Toqui (Mapudungun for axe or axe-bearer) is a title conferred by the Mapuche (an indigenous Chilean people) on those chosen as leaders during times of war. The toqui is chosen in an assembly or parliament (coyag) of the chieftains (loncos) of various clans (Rehues) or confederation of clans (Aillarehues), allied during the war at hand. The toqui commanded strict obedience of all the warriors and their loncos during the war, would organize them into units and appoint leaders over them. This command would continue until the toqui was killed, abdicated (Cayancaru), was deposed in another parliament (as in the case of Lincoyan, for poor leadership), or upon completion of the war for which he was chosen.
Some of the more famous Toqui in the Arauco War with the Spanish introduced tactical innovations. For example, Lautaro introduced infantry tactics to defeat horsemen. Lemucaguin was the first Toqui to use firearms and artillery in battle. Nongoniel was the first Toqui to use cavalry with the Mapuche army. Cadeguala was the first to successfully use Mapuche cavalry to defeat Spanish cavalry in battle. Anganamón was the first to mount his infantry to keep up with his fast-moving cavalry. Lientur pioneered the tactic of numerous and rapid malóns into Spanish territory.
The greatest of the Toqui was the older Paillamachu, who developed the strategy, patiently organized and trained his forces and then with his two younger Vice Toqui, Pelantaro and Millacolquin, carried out the Great Revolt of 1598-1604 which finally expelled the Spanish from Araucania.