Chile: Ancud in Chiloé

September 19th, 2006

Ancud was founded in 1769 as a Spanish stronghold in the region, and after Peruvian independence in 1824 it was the Spanish Crown’s last possession in all of South America. The bay is surrounded by forts like the one you can see in the images attached. Spanish Ancud was able to fight off one Free-Chilean attack, but cold and demoralised fled in the face of a second.

It’s nearly impossible to find your way around in this city, the roads are chaotic and in most part unmarked. The town is a vast improvement on Puerto Montt and had more character. The plaza was a vast improvement too, and the first I have seen in South America that you have to climb stairs to reach. It also has an excellent museum that explains some of the myths and legends of the island.

The Trauco is one of these myths and is a hideous deformed dwarf who lives in the deep forests.

According to myth, he has a hypnotic gaze, which he will use to mesmerise any unwanted intruders before he kills them. More often, though, he uses it to lull nubile young women into a more receptive state, at which point he takes his liberties with them. Thus, El Trauco is sometimes invoked to explain sudden or unwanted pregnancies, especially in unmarried women.

The Jesuit Missionaries were unable to completely eradicate these beliefs.

Tags: , ,