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Aracaré (d. 1542)

Stefan Thimmel

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place South America » Paraguay

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1500-1599

Key-Topics bibliography, colonialism, indigenous, rebellion, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00116.x


Aracaré, a chief of a tribe of the indigenous Guaraní in the actual state of Paraguay, was the first and one of the most important leaders who resisted the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century. In 1542 Aracaré and approximately 800 Guaraní people guided Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in his expedition to find the mystic kingdom of Peru with all the promised gold and treasures. However, the famous cacique only pretended to lead the conquerors to the Promised Land, instead going upstream the Rio Paraguay. Contrary to other representatives of the Guaraní, he realized early that his people would have to suffer under the regime of the Spanish Corona. So during the expedition more and more Guaraní scouts disappeared and the Spanish lost themselves in the impermeable jungle. Aracaré utilized the situation to attack the troops of Cabeza de Vaca, and the desperate Spanish soldiers had to withdraw and abort the expedition. Shortly afterwards there was a second expedition, but the recruited Guaraní once again only presumed to guide the conquerors; in effect they were leading them to regions where the cacique Aracaré commanded his fellowships. They got lost and they were attacked by the chief's men. For Cabeza de Vaca, Aracaré became the main enemy. Finally Aracaré was caught by the Spanish troops and at the end of 1542 he was hanged. This led to the first real rebellion of indigenous ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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