Lican Ray > Legend and History
Legend and History


On the northern shore of the Calafquén (ka-laf-ken) Lake, lived a lonko (mapuche community leader) who had a daughter named Licán Ray (lee-kan-raay), pride of the community because of her beauty. She reached the age of fifteen and already had many suitors. However, her father rejected them all, since he found the prices offered by her very low. At that time, the Spaniards were going down the rivers looking for silver and gold, and built forts near the mines to defend themselves if the "indians" came to loot.

The beautiful Licán Ray, used to bathe every morning in the lake. One day a Spanish captain surprised her when she came out of the water. Her silhouette resembled a bright and colored appearance with the first rays of the sun. The Spanish approached and the girl, scared, wanted to flee, but he made her understand, with the few Mapuche words that he knew, that he was not trying to hurt her. The young woman was calmer, and to understand each other better, they tried to teach each other their respective languages. They continued to see each other until they realized they were in love.

Meanwhile, the girl´s father received from another lonko (mapuche community leader) the promise of a great bride price for his daughter and decided to marry his daughter with this lonko. One day, the father of Licán Ray told her that her wedding would take place on the next full moon. The girl went to meet her lover and he promised her that they would flee that night. Licán Ray warned him that, if they were discovered, a horrible death awaited them both. But the love of the lovers was stronger than the fear of death and they decided to escape together. On the banks of the lake they met at dusk and in a canoe arrived very silently, to one of the islands of the Calafquén lake. The lovers lasted two days without lighting a fire, until they were defeated by the intense cold, and at the third day they set a bonfire. The Mapuche had searched for them through the neighboring forests, but after seeing the smoke on the island they decided to go there. The couple, fearing to be captured, went to another island and thus toured the seven islands of Lake Calafquén. The legend says that they disappeared through the river and possibly reached the sea.

On full moon nights, it is said that you can see a couple of lovers who flee in a canoe. (Adaptation)



The town of Licán Ray does not have precise date of its foundation, but it arises naturally with the arrival of the colonists. However, it was registered in the name of the National Treasury in the Registry of Property of the Valdivia Real Estate Register in 1944.

The land adjacent to Licán Ray and, in general, the entire northern shore of Lake Calafquén, as well as vast sectors of the southern littoral, remain indigenous lands. The Caniulef, Ancalef, Cabrapán, Calfil and Manquel communities, surround Licán Ray itself. However, already in the second decade of this century, some Chileans settled in indigenous lands. Just as Mr. Tobías García bought land from Mr. Andrés Calfil and later Mr. Gregorio Becker and Mr. José Jara bought land from Mr. García, who also donated the land for the construction of a Catholic chapel, the current San Francisco Parish.

In the evolution of Licán Ray two stages can be distinguished. The first one started with his "foundation". From 1942 onwards, the newly founded town began to grow. As the sites were free, the people of the surroundings came to settle in him benefiting in addition with the installation of the Company of State Railroads. To this company the National Treasury granted in 1942, and for a term of 20 years, lots on rent and free use to be established. The object was the exploitation of the pellín wood and its elaboration to obtain railway ties/sleepers, which were carried in steam ships that crossed the lake. Later, this project was abandoned, creating another solution for the installation of the Pullinque Hydroelectric Power Plant, which was inaugurated in 1962.

On the other hand, the massive earthquake of 1960 contributed to the decay of Licán Ray, and once past the danger, Licán Ray, began to arise again. In this recent phase of its development, a resort sector was created next to the main beaches, which gave the town a touristic character.

Thus, many houses were built, and more than two thirds of them are summer homes, which are only occupied during the summer season (December to early March). Various architectural styles can be seen in the town, and vary by their size and finishes. The beaches of the city provide a great opportunity for rest, and the great investment in infrastructure in Licán Ray encouraged the tourist development, in terms of accommodation and increased visits to nearby thermal centers. The beautiful bordercoast that today beautifies Licán Ray is one of its maximal attractions.