Valdivia, Luis de
VALDIVIA, LUIS DE
Defender of the Araucanian people; b. Granada, Spain, 1561; d. Valladolid, Nov. 5, 1642. He became a Jesuit novice on April 2, 1581. He went to Peru in 1589 and taught philosophy and theology at Lima, where he was master of novices. In 1593 he was sent to Chile, where he was rector at Santiago the following year, and in 1597 he traveled through the Araucanian territory. In Lima, around 1602, he expounded his dual pacifist thesis: abolition of native personal service and reduction of the Araucanian war to a purely defensive one. Valdivia went personally to Araucanian territory, but failed in his peace efforts. In 1609 he returned to Spain and pleaded his ideas at court. As a result he was given religious jurisdiction in Arauco and, nominally, the bishopric of La Imperial. In 1612, named visitor general of Chile, he went to Arauco and assumed the direction of the war, but once again he failed. He returned to Spain in 1620. Upon the death of Philip III (1621), Valdivia had to retire to Valladolid. This powerful personality was also a distinguished linguist as demonstrated in his grammar, dictionary, catechism, and confessional in the Allentiac (Araucanian) language. Although an intrepid and zealous missionary, he was often imprudent and unrealistic, and would compromise the ecclesiastical cause in exchange for small temporary advantages.
Bibliography: p. hernÁndez, El Padre Luis de Valdivia (Santiago de Chile 1908). b. blum, "Luis de Valdivia, Defender of the Araucanians," Mid-America 24 (1942) 109–137.
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