The Spanish use of dogs to hunt, kill and torture natives in the Indies is both attested to and illustrated by historians of the sixteenth century. And, although I came across no written evidence that this practice made its way south to Chile, the fact that it might have does not stretch the imagination. Hence, the Nuño Beltrán de Mendoza of my novel.
Most of my information having to do with Spanish war dogs and the dogging of natives derives from
“ …of noble blood, blond-haired, fair-skinned … in 1526 he assumed command in Pánuco, where he is said to have committed atrocities never before heard of in Nueva España. Settlers who resisted him, he committed to death without trial; and on one occasion he nailed a Spaniard to a tree by his tongue because the man’s language had been impertinent….
Readers of Arauco will recognize not only the general appearance of the dogger, but an inspiration for a scene in my novel….
Guzmán’s torture and execution of the native cacique, Tangaxoan, described by Pedro Gómez de San Benito in Arauco (slightly embelished, as was his wont), is depicted in an engraving from the time: