chapter  7
14 Pages

Challenging Colonial Discourses

The Spanish Imperial Borderland in Chile from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century
WithBeatriz Marín-Aguilera, Leonor Adán Alfaro, Simón Urbina Araya

This chapter discusses the idea of colonial borderlands and mestizaje by confronting textual discourses on violence and resistance with the archaeology of everyday life in the area of Valdivia, southern Chile. Chilean historians characterize the period between 1640 and until the end of Spanish colonial rule in 1826 as ‘relaciones fronterizas’. The term ‘frontera’ in Spanish has different connotations. The idea of ‘cultura mestiza’ has been traditionally understood in Chile as the genetic mixture of different races, following established colonial ideas; or has been applied to the acceptance of the Spanish culture and products by the natives. The area of Valdivia has yielded fascinating insights into the study of colonial borderlands in the Southern Cone. Spanish colonial cities commonly describe a checkerboard pattern of variable dimensions, with a central open-air square, and squared or rectangular blocks arranged around it.