Download The Jesuit Republic of Guaranis (1609-1768) and Its Heritage epub
by Selim Abou
In America, between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, the expansion of the Society of Jesus appeared as the spiritual and humanistic counterpart of the military conquest and political domination. From Canada to Rio de la Plata, including California, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, the method consisted in regrouping the natives in relatively autonomous villages that would be conducive to teaching and evangelization. Within this system, the thirty "Reductions" of the Jesuit Province of Paraguay, built and inhabited by the Guaranis, stand out. Thanks to the innate dispositions of these Indians, their cultural and spiritual affinities with Jesuits, and to the actions on the part of the Jesuits that were both prudent and daring, what has been called the "Jesuit Republic of the Guaranis" came into being, which lasted one hundred and fifty years (1609-1768) as the scene of a religious and human experience without parallel, where Indians were allowed access to the status of free citizens, in all respects equal to the Spaniards and even culturally superior to them in many ways. Since the time of the Enlightenment, the experience of the Reductions of Paraguay has never ceased to intrigue scholarshistorians, anthropologists, political theorists - and artistsfilm directors (Roland Joffe, director of The Mission) and playwrights. It remains a unique event in the history of human society.
Crossroad (December 1, 1997)
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