The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence once extended between the Aconcagua River and Chiloé Archipelago and spread later eastward to the Argentine pampa. The Mapuche make up about 4% of the Chilean population, and are particularly concentrated in Araucanía and are due to emigration also numerous in Santiago.

The term Mapuche can refer to the whole group of Picunches (people of the north), Huilliches (people of the South) and Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía, or exclusively to the Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía. The Mapuche traditional economy is based on agriculture; their traditional social organisation consists of extended families, under the direction of a "lonko" or chief, although in times of war they would unite in larger groupings and elect a toqui (from Mapudungun toki "axe, axe-bearer") to lead them.

The Araucanian Mapuche inhabited at the time of Spanish arrival the valleys between the Itata and Toltén rivers, south of it as did the Huilliche and the Cuncos lived as far south as the Chiloé Archipelago. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Mapuche groups migrated eastward into the Andes and pampas, fusing and establishing relationships with the Poyas and Pehuenche. At about the same time, ethnic groups of the pampa regions, the Puelche, Ranqueles and northern Aonikenk, made contact with Mapuche groups. The Tehuelche adopted the Mapuche language and some of their culture in what came to be called Araucanization.

Historically Mapuches were known as Araucanians (araucanos) by the Spanish colonizers of South America. However, this term is now mostly considered pejorative by some people. The Quechua word awqa "rebel, enemy", is probably not the root of araucano: the latter is more likely derived from the placename rag ko (Spanish Arauco) "clayey water".

While some Mapuches mingled with Spanish during colonial times, giving origin to a large group of mestizos in Chile, Mapuche society in Araucanía and Patagonia remained independent until the Chilean Occupation of Araucanía and the Argentine Conquest of the Desert in late 19th century. Since then Mapuches have become subjects and then nationals and citizens of the respective states. Today, many Mapuche and Mapuche communities are engaged in the so-called Mapuche conflict over land and indigenous rights both in Argentina and in Chile.

Read more about MapucheCulture, Mapuches, Chileans and The Chilean State

Other articles related to "mapuche, mapuches":

Siege Of Concepcion - History
... and forts he already held against the growing Mapuche revolt and to organize a field army in Concepcion ... He knew that one of the Mapuche objectives was to surround Concepcion, and preparations were made to support a long siege ... Raids by Mapuche bands had made it unsafe for Spaniards to go farther than a league from the city ...
Mapuches, Chileans and The Chilean State
... With the independence of Chile in the 1810s Mapuches begun to be seen as Chileans by other Chileans, contrasting with previous thoughs on them as a separate people or nation ... Historian Gonzalo Vial claims that a "historical debt" exist towards the Mapuche by the Republic of Chile ... the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco aims at a national liberation of Mapuches ...
1565) was the Mapuche vice-toqui of the Moluche north of the Bio-Bio River who led the second Mapuche revolt during the Arauco War ... at a crossing of the Andalién River the Mapuche had cut off the city and garrison of Concepcion from outside aid by land ... On the other side the Mapuche had used up local sources of food and were finding it difficult to maintain their large force ...
Caupolicán The Younger
... He continued the first Mapuche rising against the Spanish conquistadors in 1558 and commaned the Mapuche army in constructing a pucara at Quiapo to block García ... In the Battle of Quiapo the Mapuche suffered a terrible defeat and there Caupolicán the younger died ...
Battle Of Marihueñu - History
... The Spanish attack broke the first Mapuche lines, but the quick action of the third group maintained the Mapuche position ... were able to retreat after a desperate fight to break through the Mapuche that blocked their escape in their rear ...