A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 739 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
of the Pencones.  In the year 1550, pursuant to the resolutions of the Araucanian confederacy, Aillavalu passed the great river Biobio, at the head of 4000 men, and boldly offered battle to Valdivia, who had advanced to meet him on the banks of the Andalian.  The brave Araucanians sustained the first discharges of musquetry from the Spaniards with wonderful resolution, and even made a rapid evolution under its direful effects, by which they assailed at once the front and flank of the Spanish army.  By this unexpected courageous assault, and even judicious tactical manoeuvre, the Spaniards were thrown into some disorder, and Valdivia was exposed to imminent danger, having his horse killed under him; but the Spaniards replaced their firm array, forming themselves into a hollow square supported by their cavalry, and successfully resisted every effort of their valiant enemies, of whom they slew great numbers by the superiority of their arms, yet lost at the same time a considerable number of their own men.  The battle remained undecided for several hours; when at length, rashly pressing forwards with impetuous bravery, Aillavalu received a mortal wound[65], and many of the most valiant officers and soldiers of the Araucanians being slain, they retired in good order, leaving the field of battle to the Spaniards, who felt no inclination to pursue them after a so dear-bought victory.

[Footnote 65:  In Ovalle, this general is named Anabillo, and is said to have been made prisoner in the battle.—­E.]

Valdivia, though he had been present in many battles, both in Europe and America, was astonished at the valour and military skill of this new enemy, and declared he had never been exposed to such imminent danger in the whole course of his military service.  As he expected to be soon attacked again, he immediately proceeded to construct a strong fortification for the protection of his new city; and in fact, the Araucanian confederacy was no sooner informed of the defeat and death of their general Aillavalu, than a new and more numerous army was ordered against the Spaniards, under the command of Lincoyan, who was elected to the vacant office of supreme toqui.  From his gigantic stature, and frequent displays of courage, this officer had acquired great reputation among his countrymen; but, though well suited for a subaltern officer, he was timid and irresolute in the supreme military command, and greatly disappointed the expectations which had been formed from his former behaviour.

Having marshalled his army in three divisions, Lincoyan marched in 1551 to attack the Spaniards under Valdivia, who still remained at Conception, occupied in building and fortifying the new city.  The Spaniards were so much alarmed by the approach of the Araucanian army, that after confessing themselves, they took shelter under the cannon of their fortifications, where the Araucanians boldly assailed them.  But, finding the first assault unsuccessful, Lincoyan became apprehensive

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