This paper explores the complex, dynamic relationship that developed between the Mapuche and Chilean state authorities in the first decades following independence from Spain. The greater part of Mapuche society supported royalist forces during the independence wars, but there were also several leaders who allied themselves with the patriot insurgents and, after the latter's victory, entered into negotiations with the fledgling Chilean republic. This paper investigates the intricacies of these negotiations and, in so doing, draws out some notable continuities between the colonial period and the early independence era. It focuses on the language(s) of negotiation – delving into what Mapuche and Chilean authorities were saying about and to one another – and on the symbolic significance of the parlamentos (mass-meetings), in order to demonstrate that Chile could have adopted an alternative model of government to the (centralist) one we know now.
Bibliographical noteThis is part of a special issue entitled 'New Perspectives on Political Ideas and Practices in Post-Independence Chile'
- Chilean state