A poncho (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpontʃo]; Quechua: punchu; Mapudungun: pontro; "blanket", "woolen fabric") is an outer garment designed to keep the body warm. A rain poncho is made from a watertight material designed to keep the body dry from the rain. Ponchos have been used by the Native American peoples of the Andes and Patagonia since pre-Hispanic time, from places now under the territory of Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina and are now considered typical South American garments.
In the late 18th century, Basque navigator José de Moraleda wrote that the ponchos of the Huilliche of Osorno were less colorful than those of Chiloé Archipelago. The Huilliche are the principal indigenous population of Chile from Toltén River to Chiloé Archipelago. Mapuche ponchos were once highly valued, in the 19th century a poncho could be traded for several horses or up to seventy kilos of yerba mate. 19th century Mapuche ponchos were clearly superior to non-indigenous Chilean textiles and of good quality when comparing to contemporary European wool textiles.