The long continuance of the Araucanian war, and the great importance of the kingdom of Chili, at length determined Philip II. to erect a court of Royal Audience in Chili, independent upon that which had long subsisted in Peru. To this court, which was composed of four oydors or judges and a fiscal, the civil and military administration of the kingdom was confided; and its members made a solemn entry into the city of Conception, where they fixed their residence, on the 13th of August 1567. Immediately on assuming their functions, the judges removed Quiroga from the government, and appointed Ruiz Gamboa to the command of the army with the title of general. Learning that Paillataru, the toqui of the Araucanians, was preparing to besiege the city of Canete, Gamboa hastened to that place with a respectable force, and finding the toqui encamped not far from the threatened city, he attacked his fortified post, and defeated him after a long and obstinate contest. After this victory, Gamboa overran and laid waste the Araucanian territories for a whole year without opposition, and carried off great numbers of women and children into slavery. He employed every effort however, repeatedly to induce the Araucanians to enter into negotiations for peace, but to no purpose, as they preferred the endurance of every possible evil before the loss of their national liberty, and continually refused to listen to his proposals.
As peace, so necessary to the well being of the Spanish settlements in Chili, seemed every day more remote, in spite of every effort for its attainment, it at length, appeared to the court of Spain that the government of a country in a continual state of war was improperly placed in the hands of a court of justice: Accordingly it was again confided to the management of a single chief, under the new titles of President, Governor, and Captain-general. Don Melchior Bravo de Saravia was invested with this triple character in 1568; a man well qualified to act as president of the court of audience and civil governor of the kingdom, but utterly incompetent to sustain the charge of captain-general; yet he was anxious to signalize the commencement of his government by the attainment of a splendid victory over the redoubtable Araucanians, for which an opportunity soon offered, but which redounded to his own disgrace.
Paillataru had collected a new army, with which he occupied the strong position of Mariguenu, so fatal to the Spaniards, and which for some unaccountable reason they had neglected to fortify. Immediately on learning this circumstance, the governor marched against the toqui at the head of three hundred Spanish soldiers and a large auxiliary force. Like several of his predecessors, Paillataru had the glory of rendering this mountain famous by the total defeat of the Spanish army. The governor had the good fortune to make his escape from this battle, and precipitately withdrew with a small remnant of his troops to Angol, where