The Araucaniad

The Araucaniad

1569, 1578 and 1589

The events of the Arauco War: one of the first novels of the New World

  1. This verse novel by the Spaniard Alonso de Ercilla (1533–1594) carries one off into the world of 16th century Chile

  2. It is a literary retelling of the Arauco War between the indigenous Mapuche and the Spanish Conquistadors

  3. Published in 1569, it is one of the first "Indian novels" in history and was dedicated to King Philip II (1527–98)

The Araucaniad

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
The Araucaniad

The verse novel Araucaniad by the Spaniard Alonso de Ercilla carries his reader off into the exotic world of 16th century Chile. Therein Alonso de Ercilla digests the records, which he wrote down during his time as a soldier in the Arauco War. The years-long struggle by the Mapuche, a people indigenous to the southern region of modern Chile, against the Spanish conquistadors offered enough material to serve as the foundation for one of the first “Indian novels” of world literature. First published in 1569, the Araucana of Alonso de Ercilla enjoyed numerous reprints and is counted today among the most important testimonials to Spanish literature!

The Araucaniad

The verse novel The Araucaniad by the Spaniard Alonso de Ercilla carries his reader off into the exotic world of 16th century Chile. Therein Alonso de Ercilla digests the records, which he wrote down during his time as a soldier in the Arauco War. The years-long struggle by the Mapuche, a people indigenous to the southern region of modern Chile, against the Spanish conquistadors offered enough material to serve as the foundation for one of the first “Indian novels” of world literature. First published in 1569, the Araucana of Alonso de Ercilla enjoyed numerous reprints and is counted today among the most important testimonials to Spanish literature!

Alonso de Ercilla and the Araucanians

In the year 1555, Alonso de Ercilla (1553–1594), the famous author of the Araucana, reached the cohort of the Viceroy of Peru in the New World. This adventure served as the foundation for his eventual fame as one of the greatest authors of Spanish literature! By royal decree, De Ercilla took part in the war against the Mapuche, who were identified as Araucanians by the Spanish conquistadores.

The Years-Long Arauco War

The Mapuche nation inhabits regions in the south of modern Chile. European conquerors first met with the Mapuche in 1546. After the foundation of the city of Concepción in the year 1555, the Spaniards increasing claims to power made the Mapuche feel increasingly threatened. The struggle of the indigenous people against the occupiers first spilled over into conflict in 1553. Countless further uprisings and wars followed in the years to come, which finally lead to the recognition of their own Mapuche State in the year 1641. The numerous uprisings and armed conflicts are known as the so-called Arauco War.

A Spanish Verse Novel in World Literature

Alonso de Ercilla made notes of these important events during his residence in mid–16th century Chile. It is said that he noted his daily experiences on leather and tree bark in a manner similar to a war diary. After his return to Spain in 1562, he completed a revision of his records. So came the famous Araucaniadinto being. The verse novel comprises countless cantos on a total of 764 pages. De Ercilla oriented his work stylistically on the poetry of the Italian Renaissance. The novel was finally published in 1569 at his own cost.

Exotic Scenes, Fierce Warriors

The Araucaniad is primarily concerned with the first phase of the Arauco War between the Spanish and the Mapuche in the south of modern Chile. The primary theme of war is expanded through entertaining tales and episodes surrounding the leading figure of Caupolicán, a chieftain among the Mapuche, and his wife Fresia, as well as love stories and fantastical experiences. Alonso de Ercilla also assimilated a hidden criticism of this first colonial war into The Araucaniad, and furnished the book with geographical and regional descriptions. The novel, which is dedicated to King Philip II, made Alonso de Ercilla world famous as a chronicler of an important event of Spanish colonialism. The Araucaniad has maintained its significance for 16th century Spanish literature to this day!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
La Araucana
Date
1569, 1578 and 1589
Language
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
The Araucaniad
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2011
Facsimile Editions

#1 La Araucana

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2011
Binding: Hand sewn. Faithful reproduction identical to the original parchment and leather
Commentary: 1 volume by Jaimie Concha
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
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