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Historia Crítica

versão impressa ISSN 0121-1617


HARAMBOUR, Alberto  e  BARRENA RUIZ, José. Barbarism or Justice in Western Patagonia: Forms of Colonial Violence during the Twilight of the Kawésqar People, at the End of the 19th and Start of the 20th Centuries. hist.crit. [online]. 2019, n.71, pp.25-48. ISSN 0121-1617.


This article analyzes the particular forms of inter-ethnic violence in the territory of the coastal or inter-coastal waters (territorio marino o maritorio) of the lands historically occupied by the Kawésqar indigenous group.


In contrast with the widespread notion that the extinction of the Kawésqar nation took place without the interference of the State and essentially resulted from European diseases, this article holds that the particular forms of violence used against them were systematic and long-lasting, and encouraged by the racism of the State itself. The term maritorio, referring to the maritime frontiers of a nation, is taken from architecture and enables us to understand the radical difference between the Kawésqar socio-ecological system and the ways in which the Chilean State constructed a sovereignty, delegated and direct, in a transitional scenario.


The bulk of this investigation draws on judicial archives, which were not previously consulted, in order to analyze inter-ethnic conflicts during the start of the Western colonization of Patagonia. Since the victims of the appropriation of those indigenous territories by the State and business interests rarely figure in these proceedings, a micro-historical analysis was made of the public and private narratives about the denial of humanity to the canoeros .


This study concludes that the violence practiced against the indigenous people of the western channels was systematic and constant, and that its use was endorsed by the colonialism of the Chilean State.

Palavras-chave : Justice; sovereignty; violence; western; Kawésqar; Patagonia; settlement colonialism.

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