Chilean-Patagonian War

12 March 1861


3 March 1866


Araucania and Patagonia, South America


Patagonian Victory
-Chile divided between Patagonia and Argentina

Major battles:

Battle of Cordoba


Flag of ChileChile

Flag of the Kingdom of Araucanía and PatagoniaKingdom of Patagonia Flag of ArgentinaArgentina
Flag of the Habsburg MonarchyAustrian volunteers


Flag of ChileCornelio Saavedra Rodríguez

Flag of the Kingdom of Araucanía and PatagoniaKing Antoine I
Flag of the Kingdom of Araucanía and PatagoniaAntinanco Saqui
Flag of the Kingdom of Araucanía and PatagoniaVincent Montessier
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy Heiner von Kermann


Flag of Chile At least 4000

Flag of the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia Between 5000 and 10,000
Flag of Argentina2,500
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy 12,000

Casualties and Losses



The Chilean-Patagonian War, also known as the Occupation of Araucania in Chile or the Chilean invasion of Patagonia in Patagonia, was a war that started in 1861 shortly after the creation of the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia, which was not recognized by the Chilean government. This lead to the invasion of Araucania and its occupation by the Chilean forces and the beginning of the war.

The war ended with a Patagonian victory and the division of Chile between the victors.


Since the independence of South America, many problems arrised between the Spanish speaking population and the Mapuche natives from the region of Araucania in Chile and Patagonia in Argentina.

In 1860, a French lawyer named Orélie-Antoine de Tounens came on a visit in Araucania. He would come to care for the Mapuche's cause, and in return they elected him as king. This was not well received by Chile and Argentina, and even convinced the Chilean government to occupy Araucania, launching the war.

First years of the war

General Rodrigez, who led the Chilean forces, took advantage of the lack of organization from the Mapuches and the lack of truly organized Patagonian army. King Antoine and his men were not even fully prepared that Araucania was already occupied by the Chileans.

Orélie-Antoine Mapuche Clothes

King Antoine I in traditional Mapuche clothings

Rodriguez than began to march with his troops in the north of Patagonia. King Antoine tried to surrender his claim on Araucania in hope it would stop the Chilean invasion, which failed miserably. He also tried to bride Rodriguez to his side by promising him ranks and titles, but also failed.

Seeing that he would not be able to get out of it with diplomacy, he organized his defenses against the Chilean, and changed the capital to Viedma. With the help of his current Marshal, Antinanco Sanqui, he organized the Mapuche tribes and recruited soldiers. He was then able to organize a regular army from them and the Latino population living in Patagonia. He used this army to fortify the capital and defend it.

Vincent Montessier

Vincent Montessier

Foreign Help and Patagonian Victory

The lack of actions from the Chilean forces lead the Patagonian to loosen their guard. Following this, the Chilean forces lead an attack in Patagonian territories, meeting little to no resistance. But during that period arrived multiple French who wanted to gain fame and titles in Patagonia. Among them was Vincent Montessier, a military officer, who was made Marshal of the Patagonian armies, replacing Antinanco Saqui. He began to organize the forces of Patagonia into a real army.

Around the same time, in late 1863, 12,000 Austrian volunteers came to help Patagonia with the support of their country. Their leader, a nobleman named Heiner von Kermann, proved to be a competent strategist. Following the victory of Montessier at Cordoba, which was the first Patagonian victory and the turning point of the war, von Kermann was charged by the King to organize the defences of Patagonia while Montessier led the offensive.


Heiner von Kermann

Soon after Austria recognized the country, Argentina entered the war on the side of Patagonia, saying that the Chilean attack on Patagonia was brutal and without legitimacy. This help from the Argentinean helped the Patagonian to retake their territories in the region.

Following the defeat of the Chilean in Patagonia, Montessier lead the offensive to retake Araucania, which was a success. Von Kermann was charged of fortifying Araucania to stop any possible offensive from the scattered Chilean forces. In early 1866, Montessier made his entrance in the Chilean capital, ending the war.