Indian auxiliaries

Indian auxiliaries or indios auxiliares is the term used in old Spanish chronicles and historical texts for the indigenous peoples who were integrated into the armies of the Spanish conquistadors with the purpose of supporting their advance and combat operations during the Conquest of America. They acted as guides, translators, or porters and in this role were also called yanakuna, particularly within the old Inca Empire and Chile. The term was also used for formations composed of indigenous warriors or Indios amigos (friendly Indians), which they used for reconnaissance, combat, and as reserve in battle. The auxiliary Indians remained in use after the conquest, during some revolts, in border zones and permanent military areas, as in Chile in the Arauco War.

Lienzo de Tlaxcala Iximche
Tlaxcalan auxiliaries assist the Spanish in Guatemala, as depicted in the 16th century Lienzo de Tlaxcala


The formations of auxiliary Indians arose commonly from alliances established by the Spaniards, exploiting ethnic and tribal antagonisms that they found during their occupation of the territory they were attempting to conquer. Hernán Cortés was one of the first captains who was known to strengthen his columns with these natives. Commonly after the conquest these auxiliary Indians were divided among the settlers of the territories already conquered. They often constituted the most numerous group of the conquerors' followers:

Fall of Tenochtitlan

During Hernán Cortés' campaign against the Aztecs from 1519 to 1521, he supplemented his meagre force of Spanish soldiers (numbering some 1,300) with hundreds of thousands of native auxiliaries, from various states such as Tlaxcala. During the final siege of the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan Cortés, according to the account of one of his soldiers, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, had some 200,000 Tlaxcallan and other native auxiliaries, while the Aztec warriors drawn from the numerous cities surrounding Lake Xochimilco in the Valley of Mexico numbered more than 300,000.


The expedition of Pedro de Alvarado to Guatemala was composed of 480 Spaniards and thousands of auxiliary Indians from Tlaxcala, Cholula and other cities in central Mexico.[1] In Guatemala the Spanish routinely fielded indigenous allies; at first these were Nahua brought from the recently conquered Mexico, later they also included Maya. It is estimated that for every Spaniard on the field of battle, there were at least 10 native auxiliaries. Sometimes there were as many as 30 indigenous warriors for every Spaniard, and it was the participation of these Mesoamerican allies that was particularly decisive.[2] Some newly conquered Maya groups remained loyal to the Spanish once they had submitted to the conquest, such as the Tz'utujil and the K'iche' of Quetzaltenango, and provided them with warriors to assist further conquest.[3]

In 1524, fresh from his victory over the Tz'utujil, Pedro de Alvarado led his army against the non-Maya Xinca of the Guatemalan Pacific lowlands.[4] At this point Alvarado's force consisted of 250 Spanish infantry accompanied by 6,000 indigenous allies, mostly Kaqchikel and Cholutec.[5]

The Mam fortress of Zaculeu was attacked by Gonzalo de Alvarado y Contreras, brother of Pedro de Alvarado,[6] in 1525, with 40 Spanish cavalry and 80 Spanish infantry,[7] and some 2,000 Mexican and K'iche' allies.[8] When the Spanish besieged the Ixil city of Nebaj in 1530, their indigenous allies managed to scale the walls, penetrate the stronghold and set it on fire. Many defending Ixil warriors withdrew to fight the fire, which allowed the Spanish to storm the entrance and break the defences.[9]

Perú and Chile

Colonial Period after the Conquest

After the initial conquest, most of these allies were considered less necessary and, sometimes, a liability. At times they were needed for defense of the extended Spanish Empire. They were incorporated into the military forces of the Empire, forming their own units, organised along European models under their own names, such as Compañías de Indios Nobles ("Companies of Noble Indians"). The necessity of defence came from either European threats like the Caribbean buccaneers and pirates or American threats such as the Chichimeca, Apache or Comanche tribes or the protracted Arauco war. These units fought in the independence wars.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Sharer and Traxler 2006, p. 763. Lovell 2005, p. 58. Matthew 2012, pp. 78-79.
  2. ^ Restall and Asselbergs 2007, p. 16.
  3. ^ Carmack 2001, pp. 39–40.
  4. ^ Letona Zuleta et al., p. 5.
  5. ^ Letona Zuleta et al., p. 6.
  6. ^ Gall 1967, p.39.
  7. ^ Lovell 2005, p. 61.
  8. ^ Carmack 2001, p. 39.
  9. ^ Lovell 2005, p. 65.
  10. ^ Martínez Laínez and Carlos Canales 2009.


Carmack, Robert M. (2001). Kik'aslemaal le K'iche'aab': Historia Social de los K'iche's (in Spanish). Guatemala City, Guatemala: Cholsamaj. ISBN 99922-56-19-2. OCLC 47220876.
Gall, Francis (July–December 1967). "Los Gonzalo de Alvarado, Conquistadores de Guatemala". Anales de la Sociedad de Geografía e Historia (in Spanish). Guatemala City, Guatemala: Sociedad de Geografía e Historia de Guatemala. XL. OCLC 72773975.
Letona Zuleta, José Vinicio; Carlos Camacho Nassar; Juan Antonio Fernández Gamarro. "Las tierras comunales xincas de Guatemala". In Carlos Camacho Nassar (ed.). Tierra, identidad y conflicto en Guatemala (in Spanish). Guatemala: Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO); Misión de Verificación de las Naciones Unidas en Guatemala (MINUGUA); Dependencia Presidencial de Asistencia Legal y Resolución de Conflictos sobre la Tierra (CONTIERRA). ISBN 978-99922-66-84-7. OCLC 54679387.
Lovell, W. George (2005). Conquest and Survival in Colonial Guatemala: A Historical Geography of the Cuchumatán Highlands, 1500–1821 (3rd ed.). Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2741-9. OCLC 58051691.
Martínez Laínez, Fernando; Carlos Canales (2009). Banderas Lejanas: La exploración, conquista, y defensa por España del territorio de los actuales Estados Unidos [Distant Flags: The exploration, conquest, and defence of the modern territory of the United States by Spain] (in Spanish). Madrid, Spain. ISBN 9788441421196. OCLC 428447626.
Matthew, Laura E. (2012). Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala (hardback)|format= requires |url= (help). First Peoples. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-3537-1. OCLC 752286995.
Restall, Matthew; Florine Asselbergs (2007). Invading Guatemala: Spanish, Nahua, and Maya Accounts of the Conquest Wars. University Park, Pennsylvania, US: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 978-0-271-02758-6. OCLC 165478850.
Ruiz-Esquide Figueroa, Andrea (1993). Los indios amigos en la frontera araucana (PDF). Colección Sociedad y cultura (in Spanish). 4. Santiago, Chile: Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos: Centro de Investigaciones Diego Barros Arana. ISBN 956-244-013-3. OCLC 30918538.
Sharer, Robert J.; Loa P. Traxler (2006). The Ancient Maya (6th ed.). Stanford, California, US: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4817-9. OCLC 57577446.

Further reading

Matthew, Laura E.; Michel R. Oudijk, eds. (2007). Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest of Mesoamerica. Norman: University of Oklahoma. ISBN 978-0806138541.

Year 1536 (MDXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


1740 (MDCCXL)

was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1740th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 740th year of the 2nd millennium, the 40th year of the 18th century, and the 1st year of the 1740s decade. As of the start of 1740, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1740 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1740 in Great Britain.


Atlacatl (Nahuatl Ātlācatl: ātl "water", tlācatl "human being" – whose death is sometimes put at 1528) is reputed to have been the name of the last ruler of an indigenous state based around the city of Cuzcatlan, in the southwestern periphery of Mesoamerica (present-day El Salvador), at the time of the Spanish conquest. Atlacatl appears to have been a myth, however, as no contemporary chronicler mentions him. Rather, much as in other Latin American countries, the romantic figure of the tragic Indian resistance leader is deployed in the nationalist discourse to lend grandeur and romance to the nation's formation in the "meeting of two worlds". The myth remains powerful locally, however, and the name "Atlacatl" has been adopted by one of El Salvador's elite army battalions (see Atlacatl Battalion).

Cuzcatlán was a strong state that had incorporated several Nahua regions in the western and central territory of today's El Salvador. With a standing army and lucrative cacao exports, this wealthy state had resisted several Mayan invasions and was one of the strongest in the region. It was the only polity in the region to maintain a standing army.

The existence and fable of Atlacatl appears to have originated in a historian's misreading of Spanish chronicles. It was later developed as a nation-building myth in modern Salvadoran nationalist discourse, symbolising Cuzcatlán's courageous resistance against the invading Spanish forces. For example, some stories attest that it was Atlacatl who wounded Alvarado in the thigh (no historical account supports this view, the archer remaining unknown). According to another account, when Pedro de Alvarado and his forces arrived at Atehuan (Ateos) he received a message sent to him by Atlacatl in which Atlacatl acquiesced to Alvarado's demand for Cuzcatlán's surrender. Alvarado's own account records that when he entered the city of Cuzcatlán he found it partly abandoned, the men all having fled to the mountainous region nearby. Alvarado sent a demand to them for their surrender, but instead received the answer: "if you want our arms you must come to get them from the mountains". In the myth, it was Atlacatl who sent this message.

Alvarado's forces launched a furious attack on their mountain positions in which many horses, Spaniards and their native auxiliaries were killed. Alvarado retreated from Cuzcatlán on 4 July 1524.

Two years after this battle, Alvarado's kinsman Gonzalo de Alvarado had founded a Spanish base at San Salvador (August 1526), from where the Spanish forces continued to raze the surrounding districts and combat the remaining Pipil resistance. Finally, in 1528, Diego de Alvarado and his Indian auxiliaries set out on another attack on Cuzcatlán, during the defense of which the Nahua forces were defeated. One embellishment of the Atlacatl myth is that he jumped into a volcano to remain an unconquered legend.

Battle of Curalaba

The Battle of Curalaba (Spanish: Batalla de Curalaba pronounced [baˈtaʝa ðe kuɾaˈlaβa]) is a 1598 battle and ambush where Mapuche people led by Pelantaru soundly defeated Spanish conquerors led by Martín García Óñez de Loyola at Curalaba, southern Chile. In Chilean historiography, where the event is often called the Disaster of Curalaba (Spanish: Desastre de Curalaba), the battle marks the end of the "Conquista" period in Chile's history, although the fast Spanish expansion in the south had already been halted in the 1550s.

Battle of Ollantaytambo

The Battle of Ollantaytambo (Spanish: Batalla de Ollantaytambo, IPA: [baˈtaʎa ðe oˈʎantaiˈtambo]) took place in January 1537, between the forces of Inca emperor Manco Inca and a Spanish expedition led by Hernando Pizarro during the Spanish conquest of Peru. A former ally of the Spaniards, Manco Inca rebelled in May 1536, and besieged a Spanish garrison in the city of Cusco. To end the stand-off, the besieged mounted a raid against the emperor's headquarters in the town of Ollantaytambo. The expedition, commanded by Hernando Pizarro, included 100 Spaniards and some 30,000 Indian auxiliaries against an Inca army more than 30,000 strong.

There is some controversy over the actual location of the battle; according to some, it took place in the town itself, while Jean-Pierre Protzen and John Hemming argue that the nearby plain of Mascabamba better matches the descriptions of the encounter. In any case, the Inca army managed to hold the Spanish forces from a set of high terraces and flood their position to hinder their cavalry. Severely pressed and unable to advance, the Spaniards withdrew by night to Cusco. Despite this victory, the arrival of Spanish reinforcements to Cusco forced Manco Inca to abandon Ollantaytambo and seek refuge in the heavily forested region of Vilcabamba, where he established the small independent Neo-Inca State which survived until 1572.

Battle of Quilacura

Battle of Quilacura was a battle in the Arauco War, fought at night, four leagues from the Bio-Bio River, between the Spanish expedition of Pedro de Valdivia and a force of Mapuche warriors led by Malloquete on February 11, 1546.

Battle of Reynogüelén

The Battle of Reynogüelén was a battle between Spanish conquistadors and Mapuche soldiers, thought to have occurred near the confluence of the Ñuble and Itata Rivers, in Chile. It is usually taken as the beginning of the Arauco War.

Capture of Bahia

The capture of Bahia was a military engagement between Portugal (at that time, united with Spain in the Iberian Union) and the Dutch West India Company, occurred in 1624, that ended in the capture of the Brazilian city of Salvador da Bahia by the latter. This capture was part of the Groot Desseyn plan of the Dutch West India Company. Although the Dutch intentions were reported to the Spanish no preventive counter-action was taken by them.

Colonial Argentina

Colonial Argentina is designated as the period of the History of Argentina when it was an overseas colony of the Spanish Empire. It begins in the precolumbian age of the indigenous peoples of Argentina, with the arrival of the first Spanish conqueror.

History of the Incas

The Incas were most notable for establishing the Inca Empire in pre-Columbian America, which was centered in what is now Peru from 1438 to 1533, and represented the height of the Inca civilization. The Inca state was known as the Kingdom of Cuzco before 1438. Over the course of the Inca Empire, the Inca used conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate the territory of modern-day Peru, followed by a large portion of western South America, into their empire, centered on the Andean mountain range. However, shortly after the Inca Civil War, the last Sapa Inca (emperor) of the Inca Empire was captured and killed on the orders of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, marking the beginning of Spanish rule. The remnants of the empire retreated to the remote jungles of Vilcabamba and established the small Neo-Inca State, which was conquered by the Spanish in 1572.

The Quechua name for the empire after the reforms under Pachacuti was Tawantin Suyu, which can be translated The Four Regions or The Four United Regions. Before the Quechua spelling reform it was written in Spanish as Tahuantinsuyo. Tawantin is a group of four things (tawa "four" with the suffix -ntin which names a group); suyu means "region" or "province".

The empire was divided into four suyus, whose corners met at the capital, Cuzco (Qosqo), in modern-day Peru.

Indian scout

Indian scout or Indian Scout may refer to:

A reconnaissance, soldier or paramilitary that operates in the bush, or from a native population

Historically, a Native American skilled in tracking

United States Army Indian Scouts

Indian Scout (motorcycle), a motorcycle built by the Indian Motorcycle Company

a boy scout or girl scout who is American Indian, see American Indian Scouting Association

a boy scout or girl scout from India, see Scouting and Guiding in India

Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army

"Operation Indian Scout", see List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War

Davy Crockett, Indian Scout, 1950 Western film


'Loble, also known as Lig-lemu or Lillemu,(d. ca. 1565) was the Mapuche vice-toqui of the Moluche north of the Bio-Bio River who led the second Mapuche revolt during the Arauco War.

After a brief fight Loble defeated the troops of captain Francisco de Vaca in the Itata River valley who were coming with reinforcements from Santiago. After Millalelmo ambushed Spanish reinforcements coming from Angol under Juan Perez de Zurita, at a crossing of the Andalién River the Mapuche had cut off the city and garrison of Concepcion from outside aid by land.

Millalelmu and Loble besieged Concepcion with 20,000 warriors in February 1564. The siege lasted until at the end of March two ships arrived bringing food that would permit the siege to continue for a much longer time. On the other side the Mapuche had used up local sources of food and were finding it difficult to maintain their large force. With the harvest season coming and with the news of their defeat in the Battle of Angol they were nervous that their families might starve or their undefended homes might be attacked from Angol or Santiago. They raised their siege on April 1, and dispersed to their homes for the winter.

The governor Pedro de Villagra left Santiago in mid January 1565 with 150 Spaniards and 800 Indian auxiliaries and marched south to the Maule River. During the seven months Villagra was in Santiago, Loble had built a strong pucara on the Perquilauquén River, blocking the road south to Concepcion and in the Second Battle of Reinohuelén Villagra rapidly took it and destroyed the Mapuche army holding it. Soon afterward as Loble was bringing up reinforcements but unaware of the defeat of his army he was ambushed, defeated and captured. In the next few months Villagra brought an end to the Mapuche revolt north of the Bio-Bio.


A macuahuitl ([maːˈkʷawit͡ɬ]) is a wooden club with obsidian blades. The name is derived from the Nahuatl language and means "hand-wood". Its sides are embedded with prismatic blades traditionally made from obsidian; obsidian is capable of producing an edge sharper than high quality steel razor blades. The macuahuitl was a standard close combat weapon.

Use of the maquahuitl as a weapon is attested from the first millennium CE. By the time of the Spanish conquest the macuahuitl was widely distributed in Mesoamerica. The weapon was used by different civilisations including the Aztec (Mexicas), Mayan, Mixtec and Toltec.

One example of this weapon survived the Conquest of Mexico; it was part of the Royal Armoury of Madrid until it was destroyed by a fire in 1884. Images of the original designs survive in diverse catalogues. The oldest replica is the macuahuitl created by the medievalist Achille Jubinal in the 19th century.


Paillataru was the toqui of the Mapuche from 1564 to 1574. He succeeded Illangulién in 1564 following his death in the Battle of Angol. Paillataru was said to be the brother or cousin of Lautaro.

During the first years of his command he led raids from time to time to ravage and plunder the possessions of the Spaniards, always avoiding a decisive conflict. In 1565, Paillataru with a body of troops harassed the neighborhood of the city of Cañete... The Real Audiencia of Chile that had taken control of the government of Chile, attempted to make peace with Paillataru. He conducted negotiations but with the aim to delay the conflict not end it. During the negotiations Paillataru took the opportunity to build a pukara in a naturally strong position within two leagues of Cañete.

When it became known in Concepción of Paillataru's activity, the court lost their hopes for peace, and appointed captain Martin Ruiz de Gamboa to head an army of 100 Spaniards and 200 Indian auxiliaries with Lorenzo Bernal del Mercado as his Maestro de Campo. Gamboa's force stormed the fortress and after a long fight captured it after setting it afire, and dispersed Paillataru's army killing 200 of them and capturing some others. Following the battle Pedro Cortez with a party of cazadores harassed the country immediately around the city so well that for a long time the Mapuche could not gather to conduct operations of significance.In 1568 Paillataru had collected a new army and occupied the heights of Catirai. Immediately, the new governor Melchor Bravo de Saravia marched against the toqui with three hundred Spanish soldiers and a large number of Indian auxiliaries. There Paillataru gave the Spaniards a defeat and the governor escaped with the remnant of his troops to Angol, where he resigned the command of the army, appointing Gamboa as its general. Intimidated by his defeat, he ordered Gamboa to evacuate the fortress of Arauco, leaving large numbers of horses to be captured by the Mapuche.

Paillataru, who had moved from Catirai to destroy the Spanish fort at Quiapo, marched afterward against Canete, which he attempted to besiege. However Gamboa advanced to meet him with all the troops he could raise and in a long bloody battle compelled Paillataru to retreat. Gamboa followed up by invading Araucanian territory, intending to ravage it as they had before but Paillataru with fresh levies returned and compelled Gamboa to retreat.

Paillataru was succeeded on his death by the toqui Paineñamcu the Mapuche name of the mestizo Alonzo Diaz.

Quito School

The Quito School (Escuela Quiteña) is a Latin American artistic tradition that constitutes essentially the whole of the professional artistic output developed in the territory of the Royal Audience of Quito — from Pasto and Popayán in the north to Piura and Cajamarca in the south — during the Spanish colonial period (1542-1824). It is especially associated with the 17th and 18th centuries and was almost exclusively focused on the religious art of the Catholic Church in the country. Characterized by a mastery of the realistic and by the degree to which indigenous beliefs and artistic traditions are evident, these productions were among of the most important activities in the economy of the Royal Audience of Quito. Such was the prestige of the movement even in Europe that it was said that King Carlos III of Spain (1716–1788), referring to one of its sculptors in particular, opined: "I am not concerned that Italy has Michelangelo; in my colonies of America I have the master Caspicara".

Siege of Cusco

The Siege of Cusco (May 6, 1536 – March 1537) was the siege of the city of Cusco by the army of Sapa Inca Manco Inca Yupanqui against a garrison of Spanish conquistadors and Indian auxiliaries led by Hernando Pizarro in the hope to restore the Inca Empire (1438–1533). The siege lasted ten months and was ultimately unsuccessful.

Siege of Fort Mose

The Battle of Fort Mose (often called Bloody Mose, or Bloody Moosa at the time) was a significant action of the War of Jenkins' Ear, which took place on June 26, 1740. Captain Antonio Salgado commanded a Spanish column of 300 regular troops, backed by the free black militia and allied Seminole warriors consisting of Indian auxiliaries. They stormed Fort Mose, a strategically crucial position newly held by 170 British soldiers under Colonel John Palmer. This garrison had taken the fort as part of James Oglethorpe's offensive to capture St. Augustine. Taken by surprise, the British garrison was virtually annihilated. Colonel Palmer, three captains and three lieutenants were among the British troops killed in action. The battle destroyed the fort. The Spanish did not rebuild it until 1752.

Spanish conquest of El Salvador

The Spanish conquest of El Salvador was the campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores against the Late Postclassic Mesoamerican polities in the territory that is now incorporated into the modern Central American nation of El Salvador. El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, and is dominated by two mountain ranges running east-west. Its climate is tropical, and the year is divided into wet and dry seasons. Before the conquest the country formed a part of the Mesoamerican cultural region, and was inhabited by a number of indigenous peoples, including the Pipil, the Lenca, the Xinca, and Maya. Native weaponry consisted of spears, bows and arrows, and wooden swords with inset stone blades; they wore padded cotton armour.

The Spanish conquistadores were largely volunteers, receiving the spoils of victory instead of a salary; many were experienced soldiers who had already campaigned in Europe. The Spanish expeditions to Central America were launched from three different Spanish jurisdictions, resulting in rival conquests by mutually hostile Spanish captains. Spanish weaponry included swords, firearms, crossbows and light artillery. Metal armour was impractical in the hot, humid climate of Central America and the Spanish were quick to adopt the quilted cotton armour of the natives. The conquistadors were supported by a large number of Indian auxiliaries drawn from previously encountered Mesoamerican groups.

The first campaign against the native inhabitants was undertaken in 1524 by Pedro de Alvarado. Alvarado launched his expedition against the Pipil province of Cuscatlan from the Guatemalan Highlands, but by July 1524 he had retreated back to Guatemala. Gonzalo de Alvarado founded San Salvador the following year, but it was eradicated by a native attack in 1526, during a general uprising that spread across the region. Pedro de Alvarado returned to campaign in El Salvador in 1526 and 1528, and in the latter year, Diego de Alvarado reestablished San Salvador and issued encomiendas to his supporters. In 1528, the uprising finally ended when the Spanish stormed the native stronghold at the Peñol de Cinacantan.

In 1529, El Salvador became embroiled in a jurisdictional dispute with neighbouring Nicaragua. Pedrarias Dávila sent Martín de Estete at the head of an expedition to annex the territory to Nicaragua. Estete captured the leader of a rival Spanish expedition in eastern El Salvador, and marched on San Salvador, before being repulsed by a relief force sent from Guatemala. In 1530, Pedro de Alvarado ordered the establishment of a new settlement at San Miguel, in the east of the country, to protect against further incursions from Nicaragua, and to assist in the conquest of the surrounding area. Indigenous uprisings against the invaders continued, spreading from neighbouring Honduras. The general uprising across the two provinces was put down by the end of 1538, and by 1539 the province was considered pacified. The conquistadores discovered that there was little gold or silver to be found in El Salvador, and it became a colonial backwater with a small Spanish population, within the jurisdiction of the Captaincy General of Guatemala.

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