Querandí were one of the Het peoples, indigenous South Americans
who lived in the
Pampas area of Argentina; specifically, they were the
eastern Didiuhet. The name
Querandí was given by the Guaraní people,
as they would consume animal fat in their daily diet. Thus, Querandí
means "men with fat". They were also well known as the
Pampas prior to
the 19th Century.
Mapuche (or araucanos) called them Puelche.
This is today the present Argentine provinces of La Pampa, most of the
province of Buenos Aires, the center and the south of the province of
Santa Fe (especially to the south of the Tercero-Carcaraña River), a
great part of the province of Cordoba (adapted ecologically to the
temperate Pampasia, their northern limits were in the region of the
Gran Chaco - around 31° lat. South) and the peneplains of the present
provinces of San Luis and Mendoza, although these zones were more
difficult to inhabit due to its extreme climate and lack of surface
Querandí Indians had a well-proportioned body. They
were tall and extremely warlike. They wore leather clothes, similar to
a fur blanket; women would also wear a skirt that covered their bodies
down to their knees. With a semi sedentary lifestyle, they grouped
their leather tents by their water supply in the winter, and they
would go on their raids inland in the summer.
At the time of the arrival of the Europeans they stood out as great
runners hunting, or rather capturing by running down Pampan deer,
ñandúes, and even guanacos, although to facilitate their activity
they had invented two devices (one that would become a classic in
Argentina): the bolas, and the more primitive one consisting of a
stone tied to a cord made with leather or sinews called by the
Spaniards a stone-lost boleadora. They would also hunt tinamous, deer,
quail[verification needed] and ñandúes with the help of their bows
and arrows and their bolas. They also made pottery.
They believed in a great god whom they called Soychu, who had a
contender or evil spirit: Gualichu.
According to the 2010 census there are 3,658 self-identified Querandí
Relations with the Europeans
In 1516, the Spaniard
Juan Díaz de Solís landed on the shores of the
River Plate (Río de la Plata), but the natives resisted his attempt
of conquest and the expedition failed.
Ferdinand Magellan touched the port soon afterwards and went up the
River Plate in search for a connection between the Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans. When he saw that there was no such connection, he
continued navigating southwards along the land presently called
Patagonia, making contact with the Tehuelche peoples, whom he called
Patagones. After this, he discovered the strait bearing his name and
connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
The Querandi tribe first met Europeans when Pedro de Mendoza's
expedition arrived in the area of
Buenos Aires in 1535 AD. The first
Buenos Aires took place in March 1536 by Don Pedro de
Mendoza (1487–1537), who had been given the title of
“Adelantado” and empowered by
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor “to
conquer and colonize the lands in Solis' River, called River Plate".
The exact place where the city was founded is not accurately known, as
no traces of the foundation act have been found.
Querandí Indians, who lived in the surrounding area, were
friendly at the beginning and obtained Spanish goods in exchange for
food resulting from hunting and fishing; but, suddenly, they chose to
interrupt contact and food became scarce among the Spaniards.
With the intention of subjugating the Querandí, Pedro de Mendoza
organized a military expedition led by his brother, Diego de Mendoza,
which was defeated on the banks of the
Luján River on June 15, 1536,
in a battle between the Spaniards and the Querandí. The Spanish
cavalry was neutralized by the
Querandí bolas and the remainder of
the force managed to avoid being wiped out and retreated to Buenos
Aires in the night. According to Ulrich Schmidl, a soldier in the
battle, about forty Spaniards and a thousand Indians were killed in
From that moment,
Buenos Aires was at the mercy of hunger and the
Querandí raids. The surviving Indians allied with one
another to besiege and force the abandonment of the recently founded
city. With the Spaniards abandoning their livestock, they adopted
horse-riding and pursued wild cattle and other game, thus generating a
new equestrian lifestyle. They continued being nomads, and they could
more easily make contact with other native peoples and successfully
made war on the Spanish.
Further attempts at conquest and population settlement in the Pampas
by the Spaniards left from three different places: Perú,
Asunción del Paraguay. From Peru, the cities of Santiago del Estero
(1553), Tucumán (1565), Córdoba (1573),
Salta (1582), Catamarca
(1583), La Rioja (1591) and
Jujuy (1593) were founded.
Chile were founded the cities of Mendoza (1561), San Juan (1562)
and San Luis (1594). And from Asunción del Paraguay, was founded
Santa Fe (1573) and
Buenos Aires (1580) and
Resistance by mounted warriors prevented the Spanish from settling
further to the South. The Spanish conqueror Juan de Garay, who carried
out the second foundation of
Buenos Aires on June 11, 1580, was killed
in 1583 during an ambush by Querandi Indians on his camp on the banks
of the Carcarañá River, near the old site of Sebastian Cabots Sancti
Ulrich Schmidl, Viaje al Río de la Plata, 1567.
Thomas Falkner, Description of
Patagonia and the adjoining parts of
South America, Pugh, Hereford, 1774.
Bruce G. Trigger, Wilcomb E. Washburn, Richard E. W. Adams, The
Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, Vol III South
America Part 2. , Cambridge Unive