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A Brief History Of The Jesuit Reduction

1199 words - 5 pages

A Reduction is a mission town set up by Jesuit missionaries. The Jesuit Reduction started in the 16th century and was an idea of making missions for the native people of Central and South America to reduce the spread of the native population. This Reduction was started by the Spanish government the help Christianize, tax, and govern them also this made it easier for Spain to use the natives they captured as slaves to the crown. The Spanish government at this time was one of the global superpowers they had a lot of control until their lands got too cumbersome to handle. The area that was most influenced by these Reductions was modern day Paraguay in the tribe of the Tupi-Guarani (as seen in the movie “The Mission”) and later spread further south to places like Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. The Reductions in South America were different from those elsewhere because while the native tribes were expected to convert to Christianity they were not required to adopt European customs and lifestyles. The Reductions ended up having a high degree of autonomy and became very economically successful. Reductions were subject to raids from slave traders and the Spanish helped form an Indian militia to protect the Reductions. The high autonomy level, economic success, and the danger from slave traders led to the expulsion of the Jesuits from Central and South America in 1767.
The Jesuit Reductions started in the early 17th century when priest set out to evangelize the native tribes of Central and South America. Although these practices started in the South Americas they also went north, in Mexico the policy was called congregación, and also took the form of the hospitals of Vasco de Quiroga, and the Franciscan Missions of California, and in Portuguese Brazil they were known as aldeias, these all started off from the idea of a Reduction. The Jesuits founded in 1540 were late arrivals to the newly discovered lands in the Americas when they arrived in about 1570, especially compared to the Dominicans and Franciscans, and therefore had to look to the frontiers of colonization for mission areas. This late coming had problems associated with it like lands already being claimed, therefore ineffective in the quest to evangelize the Americas.
The Reduction began when Bishop Lizarraga asked for missionaries to go and evangelize Paraguay. Later in 1609 the Jesuits received government consent to go and evangelize South America, acting under instructions from Phillip III, the Spanish governor of Asunción made a deal to set up in specific locations as allowed by the government. The Jesuits agreed to set up small villages and missions at strategic points along the Paraná river that were populated with natives and maintained a separation from Spanish towns. Missions were booming in the area, within 25 years the Jesuits had made 15 missions. Because these missions spread into Portuguese land they were subjected to frequent destructive raids by Bandeirantes of São Paulo to...

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