Mapuche people make up close to 10% of Chile’s population. However, in spite of this fact, the remarkable history that the Mapuche people have had remains a mystery to most of the people who live in the western world. Mapuche people are credited with warding off the impending attacks of the empire by the indomitable conquistadors from Spain. It is this fact that makes people think that the Mapuche people should be known across the world since their achievements are remarkable and unmatched.
Mapuche culture is shown by archaeological records to have been inexistence since 600 to 500 BC. They differ from the people of Patagonia in terms of genes even though they are from adjacent places. The difference in genes is seen as a stable separation of the Patagonian population and Mapuche people. Ricardo Latchman’s hypothetical theory which was later expounded by Antonio Francisco Encina indicates that the Mapuche people originally came from Pampas before migrating to the present day Chile. Modern scholars are opposed to the hypothesis put forward by Ricardo arguing that it lacks irrefutable evidence, and also a possibility of an alternative hypothesis. For instance, an unproven hypothesis has been put forward by Guevara Tomas arguing that the Mapuche people originally lived at the coast due to the plenty resources.
- Possible Polynesian contact
Some evidence cropped up in the year 2007 that suggested that the Mapuche people could have made contact with the Polynesians of the western Pacific. The chicken bones that were found in El Arenal which was an area that the Mapuche occupied originally is a proof that the entry of chicken to South America could be credited to the Mapuche people. A radio carbon examination performed on the bones found in Chile reveals dates between 1304 and 1424 before the Spanish people arrived. As for the chicken, the DNA samples taken show a correlation with the chicken in the present day Tonga and Samoa in America. The DNA did not match any European chicken breed.
- Inca expansion and influence
Some troops are reported to have battled with the Mapuche people in the area between the Itata River and Maule River. The Inca Empire’s southern border is believed to have been situated between Maipo and Santiago Rivers or between Maule and Santiago Rivers. The troops of the Inca Empire do not seem to have crossed the famous Bio Bio River. Inca Empire is believed to have been along Mapocho, Aconcagua, and Maipo rivers. The area referred to as a free Mapuche territory was seen as the region where the Incan people mined gold. Therefore, the Incan Empire is believed to have sought expansion due to the expansive gold mines in the free Mapuche territory.
- Demography and settlement types
Historian Jose Bengoa has postulated that the population of the Mapuche people in the area between Reloncavi Sound and Itata River is between 705,000 and 900,000. Mapuches are said to have lived in hamlets more so in areas alongside some of the great rivers of Southern Chile.