Kawellu Mapuche equestrian culture

Kawellu cultura ecuestre MapucheKawellu cultura ecuestre MapucheKawellu cultura ecuestre MapucheKawellu cultura ecuestre Mapuche

On introducing the horse in Southern Chile, the Spaniards never imagined that it would become one of the mapuche’s best arms, means of subsistence and basis of prestige.

Wild horses reproduced surprisingly quickly in the forests of Southern Chile and in the broad trans-Andean pampas. The Mapuche took advantage of their alliances with the indigenous mountain and pampa peoples to introduce this animal into their society, domesticate it, and trade it in the local markets.

The prestige of the ülmen, powerful chiefs and men, was measured by the number of horses they had. When a warrior died, his best war steed was sacrificed for his funeral banquet, and the remains of the animal were buried with him in his grave.