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Definition of ARAUCANIAN
: a member of a group of Indian peoples of south central Chile and adjacent regions of Argentina
: the language of the Araucanian people that constitutes an independent language family
Variants of ARAUCANIAN
Arau·ca·ni·an also Arau·can\ə-ˈrau̇-kən\
Origin of ARAUCANIAN
Spanish araucano, from Arauco, former province in Chile
First Known Use: 1788
South American Indian people who are now concentrated in the valleys and basins between the Biobío and Toltén rivers in south-central Chile. When the Spanish conquistadores arrived in Chile, they encountered three Araucanian populations: the Picunche, who were accustomed to Inca control; the Huilliche, who were too few and scattered to resist the conquistadores; and the Mapuche, successful farmers and artisans. The first two were soon assimilated, but the Mapuche managed to resist Spanish and Chilean control for some 350 years. They were subdued in the late 19th century and were settled on reservations; they now live independently.