Puelche

Puelche

Puelche, name for various hunting groups of nomadic Native Americans who roamed the Argentine Pampa, hunting guanaco and rhea. Little is known of the Puelche prior to the 18th cent. Accomplished horsemen fighting with lance and bola, they were not very numerous and were absorbed in the 18th cent. by the Araucanians.
Puelche (Mapudungun: pwelche, " people of the east") is the name that the Mapuche used to give the ethnic groups who inhabited the lands to the east of the Andes Mountains (in Argentine territory and some valleys of Chile) including the northern Tehuelches and Hets, these last ones were also known as the Pampas or Querandíes. By the end of the XVIII century the survivors of the plagues and epidemics that decimated these ethnic groups were aculturated in a process of Araucanization by Mapuche immigrants, so that in the XIX century the ethnically mixed group formed was basically Het and Tehuelche but araucanized linguistically and culturally.

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