Battle of the Maule
The Battle of the Maule was fought between the Mapuche
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 extended...

 people and the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 in what is now Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. The three-day battle, which is generally believed to have occurred in the reign of Tupac Inca Yupanqui
Tupac Inca Yupanqui
Topa Inca Yupanqui , translated as "noble Inca accountant," was the tenth Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire, and fifth of the Hanan dynasty. His father was Pachacuti, and his son was Huayna Capac. Topa Inca belonged to the Qhapaq panaca....

 (1471-93 CE), marked the end of the Incas' southward expansion.

In a six-year campaign with an army that eventually rose to 50,000 men, the Inca general Sinchiruca had subdued the regions of northern Chile, Copiapo
Copiapó is a city in northern Chile, located about 40 miles east of the coastal town of Caldera. Founded on December 8, 1744, it is the capital of Copiapó Province and Atacama Region....

, Coquimbo
Coquimbo Region
The IV Coquimbo Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It is some 400 km north of the capital, Santiago.The capital and largest city is La Serena, other important cities include the seaport Coquimbo and the agricultural centre...

, Aconcagua
Valparaíso Region
The V Valparaíso Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions.Valparaíso Region, 2006 With the country's third highest population of 1,539,852 million in 2002 and third smallest area of , the region is Chile's second most densely populated after the Santiago Metropolitan Region...

 and the Maipo Valley around what is now Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

. After securing the Maipo Valley Sinchiruca sent 20,000 men down to the valley of the Maule River
Maule river
The Maule river is one of the most important rivers of Chile and is inextricably linked to this country's pre-Hispanic times, the country's conquest, colonial period, wars of Independence, modern history, agriculture , culture , religion, economy and politics...

. The territory of the Picunche
The Picunche , also referred to as picones by the Spanish, were a mapudungun speaking Chilean people living to the north of the Mapuches or Araucanians and south of the Choapa River and the Diaguitas...

 people inhabiting this last region south of Maipo Valley extended further to the south to the Itata River
Itata River
The Itata River flows in the Bío-Bío Region, southern Chile.Until the Conquest of Chile the Itata was the natural limit between the Mapuche, located to the south, and Picunche, to the north.-References:* . - External links :*...

 and these people the south of the Maipo Valley had refused to submit to the rule of the Inca and called on their allies south of the Maule; the Antalli, Pincu, and Cauqui to join in opposing these invaders. This defiance gave them their distinctive name of Purumaucas
Promaucaes, Promaucas or Purumaucas ; pre-Columbian Mapuche tribal group that lived in the present territory of Chile, south of the Maipo River basin of Santiago, Chile and the Itata River,...

 from the quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

 puruma auca meaning those not under the rule of the Inca. The Spanish later corrupted the name into Promaucaes
Promaucaes, Promaucas or Purumaucas ; pre-Columbian Mapuche tribal group that lived in the present territory of Chile, south of the Maipo River basin of Santiago, Chile and the Itata River,...


The Incas crossed the Maule River, and keeping their old custom, they sent messengers to require these Purumaucas to submit to the rule of the Inca or resort to arms. The Purumaucas had determined to die before losing their freedom, and responded that the victors would be masters of the defeated and that the Incas would quickly see how the Purumaucas obeyed. Three or four days after this answer, the Purumaucas and their allies arrived and camped in front of the Incas' camp with 18,000 - 20,000 warriors. The Incas tried diplomacy, offering peace and friendship, claiming they were not going to take their land and property but to give them a way to live as men. The Purumaucas responded saying that they came not to waste time in vain words and reasoning, but to fight until they won or died. The Incas promised battle the next day.

The following day both armies left their camps and fought all day without either gaining an advantage, and both suffering many wounded and dead. At night they both retired to their positions. On the second and third day they fought with the same results. At the end of the third day of battle both factions saw that they had lost more than half their number in dead, and the living were almost all wounded. On the fourth day, neither side left their own camp, which had been fortified, as they hoped to defend them if their opponents attacked. The fifth and sixth days were passed in the same manner but by the seventh the Purumaucas and their allies retired and returned home claiming victory.


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