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Fri Mar 23, 2018, 09:17 PM

Why the lost kingdom of Patagonia is a live issue for Chile's Mapuche people

The Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia was dismissed as the 19th century folly of a quixotic Frenchman but it left a powerful legacy of indigenous sovereignty

Mat Youkee
Wed 21 Mar 2018 03.30 EDT Last modified on Wed 21 Mar 2018 18.00 EDT

On the walls of Tourtoirac Abbey in southern France hangs a map that portrays a very different vision of Latin American history. A reproduction of a 19th century original, it shows a huge swath of southern Chile and Argentina as the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia.

For a brief period in the early 1860s the Mapuche tribes of southern Chile were united under a French king in what was – to their minds at least – an independent and sovereign state.

On Thursday, the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia’s enduring government-in-exile will choose a new king with a mandate to raise international awareness of the Mapuche people’s continuing conflict with the Chilean state.

The election comes at a time when Mapuche historians are reconsidering the legacy of the kingdom’s first monarch.


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