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Oña, Pedro de (1570–c. 1643)

Oña, Pedro de (1570–c. 1643)

Pedro de Oña was Chile's first known poet. The son of a Spanish captain killed in the Araucanian wars in Chile, Oña was born at Los Confines. At around the age of twenty he went to Lima to study at the University of San Marcos. Viceroy García Hurtado De Mendoza (1535–1609), who had been offended by his portrayal in La Araucana, by the Spanish poet Ercilla y Zúñiga (1533–1594), encouraged Oña to write an epic poem to recount the Viceroy's earlier exploits as governor of Chile (1557–1561). The resulting work, Arauco domado, in nineteen cantos, was published in Lima in 1594. The first poem published by a Chilean creole author, it covers some of the events already narrated in Part 2 of La Araucana, but fails to carry the story through, and the bulk of the poem is based on episodes (such as a revolt in Quito and the viceroy's actions against English sea dogs) that are irrelevant to the Araucanian wars. Oña promised a second part, which never appeared. He died in Lima.

Oña, whose other works include El vasauro (1635), a religious poem, and El Ignacio de Cantabria (1639), a pious work celebrating St. Ignatius of Loyola, was not a truly talented poet. Arauco domado does not bear comparison with La Araucana, which it sought to emulate and perhaps imitate (its meter is similar but not identical). However, Oña cannot be denied his rightful place as the first Chilean poet.

See alsoHurtado de Mendoza, García; Literature: Spanish America.


Castillo Sandoval, Roberto. "'Una misma cosa con la vuestra'?: El legado de Ercilla y la apropriación postcolonial de la patria araucana en el Arauco domado." Revista Iberoamericana 61, no. 170-171 (1995): 232-247.

Díaz, Miguel Angel. Ayer y Hoy: Ercilla y Oña en la épica chilena. Chile: Rengo, 1998. Available from

Gutiérrez, Juan María. El Arauco Domado, poema por Pedro de Oña:, 1809–1878. [1848.] Madrid: Ediciones Cultura Hispánica, 1944.

                                           Simon Collier

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