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CUNEQUEO (coo-nay-cay'-o), Araucanian heroine, born in the Mariguena district, Chili, in the latter part of the 16th century: died about 1612. While very young she married Quepotan, an Araucanian officer, and began her career as a warrior by accompanying her husband, fighting by his side, against the Spaniards. She distinguished herself during the long defense of Liben. After Quepo-tan had been killed, she resolved to avenge his death: and in 1590 was at the head of an army of Pulches, with which she attacked every Spanish settlement in Arauco, and put to death all Europeans taken prisoners by her troops. The governor of Chili, with a large force, went to meet her army, but Cunequeo, by remaining in well-chosen positions and ably directing attacks upon the Spaniards, forced him to retreat. Then she moved toward the fortress of Puchanqui, defeated and killed Major Aranda and part of his troops that had left the place to prevent her from advancing. But she failed to take the fortress, and was obliged to go into winter quarters near the City of Villarrica, which her warriors kept besieged until, early in 1591, its governor came out with a large number of men. She commanded her forces during several attacks, and did not leave the field until the Spanish artillery had decimated her ranks. After this campaign she retired to private life. Cunequeo always went on horseback among her officers, fought like the bravest of her warriors, and on several occasions killed Spanish soldiers with her own hands. Ercilla, the author of " La Araucana," devoted many pages of his great epic to a description of her prowess.
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