Inglés, ReadingSegundo Ciclo
Pedro de Valdivia
He founded the first cities in Chile and faced the hostile mapuches.
He was born in Villa Nueva in Serena de Extremadura (Spain). His date of birth is supposed to be around 1500.
In 1520, he enlisted in the army, serving king Charles I of Spain. Five years later he abandoned military service and married Marina Ortiz de Gaete. However, his adventurous spirit drove him to enroll on an expedition to America belonging to Juan Fernandez de Alderete.
In 1536, he was sent to Peru to aid Francisco Pizarro, who was in the middle of an indigenous uprising and disputes with Diego de Almagro. His participation in this conflict earned him to be awarded several encomiendas (trusteeships).
Valdivia discarded these riches in order to begin a new enterprise: the conquest of Chile. In 1539, Valdivia requested permission from Pizarro to conquest Chile. He agreed, naming him general lieutenant captain, but he left organizing the expedition in Valdivia’s hands.
Finally, in January of 1540, the conqueror left Cuzco accompanied by only a few soldiers and indigenous people, following the desert route Diego de Almagro had used to return years earlier.
Bordering the edge of the Atacama saltpan, he reached Copiapo. Then, he continued his journey through the valleys of Huasco, Coquimbo, Limari, Choapa and Aconcagua.
He ultimately arrived to the Mapocho river valley, and on February 12th, 1541, he founded Santiago del Nuevo Extremo.
On March 7th, he set up the Cabildo (council) to run the city, and on June 10th, they chose Valdivia as the new provisional governor. In September, the mapuches attacked and lit Santiago on fire.
Valdivia, receiving provisions from Peru, rebuilt the city and began the conquest of the rest of the territory.
In December of 1547, Valdivia traveled to Peru to resupply and help the king control a riot led by the pizarristas.
As a reward, Valdivia was confirmed as the governor of Chile (1548).
Valdivia was carrying out intense conquering activities, for he was determined to dominate everything down to the straight of Magellan. However, this made his forces disperse and become weaker. Taking advantage of this, the mapuches, who Valdivia thought subdued, prepared a great offensive under the command of Lautaro.
On December 25th, 1553, the Spanish were defeated by the forces of the mapuche toqui at the outskirts of Tucapel. Valdivia was taken prisoner and died in the hands of his captors.