He then inquired of the Cunches which was the best road into the south. Tunconobal directed him towards the west, which was the roughest and most mountainous; and on being asked for a guide, left one of his companions, whom he directed to lead the Spanish army by the most difficult and desolate roads near the coast.
The Cunches approved the wise council of the Araucanian, and deputed him with nine natives of the country to carry a present to the Spanish general, such as he had recommended. He clothed himself and his companions accordingly in wretched rags, and made his appearance with every mark of fear before Don Garcia.
The Cunches are one of the most valiant of the tribes inhabiting Chili, and possess the maritime country from the river Callacalla, called Valdivia by the Spaniards, to the gulf of Chiloé. They are divided into several subordinate tribes or clans, each of which, as in the other parts of Chili, are governed by their respective ulmens.
While Valdivia was deliberating upon the adoption of proper measures for crossing this river, a woman of the country, named Recloma, addressed the general of the Cunches with so much eloquence in behalf of the strangers, that he withdrew his army and allowed them to pass the river unmolested.
The inhabitants, who are similar in all respects to their western neighbours the Cunches, made no opposition to his march through their country; and Don Garcia on this occasion founded the city of Osorno in their country at the western extremity of a great lake, though according to some authors he only rebuilt that town.
That part of Chili which remains unconquered reaches from the river Biobio in the north to the Archipelago of Chiloe in the south, or between the latitudes of 37° and 42' S. This country is inhabited by three independent nations, the Araucanians, the Cunches, and the Huìllìches.
As Don Garcia believed the Araucanian war was terminated by this destructive enterprise, he gave orders to rebuild the city of Conception, and desirous of adding fresh laurels to the victories he had already obtained, he marched in 1558 with a numerous army against the Cunches in the south of Chili, a nation which had not yet been assailed by the Spanish arms.
Of late years two other provinces have been formed by the disjunction of Maule, and the provinces of Cauquenes and Cunco are nominally added to the former number, but without any addition of territory. Besides these, they possess the fortress and port of Valdivia in the country of the Cunches, the archipelago of Chiloe, and the island of Juan Fernandez.
On first hearing of the approach of the Spaniards, the chiefs of the Cunches met in council to deliberate whether they should submit or resist the invasion of these formidable strangers. On this occasion, one Tunconobal, an Araucanian exile, who was present in the assembly, was desired to give his opinion, which he did in the following terms. "Be cautious how you adopt either of these measures.
In this manner Valdivia traversed the whole territory of the Araucunians from north to south, with exceedingly little opposition and hardly any loss. But on his arrival at the river Callacalla, which separates the Araucanians from the Cunches, he found that nation in arms on the opposite bank of the river, ready to dispute the passage.