This set of early seventeenth-century sermons was composed by Fr. Luis de Valdiva (1560–1621) , one of the first Spanish Jesuits assigned to Chile. Valdivia played a cruical role in the development of Spanish Crown’s ‘defensive war’ policy towards the Mapuche, which suspended direct attacks on native groups and emphasised acculturation.

The sermons are intended as a programatic introduction to Christian faith, with the express intent of converting the Mapuche and having them renounce their traditional beliefs and religious practices. This was a key part of Valdivia’s strategy for pacifying the region through conversion rather than — thus far unsuccessful — belicose confrontation.

The transcription was made from scans of the only extant copy of the work, held at Chile’s Biblioteca Nacional (id MC: MC0013037/id BN: 64592), which is also the source of Toribio Medina’s 1897 facsimile editon.