ButalmapuTimeline: Principia Moderni IV (Map Game)
OTL equivalent: Chile, parts of Argentina
Abusus non tollit usum (Latin)
"Come, O people, and let us burn New Vichy"
|Regional Languages||Irish, German, Chinese, Aymara|
|Legislature||Coyag (Assembly of Chiefs)|
|-||estimate||5 million (1845)|
Initially established in the 1700s, as various Mapuche chiefdoms allied and centralized for mutual defence, the state developed a strong internal order - including a de facto legislature, or assembly of chiefs - over the next century, while the position of chief gradually shifted from effectively hereditary to one chosen by acclamation or election. Mineral resources - especially copper, silver and guano - gave the Mapuche the ability to play a more prominent role internationally in the mid-18th century, particularly in defending their kinsmen in southern Patagonia against the oppression and expansionist greed of the Argentine state, which attempted to conquer - and, at times, enslave - these less centralized tribes.
Since the economic development of the early 1800s, a mercantilist conservative party - allied with rural chieftains - has maintained a strong grip on the Mapuche government, partly through genuine popularity, particularly among strongly traditionalist elements of the peasantry, and partly through laws which restrict the franchise. Urban artisans, miners, radical priests, and parts of the rural population - particularly the export-oriented farmers of the western littoral and the livestock herders of the pampas - began, around 1850, to demand expansion of the franchise, allying under a variety of labels to challenge Conservative chiefs, with limited success, although they accept the legitimacy of the existing government.
Although generally positively disposed to the broader world, especially other Catholic-dominated states, independent Laurentian countries, or possible trade partners, the Mapuche have never recovered psychologically from the Argentine campaigns of the 1840s, in which tens of thousands of Mapuche were ethnically cleansed from Patagonia, massacred by the Argentine army, and enslaved for labour on plantations in a government-backed scheme. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Andalien, the centre of Mapuche religious and cultural life, is fronted by a fenced pit in which the recovered skulls of the victims of these atrocities are kept, providing a perpetual reminder of the Argentine threat, and as of 1850 almost all of the population personally lost relatives or suffered expulsion and attack.
The Mapuche military depends on a number of foundations. The professional army, under the control of the Assembly, is armed with the most modern weapons available, and intended to act as the core of mobilization of the Mapuche nation's full military forces. It numbers around 40-45,000, although not all elements of it are not in constant service, instead acting as police, border guards, or improving fortifications and infrastructure. Much of its officer cadre is made up of Mapuche with experience in foreign wars, with hired European advisors playing an advisory role. The regular Mapuche army has disproportionately large engineering, heavy cavalry and artillery arms, to compensate for the deficiencies of mobilized reserve forces.
Another key element are militia forces, who, as is traditional, are called up through local chieftains, who are also responsible for training and distributing arms to these forces during peacetime. These forces are less well trained and well armed, although efforts have been made to remedy these deficiencies in the 1840s through deploying regular army officers to train militia forces. A disproportionately large proportion of these militia forces are light cavalry called up from the quasi-nomadic Mapuche groups of the Patagonian plains and southern pampas, whose experience as herdsmen - and in resisting Argentine encroachment - gives them expertise at raiding, scouting and screening.
The Mapuche economy is primarily agricultural, although the extraction of zinc, copper, nitrates, saltpetre, and guano provide it with valuable export goods, and there is some limited industrial activity concentrated in urban centres, much of it government-initiated. Most farmers along the Andes grow wheat, corn, rice, and potatoes, producing cotton for the export economy. Aquaculture - often combined with rice cultivation in Chinese-style terraces - has become more common and farmed carp populations provide a welcome protein source. Livestock raising is common, especially on the pampas, where cattle, sheep, goats, capybara and water buffalo are widely kept. Farmers in the west keep chickens and guinea pigs, and use llamas and yaks (another widely adopted influence from China) for transport, milk and wool.
The vast majority of the Mapuche population is from the Mapuche ethnic group, speaking the Mapudungun language. Never under the control of any colonial power, no significant European population ever became emplaced within the Confederacy's territory. Many port towns and coastal areas have European minorities, mainly as a result of trade or the use of the ports as bases for South Sea whaling. These populations are primarily British, German or Dutch in origin, although most have at least partially assimilated. More recently, with the Mapuche government seeking to gain foreign expertise and investment, and with the potato blight causing famine in Europe, larger-scale immigration has occurred, particularly from Prussia and Ireland, and from China following similar population pressures there. About 20% of the Mapuche population is of whole or partial immigrant descent, with the Chinese the largest and most influential community, with the Mapuche government actively encouraging immigration from the Hakka hill-farmers of southern China since an 1848 agreement with the Chinese government, in pursuit of their valuable skills. The Chinese largely settled on areas of the Patagonia plateau depopulated by Argentine massacre, particularly along the Limay River. Irish and German immigrants are concentrated in the major urban centres of Andalien and Mapocho, and many Irish immigrants also settled in the pampas region.
The Mapuche population is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, having been converted by sustained efforts at proselytization from neighbouring colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. Attitudes toward traditional religious practices vary by region, and they continue to play a significant cultural role, but they generally occur within the constraints of Catholic acceptability. As a matter of practicality, services are generally carried out in Mapudungun.