land after the mountain range opened up last year, and that there were about fifteen hundred, or sixteen hundred fighters, excluding the mob.

When asked which caciques ordered this whole group of Indians, he said: Ten of them, including Pichun, namely Miliqueú, Curuinca, Yacaér, Ancapi, Naguelgué, Callucura and Namuncura, brothers, Cumiguan, Chequeta and Pichun, and afterwards the cacique Payne joined them.

When asked where they all met up to begin the march, he said: at the Limaileú river, and after they’d crossed the mountain range, the caciques decided to overpower the cacique Alon 21 and invade his camps, and to that effect they convened the assembly they were going to hold, that he came along with three more caciques and about twenty Indians, and once they arrived, they ambushed him and killed him, another cacique, and most of the twenty Indians, with the other two caciques and Indians who didn’t die being held prisoners; then they took over the camps, killing most of the Indians there, and took all the riches, including droves of horses and beef cattle, for which they destroyed the Indians; these riches were from Bahia Blanca, which Alon and his Indians had previously invaded; and that once this operation was over, they withdrew and camped in two divisions, with Calluecura, Namuncura, Curriguala, and Cheuqueta in Utracan, and Miliqueú, Curruinca, Yacaér, Ancapí, Naguelgué, Pichún and Payne camping in Eurrenaque, the two camps being separated by a distance of two leagues; and that this second division ordered by Miliqueú wished to overpower the cacique Yanquelen, in order to take over his haciendas, which they were prevented from doing by the cacique Calluecura, who was in command of the 1 st Division and told them not to because Yanquelen and themselves were one and the same, and that they should invade the villa of Rio 4º, or wherever he saw fit; and from there Meliqueú marched with the five caciques and the Division that invaded this province in a group of seven hundred Indian warriors and a mob of about a hundred, and that many of them bore spears and sabers, and others just spears, and about a hundred had bolas .

When asked if these caciques plan to continue invading for a long time, he said all the caciques from his native land plan to return to be with their families, but that they are to leave Pichun and Payne a certain number of Indians for assistance.

When asked where Pichun and Payne lived, he said that he had heard that in Quegüé.

And he confirmed that what is set forth herein is consistent with what the Indian stated, with no changes made, as promised by the oath he swore to and ratified; and this statement having been read out loud to him, he drew a cross as he did not know how to sign, and it was signed by the undersigned and this clerk.

Rafael Carrillo +

Mauricio Moyano

Clerk 22

José Millan’s statement brings to light a vast array of problems with the dynamics of the relationships between different indigenous groups in the Pampas, such as alliances and conflicts between different caciques, the logistics of Indian raids, territoriality, and the presence of Chilean Indians in Mamüel Mapu and the southern Córdoba border area at that time. It is this last aspect that this study will address, first of all by examining the questions asked by the governor of Córdoba, who believed it was most important to know “roughly how many elements the savage enemies had at their disposal to launch their attacks” 23 . In her analysis of the war against the Abipones on the Gran Chaco border 24 , Lucaioli states that, by definition, this is a form of interethnic conflict that forces each party to consider the other’s military logic, which has a direct impact on all those voluntarily or involuntarily involved in the confrontation ( Lucaioli, 2011, p. 95 ). The need to understand this military logic is reflected in the instructions expressly given to public servants in Córdoba, who were required to elicit information on “the number of invading Indians, which caciques gave them orders, what weaponry they had and which routes they took; if they were all together or divided into groups; and if in addition to the invaders there were other groups of Indian warriors” 25 . This information was included and compared with other information circulating in the southern Córdoba and San Luis border area, and was quickly relayed to Manuel López, who sent it to his counterpart in Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas.

To expand on the information provided by the preceding document, this study will establish who the Chilean caciques were, which factions they belonged to, and how many indigenous people moved, when they did so, the routes they took, and their ties to the Ranquel people and Unitarian refugees like Manuel Baigorria, in addition to exploring the arrival of indigenous groups made up of Chilean Indians in the villa of Concepción. At the same time, the study will also review the problem that their presence in Ranquel camps posed for the provincial government.


In the Pampas, the indigenous people from across the Andes procured haciendas , horses, and rations. According to Avendaño, at the time it was thought that the reason they emigrated toward Ranquel territory was that “their haciendas were always thought to contain great wealth as a result of their frequent thieving in border provinces” ( Hux, 2004, p. 55 ). In his opinion, this perspective is untrue because they would not have been as affluent as “many thought because although it was true that they were always a scourge for borders, it is just as true that they had encountered terrible, admonitory resistance from the forces deployed at each spot” ( Hux, 2004, p. 55 ). In a recent synthesis on the history of the Ranquel people, Zink and Salomón Tarquini refuted this view, arguing that in reality Chilean Indians did not move toward Mamüel Mapu of their own accord, but in response to a call by relatives in the Pampas who needed reinforcements to conduct raids on the border or defend themselves from campaigns organized by provincial governments on their territory ( Zink & Salomón Tarquini, 2014, p. 55 ). The documentation consulted for this study confirms this, as the statement by José Millán, in which “the caciques from his land” 26 were convened “by the cacique Pichun, who was from here” is further supported by the assessment made by the General Commander of the Southern Frontier, Juan Pablo Sosa, who informed governor López in May 1837 that “in the opinion of the undersigned, the traveling Indians must be none other than those Chileans requested by Pichun during the invasion by Painé” 27 .

That said, who were the caciques who led the Chilean Indians into Ranquel territory? Although it is not easy to identify them by name, border documentation contains information that brings us one step closer. In some cases, a single name appears within a description of different events; in others, there are lists of caciques like that given by the aforementioned indigenous prisoner who gave his statement in Córdoba. As noted above, these lists were a response to authorities’ concerns for the safety of a border that was “devoid of weapons and horses to fend off any attack” 28 .

In July 1841, the governor of Córdoba informed his counterpart in Buenos Aires that he had received news of the presence of 10 Chilean caciques inland “within a day of Lebucó”28 . Each cacique was accompanied by “a hundred Araucanian Indians, with a total of 800 bearing spears and 400 with bolas 29 . To elaborate, he appended a “list of Chilean caciques located inland”29 , comprising in reality 13 caciques: “Calbucurá, Namuncurá, Lemuran (Captain), Quilipan, Chocorí, Clapi, Mariguan, Curruti, Quinchan, Clairequé, Colellan, Cheuquetá, Nagueteura” 30 . A few days later, stressing his rapprochement with Calfucurá’s Salineros (Calfucurá being Rosas’s main indigenous interlocutor) and hostility toward the Ranquel people, the governor of the province of Buenos Aires replied to López with objections to his list because he believed Calfucurá’s and Namuncurá’s intentions were entirely peaceful, and they did not approve of “the Ranquel people’s conduct” 31 and did not consider them friends. To cap it all, he added that:

It is the Ranquel people, who have been approaching you, who have not been telling the truth and claiming that the Chileans have come to rob, and they have stopped them; whereas, on the contrary, it has been our victories over the Unitarian savages and our rapprochement with the Chilean Indians that have, of late, contained the Ranqueles. 31

The governor of Buenos Aires insisted on not linking the Chilean Indians with the Ranquel people, whom he considered traitors who did not fulfill their promises and demonstrated “phony and vile conduct” when they sheltered “the Unitarian savage Baygorria and other Unitarian savages”. 32

Setting aside Rosas and López’s differences regarding who was who and the ties between different indigenous groups, what remains indisputable is the presence of the cacique Mariguan 33 in Ranquel camps at various times during the 1840s. Both Christian and indigenous documentation makes reference to this. Although the exact date cannot be ascertained, Avendaño reports a commission made up of “Marí-Guang, Güirca-ñamcú and Meli-nagüel” in Pichun’s huts, who sought to “establish a robust peace treaty with the Ranquel people” ( Hux, 2004, p. 121 ).

Similarly, it is important to reflect upon the foundation for these ties. Those responsible for relations with the Indians of the villa of Concepción del Río Cuarto provide some details that show the importance of kinship in the architecture of these ties, as it made it possible to reorganize alliances; Mariguan was reportedly “the full brother of Curuan and first cousin of Payne, as those two are to each other”. 34 They also announced to López that “Payne had received a visit from four hundred Chilean Indians with the caciques Namuncurá, Llebung-er, Llancan-er, Clapí, and Mariguan, only a hundred of whom had arrived where Payne was, with three hundred staying with Pichun, as most had come on foot rather than horseback”. 35 Just a few days later, another 400 individuals joined them, “led by the colonel Tori (Indian) and lower chiefs Llem-er, Ancapi, Montre.” 36 The presence of the cacique Mariguan was also recorded in indigenous correspondence. Just a few months after his death in September 1844, Payne wrote that “my brother Mariban and the cacique Calpi have arrived with two hundred Indians, and another cacique Picuchante named Critiano Pitian, with two hundred Indians; these caciques come to my land to visit me, not to conduct raids”. 37

Regarding the number of Chilean Indians arriving in Mamüel Mapu, the lack of quantitative information for certain years makes it impossible to reconstruct the sequence in full. In general terms, it can be said that the contingents that arrived in Ranquel camps during the period discussed in this paper were numerous (between 200 and 1,600 individuals) and came from various backgrounds. Beyond the specifications provided by Payne when he distinguishes between “groups of Chilean Indians and Picunches” 38 , it is difficult to draw distinctions between ethnicities. According to Payne, they came to “find out if I’m on friendly terms with you or if we are in disagreement, and for that I need them afterwards for my duties”. 39 The Picunche caciques in his villages included “Gancager, Tori, Yanpi and Ebeger”. 40 Within the context of the border policies of the Ranquel cacique, this notice was in reality a show of force, which he later softened by saying that these reinforcements should not pose the slightest threat to Córdoba, as “so long as I live they shall respect it”. 41

The precautionary measures taken with respect to the Picunche reveal conflicts that were, according to Avendaño, long-standing. Although the Muluche were more powerful and greater in number, they were at a geographical disadvantage compared to the Picunche, who controlled the salt – a strategic resource. In order to extract salt, the Muluche, on the other hand, had to travel in caravans of eight or more people on old, weak horses or mules, because “they were useless at traveling on horseback, they never saddle a horse that’s mettlesome or aloof” ( Hux, 2004, p. 119 ). Moreover, the fact that they were prevented from using the only road available to cross from “Arauco to here” was an “irreparable inconvenience” ( Hux, 2004, p. 119 ).

The rations and goods that the Ranquel people received from provincial governments when peace was made with the “Christians” must also have appealed to the “Chilean Indians”. 42 According to Avendaño, they were able to share in these provided nobody revealed that they “were outsiders” ( Hux, 2004, p. 55 ). The cacique Payne himself explained his need to “inform” “the son of Quentecol, the son of Magin Quelapin and other caciques” that Mariguan had arrived with “some of the great gifts given by my friend Lopez”. 43 To maintain these ties, he requested “eight hundred mares, a piece of scarlet cloth like the one you sent me with Naguel Quintu, two pieces of coarse scarlet woolen cloth, two pieces of linen, a dozen saddles, a dozen jackets and another dozen cloth pants, even if only of average quality, another dozen ponchos, [and] three barrel-loads of aguardiente”. 44

Payne’s request to the provincial government takes on greater relevance in light of the importance of kinship networks for these societies, as it was these networks that goods, knowledge and social relations ran through as they organized the territory. In this respect, Bello (2011) points out that in tribal societies, caciques were unable to control directly and effectively the entirety of the territories they had an interest in, but this was not the case of the minor chiefs, with whom they were almost always related by blood, and who were put in charge of controlling territories and resources on a smaller scale, from which the main caciques secured goods that increased their prestige ( Bello, 2011, p. 41 ).

Regarding the itineraries followed by the indigenous people from across the mountain range to the Ranquel huts, it should be noted that food resources dropped drastically both in winter and the height of summer. They used to cross to the eastern side of the mountains at the end of summer, returning in October and November. Before crossing definitively, the animals would regain weight in the rich Andean valleys ( Rojas Lagarde, 2002, p. 257 ; Villar & Jiménez, 2011, p. 119-120 ; Zink & Tarquini, 2014, p. 57 ). The distance from their place of origin to the Ranquel huts was about 900 km, and although the documentation reviewed offers few references to the journey, it can be said that they used two major communication routes. The first, located further to the north and known as the “Camino de la travesía” 45 , was followed by the Chilean travelers Justo Molina (1804-1805) and Luis de la Cruz (1806), connected the Pehuenche country to Mamüel Mapu and crossed the Andes mountain range through the Antuco Pass (also called the Pichachén Pass) and northern Neuquén to southern Mendoza and the modern-day La Pampa province, touching upon Puelec – today Puelén – and further on, Meucó, where they took a section of the “camino de las Víboras” – the vipers’ trail – until they reached Quenque, where they turned north, from the “rastrillada de las Pulgas” – the fleas’ track – to Leuvucó. The second route is known as the “Chileans’ trail”. It included several offshoots that went from Chile – modern-day regions IX and X – to the Aluminé and Pulmarí areas of Neuquén province, or from Villarrica, further to the south. This route was followed by the Boroganos and Salineros ( Mollo & Della Mattia, 2009 ).

Some Chilean caciques made it to the villa of Concepción del Río Cuarto. They did so by integrating some of the many Ranquel groups who, at times when there was less fighting, approached this border town to collect the rations stipulated in the peace treaties, trade products, cure their ailments, etc. Some of the lists drawn up by Valentín Bargas and Martín Quenon (who were responsible for relations with Indians in the villa of Concepción) include the names of Chilean Indians in the groups that arrived on the border. For instance, on September 7 th, 1844, one of the arriving groups was made up of:

Toriano son of the cacique Mariguam

El api lower chief of the same

Caniumil ditto, of the cacique Montré

Antiñam nephew of the cacique Llancan–er

Colepi of the lower chief Llanquil

Cayulet of the Indian Mococho mentioned in Salbo’s letter. 46

These same officials stated that the son of the cacique Mariguan was “lodged with befitting hospitality” 47 at the home of a prominent resident, Martín Quenon 48 , which is unprecedented as there are no other similar references ( Tamagnini, 2015b ). Furthermore, this group brought to the border a letter that Domingo Salvo 49 , Capitán de Amigos 50 in Santa Bárbara in Chile, had sent to Payne, who forwarded it to the villa of Concepción as a token of friendship, although it is likely that the motive behind this letter from Salvo went far beyond a desire to preserve friendship or influence over the tribe ( Rojas Lagarde, 2002, p. 244 ); as mentioned above, notices of this kind were not only sent to inform the government of movements inland , but to obtain some kind of economic aid for the Ranquel people to support and entertain visitors. In other words, “gifts were accepted in return for information on intra-ethnic movements, which in a way ensured control of the border” ( Ratto, 2011, p. 178 ).

The Chilean official Domingo Salvo’s ties to the cacique Payne further complicates an analysis of the articulations and alliances in Ranquel territory in the 1840s; one way of addressing this is by analyzing some judicial proceedings initiated in Mendoza and involving another Chilean official who also had ties to the Ranquel people.


The “Desert Campaign” organized and executed by Rosas in 1833, and the raids carried out in subsequent years, plunged the Ranquel people into an economic and demographic crisis. To recover from the effects, they resorted to relaxing ethnic boundaries by integrating indigenous people from other factions like the Chilean Indians and the Boroganos, who had dispersed after Calfucurá killed their caciques Rondeau and Melin in Masallé ( Jiménez & Alioto, 2007 ; Villar & Jiménez, 2011, p. 144 ).

Previous studies have addressed the renegades and refugees that settled in Ranquel camps from the early 1830s. The best known of these was the Unitarian colonel Manuel Baigorria, who was actively engaged in the design and execution of border policies adopted by the caciques Payne and Pichún with regard to the governors of Córdoba and San Luis. In addition to establishing kinship ties with the caciques – he married one of Coliqueo’s daughters and was considered a son in the Yanquetruz lineage – Baigorria led raids on the borders of these provinces on numerous occasions, particularly when a new surge of defeated Unitarians entered the Indian camps after 1841. These raids are an example of political articulation not just by virtue of their makeup – Ranqueles, Chilean Indians and Unitarian refugees from various provinces – but because they were directed by Christians who, in turn, had links to forces opposed to provincial governments ( Tamagnini, 2016a , 2016b ).

This complex labyrinth of interwoven ties in Mamüel Mapu is compounded by the actions of certain Chilean officials, such as Juan Antonio Zuñiga 51 and Domingo Salvo 52 , who were actively involved in developments on the Pampas border, vied for control of various indigenous groups and established connections with the Ranquel people to secure a stake in the cattle business ( Varela, 1999 ; Rojas Lagarde, 2002 ). The complexity of this fabric can be measured by the criminal investigation conducted in 1847 in Mendoza on José María Surita, Capitán de Amigos of the Republic of Chile, whom Zuñiga had sent to the lands of Cuyo Province to recruit those caciques in Mendoza who were friends. Faced with the possibility that Surita would spark an uprising by the Indians against the government of the province, the authorities took him prisoner and conducted an investigation. The records include several statements, not least one made by the cacique Cristiano, who, when asked if he had knowledge of the attacks by “Indians allied with the government of Chile” 53 on Argentine provinces, where they took cattle that they would then sell in Chile, answered as follows:

He said: that he knows that Indians known by the name of Muluches, in various tribes that are friends with the government of Chile and come under the orders of sergeant Commissioner-Major Zúñiga cross the mountain range, with Zúñiga’s prior consent, and come to steal cattle in the Argentine Republic, which they take back to Chile and sell it there, generally in the border area of Concepción and other locations in the south, and the buyers are well aware that this property was stolen in the Argentine provinces […] One well-known buyer is a man named Vicente Roa, but there are buyers on the borders of Bío Bío, San Carlos and Santa Bárbara and these kinds of dealings are so widely accepted they’re considered legal trading. That in general, the Indians that come to steal on this side meet up with those under the savage Unitarian vandal Baigorria and, led by him and the enemy cacique Pichum, they help and support him in his raids, then the Indians return with their loot to Chile where they sell their spoils, as has already been stated. That the names of the caciques who are friends with the government of Chile and break away from the mountain ranges each year to come and steal on this side, in conjunction with those of the vandal Baigorria, as already said, are Clapi, Mariguan, Curiñam, Quinputrur, and others whose names he fails to remember, but he knows the last of these is a close friend of Zúñiga’s. That these Indians live in Borogá, and others reside in different parts of southern Chile, and when they wish to invade, they descend opposite Patagones down one front, but touch upon Aucá-Magüida, still a good distance away, between the Neuquén and Colorado rivers, which they pass and then they set foot on Ranquel country and join them. That Zúñiga – a wicked man in every sense – takes part in the thieving carried out by the Indians, who give him gifts out of fear of him, and when he is not satisfied with what he’s given, he makes them steal. He also states that three years ago now he went to visit his brother- in-law, the cacique Calfucurá, an ally of the government of Buenos Aires, and set out for that city with the knowledge of the captain of last name Salvo, who sent a few tribes of Indians belonging to the government of Chile, which provided him with four Christian men to accompany him, one of whom was named Gales and another Nicasio Castillo, and he cannot remember the names of the other two, and these four individuals carried with them some belongings to trade with the Indians of the vandal Baigorria, as the deponent had to pass through there, and on that occasion he was successful and did so, and they arrived where those Indians were, stayed in those huts, and at the same time, conducted trade and received cows and horses, and thereupon the deponent left for his destination with about forty Indians who went with him, leaving the aforesaid Christians in Pichum’s huts until their return. That once he met up with his brother-in-law Calfucurá, he stayed with him just a few days, and on his return, he gave him a few horses, and on his way back he picked up Pichum’s Indians and brought out the four Christians he had left there. That once set on their way to Chile between them they drove about 200 animals, and once he arrived in Chile he sold some of the animals to Dn. Juan Tagles, who in partnership with the president Mr. Bulnes, holds an estate in the wilderness of the Canteras, and the Indians with him did the same, as all the property was sold at those spots to different landowners, with all buyers aware that it was brought back from the Indians of the vandal Baigorria; as for the cattle driven by the four Christians, they travelled with him to Santa Bárbara, where Captain Salvo is. That when he came from the village of the Indians of the vandal Baigorria, his group was joined by an official of last name Gatica, who was in that savage’s service, and when he arrived in the town of Los Ángeles, he sent the vandal Baigorria a load of cloth as a gift, and as far as he knows it had been sold to him on credit by a Mr. Ruiz, a tradesman. That this Gatica, knowing that the deponent was coming to Mendoza to present himself, joined him and told him that he also intended to present himself to the government of this province, but for a reason unknown to him, the aforesaid Gatica stayed on Don Manuel Ferrari’s estate located in Malargüe. That as for Zúñiga, he had forgotten to state that he has three brothers, one of whom is with the Indians of the cacique Mariguan, another with the Araucanos, and the last one in another tribe, they being the three captains and bilingual mediators that led these tribes under the command of José Antonio Zúñiga. 53

This statement by the cacique Cristiano makes it clear that the simultaneity and overlapping of different levels of conflict extended well beyond the Indians’ active engagement in the Christians’ political struggles. The structural framework that compromised border security reveals a level of indigenous and Christian politics that suggests an international backdrop. In a context of political fragmentation, the indigenous peoples’ connections with political enemies also take on enormous relevance. The contrast found in Calfucurá, friend of Buenos Aires and enemy of the Chileans is joined by that of Pichun as an enemy of Buenos Aires and a friend of the Chilean Indians and the “savage Unitarian vandal Baigorria”. 54 However, paradoxically, the dynamics of the interethnic conflict and civil wars play an important role in strengthening everyone’s ties with everyone else, both inland and on the borders: caciques who, like Cristiano, traveled across the villages belonging to Pichún and Calfucurá (to whom he was related), accompanied by Christians appointed by Chilean officials who had contacts with Ranqueles and Unitarians in the villages, Chilean Indians who led Unitarian refugees like Gatica to a safer destination in Chile, etc.


The study of 19 th -century indigenous borders has shown that they are not determined solely by interethnic unrest, but by lines of conflict specific to each group involved. In the case of the southern Córdoba border, the trajectory of the Ranquel people in the Pampas and the socio-political process in Argentina and Chile in the 19 th century must be examined both simultaneously and as part of a unique process. In this framework, the era of provincial autonomies is a period of particular wealth and complexity, as the tensions between the Ranqueles and Christians continually overlap and complement the clashes between Unitarians and Federals.

Border documentation is an indispensable tool in recording the paradoxical emergence of multiple and complex connections both within indigenous societies and with the Christians who had taken refuge in the Indian villages or traded with them, even when they came from lands to the west of the mountain range. The wide range of ties established at the heart of Mamüel Mapu allude to two worlds at odds yet deeply interconnected, and although they can be addressed as independent units of analysis, these intersections are permanent.

Reconstructing historical processes from sources is always a piecemeal task. Nonetheless, it is possible to make headway in studying the specific trajectory of the Ranquel people in the Pampas by identifying the different caciques, their parental ties, the territories they controlled, the way they traveled, the itineraries they followed and the way they connected to other social forces. In turn, the complexity of the processes triggered in the Argentine Confederation, at a time of extreme political division, makes it possible to descry the predicaments that came to overwhelm the struggling government of the Córdoba Province, which had to tackle forces diverse in their makeup yet united by a common attitude of resistance. By presenting the multiple articulations that came into play in Ranquel territory, it becomes possible to establish some of the mechanisms that enable conflicting social forces to overlap and complement one another.


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*Translator: Joshua Parker

2 TN: área arauco-pampeana-norpatagónica is the original term.

3TN: type of military and political leader in Spain and Spanish America after independence; commander, warlord.

4 Montonera (see note 5) that supported the Spanish monarchy and gathered whites and Pehuenche people together in the area of Chillán, which served as a base to attack important cities in southern Chile between 1817 and 1832. From 1825, forces following the colonel José Antonio Pincheira invaded estates first in Buenos Aires, then in southern Córdoba and San Luis. At the same time, they took a chance on shifting politics between Unitarians and Federalists, with a preference for the former ( Manara, 2010, p. 50 ).

5 Irregular armed forces that provided support to a given caudillo .

6 Calfucurá’s numerous trips to the Pampas in the 1830s were meticulously recorded in the memoirs of Santiago Avendaño ( Hux, 2004, p. 40-42 ). Based on sources from the General Archive of the Nation (AGN), Ratto argues that although the cacique had crossed the mountain range on several occasions, he did not settle definitively in Salinas Grandes until June 1841 ( Ratto, 2011, p. 174 ).

7 Mamüel means forest, vegetation, wood or tree, and mapu land, region, administrative division or homeland.

8Provincial autonomies do in fact span a slightly longer period, from 1820 to 1852. Its key characteristic was the lack of a national government and a constitution accepted by all provinces. While interprovincial relations were regulated by a series of treaties, foreign affairs were delegated to the governor of the province of Buenos Aires.

9 This category encompasses the wide range of documentation that illustrates the long process in relations between national authorities, indigenous peoples, and settlers on the southern frontier (members of religious orders, soldiers, captives, refugees, etc.). This includes letters, reports, peace treaties, military dispatches, and news published by the press ( Tamagnini, 2011 ).

10 The Ranquel people were one of the indigenous groups that adopted western script in the 19 th century as a result of their troubled relationship with the Hispano-Criollos, whose documentation has been compiled by Tamagnini (2011 , 2015a) .

11 Avendaño also employed this term ( Hux, 2004, p. 175 ).

12Córdoba de la Nueva Andalucía was founded in July 1573 on the shore of the Suquía River.

13 Juan Pablo Sosa to Manuel López. Santa Catalina, October 14 th , 1837. AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file ( legajo ) 1, p. 349.

14TN: A special status awarded to some towns, instituted by Charles III of Spain.

15 A native of Araucanía, in 1828 he arrived in Mamüel Mapu definitively to help the Ranqueles, to whom he was related. He was the maternal uncle of Payne, who succeeded him upon his death in 1838 ( Bechis, 2008b, p. 319 ).

16 The Mapuche kinship system is based on patrilineal, patrilocal, and polygamous rules. Each lineage is made up of individuals descending from the same ancestor, although they may incorporate other co-residents not related by unilineal descent. Matrimonial alliances promoted marriage to the daughter of the father’s sister. Thus, chiefs are always the maternal uncles of the next chief, and the fathers-in-law of those who are not leaders. For an up-to-date synthesis of Mapuche kinship, see Bengoa (2007, p. 84) , Bechis (2008b, p. 328) , and Ramos (2010, p. 22) .

17 The territorialization processes by the Argentine and Chilean nation states would later impede these trips as they ended up confining the indigenous population to certain places ( Delrio, 2005, p. 86 ).

18AHPC, Government, volume 252, letter D, file 1, p. 327.

19AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 339.

20AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 341.

21 Alon or Alum was one of the Borogano caciques who lived in Masallé, near Salinas Grandes, and participated in Desert Campaign led by Rosas in 1833. He was part of the uprising that killed Venancio Coñuepan in August 1836 ( Villar & Jiménez, 2011, p. 133 ).

22 AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, pp. 341-342. The statement includes an appendix containing what “he had forgotten to state”, in which Millán confirmed that “the main incentive for the invasion in this province was to acquire haciendas and droves of horses, which half of the force from Chile could return with”.

23 Manuel López to Rafael Carrillo. Córdoba, October 13 th , 1837. AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 339.

24 In Argentina there were two internal borders until the late 19 th century: the Chaco border and the Pampas border.

25 Manuel López to Rafael Carrillo. Córdoba, October 13 th , 1837. AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 339.

26AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 341.

27 Juan Pablo Sosa to Manuel López. Concepción, May 29 th , 1837. AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 162.

28 Manuel López to Juan Manuel de Rosas. Concepción, July 13 th , 1841. AGN, room X, 25-9-5.

29 Manuel López to Juan Manuel de Rosas. Concepción, July 23 rd , 1841. AGN, room X, 25-9-5.

30A copy of this list is found in the Historical Archive of Mendoza (AHM); the list was sent by Manuel López to the governor of this province (AHM, folder, no. 123, doc. 9).

31 Juan Manuel de Rosas to Manuel López. Buenos Aires, September 15 th , 1841. AGN, room X, 25-9-5.

32AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 341.

33 Villar and Jiménez (2011, p. 145) identify Mariguan as a member of the Picunche people.

34 Ramón Bargas and Martín Quenon to Manuel López. Concepción, June 24 th , 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192, box B, file 4, p. 177.

35 Ramón Bargas and Martín Quenon to Manuel López. Concepción, June 24 th , 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192, box B, file 4, p. 175. Contrary to this description, other documents state that the Chilean caciques were “well-dressed in cloth, shirts and drawers ( calzoncillos ), with silver spurs, and were well-laden and well-equipped” (Pablo Sosa to Manuel López. Santa Catalina, December 27 th , 1837. AHPC, Government, volume 152, letter D, file 1, p. 449).

36 Ramón Bargas and Martín Quenon to Manuel López. Concepción, June 24 th , 1844. AHPC, Gobierno, volume 192, box B, file 4, p. 177.

37Payne to Manuel López. AHPC, Government index, volume 192, box B, file 4, p. 87.

38 Picunches or people of the north: a Mapuche faction that lived in the central region of present- day Chile. When the Spanish arrived, they were subject to Inca rule. Their population fell drastically during the early years of the conquest ( Bengoa, 1991, p. 14 ).

39 Payne to Manuel López, March 9 th , 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192, box B, file 2, pp. 97-98.

40 Payne to Manuel López, June 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192, box B, file 4, p. 101. Silvia Ratto, on the other hand, includes Llancaguer and Tori among the highlanders who, along with Aillal and Colone, lived in the Mendoza borderlands and followed Aldao’s orders against the Unitarians ( Ratto, 2011, p. 177 ).

41Payne to Manuel López, June 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192, box B, file 2, pp. 101- 102.

42 This dimension has attracted the attention of authors such as Ratto (1998, p. 247) and Foerster and Vezub (2011) .

43 According to Villar and Jiménez (2011, p. 147) , the same thing occurred in Calfucurá’s huts, where the goods received from the Christians represented a source of funding and power.

44Payne to Manuel López. Lebucó, June 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192, box B, file 2, pp. 101-102.

45 TN: Loosely translated as “the long road”; a travesía is a “long journey” or “trek”.

46 Martín Quenon and Ramón Bargas. Concepción, September 14 th , 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192. box B, file 2, p. 196.

47 Martín Quenon and Ramón Bargas. Concepción, September 14 th , 1844. AHPC, Government, volume 192. box B, file 2, p. 193.

48 Martín Quenon was a prolific politician. He served as municipal magistrate in 1834, was an appellate judge several times (1835, 1845, 1852), was in charge of relations with Indians at different times during the 1840s and was first deputy judge of the police court of the villa , appointed by governor Alejo Carmen Guzmán in 1853. Liberal forces executed him by firing squad in 1861.

49 Salvo’s letter was carried to Leubucó by the lower chief Mococho, who in turn sent an Indian by the name of Cayulet to Río Cuarto. Domingo Salvo to Paineman. Santa Bárbara, April 18 th , 1844. Also see AHPC, Government, volume 192, box B, file 4, p. 195. Rojas Lagarde states that, in reality, the people sent carried two letters: the first from Payne and the second from Domingo Salvo, both of which were for the governor. The letter from the cacique mentioned by Rojas Lagarde (2002) was not found in the AHPC.

50The “Capitanes de Amigos” (Friends’ Captains) were Chilean officials who generally lived among the Indians. They were responsible for mediating between Spanish and Mapuche authorities.

51 Zuñiga was a prominent member of the the Pincheira force, which at its peak controlled land stretching across the Chilean Andean foothills ( precordillera ), southern Mendoza, and the Neuquén and Colorado river basins. Later, Zuñiga left this force and joined the Chilean army, ultimately becoming Capitán de Amigos . He exerted considerable influence on tribes that were friends of the Indian Moluches, and was also involved with a group of Christians who traded with the Unitarian refugee Manuel Baigorria in Ranquel camps ( Rojas Lagarde, 2002, p. 235-236 ).

52 Domingo Salvo joined the king’s forces during the Guerra a Muerte , but changed alliance following victory by the patriots. From 1833 to 1845 he served as Commander of Arms of Santa Bárbara and often came into conflict with Arribanos and Pehuenches ( Bengoa, 1991, p. 93 ; Rojas Lagarde, 2002, p. 236 ). He also had dealings with the Ranquel people and Baigorria, and sent Chilean Indians and Christians serving the trans-Andean government to Mamüel Mapu several times for negotiations.

53 Statement by the cacique Cristiano. Mendoza, February 14 th , 1847. AHPC, Government, year 1846-1851, volume 1, pp. 126-129.

54 Pedro P. Segura to Juan Manuel de Rosas. Mendoza, March 15 th , 1847. AHPC, Government, year 1846-1851, volume 1, pp. 116.

Received: September 20, 2017; Accepted: January 15, 2018

Translator: Joshua Parker

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