Vineyards in the Desert: The Jesuits and the Rise and Decline of an Indian Town in New Spain's Northeastern Borderlands

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Southern Methodist University, 2009 - Parras de la Fuente (Mexico) - 280 pages
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In the waning years of the sixteenth century the Society of Jesus established a series of mission in the northern frontier of New Spain. The easternmost of this missions was called the Mission of Parras, and it ministered to the semi-nomadic Lagunero Indians of the region called Comarca Lagunera in northeastern Nueva Vizcaya. Along with the Jesuits, a colony of sedentary Tlaxcaltecan Indians with royal privileges settled among the Laguneros to serve as example in teaching them an agricultural lifestyle and incorporate into Spanish institutions. The Laguneros were the most populous northern Indian group, but disappeared by the middle of the seventeenth century. Afterward the Parras Indians were mostly privileged Tlaxcaltecan that successfully defended their rights to water, lands, and exemption from forced labor. Parras experienced a wine-making boom that made its Tlaxcaltecans an unusually wealthy Indian group; the Jesuits were crucial in the way these unique socioeconomic structures developed.

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