|Battle of Curalaba|
|Part of Arauco War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Martín García Oñez de Loyola †||vice toqui Pelantaru|
|50 Spanish and 300 Indian auxiliaries||600 warriors |
|Casualties and losses|
|All but two Spaniards were killed, as were most of the Indian auxiliaries.||?|
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 Conquest of Chile (la conquista) period in Chile's history, although the fast Spanish expansion in the south had already been halted in the 1550s. The battle contributed to unleash a general Mapuche uprising that resulted in the Destruction of the Seven Cities. This severe crisis reshaped Colonial Chile and forced the Spanish to reassess their mode of warfare.
On December 21, 1598, governor Martín García Oñez de Loyola traveled to Purén leading 50 men. On the second day they camped in Curalaba without taking protective measures. The Mapuche people, aware of their presence, with their cavalry led by Pelantaru and his lieutenants, Anganamón and Guaiquimilla, with three hundred men, shadowed his movements and made a surprise night raid. Completely surprised, the governor and almost all of his soldiers and companions were killed.
This event was called the Disaster of Curalaba by the Spaniards. It not only involved the death of the Spanish governor, but the news rapidly spread among the Mapuche and triggered a general revolt, long-prepared by the toqui Paillamachu, that destroyed Spanish camps and towns south of the Bío-Bío River over the next few years.