Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, La Araucana [The Araucaniad]

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Alonso de Ercilla (1533-94) published the three volumes that comprise

La Araucana

in 1569, 1578, and 1589. The poem was an instant success and soon became the most admired and imitated epic of the Spanish Golden Age. Due to Ercilla’s heroic depiction of Araucanian resistance to Spanish colonization,

La Araucana

was chosen as the national poem of Chile after the country gained its independence. Today it remains a canonical work in the fields of Spanish and Latin American literature and history.

The poem narrates a five-year period of warfare (1553-58) between the Araucanians—a group of war-like, semi-nomadic natives of southern Chile—and the Spaniards who were attempting to colonize the region. While most other Amerindians were quickly forced to surrender in the face of Spain’s

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Citation: Maxey, Bryce. "La Araucana". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2017 [, accessed 26 February 2024.]

35831 La Araucana 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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