Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LAUTARO, or LATUR (law-tah'-ro), Arauea-nian chief, born in the valley of Tucapel in 1537; died in Mataquito in December, 1556. He belonged to the noble order of Uhnenes. In one of the hostile incursions of General Valdivia he was taken prisoner, employed as Valdivia's page, and baptized with the name of Felipe Diaz. On 3 December, 1553, the toqui Caupolican was in great peril of losing the battle of Tucapel, but at the moment when his army was almost defeated, young Lautaro, who was with the Spanish garrison, deserted their lines, and, grasping a lance, turned against them, shouting to his countrymen to follow him to victory. The Spaniards were defeated and the fort of Tucapel destroyed. As soon as Valdivia, who was in Concepcion, heard this news he marched with all the forces he could gather, and on 1 January, 1554, encountered the Araucanians near the ruins of Tucapel. The Indians, by the advice of Lautaro, attacked Valdivia with different bodies successively, so that they always presented fresh forces. The Spaniards were defeated, Valdivia made prisoner, and, notwithstanding the entreaties of Lautaro, killed, after suffering cruel tortures. After this victory the Araucanian national assembly appointed Lautaro lieutenant-toqui, and commander of a second army, with which he intrenched himself in the mountains of Mariguenu. In 1554, in this place, he defeated General Villagra and captured a large number of prisoners, horses, and six pieces of artillery. In the same year he took possession of the fortress of Concepcion, plundered it, set the city on fire, and levelled its forts, and in 1555 he destroyed the city a second time. In 1556, at the head of 600 picked men, he set out for Santiago with the intention of taking possession of it. On the batiks of the river Claro he defeated the Spanish forces four times; but toward the end of the year .he met his death, General Villagra, who was guided by a friendly Indian over an obscure and generally unknown road, having surprised and defeated him at night in his camp.
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