Robert H. Jackson

22830 Thadds Trail

Spring, TX   77373

 

Power, Population, and the Colonization of the Fringes of Spanish America

 

          Following Columbus’s “discovery” of a new continent later named America, the Spanish first colonized Caribbean Islands and later moved their attention to the mainland of both North and South America. Spanish conquistadores encountered advanced sedentary indigenous societies organized into hierarchical state systems in central Mexico, the highlands of Central America, and the Andean region.  The conquistadores toppled the existing state systems and established a system of indirect rule that harnessed existing institutions such as tribute and labor drafts. The smooth functioning of the new colonial system depended on the ability to organize indigenous labor and collect tribute in an efficient fashion. Spanish policy also emphasized indigenous settlement in nucleated communities.

          Sedentary indigenous peoples did not always live in nucleated communities. Moreover, drastic population loss in the decades following conquest led to more dispersed settlement patterns. Spanish officials engaged in population politics in an effort to recast indigenous society. In the last decades of the sixteenth-century, colonial officials in Mexico,  the Andean region, and other areas implemented congregacion/reduccion, the forced relocation of indigenous peoples into nucleated communities called pueblos reales. In the Cochabamba region of modern Bolivia, for example, reduccion initiated in the 1560s and early 1570s resulted in the creation of ten new polyglot communities from 178 settlements. Each new community received a grant of lands, and established an autonomous internal government headed by several kurakas (traditional Andean community leaders).[1]

          The reduccion policy, however, did not always work smoothly. One problem was the tendency of the residents of the new communities to disperse again to hamlets closer to their fields within the community lands, or else to where they had lived prior to the forced relocation. In 1593, for example, Fray Luis Lopez de Solis, Bishop of Quito assigned to inspect the new communities in the Cochabamba region, found tributaries from two pueblos reales living throughout the larger region. Solis ordered the tributaries back to their communities under penalty of the forfeit of their lands and destruction of their homes. Evidence from late colonial censuses and land records show that the indigenous population lived in a dispersed pattern within the community territories. The new communities often contained different ethnic populations with their own leaders, but each pueblo real could have only two kurakas, one each for the lower and upper moiety within the community. Fifteen kurakas governed the peoples reduced to the new community called Tiquipaya, which cased internal strife and litigation in the Spanish colonial courts.[2] Nevertheless, the Spanish policy of congregacion/reduccio proved to be successful.

          On the fringes of the politically advanced sedentary indigenous societies the Spanish encountered indigenous peoples who did not live under hierarchical political systems. These peoples were either village dwelling sedentary agriculturalist governed by chiefs, semi-sedentary agriculturalists who lived in permanent but seasonally shifting villages also governed chiefs, or truly nomadic hunter-gatherers living within a well defined territory governed primarily by consensus. These different peoples did not live in stratified and hierarchical state systems that could be toppled and replaced, and as the costly Chichimec war (1550-1590) in the near northern frontier of Mexico showed military conquest would not be easy. The solution for the cost effective incorporation of these peoples under Spanish rule was to initiate congregacion and directed social, cultural, and religious transformation under the direction of clerics from several missionary orders including the Franciscans, Jesuits, and Dominicans.

          The missionaries created new communities known as doctrinas, reducciones, or misiones. The missionaries either established communities at sites with water, arable land, and building materials, or else appended the mission complex to existing sedentary indigenous communities. The Spanish government generally subsidized the mission programs, and in some instances provided military protection for the missionaries. The underlying objective was the creation of politically autonomous pueblos reales in the core areas of Spanish America such as central Mexico and the Andean region discussed above. The most common pattern was the formation of new communities. New Mexico on the northern fringe of Mexico was an example of the appendage of a mission to an existing settlement.

          One of the earliest and in terms of Spanish policy objectives most successful mission programs was among the sedentary Guarani peoples of the Rio de la Plata region of South America in modern Paraguay and neighboring parts of Argentina and Brazil. Jesuits first established missions known as reducciones among the sedentary agriculturalists known as the Guarani in 1607, and managed what eventually numbered thirty communities in an area that embraced parts of modern Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The Jesuit Guarani missions caught the imagination of contemporary Europe as a utopian republic, and figured prominently if inaccurately in Voltare’s novel Candide.     Beginning in 1610, the Jesuits rapidly expanded the mission frontier in southern Paraguay and eastward into what today is western Brazil in Guayra and Tape and into Misiones in Argentina between the Parana and Uruguay Rivers. However, the new mission frontier was a contested region. Bandeirantes (slave raiders) from Sao Paulo raided the easternmost Jesuit missions in the 1630s, forcing a retreat back towards Paraguay. The Guarani mission militia defeated the Portuguese slave raiders at the battle of Mborore in 1641, allowing the Jesuits to stabilize the mission program in the territory straddling the Parana River west of the Uruguay River. The Jesuits retained the militia, and the local Spanish administration utilized the mission militia in campaigns against the Portuguese and rebellious Paraguayan colonsts. Five decades following the exodus from the eastern missions the Jesuits ventured east of the Uruguay River following the establishment of a Portuguese outpost close to Buenos Aires,  and eventually established seven missions in this area. The Jesuits relocated existing missions, and established new reducciones with neophytes from existing communities. The neo-utopian experiment ended abruptly in 1767/1768 with the implementation of the order issued by King Carlos lll to expel the Jesuits from all Spanish territories.

The populations of the reducciones did not decline precipitously as did the populations of northern Mexican missions, and experienced periods of growth through natural reproduction. Several case studies illustrate the point. The first is Loreto established in 1610 in the Guayra region of what today is Brazil. The population of Loreto grew over the course of a century, until the early 1730s. In 1647, it stood at 1,700, and by 1735 reached a figure of 3,523.  The population dropped as a result of the strong epidemics of the 1730s, but had recovered to some 3,200 by 1750.  Following the expulsion of the Jesuits, the population of Loreto declined, and was down to 1,000 in 1801. A part of the decline resulted from desertions from the mission. Reports prepared in the last three decades of the eighteenth-century noted the number of desertions. Moreover, censuses prepared at the end of the century recorded both the nominal and actual populations of the ex-missions.[3] The second is Santa Ana, established in 1633 in the Tape region of what today is central Rio Grande do Sul. The Jesuits relocated the mission in 1638 because of attacks by bandeirantes from Sao Paulo, and was moved a second time to its final site in what today is the Argentine province of Misiones. In 1647, the population of Santa Ana totaled 779; it was 5,600 in 1731, 4,778 in 1750, and 4,400 in 1767 prior to the expulsion of the Jesuits, but then dropped to 1,200 in 1801. The final case study is San Ignacio Mini, also established in 1610 in Guayra, and relocated in 1631 to a site in the modern province of Misiones because of raids by the bandeirantes, and was relocated again in 1696 to its present site near the Parana River in Misiones. In 1647, the population of San Ignacio totaled 1,708, reached 4,300 in 1731, dropped to 2,520 in 1750 but then grew to 3,100 in 1767, and then declined following the expulsion of the Jesuits and was 798 in 1785 and 700 in 1801.[4]

The Jesuits also divided the populations of existing missions to establish new communities, a practice generally not followed in the missions established on the northern fringe of Mexico. An example of this practice is the establishment in 1697 of San Juan Bautista with neophytes from San Miguel. The Jesuits initially established San Miguel in Tape, a region in modern Rio Grande do Sul, in 1632. Five years later, in 1637, the Jesuits relocated San Miguel to a site in the territory between the Parana and Uruguay Rivers as a result of raids by the bandeirantes. San Miguel remained at the new site for 50 years, and then the Black Robes relocated the mission in 1687 east of the Rio Uruguay, again in modern Rio Grande do Sul. A decade later in 1697 Antonio Sepp, S.J. established San Juan Bautista with Guarani neophytes from San Miguel. At the time San Miguel had a population of 4,592.[5] The population of San Miguel grew during the course of the eighteenth-century, and reached 6,635 in 1750 on the eve of the Guaran uprising following the 1750 Treaty of Madrid that intended to transfer the trans-Uruguay River missions to Portugal. The population of San Juan Bautista totaled 4, 629 in 1724, dropped to 2, 171 in 1740 following a series of epidemics in the 1730s, but grew again and reached 3,347 in 1756.[6]

The high population densities in the reducciones made the populations vulnerable to epidemics,  and a pattern of intra and inter-regional trade further facilitated the spread of epidemics. Major recorded epidemics struck the reducciones in 1618, 1619, 1635, 1636, 1692, 1718, 1733, 1735, 1737,  1739, and 1764. A measles epidemic in 1695 killed 600 people at Candelaria and 2,000 at San Carlos. The decade of the 1730s proved to be particularly deadly. Reportedly, 18,733 died during a 1733 outbreak, measles killed more than 18,000 Guarani in 1735, and smallpox claimed the lives of some 30,000 in 1738 and 1739.[7] The population of the reducciones dropped from 141,000 in 1732 to 73,910 in 1740, but then recovered over the next two decades (see Table 1).

The recovery or rebound of the Guarani population suggests a major difference from the indigenous populations living in the missions of northern Mexico. The Guarani population was a high fertility and high mortality population, similar to contemporary European populations. Birth and death rates were high and population growth low to moderate. Epidemics slowed or stopped population growth, but the population did recover. In contrast, the indigenous populations of northern Mexico, excluding New Mexico, did not recover, and gradually declined to the point of near biological as well as cultural extinction.

Parish registers have not survived for the Guarani reducciones, but extant censuses do record totals of baptisms and burials. Rather than present a detailed analysis of the data that can be gleaned from the reports, the discussion here presents a profile of the Guarani populations living in the missions in selected years to serve as the basis for a comparison of the demographic profiles of the mission populations in northern Mexico.

The Jesuits divided the missions administratively in the region of Paraguay into two groups: those clustered around the Parana River; and those located west and east of the Uruguay River. In 1724, the populations of both groups of missions evidenced a pattern of imbalance, with more girls and women than men. In the Parana missions there were 28,863 girls and women compared to 25,408 boys and men. Similarly, it was 33,107 females and 29,588 males in the Uruguay River establishments. In random populations there generally is a gender imbalance, with slightly more females than males. The disparity reflected, in part, migration by males from the reducciones. Interestingly, there were considerably more widows than widowers, with 2,980 and 3,880 of the first category and 109 and 236 of the latter in the two groups of missions. This last category of information highlights the importance of the cotiguazu, the separate residence for widows, as a social institution in the reducciones. The patterns were similar in 1740 and 1741, with more females than males and considerably more widows than widowers. [8]

Figures on baptisms and burials can be used to tentatively reconstruct the vital rates of the Guarani mission populations. The number of baptisms does not necessarily translate exactly to births, and without access to the original baptismal registers it would be difficult to establish if the Jesuits congregated and baptized significant numbers of Guarani from outside of the reducciones. Nevertheless, the total numbers of baptisms reported do give a notion of birth rates, but keeping in mind the caveat outlined above. The Guarani populations of the missions were high fertility and high mortality populations, meaning that women bore children and birth rates were moderate to high. At the same time mortality rates tended to be high, particularly for the most vulnerable segments of the population the very young and the old. In 1740, crude birth and death rates per thousand population were 79.4 and 40.8 respectively for the Parana and Uruguay River establishments, as against crude death rates of 51.3 and 34.1 per thousand population. The bulk of deaths occurred among young children, which more closely matches contemporary European demographic patterns. Disease culled the population of children in Europe, and during the course of the eighteenth-century smallpox was the single largest killer in Europe. The mission populations of the Californias experienced chronically high death rates, rates that tended to be consistently higher than birth rates. Whereas the populations of Europe and the Guarani missions rebounded from epidemics, those of the California missions did not.

Crude birth rates recorded per thousand population were generally higher than death rates (see Table 2), and without economic or social constraints the Guarani population grew robustly. There were periodic mortality crises that culled the population and slowed growth, but the numbers generally rebounded. There were four major mortality crises in the years for which data are available, as defined as x3 regular mortality.  These were in 1733, 1738, 1739, and 1764. Major epidemic outbreaks not only raised death rates, but also tended to lower birth rates or the rates of life births. Mean life expectancy at birth dropped as a result of major epidemics.[9]  On average, Guarani living in the missions lived between twenty and thirty years from birth.

The Jesuits created in the Guarani missions what truly approximated an indigenous utopian “republic” on the borders of the Spanish empire in Paraguay. The Jesuits targeted Guarani communities not under the jurisdiction of encomenderos to reduce or resettle to the new mission communities. Following the military victory over the bandeirantes at Mborore in 1641, the Spanish Crown granted the Guarani living in the reducciones special privileges. In 1649, the King granted the Guarani the status of royal vassals and a frontier garrison population. It was in compliance with this privileged status that the Jesuits maintained the militia in the reducciones that figured prominently in the geopolitics of the Rio de la Plata region for more than a century. Several years later, in 1654, the Crown placed the mission communities under the real patronato.[10]          During the early years of operation the traditional Guarani caciques governed their own clans, and the Jesuits appointed a principal cacique for each mission. The missionaries later introduced a civil government based on Iberian municipal government. Antonio Sepp, S.J., described the structure of the government in the reducciones in the early eighteenth-century.

In each town one the most prestigious caciques acts as the judge or magistrate, together with other public officials who are elected annually by the council [cabildo] in a general assembly and confirmed by the Spanish governors, as is appropriate. Two judges who carry a staff assist the magistrate; moreover there are four ward bosses, six or eight block commissaries, a supervisor who maintains order between the women and makes them zealously spin and rise for the cleaning of the square and streets, four guardians for the boys and an equal number of guardians for the girls, who take them to catechism class and to work, that is a job appropriate for their strength, for example to pick cotton, chickpeas, broad beans and other dry vegetables, when harvest time arrives. Other officials are the jailer and bailiff, procurator and counter who monthly should count the horses, oxen, cattle, sheep, mules and stud animals. We also have a certain number of field guards, gardeners, tamers, etcetera, moreover four and in some towns eight nurses.. .[11]

The government in the reducciones reflected the collective voice of the Guarani caciques and their peoples, and was similar to the autonomy enjoyed by the indigenous peoples living in pueblos reales of central Mexico, the Andean Highlands, and other areas of advanced sedentary indigenous culture. In this regard the Guarani missions more closely conformed to the goal of the government of using the mission as an institution to transform indigenous peoples on the fringes of the empire into sedentary and hierarchical societies. The Guarani political autonomy came at a price, however. The male heads of household paid tribute to the Crown, and as noted in a previous chapter local Spanish officials mobilized the mission militia on numerous occasions to fight the Portuguese, hostile indigenous groups, or the Paraguayan settlers. The political system also fostered a strong sense of collective identity, and the cabildo members defended what they saw as their collective interests. This is best exemplified by the Guarani political leaders of the seven trans-Uruguay missions rejecting the royal mandate to relocate west of the Uruguay River and abandon the communities under the terms of the 1750 Treaty of Madrid.

The only close parallel to the reduccion government on the northern frontier of Mexico was in the Franciscan missions of New Mexico, where the missionaries grafted Iberian forms of municipal government on a clan system similar to the Guarani clan system. In 1680, a massive revolt in New Mexico drove the Spanish out of the province for more than a decade. A number of factors provoked the uprising, but Franciscan efforts to root out the covert practice of traditional religion in played a significant role. Moreover, the survival of traditional structures of power within the pueblos in the New Mexico missions provided the indigenous peoples with leadership that they united behind to achieve the goal of expelling the oppressive Spanish settlers and missionaries.

Jesuit, Franciscan, and Dominican missionaries also congregated indigenous populations to newly established mission communities on the northern fringe of New Spain (colonial Mexico). The only exception was in New Mexico, where the Franciscans appended their own new sacred complexes to existing sedentary communities. In 1761, 4,088 neophytes lived on the Pimeria Alta missions of northern Sonora, in 1768 a total of 7,149 lived on the Baja California missions, and in 1820 21,063 lived on the California missions.[12] In some instances the missionaries had to modify the congregation policy because of the harsh arid climate in some regions that prevented the missionaries from developing viable agriculture, and the ability to feed all indigenous neophytes living on the missions. Nevertheless, the missionaries still dominated the lives of the neophytes. We examine here one case study of congregation and demographic patterns: Santa Gertrudis established in Baja California in 1751.

One of the last missions established before the expulsion of the Jesuits was Santa Gertrudis, inaugurated in 1751 following a decade of efforts to find a suitable site in one of the driest parts of the Peninsula. There were two important demographic patterns in the history of Santa Gertrudis mission. The first was the formation of an indigenous community. The limits to agriculture in the Desert surrounding the new mission forced the missionaries to leave a large percentage of the population living at existing village sites. The dispersed settlement pattern delayed the process of assimilation and religious conversion, but at the same time during the Jesuit years it shielded the indigenous population from the devastating effect of epidemics. Fr. Fernando Konsag, S.J., stationed in the 1740s at San Ignacio mission south of the site finally chosen for Santa Gertrudis,  laid the foundations for the mission through the baptism of hundreds of Indians, and Jorge Retz, S.J., assigned to the new mission, completed the superficial evangelization (baptism) of the remaining indigenous population between 1751 and 1764. The population of the mission grew through the early 1750s, and then began to decline. What this meant is that the missionaries, through the symbolic act of baptisms, brought increasing numbers of Indians under the jurisdiction of the mission, as the missionaries themselves understood it. We will never know what the indigenous peoples themselves thought of the radical changes in their lives.  From the mid-1760s on the neophyte population rapidly declined, and as the numbers dropped the missionaries brought the survivors to live at the cabecera.

An analysis of data from the extant Santa Gertrudis baptismal and burial registers documents several patterns. In the baptismal register Retz distinguished between the baptism of gentiles and infants born at the mission. The Jesuit baptized the last gentiles in 1764. Indian women bore children, but the number of burials generally was higher than the number of births. Because of the dispersed settlement pattern, only a few severe epidemics attacked the indigenous population, and four outbreaks accounted for seventy-nine percent of the net decline in the numbers.[13] After the 1781 to 1782 smallpox epidemic the population of the mission gradually declined, but in most years there was not a great disparity between births and deaths.

A more detailed analysis of the vital rates of Santa Gertrudis mission shows that prior to the Jesuit expulsion death rates exceeded birth rates, and the mean life expectancy was below ten years. The years immediately following the Jesuit expulsion through the 1781 to 1782 smallpox epidemic were disastrous for the indigenous population, and it was during these years that the population experienced the greatest degree of loss. Life expectancy also dropped to below two years at birth. The epidemics coincided with the influx of new personnel, the movement of personnel to the new California mission field, and increased traffic through the Central Desert as the Dominicans expanded the mission frontier to the Pacific Coast region known as La Frontera. People traveling along the mission trail carried deadly microbes with them.

Following the series of severe epidemics the population of the mission stabilized, and mean life expectancy at birth between 1787 and 1801 averaged around 20 years (see Table 3). Higher mortality associated with epidemics significantly lowered life expectancy. During these years the population continued to gradually decline. The surviving population evidenced a gender imbalance with more males than females. However, unlike a number of other mission communities in the Peninsula, children made up a large part of the total population.

After 1810, as Mexico sank into civil war, the government and the Dominican order increasingly experienced difficulty in staffing all of the Peninsula missions, and those establishments in decline such as Santa Gertrudis did not have resident priests for most of the decade. In 1808, 137 neophytes continued to live at the mission, down from the level of 1,586 recorded five decades earlier in 1755.[14] In 1822, the Dominicans abandoned Santa Gertrudis. Despite the limited agricultural potential at Santa Gertrudis, the missionaries supported by small military garrisons effectively dominated the large indigenous population of the region.

The missionaries generally exercised power over the neophytes brought to live on the missions. However, in some instances the missionaries failed to congregate native peoples. One example of the failure of Spanish population politics was the resistance to congregation of the groups collectively known as Karankawas to missions established on the Texas Gulf Coast. The bands collectively called the Karankawas occupied a territory on the Texas Gulf Coast from the area of Lavaca Bay to Galveston Bay. The Karankawas were hunters and gatherers, and as noted above practiced a well-established pattern of seasonal transhumance to exploit different food resources, and occupied permanent village sites.  In the fall and winter the Karankawas bands exploited estuarine food sources that coincided with the availability of certain fish including redfish and black drum. The fall-winter camps tended to be larger.[15] In the spring the Karankawas moved to smaller camps along rivers and creeks in the coastal prairie environment. They supported themselves by hunting game and collecting wild plant foods.[16] The Karankawas were the masters of their environment, and new the coastal geography well. The Franciscans often expressed dismay at the inability of the Spanish military to track runaway Karankawas neophytes down, but the Spanish did not know the coastal geography well and often did not have boats.[17]

Demographic patterns at Rosario mission were more complex, because of the inability of the Franciscans to induce the Karankawas to permanently settle in the missions. Historically, the Karankawas bands practiced a pattern of seasonal migration between permanent village sites along the coast and coastal prairie.[18] Many Karankawas settled at Rosario mission (established in 1754), located outside of their traditional territory, on a seasonal basis, but then left. Franciscan Missionary Gaspar de Solis captured a sense of the frustration of the Franciscans over their inability to permanently congregate the Karankawas, but also their lack of understanding of Karankawas culture as well as the cultural chauvinism of the gray robes:

The Indians with whom this mission was founded are the Coxanes, Guapites, Carancagguases and Coopanes. At present, however, there are but few of this last mentioned tribe, for most of them are living out in the woods or along the banks of some of the many rivers that abound in these parts, or have joined some other friendly tribe along the seacoast, about thirteen or fourteen leagues east of this mission. The padre is willing to assist them in all their wants and sufferings, but, in spite of this, all of these Indians, who are savage, indolent and lazy, and who are so greedy and gluttonous that they devour meat that is parboiled, almost raw and dripping in blood, prefer to suffer hunger, nakedness and the inclemencies of the weather provided they be left free to live indolent in the wilds or along the seashore, where they give themselves over to all kinds of excesses, especially to lust, theft and dancing.[19]

Solis further noted that,

The task of converting and of inducing the Indians to live at the mission has been a difficult one, and some of those who had been living there have fled back again to the hills, to the river-banks or to the seashore.[20]

Finally, Solis lamented the lack of support from the military,

Still another reason [for flight from the mission] is because the military officers neglect to bring [recaptured fugitives] into the town or to inflict punishment upon those that run away, and because they neglect to pursue them and bring them back. Whenever they do bring back any of the fugitives they fail to administer to them any punishment that might serve as a check and that might instill into them the fear of fleeing from the mission.[21]

          The population of Rosario mission fluctuated from year to year, but also on a seasonal basis. One example of seasonal variation can be seen in 1796, when the population fluctuated between 148 in October and 97 only two months later in December. In June of the following year the numbers were up to 254 .[22] Karankawas often came to and left the mission at will, and may have incorporated Rosario into their seasonal round of transhumance. The surviving baptismal register from Refugio mission established in 1793 shows baptized Indians being absent from the mission for months or even a year or more, and then bringing young children for baptisms when they perhaps had little option other than returning to the mission during periods of food scarcity or raids by other indigenous groups such as Lipan Apaches or Comanches.[23] Most documented instances of Karankawas bands moving to the missions were in the spring, especially in the months of March, April, and May. This was the time when the Karankawas moved into the interior, and the missions simply became another source of food.[24]

Beyond the surviving censuses, there is little data on demographic patterns at Rosario. Solis did summarize the number of baptisms and burials recorded between 1754 and 1768: a total of 137 baptisms from 1754 to 1758, another 63 in the years 1758 to 1768, and 110 burials from 1754 to 1768.[25] These figures suggest heavy mortality rates. Later censuses from the 1790s contain some rough information on age and gender structure.[26] Children under age nine, called parvulos by the Spanish, made up between a quarter and a third of the population of Rosario mission, and the sex ratio was fairly balanced in most years. One exception was in 1796 and 1797, when it appears that fewer men were at the mission, and may have left women and children behind while off hunting or engaged in other activities. The censuses had record the number of children per family, and the Karankawas living at Rosario tended to have small families with only one or two children. This can be interpreted as a manifestation of a cultural pattern of having smaller families, and/or also the effect of high mortality among children.

          The Franciscans did not come close to congregating most Karankawas, and many bands continued to resist the Spanish presence. In 1793, the Franciscans established Refugio mission closer to Karankawas territory, and neophytes from Rosario opted to move to the new mission in 1797. In 1805, Fr. Huerta moved with the surviving Indians to Refugio, and in 1807 the two missions were formally combined.[27] The Karankawas more willingly settled at Refugio mission established in their own traditional territory in 1793.[28]

          Conclusions

          Spanish frontier policy envisioned the creation of indigenous communities similar to the corporate indigenous communities in areas with sedentary populations such as central Mexico. The Spanish government funded the establishment of missions staffed by Jesuits, Franciscan and Dominican missionaries. The missionaries. Often with the support of frontier military garrisons, congregated thousands of native peoples to the missions, and initiated a program of social, cultural, and religious transformation.

          The missions in many areas on the fringes of Spanish America, however, did not achieve the goal of the establishment of stable and politically autonomous indigenous communities. As shown in the case of the Jesuit missions of Paraguay, thousands of Guarani chose to settle on the missions, and established an autonomous political system modeled on both Guarani and Spanish political institutions. On the northern fringe of colonial Mexico, on the other hand, the mission populations proved to be unstable due to high mortality rates, and with the exception of the New Mexico establishments the neophyte populations virtually died off within several generations.

          The missionaries generally succeeded in congregating thousands of natives on the missions.  However, there were also exceptions as shown in the case of the Karankawa bands on the Texas Gulf Coast. The Karankawa band members accepted or rejected the mission program, and those who did settle on the missions did so on their own terms. Many neophytes continued to practice seasonal patterns of migration and others left the missions for extended periods of time. The Franciscans expressed frustration over their inability to convince or force the Karankawa band members to congregate to the missions. They also complained about the lack of support from the military and local officials. Ultimately, the effort to congregate the Karankawa band members to new communities failed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1: Total Population of the Jesuit Reducciones in Selected Years

Year

Population

Year

Population

Year

Population

1641/43

36,190

1724

117,164

1750

 95,089

1647

28,714

1732

141,242

1755

104,483

1648

30,548

1733

128,389

1756

 89,536

1657

37,412

1734

116,250

1762

102,988

1667

43,753

1735

108,228

1765

 85,266

1668

47,088

1736

102,721

1767

 88,796

1676

53,298

1737

104,473

1768

 88,864

1677

58,118

1738

90,287

1772

 80,891

1678

55,125

1739

81,159

1783

 56,092

1682

61,083

1740

73,910

1784

 57,949

1700

86,173

1741

76,960

1791

 44,677

1702

89,500

1742

78,929

1793

 51,991

1717

121,168

1743

81,355

1801

 45,637

Source: “Reductions of Paraguay,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Internet File; Thomas Whigham, “Paraguay’s Pueblos de Indios: Echoes of a Missionary Past,” in Erick Langer and Robert H. Jackson, eds., The New Latin American Mission History (Lincoln, 1995), 168; Herencia Misionera, Internet site, url: http://web.archive.org/web/20041023034106/http://www.herenciamisionero.com.ar/; Ernesto Maeder, “La poblacion de las misiones de Guaranies (1641-1682). Reubicacion de los pueblos y consecuencias demograficas,” Estudos Ibero-Americanos 15:1 (June 1989), 49-80; Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997. (Quito, 1997).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2: Crude Birth and Death Rates per Thousand Population in the Guarani Missions, 1691-1766

Year

CBR

CDR

Year

CBR

CDR

1691

60

 34

1747

70

 43

1694

65

 40

1748

66

 43

1707

65

 50

1749

71

 84

1708

73

 47

1750

71

 40

1729

68

 38

1751

65

 43

1732

55

 48

1752

60

 40

1733

41

133

1753

63

 35

1736

46

 72

1754

65

 41

1737

47

 26

1755

66

 42

1738

44

172

1756

47

 40

1739

38

140

1758

53

 54

1740

61

 61

1762

51

 47

1741

77

 43

1763

48

 60

1742

71

 55

1764

51

135

1743

76

 45

1765

45

 92

1744

71

 43

1766

52

 47

1745

70

 44

 

 

 

1746

74

 45

 

 

 

Source: Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in ,” in Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997. (Quito, 1997).

 

Table 3: Demographic Statistics at Santa Gertrudis Mission, 1757-1811

 

Quinqueenium

Estimated

Population

Crude Birth Rate

Crude Death

Rate

Mean Life

Expectancy

1757-1761

1,432

 42

 63

 9.4

1762-1766

1,642

 42

 63

11.5

1767-1771

1,313

 52

 74

10.2

1772-1776

  798

 43

106

 2.8

1777-1781

  555

 52

119

 1.6

1782-1786

  383

 40

121

 1.4

1787-1791

  280

 40

 46

20.8

1792-1796

  234

 41

 53

20.1

1797-1801

  203

 41

 45

25.8

1802-1806

  198

 44

106

 5.4

1807-1811

  124

 44

 84

 8.3

Source: Robert H. Jackson, Indian Population Decline: The Missions of Northwestern New Spain, 1687-1840 (Albuquerque, 1994), 77.

 

 

Notes


 

[1] Robert H. Jackson, Regional Markets and Agrarian Transformation in Bolivia: Cochabamba, 1539-1960 (Albuquerque, 1994), 26.

 

[2] Ibid., 26.

 

[3] Alfredo Poenitz, Herencia Misionera, Internet site, url: http://web.archive.org/web/20041023034106/http://www.herenciamisionero.com.ar/, chaps. 18, 20.

 

[4] “Reductions of Paraguay,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Internet File; Thomas Whigham, “Paraguay’s Pueblos de Indios: Echoes of a Missionary Past,” in Erick Langer and Robert H. Jackson, eds., The New Latin American Mission History (Lincoln, 1995), 168; Herencia Misionera, Internet site, url: http://web.archive.org/web/20041023034106/http://www.herenciamisionero.com.ar/; Ernesto Maeder, “La poblacion de las misiones de Guaranies (1641-1682). Reubicacion de los pueblos y consecuencias demograficas,” Estudos Ibero-Americanos 15:1 (June 1989), 49-80; Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997. (Quito, 1997).

 

[5] Luiz Antonio Custodio, “Sao Miguel-Uma Trajetoria,” Porto Alegre: IPHAN, 1994.

 

[6] Population of San Miguel and San Juan Bautista in Selected Years

Year

San Miguel

San Juan Bautista

1641/1643

1,860

 

1647

1,165

 

1657

2,101

 

1676

3,830

 

1682

3,740

 

1697

4,592

 

1702

2,197

 

1707

 

3,361

1719

 

3,722

1720

 

3,996

1724

3,972

4,629

1731

 

4,500

1740

4,740

2,171

1741

4,974

2,525

1750

6,635

3,221

1756

1,035

3,347

1801

1,900

1,600

1814

  706

  554

1822

  660

  300

1827

  271

  212

 

 

[7] Herencia Misionera, chapter 10.

 

[8] Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1724; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay-1724; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1740; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1740;  Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1741; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1741. The originals are from the Archivo Nacional in Asuncion, Paraguay. I would like to thank Barbara Ganson for providing copies of these documents.

 

[9] Calculated by Robert McCaa using Populate and included as a dataset with Populate, a microcomputer program that uses inverse projection to calculate sophisticated demographic statistics including mean life expectancy at birth. Populate analyzes five year samples of data, and reports statistics at the mid-point in the quinquennium. McCaa used data from the research of Ernesto Maeder, and used Populate to fill in the gaps in missing data.

 

Quinquennium Mean Life Expectation at Birth* in the Guarani Missions, 1692-1767

Year

MLE

Year

MLE

Year

MLE

1692

29.7

1722

26.7

1752

30.0

1697

28.6

1727

34.8

1757

23.2

1702

26.6

1732

  8.8

1762

  6.1

1707

26.7

1737

  0.2

1767

  8.3

1712

32.3

1742

20.1

 

 

1717

19.3

1747

23.0

 

 

*Calculated using “Populate.”

 

McCaa’s figures give an average of the mean life expectancy of 26.8 years at birth in quinquenniums without major epidemics, and 5.9 years at birth in quinquenniums with major epidemics. We calculated the same statistics using a sample of only complete data for the years 1736-1755, and 1762 to 1766. The figures we calculated for Mean Life Expectancy may be a little different from McCaa’s, but are in the general range: 1736-1740=4.5 years; 1741-1745=24.8 years; 1746-1750=24.4; 1751-1755=29.9; 1762-1766=9.4 years. The average in non-epidemic periods was 26.4 years at birth, and 7 years at birth in periods with a mortality crisis.

 

[10] La Herencia Misionera, chapter 9.

 

[11] Herencia Misionera, chapter 9. The quote reads in Spanish: “En cada pueblo actúa uno de los caciques más prestigiosos como juez o corregidor, junto con otros funcionarios públicos que son anualmente elegidos por el cabildo en una asamblea general y confirmados por los señores gobernadores españoles, como corresponde. Dos jueces o jurados que llevan una vara [alcaldes ordinaries] asisten al corregidor; además hay cuatro alcaldes [de barrios], seis u ocho comisarios para los diferentes cuarteles, una veedora que mantiene el orden entre las mujeres y las obliga a hilar celosamente y a velar por la limpieza de la plaza y de las calles, cuatro celadores para los chicos y el mismo número de inspectoras para las niñas, que las acompañan a las clases de catecismo y las llevan al trabajo, es decir, a una tarea adecuada a sus fuerzas, como por ejemplo, recoger algodón, garbanzos, habas y otras legumbres secas, cuando llega el tiempo de la cosecha. Otros funcionarios son el carcelero y alguacil, y el procurador y contador que debe hacer mensualmente un recuento de los caballos, bueyes, vacas, ovejas, mulas y animales reproductores. También tenemos un cierto número de guardas de campo, jardineros, domadores, etcétera, además cuatro y en algunos pueblos ocho enfermeros...

 

[12] Robert H. Jackson, Indian Population Decline: The Missions of Northwestern New Spain, 1687-1840 (Albuquerque, 1994), 57-60.

 

[13] Robert H. Jackson, “Demographic Patterns in the Missions of Central Baja California,” Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 6:1 (1984), 91-112.

 

[14] Ibid.

 

[15] Robert Ricklis, The Karankawa Indians of Texas: An Ecologuical Study of Cultural Tradition and Change (Austin, 1996), 70-71.

 

[16] Ibid., 101.

 

[17] Ibid., 118.

 

[18] Ricklis, Karankawa Indians of Texas, 70-71, 101.

 

[19] Peter Forrestal,  trans. “The Solis Diary of 1767,” Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic Historical Society (1931), 3-42.

 

[20] Ibid.

 

[21] Ibid.

 

[22] Robert H. Jackson, "Congregation and Population Change in the Mission Communities of Northern New Spain: Cases From the Californias and Texas," New Mexico Historical Review (April, 1994), 163-183.

 

[23] Ibid., 178.

 

[24] Ricklis, Karankawa Indians of Texas, 163-167.

 

[25] Ibid., 173.

 

[26] Kathleen Gilmore, “The Indians of Mission Rosario,” in David Orr and Daniel Crozier, eds., The Scope of Historical Archaeology: Essays in Honor of John L. Cotter (Philadelphia, 1984), 163-191.

 

[27] Ibid.

 

[28] Ricklis, Karankawa Indians of Texas, 153.