Caupolicán kou˝pōlĭkän´ [key], d. 1558, leader of the Araucanians who fiercely resisted the Spanish conquest of Chile. He attempted to carry on the reconquest begun by Lautaro and won a victory over the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia. After a heroic but futile battle to keep the Spanish from recapturing Concepción, Caupolicán was forced to retreat into the forest. There he was surprised, captured, tortured, and killed. His fame rests partly on La Araucana, the epic poem of Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South American Indigenous Peoples: Biographies