Second Expedition into Chili, under Pedro de Valdivia, to the commencement of the War between the Spaniards and Araucanians.
Having obtained absolute command of the Spanish possessions on the southern side of South America, by the defeat and death of his rival Almagro. Pizarro resolved to resume the conquest of Chili, which he conceived might become an important acquisition. Among the adventurers who had come from Spain to Chili, were two officers who held royal commissions to attempt this conquest, named Pedro Sanchez de Hoz, and Camargo. To Hoz had been confided the conquest of the country from the confines of Peru to the river Maule; and to Camargo the remainder of the country beyond that river to the archipelago of Chiloe. Jealous of the interference of these officers in the country which he considered as his by right of discovery, Pizarro refused under frivolous pretences to confirm the royal nomination, and chose for the conduct of the expedition Pedro de Valdivia, his quarter-master, a prudent active and brave officer, who had acquired military experience in the wars of Italy, and who had already evinced a strong attachment to his party. On this occasion, Valdivia was directed to take Hoz along with him to Chili, and to allow him every advantage he could possibly desire in the allotment or repartition of lands and Indians in the expected conquest.
Valdivia accordingly set out from Cuzco in 1540, with a force of 200 Spaniards, and accompanied by a numerous body of Peruvian auxiliaries, taking likewise along with him some monks, several Spanish women, and a great number of European quadrupeds, with every requisite for settling a new colony in the country. On his march for Chili he pursued the same route with Almagro; but instructed by the misfortunes of his predecessor, he did not attempt to pass the Andes till the middle of summer, by which precaution he was enabled to enter Chili without incurring any loss. His reception there however, even in the northern provinces, was very different from that which had been experienced by Almagro. Informed of the conquest of Peru by the Spaniards, owing to which they were freed from the submission they had come under to the Incas, they did not consider themselves bound to transfer their obedience to the present invaders. The Copaipans accordingly began to attack Valdivia immediately on entering their country, assailing him at every step with much valour, but with very little conduct. Like barbarians in general, they were incapable of making a common cause with each other; and having been long accustomed to servitude under the Peruvians, during which all union among the northern tribes had been dissolved, they attacked their invaders in separate hordes as they advanced into the country, and without that steady and firm courage which stamps the valour of a free people in the defence of their liberties. In spite of this desultory and uncombined opposition from the natives, Valdivia traversed the provinces of Copaipo, Coquimbo, Quillota, and Melipilla, with Very little loss though much harassed, and arrived in the province of Mapocho, now called St Jago.