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The Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia (also called New France) was a self-proclaimed independent state founded by a French lawyer and adventurer named Orelie-Antoine de Tounens in southern South America in the mid 19th century. At the time the local indigenous Mapuche population were engaged in a desperate armed struggle to retain their independence in the face of hostile military and economic encroachment by the governments of Chile and Argentina, who coveted the Mapuche lands for their agricultural potential.


While visiting the region in 1860, Orelie-Antoine came to sympathise with the Mapuche cause, and a group of loncos (Mapuche tribal leaders) in turn elected him to the position of King—possibly in the belief that their cause might be better served with a European acting on their behalf. Orelie-Antoine then set about establishing a government, created a blue, white and green flag, and had coins minted for the nation under the name of Nouvelle France.

His efforts at securing international recognition for the Mapuche were thwarted by the Chilean and Argentinian governments, who captured, imprisoned and then deported him on several occasions. The supposed founding of the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia led to the approval of the Occupation of the Araucania by Chilean forces. Chilean president Jose Joaquin Perez authorized Cornelio Saavedra Rodriguez, commander the Chilean troops invading Araucania to capture Orelie-Antoine. He did not receive further punishment because he was deemed to be insane by both Chilean and Argentinean authorities and sent to a madhouse in Chile. King Orelie-Antoine I eventually died penniless in France in 1878 after years of fruitless struggle to regain his perceived legitimate authority over his conquered kingdom.

The first Araucanian king's present-day successor, Prince Felipe, lives in France and has renounced his predecessor's claims to the Kingdom, but he has kept alive the memory of Orelie-Antoine, and lent continued support to the ongoing struggle for Mapuche self-determination by authorising the minting of forty or so coins in cupronickel, silver, gold, and palladium since 1988.


  • King Orelie Antoine I (1860–1878)Piccirilli, R: "Diccionario historico argentino.", page 260. Ediciones Historicas, 1953.
  • King Aquiles I (1878–1902)Sociedad Chilena de Historia y Geografia, Archivo Nacional (Chile): "Revista chilena de historia y geografia.", page 277. Impr. Universitaria, 1931.
  • King Antonio II (1902–1903)Braun Menendez, A: "Pequena historia patagonica.", page 128. Emece Editores, 1959.
  • Queen Laura Teresa I (1903–1916)
  • King Antonio III (1916–1952)
  • Prince Felipe (1952–present)

See also

  • Araucanization
  • Occupation of the Araucania
  • Conquest of the Desert
  • French colonization of the Americas


External links

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Kingdom_of_Araucania_and_Patagonia

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