Altos de Cantillana Expediciones & Ecoturismo – Valle de Aculeo – Chile

The Aculeo area, located 70 kilometers southwest of Santiago, has long stood out in the history of Chile. There are references that at least in 1585 it was a leading population center. However, the region lost demographic weight by the middle of the 18th century for reasons unknown due to the difficulty of finding systematic and reliable historical sources.

The etymology of the word ACULEO comes from Mapudungún (the Mapuche language) “ACUÑ-LEUFU,” which means: PLACE WHERE THE WATERS MEET. In the Aculeo Valley, traces of three Pre-Hispanic cultures have been found: the Llolleo culture, which is the oldest; the Mapuche culture; and the Inca culture; the last two of which were present upon the arrival of the first foreign settlers.

Aculeo was one of the 29 “doctrines of Indians” existing in Chilein 1585. The “doctrine” was quickly replacing the missions in densely populated areas where it received a special pastoral focus to the indigenous population.

In 1662, the Hacienda of Aculeo became property of D. Ignacio de la Carrera Iturgoyen through his marriage to Catalina Ortiz de Elguea. De la Carrera was grandfather of “los Carrera”, leaders of the Independence of Chile, some of whose descendants remained in the area.

The Letelier family acquired the Hacienda of Aculeo from the Larraín-Gandilleras family around 1830; their descendants and the descendants of their employees and tenants still live in the area, maintaining the history of the last 180 years in their collective memory.

From there, the vocation of the hacienda became focused on agriculture and ranching, with some small mining enclaves; these trades went on to characterize the culture and traditions of the inhabitants of the valley.

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