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Caupolicán(kou'pōlĭkän`), d. 1558, leader of the Araucanians who fiercely resisted the Spanish conquest of Chile. He attempted to carry on the reconquest begun by LautaroLautaro
, c.1533–57, leader of the Araucanians in their nearly successful attempt to reconquer S central Chile from the Spanish. He was captured by the Spanish conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia, but escaped and returned to his people in 1553, when they began the struggle for
..... Click the link for more information. and won a victory over the Spanish conquistador Pedro de ValdiviaValdivia, Pedro de
, c.1500–1554, Spanish conquistador, conqueror of Chile. One of Francisco Pizarro's best officers in the conquest of Peru, educated, energetic, somewhat less cruel and avaricious than his fellow conquerors, Valdivia obtained permission from Pizarro to
..... Click the link for more information. . After a heroic but futile battle to keep the Spanish from recapturing Concepción, Caupolicán was forced to retreat into the forest. There he was surprised, captured, tortured, and killed. His fame rests partly on La Araucana, the epic poem of Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga.
Date of birth unknown; died 1558 in Cañete. A military leader of the Araucanians.
In 1552, Caupolicán united separate groups of Indians in southern Chile in the struggle against the Spanish colonizers. The Araucanians, under the leadership of their chiefs, Caupolicán and Lautaro, staunchly resisted the colonialists. In 1558, Caupolicán was taken captive in the battle of Cañete and brutally killed. The Spanish poet Alonso de Ercilla y Zuñiga (1533–94), a participant in the subjugation of Chile, immortalized the heroic exploits and courage of Caupolicán in the epic poem La Araucana.