Touched By A Drug Addled Angel
Santiago, the capital of Chile, was founded by the Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia in 1541. The Spanish, not being particularly welcome in the neighbourhood, were met with some resistance from the natives.
The Inca ruler Manco Cápac II warned the new rulers that his Indigenous people would be hostile to the occupiers. – Wikipedia
This was a bit of an understatement, as the few hundred Spanish at the site were quickly inundated by thousands of natives who were annoyed with the land grab.
So why do we still have a city of Santiago at all? Was it the Spanish’s guns and armour that saved them? Gumption and technology?
Not according to the conquistadors.
This is a footnote from The Spaniards: An Introduction to Their History By Américo Castro, Willard F. King, Selma Margaretten, but the book I originally read about this incident in, Lost Explorers*, pointed out that, while it was a useful bit of propaganda for the Spanish to claim that St. James (Sant Yago) arrived on the scene on his spectral pony, wearing a crisp waistcoat and bearing a white lance and shield, it’s hard to understand why the heavily overwhelming native force apparently suffered a mass delusion and broke into retreat.
While I personally don’t believe that a martial phantasm came down to take up the Spanish cause, I do believe the practice of chewing coca leaves was common amongst the South American population of the time.
* I apologize for the lack of further attribution, I’m physically well away from the book at the moment, and can’t recall the author’s name.