Robert H. Jackson

22830 Thadds Trail

Spring, TX   77373

 

Mission Frontiers in the Rio de la Plata and Northern Mexico: A Comparison of the Jesuit Missions of Baja California and Rio Grande do Sul

 

            Advances over the past two decades in the study of missions on the fringes of colonial Spanish America have brought research on this important colonial institution into the mainstream of colonial Latin American historiography. Moreover, a comparative approach has shown considerable similarities in missions established in different regions at different times, while at the same time placing the shared historical experiences of the native peoples brought to live on the missions to the forefront of historical studies.[1]

            This essay compares patterns of development in missions in the Rio de la Plata region established and managed by the Jesuits between 1607 and 1767, and the Baja California missions initiated in 1697 and also run by Jesuits, until the expulsion of the order in 1767/1768 from the Spanish dominions. A major theme of this essay is a comparison of missions established by the Jesuits in two regions with very distinct environments, in order to see what modifications the Black Robes had to make to the general blueprint for the mission program that envisioned the creation of communities of sedentary farmers and artisans who would pay taxes to the Crown and provide labor for Spanish enterprises. It also compares and contrasts patterns of development of missions on two frontiers.

The study of the environmental history of colonial Spanish America is relatively new, but offers important insights not available through more conventional forms of analysis. In a pioneering study, Elionor Melville showed how over-grazing by large flocks of sheep significantly altered the landscape of central Mexico.[2] In a recent study that is one of the first to try to apply an environmental approach to the missions of northern Mexico, Cynthia Radding used the concept that she called “ecological frontiers” as an organizing theme for a study of Spanish Sonora. Radding attempted to show how different ecologies or perhaps more accurately microclimates modified the course of Spanish colonialism, although the limited evidence presented largely failed to support the author’s assertions and broad conclusions. Radding also discussed what she called “wandering peoples,” an indigenous pattern of migration as a form of economic adaptation to a harsh world, but failed to provide much ethnohistoric and concrete historic data to make sense of the broad characterizations drawn. Moreover, Radding was not the first scholar to document migration among native peoples living in northern Mexico.[3]

            More recently, Radding has brought her perspective of ecological frontiers to a comparison of Jesuit missions in Sonora, a region she has studied for several decades, and the Jesuit missions of Chiquitos, a region located east of the eastern Andes cordillera in modern Bolivia.[4] A comparative approach that considers differences or similarities in culture and, as Radding interprets it, can provide important insights to the workings of Spanish frontier policy, and the failures and successes of the mission programs. However, Radding makes broad generalizations based on slim evidence that detracts from and undermines the validity of her conclusions.

Nevertheless, the approach of analyzing the relationship between the environment, indigenous adaptations to the environment, and how Spanish missionaries endeavored to cope with harsh climates has considerable merit. In several of the cases examined here man did not conquer and modify the environment. Rather, it could be said that Mother Nature made man, in this case the missionaries, dance to a different rhythm. The native peoples living in these harsh environments had already adapted in ways that enabled them to survive in ways that the Spanish would not imagine doing.

In a recently published monograph, Barbara Ganson[5] drew comparisons between the Jesuit missions established among the Guarani in the Rio de la Plata, but limited her comparisons to other missions established among sedentary agriculturalists. In an otherwise fine study, Ganson missed an opportunity to more fully understand the dynamic of Jesuit missions by comparing the Guarani missions, established in what could be considered optimum environmental conditions for developing agriculture and ranching as the foundation for the mission communities, with missions established among nomadic hunter-gatherers generally living in arid environments such as Baja California that severely limited agriculture and thus the ability of the Jesuits to feed the neophytes and congregate them on the new missions.

The central question explored here is how the Jesuits modified the mission system to deal with different environments, especially arid environments, and how in turn these changes in the mission program altered the outcomes of the mission program. Much of Baja California is arid, and those sites with water generally had limited amounts of arable land that prevented the Jesuits from directing the development of extensive agriculture to support the neophytes brought to settle on the missions. The inability to locally produce food in the mission districts forced the Black Robes to modify the indoctrination of the neophytes, which in turn permitted the survival of traditional religious practices much longer than the missionaries envisioned. In contrast, the Jesuits established thirty missions in the Rio de la Plata in tropical forests and savanna that supported extensive agriculture and ranching. For the purposes of this study, I focus on the seven missions located east of the Uruguay River after 1680 in what today is the western section of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. I will refer to the seven establishments as the Trans-Uruguay River missions (San Nicolas, San Miguel, San Francisco de Borja, San Luis Gonzaga, San Lorenzo Martir, San Juan Bautista, and Santo Angel).

Spaniards first attempted to colonize Baja California in 1535, when Hernan Cortes established a short lived colony at the site of modern La Paz. However, the aridity of the Peninsula, the lack of any apparent ready source of wealth, and the at times hostile demeanor of the natives discouraged settlement efforts. The Crown financed one last colonization scheme in 1683, but then gave up on further thoughts of occupying the Peninsula after the expensive failure of this effort. In 1697, the Jesuits under the leadership of Juan Maria de Salvatierra, S.J., initiated the mission frontier in Baja California at their own expense.

The Jesuits in Paraguay founded missions in what today is Brazil after 1610, but these early establishments met a violent end at the hand of Portuguese colonists from Sao Paulo. The establishment of missions in Tape (modern Rio Grande do Sul) established Spain’s claim, but the Jesuits evacuated the region in the 1630s as a result of destructive raids by the bandeirantes, slave raiders from Sao Paulo. The establishment of Colonia do Sacramento by the Portuguese in 1680 across the Rio de la Plata estuary from Buenos Aires in what today is Uruguay generated considerable concern among Spanish officials, but at the same time the Rio de la Plata region was also a sparsely populated borderland that generated little revenue to support expansion into the Banda Oriental /Uruguay), and in the late seventeenth-century Spain did not have the same financial resources as in the previous century to pay for a potentially expensive colonization initiative that might have also provoked a war. The Portuguese expansion in the region threatened Spanish claims to the Banda Oriental and the territory east of the Uruguay River first occupied by Jesuit missions after 1610. By 1680, the Paulistas no longer posed a threat to the missions, and in response to the establishment of Colonia do Sacramento the Jesuits re-established missions east of the Uruguay River in what today is the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul.

            Between 1680 and 1710, the Jesuits relocated two existing missions to sites east of the Uruguay River. They also established five new missions with populations from existing establishments: San Francisco de Borja, San Luis Gonzaga, San Lorenzo Martir, San Juan Bautista, and Santo Angel Custodio. This occurred, for example, in 1697 when the Jesuits took a part of the population from San Miguel to found San Juan Bautista. Seven years earlier, in 1690, the Jesuits relocated 3,512 neophytes from Santa Maria la Mayor to establish San Lorenzo Martir.[6] In establishing missions east of the Uruguay River, the Spanish Crown was able to assert a stronger claim to the disputed borderlands. By transferring thousands of neophytes from exiting missions to the new establishments, the Jesuits were able to rapidly develop the new communities with a large labor force.

            This essay outlines several topics related to the development of the mission communities to flesh out similarities and differences in the ways the Jesuits developed their mission programs, and particularly how the harsh arid environment of Baja California modified the outcomes the missionaries hoped to achieve. The first is the formation of the missions, the process of congregation of native peoples on the new communities, and demographic patterns. This is followed by a discussion of the mission economies and the ability of the Jesuits to direct sustainable agriculture and feed the neophytes, the building of the missions which explores a quintessential aspect of the creation of a new social order as manifested in building on a plan that brought order from the chaos of the wilderness, and resistance to the new order colonial social order that the missionaries attempted to establish. The essay concludes with a summary of the process of the demise of the missions. Violence became a reality for the residents of the missions of the Rio de la Plata, as civil war and regional conflict determined the outcome of the process of independence and the boundaries of the new states that emerged following the collapse of colonial rule. In contrast, the Baja California missions survived Mexican independence by a decade, and the government of the new republic only closed down missions on its northern frontier when radical liberals came to power for a short period of time in the 1830s. I first examine demographic patterns.

Demographic Patterns in the Missions

            In both Baja California and the Rio de la Plata, the missionaries created new communities from scratch, and congregated or relocated native peoples to live on the missions. Both can be characterized as having been high fertility and high mortality populations, meaning that indigenous women bore children but death rates were high. The primary difference in the demographic regime of the Baja California and Guarani missions was that death rates were consistently higher than birth rates in the Peninsula, whereas birth rates were generally higher among the Guarani populations. Epidemics of highly contagious maladies such as smallpox and measles periodically attacked both populations, but the difference was that the Guarani populations generally rebounded or recovered whereas the neophytes in the Baja California missions did not. Finally, the populations of the individual Guarani missions were larger than the Baja California missions, and the smaller numbers in the Peninsula establishments meant that they were more fragile and vulnerable to the cumulative effects of epidemic and endemic disease.

            I have previously written extensively on demographic patterns in the Baja California missions, and will not bore the reader any more than I have to in my discussion of the demise of the Peninsula mission populations.[7] By the end of their tenure the Jesuits established sixteen missions, although they also closed one mission in 1749 because the site chosen for the establishment  had an inadequate water supply and was vulnerable to raids by hostile natives. In 1755, 5, 794 neophytes lived in thirteen missions with an average population of 460. It was 6,300 in 1762 in fourteen establishments with an average of 450, and 7,149 in fifteen missions in 1768 that averaged 477 neophytes.[8] These small numbers meant that recurring epidemics reduced the ability of the populations to recover through natural reproduction. In order to document patterns of congregation and demographic collapse, I present the detailed case study of Santa Gertrudis mission.

One of the last missions established before the expulsion of the Black Robes from the Spanish empire in 1768 was Santa Gertrudis, inaugurated in 1751 following a decade of efforts by several Jesuits to find a suitable site that would support agriculture  in one of the driest parts of the Peninsula known as the Central Desert.  The Jesuits attempted to radically transform the social and political organization of the local population collectively known by the Spanish as Cochimi. The Cochimi lived in small nomadic bands that exploited food resources in clearly defined territories, and relied on scattered sources of water.

            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. One of the first difficulties in the establishment of Santa Gerturids was locating a suitable site with some water and arable soil, and initially the Jesuits planned to name the next mission Dolores del Norte as per the request of the congregation of Our Lady of the Sorrows in Mexico City that provided the endowment. Reports from the 1740s referred to Dolores del Norte as an incomplete mission.

            Two reports from the mid-1740s provide additional details on the efforts to establish the mission that became Santa Gertrudis, and highlight the difficulty of locating suitable sites in the Central Desert. The first is a report written in 1744 by San Ignacio missionary Sebastian de Sistiaga,S.J.. Sistiaga noted that Dolores del Norte was an offshoot of San Ignacio formed from “northern interior [indigenous] settlements.” Konsag had already baptized 548 Indians who would be assigned to the new mission, and the baptized Indians themselves had begun to form new and larger settlements in anticipation of the establishment of the new mission. To facilitate the process of evangelization, Konsag brought young men to San Ignacio to be trained as catechists, and as future leaders of the new mission. The site tentatively chosen for Dolores del Norte was dry and had a poor water supply, but no better site had been located. Finally, Sistiaga noted that the uncertainty of the crops at San Ignacio had been one of the causes for the delay in the establishment of the mission.[9] In a general report on the Baja California missions, Visitor-General Juan Antonio Balthasar, S.J., reported that: “This missions bit of property, incorporated with that of San Ignacio, will be separated as soon as this mission is fully established.”[10]

            The next Jesuit stationed at San Ignacio, the Croatian Fernando Konsag, S.J.,  laid the foundations for the establishment of Santa Gertrudis in the 1740s. The surviving baptismal register for San Ignacio (1743-1749) records the baptisms by Konsag of hundreds of Indians in the future territory of Santa Gertrudis.[11] By 1751, when the Jesuits began to keep a separate set a sacramental records for the new establishment, Konsag had baptized as many as 1,000 in the jurisdiction of Dolores del Norte/Santa Gertrudis.[12] Based upon the foundation laid by Konsag, the first missionary stationed at Santa Gertrudis, Jorge Retz, S.J., completed the baptism of the non-Christian or gentile indigenous population within twelve years.[13] In 1762, Jesuit Visitor-General Ignacio Lizasoain, S.J., noted that Retz had already baptized 1,446 gentiles at Santa Gertrudis, and the total of baptisms reached 2059.[14] In 1755, the population of Santa Gertrudis was 1,586, it was 1,730 in 1762, and 1,360 in 1768.[15]

            Despite extensive exploration through the Central Desert, Konsag never found a suitable site for the new mission. In a 1769 report, Francisco Palou, O.F.M., wrote a concise description of the site eventually chosen for Santa Gertrudis mission.

The mission is situated in a narrow valley, so that it was necessary to clear land by means of the crow-bar in order to construct a pueblo…It has vineyards and orchards of figs, olives, pomegranates, and also some peaches. There is little land fit for sowing and water is scarce.[16]

Although Retz did direct some agriculture, total production was inadequate to feed the large number of neophytes living at the mission and in surrounding settlements. The Franciscans (1768-1773) and the Dominicans (1774) who replaced the Jesuits could do little to improve on what Retz was able to develop.

            Although the Jesuits and later the Franciscans and Dominicans[17] baptized thousands of natives, most neophytes could not be supported at the main mission village (cabecera) and resided in their traditional settlements that the missionaries euphemistically called visitas. Most of these satellite settlements were undeveloped, and the missionaries made no pretext to the contrary. In 1755, Santa Gertrudis counted an indigenous population of more than 1,500, but only 69 resided at the mission itself. The rest of the population lived on eight other seasonally shifting villages.[18] Two decades later, in 1773, the population of Santa Gertrudis reportedly totaled 1,000, but only 141 resided at the cabecera.[19] Franciscan missionary Francisco Palou, O.F.M., described the settlement pattern at Santa Gertrudis in 1771 in terms used to also describe the other missions in the Central Desert:

Of all of these families only forty families live at the mission with one hundred and seventy-four souls. All the rest are scattered in seven houseless rancherias which surround the mission proper in every direction, all looking for wild fruits and changing about according to the seasons.[20]

The missionaries periodically brought the neophytes from the outlying settlements for short periods of religious instruction, but then returned them to their traditional way of life with only a thin veneer of Christianity at best. Despite the extreme drawbacks of this approach to evangelization, the missionaries wrote confidently in a self-congratulatory tone of the depth of conversion of the natives. In his 1744 report on San Igancio Sistiaga noted that: “They [neophytes] forsake, along with the many errors and superstitions, their belief in all the diabolic deceits and fables.”[21] Needless to say, Sistiaga and the other missionaries did not really know what transpired while the neophytes were on their own without supervision. At the same time, Jesuit reports from the same period of time at a number of missions complained of the persistence of shaman they collectively called hechizeros, or wizards.

            The analysis of the vital rates of Santa Gertrudis mission (see Table 1) 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 a severe smallpox epidemic in 1781 and 1782 were disastrous for the indigenous population, and it was during these years that the population experienced the greatest degree of decline. .A mere 317 neophytes remained at Santa Gertrudis in 1782, following the smallpox epidemic.[22] 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, but the population continued to decline. And in 1808 the numbers stood at 137.[23] 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.[24] In 1822, the Dominicans abandoned Santa Gertrudis.

In contrast to the rather pattern of demographic collapse at Santa Gertrudis and the other Baja California missions, demographic patterns among the Guarani living on seven trans-Uruguay River missions were very different.  The early record of demographic patterns among the Guarani following the settlement of Paraguay in the 1530s is incomplete. There are references to high mortality caused by epidemics of crowd diseases such as smallpox, but at the same time there is little information on fertility and the recovery or rebound of the Guarani populations following epidemics, if indeed a rebound did occur. Anthropologist Daniel Reff argues that the Guarni populations in the Rio de la Plata region experienced large declines in the century following the arrival of the Spaniards, but the documentary evidence is inconclusive.[25] The evidence for the seventeenth and particularly the eighteenth centuries is far more complete, but it does suggests that the Guarani populations living on the missions were high fertility and high mortality populations that experienced slow to moderate rates of growth.  This does not preclude the possibility that the demographic patterns documented in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries did not reflect a recovery from drastic declines in the century following the arrival of the Spaniards in the Rio de la Plata region.

The high population densities in the missions made the populations vulnerable to epidemics of highly contagious crowd diseases such as smallpox and measles, and the pattern of intra and inter-regional trade and the service of thousands of Gurani mission militiamen on campaign throughout the larger region further facilitated the spread of epidemics. Major recorded epidemics struck the missions 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.[26] In 1777, smallpox killed 277 Guarani at Corpus Christi, and the priest assigned to the ex-mission baptized sixty-four on the year. This left a net decline of 213 for the year.[27]

As noted above, the recovery or rebound of the Guarani population was a significant difference over patterns discussed above for the indigenous populations living on the missions of Baja California. The Guarani mission populations were 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 Baja California and the other mission frontiers in northern Mexico, excluding New Mexico, did not recover, and gradually declined to the point of near biological as well as cultural extinction.

Only small fragments of sacramental registers have not survived for the Guarani missions, but extant censuses do survive that 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 population of San Miguel in California.

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. San Miguel was one of the Uruguay River missions. 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 missions. 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 missions The patterns were similar in 1740 and 1741, with more females than males and considerably more widows than widowers. [28]

The structure of the populations of the Guarani missions was very different from that of the mission communities of Baja California. As noted above, the Baja California missions evidenced a gender imbalance, with more men and boys than women and girls. This imbalance was particularly evident during periods of slack congregation or resettlement of natives to the missions from surviving native communities outside of the missions, and as the missionaries moved more of the survivors to the cabecera from the surrounding satellite habitation sites. The gender imbalance also meant that the pool of potential mothers contracted over time, thus reducing the ability of the indigenous populations to grow through natural reproduction.[29]

The censuses also include totals of baptisms and burials that 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 missions. The report of baptisms and burials also does not reflect any out-migration, and particularly the short and long term consequences of the mobilization of thousands of Guarani militiamen in both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Nevertheless, the total numbers of baptisms reported do give a notion of birth rates, but keeping in mind the caveats articulated above. Guarani 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 birth and 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, whereas large numbers of adults and children died at San Miguel mission in California. Disease culled the population of children in Europe, and during the course of the eighteenth-century smallpox was the single largest killer in Europe.

Crude birth rates recorded per thousand population over time were generally higher than death rates (see Table 2), and without economic or social constraints the Guarani population grew at slow to moderate rates only limited by epidemics. There were periodic mortality crises that culled the population and slowed growth and local government officials mobilized thousands of Guarani mission militiamen to serve on campaign in the larger Rio de la Plata region affecting vital rates, 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.[30]  On average, Guarani living in the missions lived between twenty and thirty years from birth, considerably higher than the life expectancy of children born on the Baja California missions.

Changes in the population of the seven Trans-Uruguay River missions matched the general patterns observed above for the Guarani mission populations, and periodic epidemics reduced the numbers as occurred in the 1730s. Between 1724 and 1740, the population of the seven missions dropped from 32,495 to 21,105 as a result of excess mortality during epidemics in the 1730s, the flight of Guarani from the missions trying to escape a horrible death from smallpox and measles, and th absence of Guarani militiamen on campaign.

The oldest two missions San Nicolas and San Miguel occupied three separate sites during the seventeenth century. Despite the transfers to new sites, the mission populations grew demonstrating the stability of the new Guarani communities. In 1697, the Jesuits took a part of the population of San Miguel to establish a new mission named San Juan Bautista, and in 1698 only 1,885 neophytes remained. However, the numbers at San Miguel again grew during the course of most of the eighteenth century, as did the numbers of Guarani living at the five newly established missions.  

One difference between the seven missions and the other Jesuit establishments was the dispersion of the neophytes of the seven missions as a consequence of an uprising between 1754 and 1756, and the numbers at several of the missions did not recover for at least a decade. In 1756, and using San Miguel as an example, 1,035 Guarani remained at the mission following the occupation of the region by a joint Spanish-Portuguese army. Overall, the population of the seven missions dropped from 27,499 in 1750 to 17,284 in 1756. Again citing San Miguel as an example, the number of Guarani increased  again to  3,275 in 1762, when the Spanish regained control over the trans-Uruguay River missions with the abrogation of the Treaty of Madrid (1750) that had given Portugal jurisdiction over the lands east of the Uruguay River, and 3,525 in 1768, the year that the Spanish government expelled the Jesuits from the Americas. The expulsion of the Jesuits resulted in some Guarani leaving the missions, and in 1794 2,334 remained living on San Miguel. Portuguese colonial forces occupied San Miguel and the six other missions east of the Uruguay River in 1801, and the decline of the population of San Miguel accelerated. In 1816, 706 remained living on the mission, and 271in 1827. The rapid decline in the population of San Miguel was a consequence of the dispersion of the Guarani mission populations (see Table 3).

The decline of the Guarani population of the seven missions did not signify a drastic demographic collapse, even though epidemics continued to spread through the missions.[31] Rather, many of the former neophytes abandoned the missions, and regional conflict in the area between 1810 and 1830 only accelerated the process. In 1801, during a war between Spain and Portugal, a Portuguese militia force occupied the seven missions.[32] The eastern missions served as a base of operations for Portuguese invasions of the region between the Uruguay and Parana Rivers during the turbulent decade of 1810 to 1820. Invasions occurred in 1811 and 1812, and again in 1817 and 1818. During this last invasion 3,190 people in Misiones died, another 360 were taken prisoner, and the Portuguese sacked many of the missions.  Moreover, a major battle occurred in early April of 1818 at San Carlos, and resulted in massive damage to the church and associated buildings. The Paraguayans also attempted to assert sovereignty over missions, and occupied and sacked the mission communities along the eastern bank of the Parana River in 1817 such as San Ignacio, Santa Ana, Loreto, and Corpus Christi, among others.[33] The conflict over control of the disputed region reached the seven missions in the late 1820s.

In 1828, during the last stages of the war between Argentina and Brazil over Uruguay, one Fructuoso Rivera sacked the missions and took some 6,000 Guarani back to Uruguay where they established a new settlement on the Parana River called Santa Rosa de la Bella Union. The refugees remained at the site for five years, but were forced to flee following an attack on the settlement by the militia of the Colorado faction involved in a civil war in the region with the Blancos. A group of 860 originally from eleven missions, mostly from the seven Trans-Uruguay River establishments, established a new community called San Borja del Yi, and eventually the population of the new community reached some 3,500.[34]

The pattern of the survival of the Guarani as a distinct ethnic group in the larger Rio de la Plata region contrasts to the demise of the indigenous peoples of Baja California. Unlike the Guarani missions, the decline in the Baja California mission populations signified demographic collapse and virtual biological and cultural extinction within about 150 years.  What accounted for the difference in demographic regimes? Several factors explain the survival of the Guarani as a distinct population. The populations of the Guarani missions were larger than the Baja California missions, which meant that more people survived the periodic epidemics and particularly women of child bearing age. As noted above, the largest average size of the Peninsula establishments during the Jesuit tenure was 477 in 1768, on the eve of their removal from the missions. The total population of the missions in that year was slightly more than 7,000. In contrast, in 1724 the population of San Nicolas, only one of the seven Guarnai missions examined here, was 6,667, nearly as large as the entire population of the Peninsula mission communities. In the same year the average population of the seven missions was 4,642, almost ten times the average of the Baja California mission populations. Many Guarani died in epidemics, but enough women of child bearing age survived to bear more children, and make up the losses from the epidemics.

The native peoples of Baja California were hunter-gatherers, and were smaller and more fragile populations living in small bands or villages. Congregation in the missions brought them into larger and unhealthy communities where disease spread more readily, and the smaller size of the mission populations precluded recovery. Moreover, the mission regime in Baja California was more disruptive of the social structure and culture of the neophytes, unlike the Guarani missions where the Jesuits retained the social structure and political organization through the caciques. Psychological dislocation caused by the new world order in the mission communities, which included the use of corporal punishment, sapped the will to survive of many individuals. Finally, the neophytes received inadequate medical attention, and particularly pregnant women. Medical knowledge was still based on ancient Greek humeral theory that included the use of bloodletting that only served to weaken the immunological system of an individual combating infection as well as purges, and medicines used included mercury, a deadly poison, to treat syphilis. At times the cure was as bad or even worse than the illness.

Another reason for the greater stability of the Guarani missions was the strength of the mission economies, that produced enough food to feed the neophytes as well as surpluses sold in the regional economy. This contrasts to the Baja California missions, where the Jesuits struggled to produce enough crops that generally supplied only a small portion of the food needs of the neophytes. This forced the Black Robes to adopt the more dispersed settlement pattern discussed above that in turn allowed for the persistence of traditional religious beliefs and practices as well as shamanism, and to import food from Tarahumara, Sonora and Sinaloa. The next section of this study outlines the differences in economic development in the two regions.

Mission Economics

The basic economic goal of the Jesuits in Baja California was to be able to cover as much of the cost of the missions as possible, and second to provide a level of subsistence to themselves and as many of the neophytes as possible. Covering the cost of the missions themselves was one of the conditions for being granted permission by the Crown to return to Baja California to establish missions in 1697, and the Jesuits did this through the solicitation of private funds from private individuals as well as alms collected in cities and towns in Mexico, coupled with shipping supplies to the Peninsula establishments from the richer missions of Tarahumara,  Sinaloa and Sonora.[35]

The first requirement to establish a mission in Baja California was an endowment, usually of 10,000 pesos invested in income producing properties such as rural estates or urban real estate. The expectation was to earn about 500 pesos annually from these investments.[36] In several instances wealthy Jesuits themselves donated the funds for an endowment. For example, Juan Bautista Luyando, S.J., donated 10,000 pesos to endow San Ignacio mission, and then served as the first missionary.[37]  Following the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, the Crown took over control of the funds and used it to further finance the colonization of the Californias. It later became known as the Pious Fund, and became the cause for a legal dispute between Mexico and the United States during most of the nineteenth-century. The Jesuit missionaries used the monies from the endowment to help cover the cost of supplies purchased for the missions, and had to keep careful accounts to be presented to Jesuit inspectors (visitador general) during periodic visits to the missions.

Juan Antonio Balthasar, S.J., visited the Baja California missions between 1743 and 1744. His report on Guadalupe mission shows the different ways that the Jesuits obtained the supplies they needed to run the missions. Between 1742 and 1744, missionary Joseph Gasteirger, S.J., had obtained supplies worth 1,760 pesos through the treasury office in Loreto, using funds from the endowment. Gasteiger had also bartered for additional supplies worth a total of 1,440 pesos. Finally, the Jesuit had sold produce to San Ignacio mission worth 266 pesos that had yet to be collected.[38] Local bartering helped the Black Robes to make ends meet.

Most of the Peninsula missions had very limited agricultural potential, and in the early years of operation never produced sufficient grain to feed the bulk of the indigenous neophyte population. In order to farm the missionaries directed the construction of irrigation systems with dams that impounded available water, although the irrigation systems proved to be vulnerable to flash floods common throughout most of the arid Peninsula that destroyed or damaged the dam and ditches and deposited sand and gravel on the fields.[39] The repair of existing irrigation systems or the construction of new dams and acequias was a recurring project at many of the missions. In the 1790s, for example, the Dominicans directed the construction of three new irrigation ditches at La Putisima mission built of masonry, and with a total length of 2,550 varas.[40] The staple crops were wheat and corn, supplemented in some instances by barley. Specialized crops included cotton and grapes for the production of wine and brandy. With the exception of several of the missions in the southernmost part of the Peninsula, crop production at the missions was low, and fluctuated from year to year depending on availability of water for irrigation.

Tables 4 and 5 summarize numbers of livestock and grain production at two missions, San Ignacio and Santa Gertrudis (see Tables 4 & 5). In both instances the levels of grain production, particularly in the several decades following the establishment of the two missions in 1728 and 1751 respectfully did not come close to satisfying the food requirements of the large populations of the two missions that were in excess of one thousand in the early years of the missions. Once the population of San Ignacio dropped to between 100 and 200 towards the end of the eighteenth-century, agricultural production could feed the surviving neophyte population. Agriculture at Santa Gertrudis, on the other hand, located in a particularly arid district, could not feed the mission population, even in the best years.

The other major aspect of the economy was ranching, and the missions had herds of cattle and horses, and flocks of sheep and goats. Mission livestock provided meat to supplement the diet of those neophytes fed by the missionaries, and also provided raw materials for leather goods, tallow for soap and candles, and wool for clothing. The livestock belonging to the missions never approached the numbers owned by the missions in the Rio de la Plata region. The major limitation to the numbers of animals in the Peninsula missions was finding sufficient pasture. The missionaries also reported depredations by wild predators, such as mountain lions.

Following the expulsion of the Jesuits Jose de Galvez, visitador general sent to Mexico with extensive powers to reform, visited Baja California, and tried to implement policies to rationalize the mission economies and promote agriculture to relieve the royal government of the cost of supplying the unproductive missions. The royal government was unwilling to invest heavily in supporting the missions. This drive to rationalize resulted in the implementation of one policy, the shifting of populations between missions, that ultimately backfired, and required the expenditure of additional funds.

The natives of southern Baja California had already proven their willingness to resist the new colonial order in several major uprisings in the 1730s and 1740s, and had a reputation for being rebellious and badly disposed to the new order. It would b more accurate to state that they defended a way of life that they believed to be as attractive if not more than what the Jesuits offered in the missions. Devastating epidemics in the 1740s profoundly broke the faith of the native peoples in the southern region in their own belief system that could not explain the new and horrible diseases that the Jesuits clearly understood. Traditional shaman offered little to alleviate the suffering of the neophytes. The Guaycuruan neophytes of Dolores del Sur (est. 1721) and San Luis Gonzaga (est. 1737) certainly experienced the effects of epidemics, but not to the degree as in the missions further south since the neophytes lived in a more dispersed settlement pattern as a consequence of the limited agriculture at the two missions sites located in the middle of an arid part of the Peninsula known as the Magdalena Desert. The neophytes at both missions continued to covertly rely on shaman decades following the arrival of the Black Robes.

In shifting populations, Galvez ordered the suppression of Dolores del Sur and San Luis Gonzaga, and relocation of the Guaycuruan to Todos Santos a mission with arable land and water. However, the resettlement of the Guaycuruan initiated a prolonged crisis that resulted from a major miscalculation on the part of the colonial bureaucrat. Galvez wanted the Guaycuruans to be converted into a labor force overnight, and the neophytes resisted this radical change. Francisco Palou, O.F.M., noted that: “The Guaicuros Indians had never settled down in their native missions of La Pasion [Dolores] and San Luis, but lived in the mountains like deer, supporting themselves on wild foods, and attending Mass at the mission when it was the turn of their Village…The visitor [Jose de Galvez] moved all these villages to Todos Santos to live in a settlement. As they were accustomed to live in the woods, it semed hard to them, and they immediately began to run away.”[41] The Guaycuruan neophytes fled the mission, and those that remained engaged in the theft or destruction of mission property. The Franciscans responded with the use of corporal punishment, an action that backfired. In 1770, a delegation of neophyte leaders from Todos Santos went to Loreto to complain about mistreatment at the hands of the overseer, and shortages of food.[42]

Galvez’s policy initiative, while it responded to the pragmatic needs of the Crown, completely misunderstood the realities of the limited social and cultural change the Guaycuruans had experienced at Dolores and San Luis Gonzaga missions. The neophytes had not been converted into a disciplined labor force over three decades under Jesuit tutelage, but were expected to learn new ways of work overnight. The missionaries brought with them a paternalism born of cultural and religious chauvinism, and believed that what they brought to the indigenous neophytes benefited them. A passage in Palou’s account of the troubles at Todos Santos catches a sense of this paternalistic chauvinism: “The new settlers [Guaycuruan neophytes] have been so ungrateful for the good that has been done them in changing their fortunes that they have not been willing to settle down there, and only by threats to remain for a time, but more to destroy what the mission has than to advance it.”[43]

The Jesuits stationed on the Guarani missions, on the other hand, did not have to deal with trying to feed the neophytes in an arid land. Agriculture and ranching generally produced enough to feed the Guarani residents of the missions, and for export. Moreover, The Jesuits sold yerba mate, cattle hides, textiles, cotton, and other goods in the regional economy to earn money to support the mission communities.[44]  The Guarani and the Jesuits distinguished between two forms of labor and production within the mission communities: abambaé and tupambaé. Abambaé was the labor, land, and production of the individual head of household, and was controlled by the Guarani family or cacique, the head of the clan. Tupambaé was labor and production for God, or in other terms communal labor and production for the support of the Jesuits and their program in the missions.[45]

Agriculture and ranching formed the basis for the mission economies, but the scale of production was much larger than in Baja California. In 1768, at the time of the Jesuit expulsion, the missions owned 769,869 head of cattle, 138,141 sheep, and 139,634 horses, mules, and donkeys. Yapeyu alone counted more than 200,000 cattle that ranged on an estancia that measured 50 x 30 leagues or some 47,000 square kilometers. Similarly, San Miguel had two estancias named Calera de las Huerfanas and Calera de las Vacas that measured about 20,000 square kilometers.[46] The Jesuits directed the development of building complexes including chapels for the estancias.

The Jesuits sold goods and purchased supplies through two offices located in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe called the oficio de las misiones. The accounts maintained in these two offices show in broad ways the ability of the Jesuits to fund the mission communities through trade, as well as their reliance on some imported goods.. Table 6 summarizes the accounts for San Lorenzo Martir from Santa Fe in the years 1730 to 1745, and Buenos Aires from 1731-1763. San Lorenzo consistently ran a favorable balance through 1745, but ran deficits at Buenos Aires in 1731 and again in 1738 and 1739. The period 1730-1739 was a decade during which several severe epidemics spread through the missions, and some 22,000 to 24,000 Guarani militiamen were mobilized by local royal officials to deal with the Comunero Revolt in Paraguay, and the threat of a Portuguese attack from Colonia do Sacramento in the Banda Oriental that reduced the available labor force in the missions. There were also complaints from the Jesuits to royal officials about drought.[47] However, historian Julia Sarreal attributes the negative mission balances to maladministration in the Buenos Aires oficio, with the crisis coming to a head in 1738. The combined accounts for the seven missions (see Table 7) showed a drop in the surplus in the same two years that San Lorenzo ran a deficit in its account in the Buenos Aires oficio.

At the same time a review of the record of tribute payments made by the mission supports an interpretation of a possible economic crisis in the missions in the mid and late 1730s, at the time of the epidemics, mobilization of the mission militia, and the administrative problems in the Buenos Aires oficio. Tribute paid by the missions dropped between 1734 and 1744. During the years 1728-1734, the Buenos Aires treasury received 66,701 pesos, but only 28,420 pesos in 1734-1736, 28,649 pesos from 1736 to 1739, 28,443 pesos between 1739 and 1742, and 18,880 from 1742-1744. The tribute then increased to 79,992 in the years 1744-1749.[48] There was a decline in the late 1730s in the number of males in the missions over the age of sixteen, but this resulted as much from out-migration from the missions and military service as from increased mortality caused by the epidemics.[49] Moreover, the mission populations rebounded in the 1740s, while tribute payments declined until after 1744. One possible explanation is that international wars adversely affected the mission economies, and delayed recovery from the crisis of the mid and late 1730s. Spain and England were involved in a trade related conflict known as the War of Jenkins Ear (1739-1742), and England’s naval superiority disrupted Spanish trade to the Americas. This conflict merged in 1742 with the War of Austrian Succession (1742-1748). The continued decline in the mission economies as measured by tribute payments most likely reflects the consequences of the outbreak of war with England, and increased prices for imported goods as a consequence of English predation of Spanish merchant ships.

Further confirmation of this hypothesis of the impact of war on the mission economies comes from the San Lorenzo Buenos Aires oficio accounts. The second period of deficits for San Lorenzo ran from 1746 through 1763, the last year for which accounts survive. This was a period of a generalized and prolonged crisis involving all seven of the Trans-Uruguay River mission economies. The first cause for the deficits may have been increased prices for imported goods as a consequence of the War of Austrian Succession caused by  the disruption of trade between Spain and the Americas. Accounts of goods shipped to the Franciscan missions of Texas missions during the same period also showed rapid increases in prices during the war years.[50] The missions continued to run deficits following the end of the war, and through 1763. This period coincided with the resumption of warfare in 1755, but also the crisis leading up to, including, and following the Guarani War (1754-1756), the Portuguese occupation of the missions and dispersion of the many of the Guarani residents of the missions, and the Spanish reoccupation of the mission territory in the early 1760s (see Tables 6 & 7).

The Jesuits sold a variety of goods to raise money to support the mission communities. Yerba mat,e initially collected from wild stands, was an important source of revenue for the missions. The Jesuits organized large expeditions to the sources of yerba mate, but later experimented with the development of plantations closer to the missions. The seven trans-Uruguay River missions achieved the greatest level of success in developing these plantations. The Crown first authorized the Jesuits to sell yerba mate in 1645, and in 1666 the audiencia set the limit for Jesuit production and sales at 12,000 arrobas (300,000 lbs) per year.[51] By the end of the eighteenth century the mission communities produced 121,000 arrobas (1,512.5 tons) per year. Santa Rosa reportedly had some 38,000 trees, the largest number among the missions, followed by San Cosme y San Damian with 25,000.[52] In addition to yerba mate, the missions exported cotton, wheat, sugarcane, hides, and wood.[53] However, it was the export of yerba mate that caused the greatest friction with the settlers in Paraguay since the Jesuits competed with them, and in attacking the Jesuits the settlers claimed that the missions exceeded production quotas.[54] Production figures are generally not available, but reports from 1787 and 1790 following the Jesuit expulsion did record the amount of yerba mate produced at six of the seven missions (see Table 7). The data are complete for 1787, and totaled 22,500 arrobas or 281.25 tons.

In 1787, yerba mate sales in six of the Trans-Uruguay River missions (administratively San Francisco de Borja was attached to a different jurisdiction) totaled 30,667 pesos, and ranked second in total sources of income behind cattle products, particularly hides, that totaled 45,174 pesos. Hide exports from the Rio de la Plata region to Spain increased following the loosening of trade regulations in the 1770s under the policy of “free trade” (comercio libre), which meant freer trade within the Spanish trade system. In the years 1768 to 1771, exports from Buenos Aires totaled 177,656 hides, and this increased to 1,258,008 hides in the years 1779-1784.[55] The civil administrators of a number of the missions took advantage of the growth in the hide trade to increase the number of cattle rounded-up, and to slaughter animals on the range. The administrators of several of the ex-missions restored the cattle herds following a decline in the numbers of animals immediately following the expulsion of the Jesuits. The number of cattle reported for Yapeyu dropped from 48,119 in 1768 to 24,500 in 1778, but then increased to some 76,000 in the early 1790s.[56] This was accomplished by rounding-up wild cattle, and in some instances through the purchase of cattle from other missions.[57] The number of cattle owned by six missions excluding San Francisco de Borja totaled 53,811, increased to 150,575, and declined again to 112,397 in 1801 when the Portuguese occupied the seven missions.[58]

Unlike the Peninsula missions, the Jesuit establishments in the Rio de la Plata region supplied basic subsistence needs for the mission residents, as well as surpluses that helped defray the costs of running the missions as well as a variety of projects, including building projects.  The ruins that remain at a number of mission sites in Paraguay, Misiones (Argentina), and Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), particularly those dating from around 1720 to 1767, attest to the ability of the Black Robes to direct and finance the construction of some of the largest and most complex mission churches in the Americas, as well as extensive cascos (building complexes) that in some instances covered scores of hectares of land. The following section outlines the building of the missions in both regions.

The Building of the Missions

The early reports on the Jesuit missions of Paraguay record the use of wood or wattle and daub as the primary building materials for the churches and other structures of the new communities.  Building with wood, tapia (walls of earth compressed in a mold), or wattle and daub allowed the rapid completion of buildings, particularly larger structures such as churches. The cartas anuas record the construction of a number of churches in relatively short periods of time:  at San Miguel between 1641 and 1643; San Ignacio and Santa Ana in 1644; Loreto 1645-1646; Corpus Christi and Martires in 1647-1649;  San Francisco Javier in 1647; Candelaria in 1653; and at San Tome in the years 1663-1666.[59] In the early phase buildings had thatch roofs, but the Jesuits later had burnt roof tiles added because of fires that destroyed mission buildings with thatch roofs. The first references to the use of tiles date to the 1630s and 1640s.[60] As the threat of attack faded and the new mission communities achieved a greater level of stability, the Jesuits directed the construction of more permanent buildings with adobe walls.  The first references to the use of adobe in construction date to 1644.[61] The buildings at the second site of San Miguel, occupied from the late 1630s to 1687, reportedly were built of adobe.

In the eighteenth-century the Jesuits directed the reconstruction of many buildings of stone. Nevertheless, during this later phase of reconstruction the Jesuits did not have all buildings rebuilt of stone, and in particular the Black Robes often had housing for the Guarani populations built of less durable materials. In 1749, for example, a memorial for Loreto mandated the construction of housing for the Guarani neophytes with tile roofs to avoid the hazard of fire with thatch roofs.[62] When the Crown ordered the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, local officials prepared detailed inventories of the missions including the buildings. The Guarani housing at Aposteles, for example, consisted of structures of stone, tapia or adobe, and wattle and daub, but all roofed with tiles.[63] Substantial ruins of neophytes housing does not survive at most of the missions. One exception is at Trinidad, where the remains of arcades stone housing units can been seen today.

The missionaries themselves were amateur architects at best, as acknowledged by Antonio Sepp, S.J., the founder of San Juan Bautista. Sepp noted that he did not have formal training as an architect, but did state that he had traveled around Europe and took ideas for the planning of the new mission from that experience. Nevertheless, Sepp is recognized as having been one of the more skilled missionary-architects.[64] However, during the eighteenth-century phase of reconstruction the missionaries received helped from several Jesuit lay brothers who worked on several churches. The first was Jose Brasanelli, who was also a painter and sculpture. He worked on the churches at Itapua, San Francisco de Borja, Loreto, and Santa Ana. He may also have worked on the churches San Francisco Javier and San Ignacio Mini.  The most important of the eighteenth-century architects was Juan Bautista Primoli. Before working in the missions Primoli had designed buildings in Buenos Aires and Cordoba. Primoli was responsible for the churches of San Miguel and Concepcion, and also completed the church of Trinidad along with Fr. Jose Grimau, S.J..[65]

The Jesuits directed the construction of large and impressive churches during the eighteenth-century building phase in the missions. The church at San Miguel is a fine example of the mission architecture. Built between 1735 and 1747, the stone church had three naves. The neighboring church at San Lorenzo, also built of stone, reportedly had five naves and measured 93 x 43 varas. (77.9 x 36 meters), although the church was later remodeled to have only three naves.[66] Details on construction at the Jesuit missions is far from complete, but documents do provide some clues to the development of mission building complexes or at least the churches. The record indicates the construction of four churches at San Juan Bautista. The first two built in 1697 and 1698 respectively were temporary structures, and a new church was built in 1708. Six years later in 1714 work began on a permanent stone church, and a bell tower was added in 1724.[67] Church ruins exist today at four of the Trans-Uruguay River missions: San Miguel; San Juan Bautista; San Lorenzo; and San Nicolas.

There were other structures in the mission building complex in addition to the church and Indian housing. Adjoining the church there generally was two squares of buildings. The first was the cloister that contained the residence of the missionaries, their offices, and store rooms. The second consisted of workshops. Surrounding the central square of the mission community was housing for the Guarani neophytes, built as rows of long multi-apartment structures for Guarani families. A diagram of San Miguel mission prepared around 1756 (see Figure 3) shows that the housing consisted of long buildings with multiple apartments for individual families. The housing units in turn were organized into blocks subject to one of the caciques who continued to govern the families that they brought into the mission. There were public latrines located in the area of neophyte housing. The Jesuits also incorporated a dormitory called the coti-guazu into the plan of the new communities. This was a dormitory for widows, single women, and girls entering puberty, and was a form of social control designed to insure that unmarried women did not have sexual relations with men and did not entice men into illicit sexual relations. This dormitory was similar in purpose and function to the dormitories built at some of the Baja California missions. Diagrams of several missions prepared in 1784 show the general configuration of the mission building complexes (see Figure 4).

The construction of the Baja California missions followed a similar pattern as discussed above for the Guarani missions, with the construction first of temporary buildings followed by more permanent structures. There was also, as noted above, a major campaign in thje 1750s and 1760s to build more substantial churches at the older missions in the Peninsula, including Loreto, San Francisco Xavier, Mulege, and Comondu. The record of building construction at San Jose de Comondu, established in 1708, exemplifies the development of the cascos during the Jesuit tenure on the Peninsula.

San Jose de Comondu occupied two sites. The mission remained at the first site between 1708 and 1736.  Julian Mayorga, S.J., directed the construction of an adobe church and a residence built of stones set in mud.[68] Following the relocation of the mission at the end of 1736 and upon the arrival of Francisco Javier Wagner, S.J., in the following year, construction of a new casco began. Initial construction projects at the new site included the building of an adobe church, residence for the missionaries of the same material, a storeroom, and dormitories for single women and men.[69] Comondu was one of the few older Jesuit missions where the missionaries imposed measures of social control.  Writing in a 1744 report on Comondu, missionary Sebastian de Sistiaga, S.J., noted that: “The boys and girls are brought up separately in the main mission or town with the proper reserve, especially the girls, who are placed in charge of some upright woman of prudent judgment, although an Indian, to take care of them.”[70]

Comondu counted a sizeable population and hence labor force in the two decades following the relocation to the new site. In 1744, the mission had a population of 513, the numbers declined to 387 in 1754, and further dropped to 350 eight years later in 1762.[71] The population experienced decline resulting from disease, particularly smallpox. However, the Franciscans still could mobilize a large labor force for a major construction project. From about 1754 to 1760, the Jesuits directed the construction of a new stone church at Comondu as part of the campaign to build larger churches at a number of the older Peninsula missions including Loreto, San Francisco Xavier, and Mulege. Joseph de Utrera, S.J., visited Comondu in January of 1755, and reported on the progress of the new church. It was designed to have three naves and an arched ceiling, and was the only three-nave church built in the Peninsula missions. The other churches, including the stone church at San Francisco Xavier, only had single naves. He reported that the construction had already progressed on the central nave, but that the two outside naves had not advanced much.[72]

The 1771 report on the Peninsula missions written by Francisco Palou, O.F.M.,  one of the Franciscans who arrived in 1768 to replace the Jesuits, noted of Comondu mission that “It has a church, which, like part of the dwelling, is of mason work with vaulted roof and the rest of stone, and all covered with tules.”[73] The 1773 inventory prepared to complete the transfer of the Baja California missions from the jurisdiction of the Franciscans to the Dominicans provide additional information on the stone church and the other types of structures at Comondu and several other of the missions.  The inventory described the stone church with three naves church, but did not provide dimensions. The stone church at Comondu was the only three nave church in the Baja California missions.

 A later report from 1793 noted the size of the church as 30 x 13 varas, or 25.1 x 10.8 meters.  The inventory described the church in the following terms: “A church with three vaulted naves and three entrances, close to them on the inside are three basins for holy water. [It] is paved with cut stone, and also has wooden grills, a vaulted choir loft in which there is an old organ and bassoon. There are three altars; the principal altar is new and gold leafed, has a sculptured image of Saint Joseph with the Child, his halo in silver, and the blossom on his staff in silver as well. There is also a sculptured image of Saint Michael [the Archangel], and seven panels depicting various saints.” There was also a spacious residence for the missionaries built of stone. The structure also contained offices. Other buildings in the mission complex included several granaries and storerooms, a forge, weaving room, tack room, and shoe shop.[74]

The report of building construction during the Dominican period (1774-1827) is fragmentary, but a surviving report from 1796 lists the construction of a dormitory with a patio for single men, as well as nine stone houses for Indians families.[75] The construction of Indian housing and a dormitory for single men reflected a shift in royal policy that stressed the more rapid assimilation of native peoples in the Americas, as well as greater concern for standards of decency and mortality.  Neophytes were to live in European-style houses, and unmarried men and women were to be strictly segregated. This was a general initiative in the missions in Baja California. In 1793, the Dominicans noted that the church at Comondu was richly decorated with three altars, 25 paintings, and six statues. It was also the widest of the mission churches. The residence of the missionaries was described as being of stone and spacious.[76]

Challenges to the New Colonial Order

The natives of Baja California resisted the establishment of the missions. The southern Cape region near the tip of the Peninsula was the focal point of early and recurring armed resistance, and there were major uprisings in 1734-1737 and again in the early 1740s. .The rebels in 1734 killed Jesuit missionaries Lorenzo Carranco and Nicolas Tamaral, and also ambushed the Manila galleon that stopped  at San Jose del Cabo shortly after the beginning of the rebellion. Troops brought to the Peninsula from Sinaloa suppressed the uprising,[77] The 1734-1737 rebellion resulted in many deaths, and the troops from Sinaloa rapidly spread venereal disease as they had sexual relations with native women. In the aftermath of the uprising epidemics killed hundreds of neophytes. For example, an outbreak in the fall of 1743 killed more than 500 natives at Santiago mission, and the population dropped from some 1,000 to 449 in 1744 following the epidemic. The population of San Jose del Cabo totaled 1,040 in 1733, the year before the uprising, but declined to a mere 73 in 1755.[78] The epidemic followed on the heels of a second uprising, and the Jesuits described the contagion as God’s vengeance on the wicked neophytes.

The second serious challenge to the Peninsula missions occurred at Todos Santos  in 1768 and 1769, as previously described above. Under the reforms introduced by Jose de Galvez, the neophytes only recently transferred to Todos Santos were expected to become a disciplined labor force overnight. Their response was  a variety of forms of active and passive resistance, including the destruction of mission property and flight by large numbers of neophytes.

The most serious challenge to the Guarani missions came in the so-called Guarani War (1754-1756), which was a response to Spanish-Portuguese geopolitics in the region, but also reflected the level of self-government in the missions.[79] 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 missions in the early eighteenth-century. Sepp noted that: “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.. .[80]

The government in the missions 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 Spanish officials mobilized the mission militia on numerous occasions to fight the Portuguese, hostile indigenous groups, and  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 their communities under the terms of the 1750 Treaty of Madrid. The cabildo leaders articulated a collective voice in defense of what they viewed as their common interests.

The only close parallel to the Guarni mission 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. In the Baja California missions, on the other hand, although the missionaries introduced Iberian forms of municipal government, the indigenous leaders did not exercise any effective control.

The Guarani as a collective group did not resist Spanish colonial rule until the 1750s, and then a major uprising among the residents of the seven trans-Uruguay communities (San Miguel, Santos Angeles, San Lorenzo Martir, San Nicolas, San Juan Bautista, San Luis Gonzaga, and San Francisco de Borja) resulted from a plan to relocate the seven missions west of the Uruguay River. In 1750, Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Madrid to adjust colonial boundaries. Under the terms of the treaty the Spanish-Portuguese border was to be set at the Uruguay River. The residents of the seven missions located in what was to become Portuguese territory were to relocate to Spanish territory, or else remain under Portuguese rule. Moreover, the missions were to loose lands east of the river used for ranching and farming.[81]

One provision in the treaty stipulated the transfer of the Portuguese outpost Colonia do Sacramento, established in 1680 in what today is Uruguay, in exchange for some 500,000 square kilometers of territory in what today is Rio Grande do Sul and northern Uruguay. The territory to be ceded included the sites of the seven missions as well as the extensive estancias of the seven missions and Yapeyu, La Cruz, and Santo Tome. The population of the seven missions was to be relocated to Spanish territory. Moreover, the Guarani neophytes were to be allowed to take their moveable property with them. If they had not moved within a year, they would become Portuguese subjects. A secret provision of the treaty stipulated that Spanish and Portuguese forces would collaborate in the expulsion of the Guarani if they resisted, and Spanish officials expected the Jesuit missionaries to convince the Guarani to relocate, and the Crown offered the Guarani leaders 28,000 pesos as compensation.[82]           The Guarani leaders of the seven mission communities rejected the plan to relocate from their homes. The members of the cabildos sent a petition to the Spanish governor in Buenos Aires that read in part:: “Our fathers, our grandfathers, our brothers have fought under the royal standard, many times against the Portuguese, many times against the savages; who can say how many of them have fallen on the battlefields, or before the walls of the New Colony [Colonia do Sacramento] attacked many times. We ourselves can show our loyalty and valor withy our wounds…How does the Catholic King want to reward those services, expelling us from our lands, houses, fields and legitimate inheritances. We can not believe it. By the royal letters of Felipe V, read to us from the pulpit by his own orders, we were exhorted to never let the Portuguese, yours and our enemies, approach our borders…”[83] When the appeal to the royal official failed, the Guarani rose in rebellion. Resistance occurred in two phases.                   

Under the terms of the treaty a joint Spanish-Portuguese commission was to delineate the new border and set-up boundary markers. On February 27, 1753, the commission arrived at Santa Tecla, a chapel located in one of the estancias of San Miguel. An armed Guarani force prevented the commission from advancing further, and it retreated back to Montevideo and Colonia do Sacramento respectively. In response to the incident at Santa Tecla, the governor of Buenos Aires led a force of some 1,500 soldiers into mission in May of 1754. The Spanish army faced poor weather and lost most of its horses. A Guarani force ambushed a group of soldiers sent to deliver a letter to the Jesuit missionary at Yapeyu, and only a few survived. In August the Spanish force withdrew, but suffered Guarani attacks. The Portuguese force sent in support of the Spanish also faced bad weather and Guarani attacks, and also withdrew.[84]       Spanish and Portuguese leaders decided to unite their forces to suppress Guarani resistance, and a joint Spanish-Portuguese army of 3,020 soldiers reached Santa Tecla in February of 1756. The Spanish-Portuguese army routed the Guarani militia at the battle of Caibate on February 10, 1756. The Spanish-Portuguese army suffered three deaths and ten wounded, compared to 1,511 Guarani killed and 154 captured. In the aftermath of the battle the Spanish-Portuguese army occupied the seven trans-Uruguay missions. The retreating Guarani abandoned San Miguel and San Luis Gonzaga, and left the principal buildings in flames. The Spanish occupied and used Santo Angel as the base of operations, and the Portuguese used San Juan Bautista.[85] Spain and Portugal later annulled the 1750 treaty, and Spain regained control over the seven missions. The mission villages suffered physical damage, and the invading Spanish-Portuguese army slaughtered cattle from the estancias to feed themselves.[86] Spain and Portugal went to war over the disputed Rio de la Plata borderlands in the 1760s, and only resolved the boundary disputes with the signing of the 1777 Treaty of San Ildefonso. The trans-Uruguay missions remained under Spanish control until occupied by a Portuguese militia force in 1801.

What was the cost of the Guarani War? One was damage to the buildings of several of the mission complexes, and the pillaging of the mission herds. The uprising and the presence of Spanish and Portuguese troops on mission territory disrupted the functioning of the larger mission economy. Moreover, in the immediate aftermath of the Spanish-Portuguese occupation of the missions, the Guarani population dispersed. A 1756 census of the missions enumerated only 14,284 in the seven missions, down from some 27,000 at the beginning of the war.[87] The implementation of the 1750 treaty and the Guarani resistance had been costly to the Spanish Crown. The expeditions against the Guarani and the boundary commission totaled expenditures of 1,490,689 pesos between 1754 and 1758.[88]

One important lesson from the Guarani uprising was the strong attachment of the indigenous peoples to the seven mission communities that were to be transferred to the jurisdiction of Portugal. The early history of the missions in the seventeenth century was characterized by instability, as the Jesuits relocated the mission communities to different locations because of the threat of attack by Portuguese slave traders and hostile indigenous groups. Moreover, the Jesuits established several new missions with populations from existing communities. Nevertheless, by the 1750s the Guarani had a strong sense of identity tied to each of the seven trans-Uruguay missions, and rose in rebellion to protect their communities. The only parallel to a strong sense of identity with a specific community on the northern fringe of New Spain was again in the case of the sedentary indigenous peoples of New Mexico, where the Franciscans grafted their missions onto existing communities.

The Demise of the Missions

The genesis of the mission as an institution on the fringes of Spanish America dated back to the sixteenth century under the Hapsburg system of governance. The political climate in the Spanish realms changed dramatically after 1700, with the ascension of a new dynasty to the Spanish throne. The new king Felipe V and his successors tinkered with the Hapsburg system for half a century, but then after Carlos lll became king the tinkering transformed into a major reform designed to strengthen royal authority in the Americas and raise new revenues. A new brand of administrators served the king, and they challenged many of the underlying assumptions that had bolstered the Hapsburg system. Enlightened ideas coupled with the drive to augment royal authority influenced many royal officials, and informed their attacks on the missions.

One action by the Spanish government radically changed the Guarani missions in 1767. In that year local officials throughout Spanish America carried out a royal order for the expulsion of the Jesuits, an organization within the Catholic Church that most conformed to the growing anticlerical sentiments shared by officials who viewed the Black Robes as being in a way outside of royal authority. The expulsion order transformed the Guarani and Baja California missions, but in different ways. Secular priests and civil administrators replaced the Jesuits in the Guarani missions, whereas Franciscan and later Dominican missionaries replaced the Jesuits in Baja California, and established new missions after 1768.[89]

One of the immediate consequences was the looting of the accumulated property of the missions at the hands of the civil administrators placed in charge of the temporalities. This can be seen most graphically in the total decline in the number of cattle, an increasingly valuable commodity with the growth in the hide trade through Buenos Aires. The missions owned more than 700,000 head of cattle on the eve of the expulsion, but the administrators culled the herds for their own profit. In 1769, 412,169 head of cattle remained, and in 1788 243,906.[90] However, as discussed above, the administrators of the ex-missions rebuilt the herds of some of the communities including the San Miguel herds (see Table 11).

A second consequence of the Jesuit expulsion was out-migration from the missions, and particularly the seven Trans-Uruguay missions. The exodus from the missions actually began prior to the Jesuit expulsion, but escalated following the removal of the Black Robes. The exodus was both voluntary and involuntary. The Guarani uprising of the 1750s caused a wave of out-migration from the seven missions. Following the crushing of the uprising, the Spanish relocated some 12,000 Guarani to the missions located west of the Uruguay River. In the early 1760s, only about 15,000 Guarani lived in the seven missions following the return of the mission territory to Spain following the abrogation of the Treaty of Madrid.[91] Twice that number lived in the seven establishments in 1750. The Portuguese also relocated Guarani neophytes to Rio Grande do Sul, and settled the Guarani in several communities called aldeias, where they worked on nearby estancias.  One such community called Aldeia de Anjos, counted 3,500 residents in 1762, but the numbers declined to 2,563 in 1779, 1,362 in 1784, and 300 in 1814.[92]

Guarani neophytes also voluntarily migrated to the disputed borderland of the Banda Oriental (Uruguay), and established new communities that were independent of the Jesuits. One such community was called Las Viboras, and was first settled in 1758 following the suppression of the Guarani uprising, and about 1,500 people lived there in 1800. An analysis of 1,045 entries in the baptismal registers from Las Viboras for the years 1770-1811 provides evidence of the diverse origins of the Guarani residents of the community. The majority, 784 or seventy-five percent of the total, were children of neophytes who had once resided in the Jesuit missions. Others were from the Franciscan missions in southern Paraguay, and from other areas in the larger Rio de la Plata region. The residents of Las Viboras abandoned the community in 1846 as a result of an attack during a civil war in Uruguay.[93]

Another important cause for the decline of the ex-missions was the physical destruction of many of the mission building complexes in the wars between Portugal, Argentina, and Paraguay over control of the borderlands of the Banda Oriental and neighboring areas in the first three decades of the nineteenth century. The seven missions suffered damages during the 1754-1756 uprising, and the buildings continued to deteriorate following the Jesuit expulsion. In 1789, for example, lightening struck and damaged the church at San Miguel. However, it appears that the housing for the Guarani deteriorated most rapidly. A 1788 report on conditions at Santo Angel Custodio mission noted that of sixty-eight rows of Guarani housing useable in 1777, only seventeen rows could be used.[94]

 In 1801, during a war between Spain and Portugal, a Portuguese militia force occupied the seven missions located east of the Uruguay River, which had been reclaimed by Spain following the Treaty of Madrid fiasco and the Guarani War.[95] The Portuguese distributed Guarani mission lands to settlers in grants called sesmarias.[96] The eastern missions served as a base of operations for Portuguese invasions of the region between the Uruguay and Parana Rivers during the turbulent decades of the 1810s and 1820s.[97] Invasions occurred in 1811 and 1812, and again in 1817 and 1818. During this last invasion 3,190 people in Misiones died and another 360 were taken prisoner, and the Portuguese sacked many of the missions. Moreover, a major battle occurred in early April of 1818 at San Carlos that resulted in massive damage to the church and associated buildings. The Paraguayans also attempted to assert sovereignty over the territory between the Parana and Uruguay Rivers, and occupied and sacked the mission communities along the eastern bank of the Parana River in 1817 such as San Ignacio, Santa Ana, Loreto, and Corpus Christi, among others.[98] There were also efforts made by local Spanish military leaders to reoccupy the territory of the seven missions lost in 1801.

The Guarani abandoned many of the missions located in the war zone, and sought refuge elsewhere or were forcibly relocated. The odyssey of a group of Guarani residents of the seven missions illustrates how refugees were caught up in the unsettled political conditions in the region. In 1828, during the last stages of the war between Argentina and Brazil over Uruguay, one Fructuoso Rivera sacked the seven missions, and took some 6,000 Guarani back to Uruguay where they established a new settlement on the Parana River called Santa Rosa de la Bella Union. The refugees remained at the site for five years, but were forced to flee following an attack on the settlement by the militia of the Colorado faction involved in  civil war in the region with the Blancos. A group of 860 originally from eleven missions established a new community called San Borja del Yi, and eventually the population of the town reached some 3,500. Of the 860 who settled San Borja de Yi, 139 came from San Francisco de Borja mission. Another 350 from the other six Trans-Uruguay River missions, and 371 from Yapeyu, La Cruz, Santo Tome, and Corpus Christi.[99] The seven missions had declined under Portuguese rule, but Rivera’s attack forced their abandonment.

The demise of the missions of Baja California  was  very different from the violent end of the seven Trans-Uruguay River missions.. The Jesuit expulsion did not lead to the looting of the missions as occurred in Paraguay. The government replaced the Jesuits with the Franciscans, and lat4er in 1774 the Dominicans assumed control over the Peninsula frontier, and established new missions there in the last decades of the eighteenth-century. The demise of the missions in Baja California was a result, in part, of the drastic decline of the indigenous population. . The populations of the Baja California missions were also greatly reduced in number, and totaled 2,815 in 1804.[100]

The influence of enlightenment and later liberal ideas and the consequences of the eleven-year independence war in Mexico did have a bearing on the demise of the missions of northern Mexico. The numbers of missionaries, mostly Spaniards, declined, and hard decisions had to be made as to which missions to staff on a full-time basis. The Dominicans Baja California could no  longer post permanent missionaries to all of the missions. Moreover, there was a growing anti-Spanish sentiment in Mexico in the 1820s following independence that resulted in expulsion decrees at the end of the decade. The decrees exempted Spanish-born missionaries, but it continued to be difficult to find enough missionaries to staff the missions, particularly Spanish-born missionaries who were often viewed as being potentially dangerous agents of the former colonial regime.

The growing anti-clericalism in post-independence Mexico resulted in growing criticism of the missions as colonial anachronisms that retarded the integration of the Indian into society, and liberal reformers targeted the missions for closure when they came to power in the early 1830s. The final secularization law closing the missions passed by Mexican liberals in 1833 merely affirmed the decadence of most of the missions in Baja California. The  settlers were the primary beneficiaries of the distribution of land and property from the mission estates. [101]

Conclusions

The Jesuits established missions on various frontiers on the fringe of Spanish America, and coped with different environments and native peoples that either practiced varying levels of agriculture or were nomadic hunters and gatherers of wild plant foods. The Black Robes found that they had to alter the basic blueprint for the mission program as they moved into environments that ranged from lust tropical rainforest to harsh deserts in ways that altered the outcomes based on the model of the indigenous communities in central Mexico and the Andean Highlands. The mission was to be a self-sustaining community of sedentary farmers, ranchers, and craftsmen who would pay tribute and provide labor for Spanish entrepreneurs and bureaucrats for government projects.

When measured against the expectations of the Spanish government for the creation of a new colonial order, the Guarani missions were successful, and emerged as self-governing stable communities. The Jesuits directed the development of extensive and productive agriculture and ranching, and actively participated in the regional economy through sales of yerba mate, cattle hides, and other goods. In contrast, the Jesuits stationed on the Baja California missions found the environment on most of the Peninsula to be too dry to develop agriculture and ranching to the point of achieving a degree of self-sufficiency, and the Jesuits relied on foods imports from the missions in Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Tarahumara region as well as donations and small amounts of funding from the Crown. The inability to feed the neophytes at the missions, particularly in the early period when the number of natives baptized was large, forced the Jesuits to allow the majority of the neophytes to reside in traditional and seasonally shifting settlements. The neophytes living away from the mission center were not under the daily supervision of the missionaries and under these conditions traditional religious practices and shamanism persisted for decades following the establishment of the missions as attested to by complaints made by individual Jesuits about hechizeros. The Jesuits stationed on the missions in the Rio de la Plata generally did not have to deal with the persistence of traditional religion and shamanism, even in large communities with thousands of natives, because the caciques, the traditional Guarani clan leaders, embraced the Jesuit mission program, and retained their power within the mission communities and through the mission cabildo.

At the same time the Jesuits in the Rio de la Plata region faced challenges that their brethrens in Baja California did not have to worry about. That is the threat of violence from arrival colonial power, Portugal. Slave raids by Paulistas stopped the expansion of the Jesuit mission frontier, and forced the Black Robes to retreat west of the Uruguay River. By 1680, and following the establishment of Colonia do Sacramento in the Banda Oriental by the Portuguese, the Jesuit moved several missions east of the Uruguay River, and established new communities. In order to achieve the stability necessary to move east of the river, the Jesuits had to organize a militia system in the missions that existed until the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, and was employed by local royal officials in campaigns against the Portuguese over the disputed borderlands in the region. The 1750 Treaty of Madrid that was the catalyst for the Guarani uprising in the mid-1750s was an effort made by officials in Europe to establish a definitive boundary in South America, and prevent future conflict. The effort failed, and conflict continued from the 1760s through 1830.

The conflict in the larger Rio de la Plata region hastened the demise of the missions, particularly the seven Trans-Uruguay River establishments. In 1801, Portuguese colonial militiamen occupied the seven missions, and Portugal and later Brazil retained control over the mission district and incorporated the territory into Rio Grande do Sul. The drive towards independence after 1810 ignited a new round of war that resulted in the sacking of many of the missions west of the Uruguay River, and failed attempts by local military officials to reclaim the seven missions. Hundreds of Guarani abandoned the missions during the two decades of strife, and the seven missions in turn met a violent end during the incursion of Fructuoso Rivera from the Banda Oriental.  The long history of conflict over control of the Rio de la Plata region resulted in the final depopulating of the seven missions.

The demise of the Baja California missions resulted primarily from the demographic collapse of the mission populations. The hunter and gatherers brought into the Peninsula missions proved to be demographically than the more robust and larger Guarani mission populations, and experienced rapid demographic collapse to the point of near cultural and biological extinction within 150 years of the establishment of the first mission in 1697. Shifts in government attitudes towards the missions by bureaucrats influenced by enlightenment and later liberal ideas lead to a growing momentum to close the missions. The liberal Spanish Cortes in 1813 decreed the secularization of the missions, but local officials in Mexico did not act on the decree. However, following Mexican independence in 1821, the missions came under increasing scrutiny. Growing anti-Spanish sentiment in Mexico coupled with the separation from Spain made it difficult for Dominican officials to staff all of the Peninsula missions, and in the 1820s many of the older missions with small populations went without missionaries. The 1833 secularization law closed a moribund mission program in Baja California.

The Jesuits implemented very similar mission programs in the two regions studied here, but had to modify the mission programs to take into account the harsh arid environment throughout most of Baja California, and the threat of violence on the Rio de la Plata region. The alteration of the basic ground rules for the mission programs significantly altered the outcomes, in some instances in ways that the Jesuits and royal officials did not anticipate and/or did not desire. Nevertheless, and as a bottom line consideration, the Jesuit mission program in the two regions did satisfy royal policy objectives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1: 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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   Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997 (Quito, 1997), 43-57.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3: Population of the Seven Trans-Uruguay River Missions, 1641-1827

 

Year

San

Miguel

San Nicolas

San Borja

San Luis

San Lorenzo

San Juan

Santo Angel

1641

1,860

1,803

 

 

 

 

 

1647

1,165

1,854

 

 

 

 

 

1657

2,101

3,684

 

 

 

 

 

1675

3,640

 

 

 

 

 

 

1676

3,830

2,921

 

 

 

 

 

1682

3,740

3,548

 

 

 

 

 

1687

3,500

 

 

3,280

 

 

 

1690

 

 

 

 

3,512

 

 

1694

4,592

 

2,888

3,933

 

 

 

1698

1,885

5,819

 

 

 

2,832

 

1702

2,197

4,090

 

3,354

4,427

 

 

1707

4,569

5,380

 

 

 

3,361

2,879

1718

 

4,194

 

 

 

 

 

1719

3,441

 

 

 

 

 

 

1720

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,592

1724

3,972

6,667

2,906

5,045

5,224

4,629

4,052

1729

4,710

 

 

 

 

 

 

1731

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1733

 

 

 

 

6,099

 

4,923

1740

4,740

2,194

3,291

2,308

1,173

2,171

5,228

1741

4,974

2,279

3,430

2,432

1,311

2,525

5,199

1749

6,695

 

 

 

 

 

 

1750

6,635

4,255

3,435

3,037

1,729

3,221

5,186

1751

6,954

3,913

 

 

 

 

4,858

1752

7,047

 

 

 

 

 

 

1756

1,035

  416

1,668

3,828

4,459

3,347

2,531

1757

2,972

 

 

 

 

 

 

1762

3,275

 

 

 

 

 

 

1768

3,525

4,194

2,761

3,510

 

4,106

2,687

1778

3,556

 

 

 

 

 

 

1784

1.773

 

 

 

 

2,388

1,986

1794

2,334

 

 

 

 

 

 

1801

1,900

3,940

1,300

2,350

  960

1,600

1,960

1814

   706

1,545

1,424

1.412

  434

  554

  320

1822

   600

  250

  400

  200

  250

  300

  350

1827

   706

  404

  404

  446

  258

  212

  103

Source: 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), 45-57; Guillermo Furlong Cardiff, S.J., Misiones y sus pueblos de Guaranies (Buenos Aires, 1962), 175-179.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 4: Numbers of Livestock and Grain Production (in fanegas) reported at San Ignacio  Mission, 1755-1805

Year

Cattle

Sheep

Goats

Horses

Wheat

Corn

Barley

1728

 

 

 

 

100

 

 

1729

 

 

 

 

450

 

 

1755

1150

1755

1250

100

500

500

 

1761

1500

1000*

 

 

 

 

 

1771

  87

 722

  43

112

 

 

 

1773

 125

 558

 194

127

 

 

 

1774

 215

 400

 160

118

 60

 

40

1775

 234

 500

 192

104

 65

223

30

1776

 300

 534

 220

121

470

160

 

1780

 420

 700

 300

 23

 

 

 

1782

 500

 600

 300

 85

 

 

 

1784

 

 433

 226

 93

600

160

 

1785

 400

 

 

 71

550

200

 

1786

 380

 400

 250

 82

800

200

 

1787

 472

 555

 217

107

900

230

 

1788

 360

 630

 190

103

600

237

15

1793

 300

 900

 150

136

680

 

 

1794

 340

 800

 200

121

600

 34

 3

1795

 324

 800

 100

140

 80

 80

 

1796

 400

 895

 200

 79

500

 10

 

1797

 488

 875

 297

132

451

100

 

1798

 480

 816

 230

120

800

150

 

1799

 478

 750

 250

190

500

 50

 

1800

 516

 642

 282

190

500

 20

 

1801

 600

 747*

 

170

400

150

 

1803

 650

 520

 236

104

350

 90

 

1805

 550

 300

 200

 65

200

 40

 

Source: Homer Aschmann, Central Desert of Baja California: Demography and Ecology (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1959), 214-215; Joseph de Urera, S.J., “Nuevo estado de las Missiones de esta Prov[inci]a de la Comp[ani] de Jesus de Nueva Espana,” W.B. Stephens Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin; “Baja California Mission Statistics,” The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 5: Livestock and Grain Production (in fanegas) Reported at Santa Gertrudis Mission, 1755-1805

Year

Cattle

Sheep

Goats

Horses

Wheat

Corn

Barley

1755

440

 

 

 45

151

  28

 

1771

113

140

470

142

180

 

20

1773

196

210

320

118

138

 

50

1774

169

490

169

109

 85

 93

15

1775

330

706*

 

 

340

 

20

1776

288

464

548

143

250

118

 

1780

280

300

470

158

 

 

 

1782

272

177

600

 35

200

 78

 

1784

236

223

735

 55

147

 32

 

1785

321

 

 

 88

159

 12

 

1786

236

360

400

 68

 

 

 

1787

329

408

350

140

 

 

 

1788

260

 

 

 61

 

 

 

1793

300

700

200

 71

200

 

 

1794

230

800

144

 95

150

 11

 

1795

120

1060

220

 86

300

 60

 4

1796

 60

1250

236

110

280

 50

 

1797

 60

1150

300

139

160

  8

10

1798

 13

1146

290

 70

180

 14

20

1799

 74

2100

600

 94

150

 50

40

1800

 80

2220

550

 60

100

 14

 6

1801

 70

2125

635

 70

150

 

15

1803

 76

2020

543

 62

 60

 15

 

1805

 96

2227

402

 32

 35

 26

 

*Includes goats.

Source: Homer Aschmann, Central Desert of Baja California: Demography and Ecology (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1959), 220; Joseph de Urera, S.J., “Nuevo estado de las Missiones de esta Prov[inci]a de la Comp[ani] de Jesus de Nueva Espana,” W.B. Stephens Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin; “Baja California Mission Statistics,” The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 6: Net Balance of San Lorenzo Mission in the Oficio de Misiones Office in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe, in Pesos and Reales

 

Year

Buenos Aires

 

Santa Fe

 

Year

Buenos Aires

 

Santa Fe

1730

 

2,952,8

1745

 3,922,5

1,009,4

1731

-3,464,4

2,466,5

1746

-1,606,5

 

1732

 

2,026,1

1748

-3,461,1

 

1733

 

1,733,6

1750

-2,509,8

 

1734

 

2,820,2

1751

-3,478,5

 

1735

 3,167,5

7,013,7

1752

-2,943,6

 

1736

 

6,931,1

1753

-3,265,7

 

1737

 

5,909,8

1755

-4,952,6

 

1738

  -560,5

5,593,5

1756

-2,326,6

 

1739

-1,034,4

2,446,6

1757

-2,326,6

 

1740

 4,325,6

2,422,3

1758

-2,326,6

 

1741

 

2,422,3

1759

-2,326,6

 

1742

14,428,4

1,668,4

1760

-2,326,6

 

1743

 

1,668,4

1761

-2,244,6

 

1744

 9,528,3

1,596,6

1763

-3,849,2

 

Source: Rafael Carbonell de Masy, Estrategias de desarrollo rural en los pueblos Guaranies (1609-1767). (Barcelona, 1992), 336-343.

 

Table 7: : Net Balance of the Seven Trans-Uruguay River Missions in the Oficio de Misiones Office in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe, in Pesos and Reales

 

Year

Buenos Aires

 

Santa Fe

 

Year

Buenos Aires

 

Santa Fe

1730

 

10,331p 1r

1745

   8,106p 1r

14,122p 1r

1731

 -5,860p 7r

14,686p 7r

1746

  -3,477p 1r

 

1732

 

12,705p 7r

1748

  -5,667p 8r

 

1733

 

14,676p 1r

1750

-11,850p 2r

 

1734

 

18,384p 2r

1751

-14,844p 5r

 

1735

 25,467p 5r

26,075p 1r

1752

  -9,618p 8r

 

1736

 

28,091p 5r

1753

  -4,626p 6r

 

1737

 

31,439p 3r

1755

-21,326p 4r

 

1738

  2,570p 7r

23,759p 1r

1756

-15,908p 7r

 

1739

  1,924p 2r

17,498p 4r

1757

-16,016p 4r

 

1740

 12,763p 6r

11,916p 6r

1758

-16,060p 7r

 

1741

 

10,992p 2r

1759

-16,060p 7r

 

1742

 22,516p 6r

18,364p 5r

1760

-16,060p 8r

 

1743

 

18,364p 5r

1761

-14,529p 2r

 

1744

 12,763p 6r

15,601p 5r

1763

-20,892p 1r

 

Source: Rafael Carbonell de Masy, Estrategias de desarrollo rural en los pueblos Guaranies (1609-1767). (Barcelona, 1992), 336-343.

 

 

 

Table 8: Yerba Mate Production at Six Ex-Missions in 1787 and 1790, in Arrobas

Ex-Mission

1787

1790

San Juan Bautista

5,000

6,000

San Lorenzo Martir

1,000

2,104

Santo Angel Custodio

5,000

 

San Luis Gonzaga

6,000

5,300

SanNicolas

4,500

6,260

San Miguel

1,000

 

Source: Ernesto Maeder, Misiones del Paraguay: Conflictos y disolucion de la sociedad guarani (1768-1850) (Madrid, 1992), p. 163.

 

 

 

Table 9: Sources of Income in Six Ex-Missions in 1787, in Pesos

Ex-Mission

Cattle

Yerba Mate

Cotton

Textiles

Other

San Juan

 4,420

6,250

5,000

 

1,500

San Lorenzo

 3,727

1,250

3,600

2,101

1,033

Santo Angel

 4,131

6,250

 

4,625

2,010

San Luis

 4,675

7,500

4,000

7,405

 

San Nicolas

 7,921

5,667

  564

8,484

    35