Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Chile before Chile

Southern Zone

The Land of Lakes and Forests

Southern Chile’s lakes region has a temperate, rainy climate and forests that become veritable jungles as one moves further south. The territory was first inhabited nearly 13,000 years ago by nomadic hunter-gatherer groups. After several millennia, some groups became more sedentary and took up horticulture and ceramic-making, though these activities only became well-established in the area around 1000 years ago. The people of this region successfully repelled both Inca and Spanish conquerors on many occasions. The territory is the homeland of one of the most numerous native peoples of the Americas—the Mapuche, who have preserved much of their pre-Columbian heritage.