The Guaraní Under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata

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Stanford University Press, 2005 - History - 290 pages
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This ethnographic study is a revisionist view of the most significant and widely known mission system in Latin America—that of the Jesuit missions to the Guaraní Indians, who inhabited the border regions of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. It traces in detail the process of Indian adaptation to Spanish colonialism from the sixteenth through the early nineteenth centuries.

The book demonstrates conclusively that the Guaraní were as instrumental in determining their destinies as were the Catholic Church and Spanish bureaucrats. They were neither passive victims of Spanish colonialism nor innocent “children” of the jungle, but important actors who shaped fundamentally the history of the Río de la Plata region. The Guaraní responded to European contact according to the dynamics of their own culture, their individual interests and experiences, and the changing political, economic, and social realities of the late Bourbon period.

 

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Contents

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Page 6 - ... Their government is a most admirable thing. The kingdom is already more than three hundred leagues in diameter and is divided into thirty provinces. Los Padres have everything and the people have nothing; 'tis the masterpiece of reason and justice. For my part, I know nothing so divine as Los Padres who here make war on the Kings of Spain and Portugal and in Europe act as their confessors; who here kill Spaniards and at Madrid send them to Heaven; all this delights me; come on; you will be the...
Page 12 - Sometimes it appears as the (relative) capacity of human beings to shape the actions and perceptions of others by exercising control over the production, circulation, and consumption of signs and objects, over the making of both subjectivities and realities. This is power in its agentive mode: it refers to the command wielded by human beings in specific historical contexts. But power also presents, or rather hides, itself in the forms of everyday life.

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About the author (2005)

Barbara Ganson is Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University.

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