Araucanian Indians, old name for Mapuches.
Fishburn and Hughes: Araucanian (Araucano) An Indian people who originated in central Chile and spread to Argentina as far as the pampas of Buenos Aires province, where they merged with the existing Pampa Indians. The Araucanians, who still survive in Chile and Argentina, are mostly Mapuche, the brave people who fought against the Spanish invaders and whose leader, Lautaro, defeated Pedro de Valdavia in 1553. Persecution turned them against the colonists and their descendants, and they prevented the expansion of white colonisation. They were finally defeated in the 'Conquest of the Desert' (1879-80), when they were dispersed and their way of life was all but exterminated. In spite of the adulteration of modern life, the Araucanians retain their culture and traditional beliefs. Officially Catholic, they still worship their gods and the spirit of their ancestors, believing in power over death and the medicine of the shamans. Araucanian is one of the many native tongues spoken in Spanish America. Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden