Curs sus estudios secundarios en la Academia de Humanidades y en el Instituto Nacional. En se titul de profesor de Castellano y Filosofa en el Instituto Pedaggico y luego se doctor en Lenguas Romances en la Universidad de California, donde se cas con la salvadorea Carmen Letona, con quien tiene cuatro hijos. Mientras estudiaba en el Pedaggico, integr el grupo que despus dara origen al Teatro Experimental de la misma Universidad; escribi varias obras para las fiestas universitarias. Regres, titulndose, para nuevamente regresar a continuar estudios en universidades de Ohio y California.
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He was witness to atrocities committed by the Spanish on captive Mapuche warriors. A great hatred of the Spanish and particularly of Pedro de Valdivia was born in the young Lautaro because of this incident.
He remained a prisoner of the Spanish for three years. Because he kept his personal hatred of Valdivia hidden, Lautaro soon became his personal page. This is how he learned not to fear horses and even become a good rider himself.
This was a typical practice because as a yanakuna Lautaro was responsible to serve as an indigenous assistant during battles. In any case, he fled twice, first in and for good in In the year Lautaro turned 19 , the Mapuches convened to decide how to respond to the Spanish invasion. The convention decided upon war. Lautaro introduced use of horses to the Mapuche[ citation needed ] and designed better combat tactics.
He organized a large, cohesive army—a military formation unfamiliar to the Mapuche. Subercaseaux , shows the military genius and expertise of his people. With 6, warriors under his command, Lautaro attacked Fort Tucapel.
Lautaro seized the fort, sure that the Spaniards would attempt to retake it. That is exactly what Governor Valdivia tried to do with a reduced force, which was quickly surrounded and massacred by the Mapuches on Christmas Day, However, Mapuche tradition dictated a lengthy victory celebration, which kept Lautaro from realizing his desire to pursue the military advantage he had just gained. It was only in February that he succeeded in putting together an army of 8, men, just in time to confront a punitive expedition under the command of Francisco de Villagra.
He organized his forces in four divisions: two charged with containing and wearing down the enemy, a third held in reserve to launch a fresh attack as the Spanish were about to crumble, and the last charged with cutting off their retreat. The Spanish attack broke the first Mapuche lines, but the quick response of the third division maintained the Mapuche position. Later, the wings of this division began to attack the Spanish flanks, and the fourth division attacked from behind. After hours of battle, only a small group of Spanish managed to retreat.
Despite this fresh victory, Lautaro was again unable to pursue the opportunity due to the celebrations and beliefs of his people. He burned it, but his remaining forces were insufficient to continue the offensive, so the campaign came to an end.
In Santiago , Villagra reorganized his forces, and that same year of , he departed again for Arauco and reinforced the strongholds of Imperial and Valdivia, without any interference from the Mapuches, who were dealing with their first epidemic of smallpox , which had been brought by the Spanish.
Only 38 Spaniards managed to escape by sea the second destruction of the city. He found scant support for this plan from his troops, who soon dwindled to only , but he carried on. In October his northward march reached the Mataquito River , where he established a fortified camp at Peteroa. In the Battle of Peteroa he repulsed attacking Spanish forces under the command of Diego Cano , and later held off the larger force commanded by Pedro de Villagra.
Being advised that still more Spaniards were approaching, Lautaro decided to retreat towards the Maule River losing warriors. With the Spaniards in hot pursuit he was forced to retire beyond the Itata River. At dawn, on April 29, the conquistadors launched a surprise attack from the hills of Caune, obtaining a decisive victory in the Battle of Mataquito in which Lautaro was killed early in the fighting. After the defeat of his army, his head was cut off and displayed in the plaza of Santiago.
Legacy[ edit ] Alonso de Ercilla , an officer in the Spanish forces early in the Araucanian war who, as it happened, was only one year older than Lautaro , in the decade following his service composed that masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age of literature—the epic poem, La Araucana --in which Lautaro is a central figure.
Lautaro is acclaimed in Chile as its first general, for uniting the dispersed Mapuche people and leading them in battle. He inflicted crushing defeats on Spanish armies which had armored horsemen wielding swords, metal war clubs and steel-tipped lances, armored footmen as well, with their own swords and clubs, crossbows and arquebuses, even though his own Mapuche were armed only with slings, bows and arrows, wooden spears, clubs and axes.
Remarkably, he did this not fighting a "guerilla" war, but in pitched battle. His name was used by Francisco de Miranda when he founded the Lautaro Lodge , a secret Latin American independence society of the end of 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.
In the 20th century, Chilean author Pablo Neruda , the future Nobel Literature Prize laureate, wrote a poem about him.
Lautaro, joven libertador de Arauco
Lautaro, joven Libertador de Arauco
Lautaro, joven libertador de Arauco [grabación sonora] Fernando Alegría.
Portada de Lautaro, joven libertador de Arauco, 1943
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