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The Final Frontier: Everyday Life in Colonial Chile

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  • UserDr Beatriz Marín-Aguilera (Renfrew Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Junior Research Fellow of Churchill College)
  • ClockTuesday 23 November 2021, 18:00-19:15
  • HouseWolfson College Zoom webinar.

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Chile was the most important and complex frontier of the Spanish Empire (1550–1818), in which colonial power and indigenous resistance were contested over centuries. Control over this frontier was of vital importance for the Spaniards because the main Pacific harbour was located there. The indigenous people, known as Reche, defeated the Incas and were never conquered. The Spaniards struggled as well to subjugate them, and eventually conceded their independence upon the acknowledgement of the Spanish King. Since southern Chile gave access to the Pacific, many European powers tried to conquer the Reche people, among them the Dutch and the British. However, their attempts were similarly unsuccessful. Removed from the empire’s core, the Reche shaped a very dynamic and productive border that functioned as a material crossroad between the Spaniards, the Dutch, the British, and other local communities. This paper explores how the Reche (re)shaped the ‘final frontier’ everyday through the analysis of the ‘small things forgotten’ in central-southern Chile between the 16th and 18th centuries.

About the speaker Dr Beatriz Marín-Aguilera is a Renfrew Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, by virtue of which she is also Junior Research Fellow of Churchill College. Her research focuses on the archaeology of colonialism, frontiers, and indigeneity from comparative perspectives. She has been working on colonial Chile for the past five years and she co-leads with Chilean colleagues the archaeological project of the Spanish colonial fortifications in Valdivia, on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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