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chinchilla and its congeners, and the cavy or mountain rabbit. There are only two species of the edentata, the dasypus and pichiciego, the latter a very rare animal, found only in Chili. There are three ruminants, the guanaco, the largest of the llama tribe, and two of the deer tribe, the pudu and the huemul. There are four species of cetacea, two dolphins, the sperm whale, and the right whale. There are eleven species of reptilia, five of which are saurians, four ophidians, one frog, and one toad. The birds are more numerous. The raptores, embracing the condor, the vultures, hawks, and owls, are largely represented. The great order of incessores has numerous representatives of its every tribe and family, many of them of superb plumage, and some of wonderful powers of song. The dove and pigeon tribes are also found in considerable numbers, and the waders (grallatores) and swimmers (natatores) are almost numberless, several of the species being peculiar to the western coast of South America.
Among the fishes, we find three species of the perch tribe, all new; one of the atherinida, the kingfish; three of the silurida, one a new genus and species; two clupido both new, one a new species, of the shad; one cheirodon, a new genus of the characini family, and a new myxinoid, having an affinity with the lamprey eel of our northern waters. Crustaceans and mollusks are abundant, especially in Chiloé and the other southern provinces, but have not been very fully examined. The choros, a peculiar species of oyster, exists in great quantities along the coast, and forms a favorite dish with the inhabitants, particularly those of the Quiriquina, in the bay of Talcahuano, which have really a delicious flavor.
The history of Chili, as well as that of all the European colonies of North and South America, offers very little interest up to the time in which they shook off the bonds of their mother countries.
Of aboriginal Chili little is known. Prior to 1450, the present territory was inhabited by the ancestors of the Indian tribes no longer to be found there, who seem to have all descended from a common stock, and called themselves by the general title of Mapu-che, people or children of the
land. They were subdivided into a number of tribes, but all spoke a common language. In 1450, the reigning Inca of Perú, Yupanqui, formed the project of extending his sway over the Chilian territory, and having stationed himself with a powerful army in Atacama, despatched his trusty lieutenant, Chinchiruca, with ten thousand men, southward to subdue the Mapu-che.With that tact which characterised the policy of the Incas, Chinchiruca sought to win rather than conquer these rude and warlike tribes; and such were his powers of persuasion, that tribe after tribe yielded to the "children of the sun,' and in six years' time the inhabitants of Northern Chili, for six hundred miles, from the Atacama frontier, paid fealty to the Peruvian monarch. But his sway was destined to receive a check. Pushing further south, his officers and soldiers encountered, on the further bank of the river Maule, a warlike tribe known as the Promaucaes, who returned å defiant answer to the summons and representations of the Inca, and refusing all overtures for peace, attacked the Peruvian troops. A desperate battle followed, lasting three days, in which both armies were too thoroughly shattered to renew the conflict. Upon hearing of the result of this battle, Yupanqui wisely resolved to forbear offensive warfare, and to maintain only what he already possessed.
When some eighty years later, the Spaniards had overthrown the empire of the Incas, they found Chili owning a nominal allegiance to the Peruvian monarch, and resolved to subjugate that country also; and Diego Almagro, from the double motive of glory and gold, led an expedition across the mountain passes of the Andes. When he reached Copiapó, one-fourth of his Spanish troops and two-thirds of his Indian allies had perished from cold, fatigue and starvation. They were received by the people very kindly, and met no opposition till they reached the territory of the Promaucaes, where, like their predecessors, they found a foe so brave that they were fain to pause and retrace their steps.
Almagro and the remainder of his force returned slowly and sadly to Perú, and five years elapsed ere another expedition to Chili was attempted. Pedro Valdivia, a prudent and able commander, was selected for this service, and so well did he arrange his plans that, though occasion
ally meeting with hostile bands of Indians, he penetrated, without serious difficulty, to the river Mapocho, and encamped upon the present site of Santiago. Finding the location pleasant and the adjacent country fertile, he here founded a city, to which he gave the name of the patron saint of Spain.
Scarcely had he fortified himself in his new town, however, before the Indians, availing themselves of his temporary absence, assailed it, and would have taken it but for the hasty return of the commander; but though balked of their intended prey, they returned again and again to the charge, till Valdivia was compelled to send for re-enforcements from Perú. After the arrival of these he proceeded southward, and though the Promaucaes, the ancient foes of Almagro and of the Inca's forces, seem to have offered no effectual opposition to his progress, he found, after crossing the Itata, which formed their southern boundary, a new foe, braver, fiercer, and readier for the fray than any he had hitherto encountered-the Araucanians, for the first time appearing on the page of history. So terrible and unexpected was their first attack, that it well nigh annihilated Valdivia's army, and compelled him to retreat to Santiago, and eventually to return to Perú for further re-enforcements.
He returned in 1550 with a large and well-appointed force, and founded the city of Concepcion, on a site now known as Penco. Here the Araucanians rallied their forces, and with four thousand men under Caupolican, atatcked the new city, and with a more determined valor than any Spanish general had before witnessed, resisted the skill and bravery of the Spanish troops. It was not until the fall of their leader that they would yield an inch of ground. Conflict after conflict followed. The Indians, after a time, were led by a young Auraucanian captive named Lautaro, who had been reared in Valdivia's family, whose skill as a commander made him a formidable foe.
In 1553, Valdivia was captured by the Indians, and put to death. Emboldened by their success, the Indians destroyed Concepcion, resisted all attempts to rebuild it, and eventually marched upon Santiago, and placed it in great peril, but were finally repulsed, and the brave Lau
During the next two hundred and fifty years, a protracted
war followed, the brave Araucanians never yielding the country to their hated invaders. This aboriginal love of independence has been ascribed as a natural reason of the powerful feeling shown afterward by the Chilians, heirs in some respect of those courageous men, in sustaining their honor and independence against all foreign people.
With the exception of the war with the Araucanians, in which many Governors of Chili lost their power and life, and which was terminated in the peace of Negrete, in 1793, there occurred nothing worthy of the notice of posterity during the dominion of the Spaniards. But in 1810, the energetic Chilians, feeling tired of being a mere appendix to the viceroyalty of Perú, which country they supplied with flour, hides, tallow, and other coarse articles and manufactures, rose against Spain, guided by the most powerful, influential and aristocratic families of the country. Among those who occupied the first rank was that of the Carrera, whose centre were the enterprising brothers, José Miguel, Juan José, and Luis, and that of the Larrain, called popularly the family of the eight hundred, owing to its vast relationships.
The Chilians fought two years bravely against the troops sent from Perú, but the two leading families of the country having unfortunately divided in feuds, the common enemy took advantage, and the army commanded by the Carrera being defeated in the battle of Rancagua, in the neighborhood of Santiago, on the 1st of October, 1814, the cause of their independence was temporarily lost.
But in 1817, the famous San Martin came to the rescue of Chili, traversing the Andes from the Argentine Republic with an army of four thousand men, and defeating the Spaniards twice in Chacabuco (February 12th, 1817), and on the plains of Maipo, in the outskirts of Santiago (the 5th of April, 1818), assured for ever the independence of the Republic.
General O'Higgins, a native of Chili, and son of the most distinguished vice-king of Perú, Don Ambrosio O'Higgins, an Irishman by birth, was appointed supreme chief of the Republic, as an honor paid to his bravery and patriotism, having been San Martin's most active lieutenant.
San Martin and O'Higgins, once in power, planned the
liberty of Perú, where the stronghold of the Spanish power lay, and in 1820, sent a naval and military expedition, the first under the famous Lord Cochrane, and the last guided by San Martin himself. After a successful and wonderful campaign, the Chilian army occupied Lima on the 21st of July, 1821, and a week afterwards the independence of Perú was solemnly proclaimed (28th of July, 1821).
After a glorious career, the military government of Gen. O'Higgins was superseded by that of Gen. Freire (Jan. 28, 1823). A decade of troubles abortive attempts at a unitarian and federal government, followed, until the country was pacified by the superior talent and energy of a civilian, Don Diego Portales, who, although a merchant by profession, showed the most extraordinary talents as a Statesman. Under a rather despotic Constitution the political factions were subdued, until the cords of power being too much stretched, Portales himself fell a victim to a military revolt, while organizing an expedition against the President of Bolivia, General Santa Cruz, who had usurped the supreme power of Perú.
The Expedition was carried out, notwithstanding the death of Portales (June 16th, 1836), first under General Blanco, and afterwards under the command of the successful General Búlnes, who completely defeated Santa Cruz in the famous battle of Jungay (January 20th, 1839), restoring thus for the second time to Perú its independence and liberty.
In 1841, General Búlnes was elected President, on his return from Perú, and governed quietly for two constitutional terms. In 1851 D. Manuel Montt, an eminent lawyer, was elected, and although he governed with a party rather than with the nation, he kept the power until, in 1861, Don José Joaquin Perez was elected President.
The first period of his administration ends next September, and it is very probable that he will be elected for the next term, owing to his good management of the public affairs, particularly in sustaining the honor of the country in the war with Spain.
This war is the great event of South America and Chili. We have referred to it more fully in the second part of this work, and we have only to say here that the Chilians commenced it gloriously, attacking and taking one