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.

From the short deduction of the occurrences in Chili since its discovery, which has been attempted in the foregoing pages, it will be seen that the acquisition and maintenance of that interesting and important colony has cost more expenditure of blood and treasure to Spain than all the rest of her American possessions.  The Araucanians, though only occupying a small extent of territory, and with far inferior arms, have not only been able to resist the military power of Spain, till then reckoned invincible, but have endangered the loss of her best established possessions.  Though most of the Spanish officers employed in the early period of the Araucanian war had been bred in the low countries, that excellent school of military knowledge, and her soldiers were armed with those destructive weapons before which the most extensive empires of America had so early fallen, and were considered as the best disciplined and bravest troops in the world; yet has this brave people been able to resist their utmost efforts, and still maintain their independence unimpaired.  This will appear wonderful, especially when we consider the decided superiority which European military discipline and skill have given to its troops in all parts of the world.  The rapidity of the Spanish conquests in America excited universal astonishment; and a small number of Portuguese gained with almost incredible facility an extensive territory in the east, even although the natives were extremely numerous and accustomed to the use of fire-arms.  Yet, in spite of every effort of force and skill, the Araucanians have valiantly defended their country, evincing that a free people, however inconsiderable in point of numbers, can perform wonders.

Since losing their possessions in Arancania, the Spaniards have prudently confined their views to the preservation and improvement of that part of Chili which lies between the southern confines of Peru and the river Biobio, extending between the latitudes of 24 deg. and 36 deg. 30’ S. As formerly mentioned this kingdom is divided into thirteen provinces.  Of late years two other provinces have been formed by the disjunction of Maule, and the provinces of Cauquenes and Cunco are nominally added to the former number, but without any addition of territory.  Besides these, they possess the fortress and port of Valdivia in the country of the Cunches, the archipelago of Chiloe, and the island of Juan Fernandez.  This colony or kingdom of Chili is governed by an officer, who combines the titles and functions of civil governor, president of the court of audience, and captain-general, and usually holds the rank of lieutenant-general in the Spanish army.  He resides in the city of St Jago, and is solely dependent upon the king, except that in time of war he is subject in some points to receive orders from the viceroy of Peru.  In quality of captain-general, he is commander-in-chief of the army, having under his immediate orders the three principal military officers

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