A Reappraisal of Mapuche Textile Production and Sheep Raising During the Nineteenth Century

Manuel Llorca-Jaña


This paper is about Mapuche sheep raising and woollens production during the first three quarters of the nineteenth century, as well as about the perception customers had of Mapuche wool manufactures. Based on the British consular reports and travellers’ diaries written after Chile gained independence, this article provides new and stronger evidence to support the case that Mapuche textile production was of high-quality and very important for their entire economy; that the Mapuche woollens trade was comparable to European industries before the 1850s; and that the Mapuche wool industry was certainly more developed than the one existing in Chile, the main market for Mapuche exports. This article also shows that this superiority over the Chilean woollens industry included the production of the main raw material used to produce woollens, namely raw wool.

Palabras clave

Mapuche; textile; Chile; nineteenth century

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