Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Greatest Revenge Story Never Told

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Revenge, is there anything that tastes so sweet? Few things feel as good as seeing an injustice quite literally beaten out of somebody.

And while we say two wrongs never make a right,

I'd argue that the films John Wick, Batman, Django Unchained,

Kill Bill, and an infinite number of other pop violence says otherwise.

Which is why I'm so surprised to find that one of the best true stories of vengeance ever lived has been virtually untold.

So Hollywood, if you're listening, this is the story of Lautaro, the slave who defied an empire.

In the early 1500s, a boy named Leftraru was born to the chief of a South American tribe.

But beyond his father's special status, his childhood wasn't really all that unique. A normal boy learning to be a man;

learning to rule as his father had done.

But by his 24th birthday,

he'd be dead.

Because Leftraru and his father were not born into the same worlds.

His was a world facing apocalypse. On the doorstep of his tribe an empire had arrived.

Death and subjugation wore the mask of Spanish conquistadors searching for gold and silver, killing anyone who got in their way.

Their leader was a man named Pedro de Valdivia, who was given the task of turning Chile into a functioning Spanish colony.

After having served

loyally under Francisco Pizarro in Peru,

it was his turn to have a crack at the bat, and he was gonna make a legacy out of it.

With a hundred and fifty soldiers he marched south and settled the city of Santiago, murdering or enslaving

thousands of local people who stood in his way. In a sense, this slaughter is what began modern Chile.

It's after him that the southern city of Valdivia is named, and his memory is etched into streets and monuments around the country.

Statues of him graced the cities founded through his conquest.

But it's hard for me to see Valdivia as the hero of this story, even from a pro-Western perspective.

Conquistadors rarely come out looking like the good guy.

His mandate was to conquer people in the name of personal wealth and glory, and by extension the glory of Spain.

He wasn't a crusader conquering Chile under a misguided attempt to save people from a heathen religion,

he wasn't a protectionist conquering as a means of keeping his borders safe; if this were a revenge film,

there's little question that he'd easily fit into the role of bad guy.

Of course that isn't to say that he was unnaturally evil, or even counter to the world that he lived in.

Good and evil have always been a matter of perspective.

What Valdivia had done was nothing new to the world. As a general practice, it predated European expansion by tens of thousands of years.

Few states start in peace and unity. The devastation of conquest is an unfortunate habit of the human condition.

But his lack of uniqueness was little solace to the people who he enslaved.

But enslave he did. Men, women, and children were put to work for an empire they had only just learned existed.

Leftraru was among them, a human spoil of war.

Much of his life is apocryphal,

so the exact date of his capture and what happened under Spanish enslavement is impossible to pin down for certain.

But that said, I've never heard anyone blame Hollywood for sticking too closely to history.

What we do know is that at some point in his teens, he was forced into servitude by Valdivia's men.

There, due to an inability to say his name,

he would become known as Lautaro, which is how Chile remembers him to this day.

Lautaro was a good slave. He obeyed his masters. Quietly and without rebuttal,

he always did what he was told, soaking up anything

he could along the way. He was friendly, so his captors put velvet on their gloves, and acted friendly in return.

Kindness beget education, and soon he was being taught the Spanish way of life. A boy with little to no experience around horses,

he was trained how to take care of them.

He cleaned stables, groomed the animals, and gained an understanding of how to ride.

His people had virtually no understanding of these beasts, which had only been introduced to the Americas by Europeans a few short generations before.

Horses would have been terrifying to a people unaccustomed to riding animals, and therefore learning to use them would have made Lautaro

particularly unique among the Mapuche. A boy with little experience in battle, he was soon taught how the conquistadors went to war.

He was such a good student that he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the personal attendant to Pedro de Valdivia himself.

He prepared his horse for battle, and sometimes even joined to witness the slaughter.

It was said that here he watched as the Spanish invaded

villages of his own people, cutting off the hands and feet of those who defied their incoming rule,

murdering mothers and their children before his eyes.

Day after day the Spanish encroached further into the lands of his birth.

His people fought back valiantly and held their ground as they had done against the Inca a century before, but with each passing

battle the situation worsened. Yet Lautaro bided his time.

To his captors,

he must have seemed like the perfect vessel. A boy who would be leader, learning to love the Spanish way of life. In him

they saw someone willing to play ball. After all, it wasn't as though he couldn't escape.These were his lands and his people.

Slipping away in the night had always been a real possibility; He'd just chosen not to.

To Valdivia, it must have felt like a Gallic prince getting accustomed to Roman life.

They surely must have felt that when he did leave, it would be as a subjugated ruler, a dark-skinned emissary of Spain.

But Lautaro had different plans.

Every second since his capture, he'd been preparing for the moment of his revenge. Every hand cut from a mother, every child

taken into bondage, every village burnt to the ground

fueled him. He was not the timid slave he was making himself out to be.

He was a sponge soaking up all the information

he'd need to expel those who subjugated his people. And as the apocalypse drew ever closer,

he decided the time had come.

One night, Lautaro slipped away. He was twenty-two years old.

Valdivia, for his part, was not all too concerned. While losing his favorite groom may have been personally upsetting,

it was little more. The Spanish had seen a number of small setbacks in Chile,

but there had been little reason to presume they wouldn't ultimately triumph.

He would have the money, the power, and the glory he yearned for. Nothing would stand in his way.

He was Spanish and these were lands claimed by the Crown.

Lautaro returned home and found a people aching for war.

He gathered the leaders of the Mapuche and explained all he'd seen. In

doing so he became the vessel that the Spanish dreamed

he could be, a sponge who learned everything they'd aimed to teach him.

But he was not the boy they'd captured years before. He would not be their dark-skinned emissary.

He would be the war chief who brought death back to their door.

The tribal leaders all agreed. Revolution would spread on the back of a slave. A year later, and Lautaro

led the Mapuche to war. They began taking Spanish encampments one by one, eventually sieging the important fort at Tucapel.

Valdivia had seen this type of rebellion before.

Natives had often revolted and he'd often crushed them.

Unity was rarely their strength. After all, he was a Spanish trained tactician, and they weren't.

Instead of allowing the war party to progress any further,

he would meet them himself. Taking 40 Spanish caballeros on horseback with a few hundred native conscripts,

he marched off to bolster Fort Tucapel and crush his rebellious little slave boy. And on Christmas Day,

1553, Valdivia arrived to find his precious fort razed to the ground, his lieutenants all dead are gone.

There would be no walls to protect him here. As his soldiers dismounted and began setting up camp for the night, the Mapuche attacked.

Despite being outnumbered and caught off guard, the Spanish managed to hold the line.

The first wave was defeated and Valdivia victorious.

But as they started to celebrate their victory, a second wave flooded out.

These came with nets and lances, pulling the Spanish off their horses and dragging them into the forest.

Seeing themselves nearly overwhelmed, they fought back with a fury they'd never expected to need. And again

they pushed back the Mapuche, but this time there was no celebration.

With half their soldiers dead or dying, Valdivia sounded the retreat. And just as they began to turn and run,

Lautaro stepped out from the forest.

There was nowhere to go. A third wave of Mapuche crashed through the Spanish lines, and killed every last man.

There's no clear agreement on how Valdivia died, but by all accounts he survived right up to the end.

He didn't die in battle, but in defeat.

His final seconds would have been Lautaro's to decide.

In the coming months Lautaro would push the Spanish all the way back to Santiago, to the main gates of colonial Chile.

Despite having a dwindled number of soldiers, he was gonna see his revenge through to the end. To his end.

He was 23 years old.

There in the city that started it all, Lautaro would die, pierced through the heart by a Spanish lance. And

bleeding out in the dirt once owned by his people, he clutched a sword to his chest, the sword of Valdivia,

conquistador of Chile. This is Rare Earth.

[Spanish from behind camera]

[Spanish] *laughter*

They saved us. We were going to drive up this hill, we couldn't drive up this hill, and these two boys *whispered* saved us.

Tu nombre es? Mi [Spanish] Y tu? [Spanish][Spanish from behind camera] ยกMucho gusto!

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