The Mapuche people are the largest indigenous people in Chile.
With a population reaching nearly a half a million people, they still maintain their language, Mapudungun, and large part of their culture, characterized by familiar and religious bonds, which identify them as a real nation.
Before the Inca expansion, the Mapuche people occupied the entire central valley zone. Under the pressure of the Atacameño people from the north, they were partially retreated to the south.
The Mapuche people resisted the Spanish conquest and dominance longer than any other indigenous people in America . Their resistance was based on the defense of their land, or mapu. The people, che, was organized in a fragmentary system stood for the autonomy of their clans and of their social units organized upon their territory and culture.
The lack of a central political authority, due to the fact that power was placed in the hands of local chiefs and wide territorial locations, worked as an obstacle for the Spanish invasion and against the success of the conquest.