Robert H. Jackson
22830 Thadds Trail
Spring, TX 77373

The Population of San Lorenzo Martir Mission, 1690-1827


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. 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.
Scholars of the European-Native interface in the Americas after 1492 generally stress demographic change among the indigenous populations of the Americas as one of the more important consequences of sustained contact between the Old and New Worlds. However, many discussions of the process of demographic change during the first centuries after 1492 do not benefit from detailed sources that enable a detailed analysis of mortality crises that decimated native populations, and whether or not native populations recovered. A mortality crisis is generally defined as x3 normal mortality, and the general assumption is that recurring mortality crises caused the precipitous decline of native populations.
This essay examines the evolution of the population of San Lorenzo Martir mission, established at a site east of the Uruguay River in 1690, and the consequences of the Guarani living on the mission of a series of mortality crises in the Jesuit missions of Paraguay between 1730 and 1740 that is well documented in contemporary censuses. Three epidemics spread through the missions in 1733, 1735-1736, and 1738-1740. Epidemics usually spread along established trade routes, or when large numbers of people were on the move and carried infection in their bodies. The Jesuit missions of Paraguay participated in regional trade, and the coming and goings of people and goods facilitated the spread of contagion. The larger Rio de la Plata region was also a contested borderland, and thousands of Guarani militia from the missions participated in periodic campaigns against the Portuguese or were mobilized for possible military action. Royal officials mobilized the Guarani militia in the mid-1730s for possible action against the Portuguese in the disputed borderlands during a period of undeclared warfare that lasted until 1737. Moreover, the 1720s and 1730s also witnessed civil disorder in Paraguay known as the Comunero Revolt, and civil war, and royal officials also mobilized Guarani militiamen to defeat the rebels. The movement of goods within the region, the mobilization of thousands of Guarani militiamen, and the movement of troops created conditions ideal for the spread of highly contagious crowd diseases such as smallpox and measles.
Many scholars assume that the native peoples of the Americas had no natural immunities to the Old World diseases introduced into North and South America after 1492, and that the survivors of outbreaks acquired a degree of immunity. However, there is no evidence to support this assumption, and reference to demographic patterns in early modern Europe helps place the affects of epidemics on the native peoples into context. Epidemics of smallpox, measles, bubonic plague, and other maladies swept through Europe’s populations, and killed both adults and children. These epidemics usually occurred once a generation when there were enough potential hosts for the pathogens to spread and sustain the contagion, and then faded away. Moreover, disease killed thousands of young children every year, and respiratory ailments killed the young and old during the colder months of the year. However, the periodic epidemics and chronic ailments only slowed population growth, and the European populations recovered following the periodic mortality crises and during most of the early modern period experience slow to moderate growth.
How did the populations of the Jesuit missions of Paraguay in general and San Lorenzo Martir in particular compare to contemporary European populations? Did the mission populations recover following severe mortality crises? This essay outlines mortality patterns during the three epidemics that occurred during the 1730s and the impact of the epidemics on the population of San Lorenzo, but also mortality and fertility in the years following the epidemics to determine if the mission populations recovered and grew. This in turn will document the short and long term consequences of the epidemics for the mission populations. This essay first examines demographic patterns on San Lorenzo from 1690 to 1731, and is followed by a detailed discussion of the epidemics of the 1730s. This is followed by a summary of patterns in the 1740s to the early 1820s, and in particular a consideration of the Guarani War of the mid-1750s, the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, and civil administration of the ex-missions over the following fifty years.
The Population of San Lorenzo, 1690-1731
Beginning in the early 1680s, as noted above, the Jesuits reoccupied Tape, the western reaches of the modern Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul, abandoned in the 1630s because of attacks by the bandeirantes from Sao Paulo. In 1690, the Jesuits established San Lorenzo Martir with Guarani neophytes transferred to the new establishment from Santa Maria la Mayor, a mission located west of the Uruguay River. The period 1680-1731 saw the expansion of the population of the seven missions located east of the Uruguay River, only slowed by periodic epidemics such as an outbreak in 1718 (see Table 1). The population of San Lorenzo grew from 3,512 in 1690 to a high of 6,513 in 1732. In the same years the total population of the missions that eventually numbered seven increased from 14,177 to 39,343.
The population of San Lorenzo Martir was a high fertility and high mortality population. In non-epidemic years death rates tended to be high, but birth rates were higher and the population experienced slow to moderate growth. Table 2 summarizes the vital rates of San Lorenzo in selected years between 1694 and 1756, at the time of the Guarani War. In the years prior to 1733, estimated crude birth rates were consistently higher than death rates, and the numbers increased by some 3,000 over four decades. This growth abruptly ended with the severe mortality crises in the 1730s, and particularly in the years 1738 to 1740.
Mortality Crises in the 1730s
The timing and trajectory of the 1733 outbreak suggest that it may have traveled northward from Buenos Aires along the Parana River and Uruguay River following established trade routes, and/or with the return of thousands of Guarani militiamen from service in the Banda Oriental. In 1733, the heaviest mortality was in the missions in what today is southeastern Paraguay, including San Ignacio Guazu, Nuestra Senora de la Fe that experienced the largest number of deaths among the thirty missions with a total of 2,618 on the year, Santa Rosa, and Itapua. Several of the missions located east of the Parana River also experienced high mortality, including Loreto and Santa Ana. Mortality was not as high among the missions along and east of the Uruguay River, with the exceptions of La Cruz and San Luis Gonzaga.
A second epidemic spread through the region in 1735 and 1736, although total mortality was not as high as in 1733. The epidemic appears to have been localized. The highest mortality was in two clusters of missions. One was centered on Loreto, which experienced the largest number of deaths of all of the missions on the year with a total of 1,321. Other missions affected included San Cosme, Santa Ana, San Ignacio Mini, Corpus Christi, and San Jose. There were smaller numbers of deaths at neighboring missions. The second cluster of missions was located on both sides of the Uruguay River, in close proximity to each other. This group included Santa Maria la Mayor, San Francisco Xavier, San Nicolas with a total of 726 deaths, and San Luis, and again with lesser number of deaths at several neighboring missions including Martires and San Lorenzo Martir.
The third epidemic during the decade identified as smallpox broke out between 1738 and 1740. The heaviest mortality was in 1738, but the continuation of large numbers of deaths into 1739 and 1740 suggests that the contagion first spread through the western part of the mission region and then to the eastern part of the mission region at the end of 1739 and into the first months of 1740, summer in the Rio de la Plata region which is when epidemics would be most likely to occur. The contagion struck all three mission communities located on the west bank of the Uruguay River in what today is Corrientes, but did not cross over the river to San Francisco de Borja located on the east bank of the river opposite Santo Thome which suggests the implementation of quarantine measures. Among these three missions the largest number of deaths was at La Cruz, where 1,605 died in 1739 and another 186 in 1740. The number of deaths at the neighboring missions Yapeyu and Santo Thome was lower, showing variation in mortality from mission to mission. The epidemic killed 1,279 at Santa Maria la Mayor and lesser numbers of people at Martires and Concepcion. all located on or near the Uruguay River. These mission communities may have suffered higher losses in the previous year as well.
The contagion killed the largest number of people in the mission communities located east of the Uruguay River, and even here the spread of the epidemic was limited to four of the seven mission communities located east of the river. A total of 1,708 people died at San Nicolas, the westernmost of the missions, 2,445 at San Luis, and 2,681 at San Lorenzo located east of San Luis. The contagion apparently arrived at San Juan Bautista at the end of 1739, and 376 died on the year at that mission. However, most of the victims of the epidemic at San Juan Bautista died in the early months of 1740, and 2,400 died on the year at the mission. Interestingly, the epidemic did not kill many people at the last two and easternmost of the missions east of the Uruguay River, which again suggests the effective implementation of quarantine measures. At Santo Angel Custodio mission 258 died in 1739, and mortality at San Miguel was within normal ranges in both years.
How did epidemics change the populations and social organization of the missions, beyond the simple reduction in numbers? A detailed 1735 census for Trinidad mission, prepared two years following another severe epidemic, provides clues. In 1731, the population of Trinidad totaled 3,569 and 3,598 in 1733 before the epidemic hit the community. The 1733 epidemic killed nearly half the population of the mission, and in 1735 only 1,837 remained. However, the population of the mission rebounded following the series of epidemics in the 1730s, and stood at 2,680 in 1756 and 2,558 in 1767. The contagion claimed the lives of Guarani across the full spectrum of the mission society including the families of the caciques, and there was a degree of generational change in leadership in the mission. Five caciques listed in 1735 were young boys under the age of ten who replaced parents killed during the epidemic... The epidemic also destroyed families as evidenced by a large number of orphans (154) and widows (101). Moreover, the census recorded many fugitives (109), primarily males, as well as women (43) abandoned or left in the mission by their fugitive husbands. The fugitives left the mission most likely to avoid military service, but also to escape the epidemic.
The epidemic reduced the number of large families at Trinidad with three or more children. In 1735, 888 (58 percent) people were grouped in families with a size of two or three, meaning either a married couple or a couple with one child. These small families constituted seventy-three percent of all families at the mission. In contrast, there were only fifty families (six percent) with three or more children, or eighteen percent of the population grouped into families. A 1759 census for Santa Ana places the data for Trinidad into context. In 1731, Santa Ana had a population of 4,527, but this dropped to 3,716 in 1733. The numbers rebounded, and stood at 5,040 in 1756 and 5,141 in 1759. A total of thirty-one percent of the families at Santa Ana had three children or more, and as many as seven children. This was forty-seven percent of the people grouped in families. The population of Santa Ana had recovered from the epidemics of the 1730s, and was growing robustly as evidence by the large number of families with three or more children. The profile of the Santa Ana population in 1759 was similar to the structure of the mission populations prior to the epidemics.
The epidemics during the 1730s claimed the lives of thousands of Guarani, and the populations of most of the missions dropped (see Table 1). The total population of the thirty missions dropped from 141,242 in 1732 to 73,910 in 1740, following the final epidemic. In 1741, 22,150 lived on the seven missions east of the Uruguay River, and 1,311 on San Lorenzo. However, the populations of the missions in the Rio de la Plata recovered following the epidemics. The recovery or rebound of the Guarani populations demonstrates a major difference from the indigenous populations living on missions elsewhere, such as on the northern frontier of Mexico. The Guarani populations were high fertility and high mortality populations, 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.
The Jesuits divided the missions administratively into two groups: those clustered around the Parana River; and those located west and east of the Uruguay River. In 1724, the populations of both groups of missions evidenced a pattern of imbalance, with more girls and women than men. This imbalance was related, in part, to the absence of men from the missions, the absence of thousands of men serving with the militia, and deaths while on campaign. 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. It also shows that widowers remarried. The mission populations evidenced similar patterns in 1740 and 1741 following the epidemics, with more females than males and considerably more widows than widowers.
Patterns of Fertility and Mortality
Figures on baptisms and burials can be used to tentatively reconstruct the vital rates of the Guarani mission populations. The number of baptisms does not necessarily translate exactly to births, and without access to the original baptismal registers it would be difficult to establish if the Jesuits congregated and baptized significant numbers of Guarani or other natives from outside of the missions. Nevertheless, the total numbers of baptisms reported do give a notion of birth rates, but keeping in mind the caveat outlined above. The Guarani populations of the missions were high fertility and high mortality populations, meaning that women bore children and birth rates were moderate to high. At the same time mortality rates tended to be high, particularly for the most vulnerable segments of the population the very young and the old. In 1740, crude birth rates per thousand population was 79.4/thousand and 40.8/thousand respectively for the Parana and Uruguay River establishments, as against crude death rates of 51.3/thousand and 34.1/thousand. The bulk of deaths occurred among young children, which more closely matches contemporary European demographic patterns. Disease culled the population of children in Europe, and during the course of the eighteenth-century smallpox was the single largest killer in Europe.
Crude birth rates recorded per thousand population were generally higher than death rates (see Tables 3-5) except in epidemic years, and without economic or social constraints the Guarani population grew robustly. The periodic mortality crises culled the population and slowed growth, but the numbers generally rebounded. In examining the global figures for the thirty missions, there were four major mortality crises (x3 regular mortality) in the years for which data are available. 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. On average, Guarani living in the missions lived between twenty and thirty years from birth, but mean life expectancy at birth dropped as a result of major epidemics.
An examination of crude birth and death rates at the individual missions demonstrates the strength and also variation in mortality levels during the epidemics in the 1730s as well as the geographic spread of contagion and patterns of fertility and mortality in non-epidemic years. I examine here data for 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, and 1745 (see Tables 3-4). In 1733, there was elevated mortality and death rates in excess of 100 per thousand population at nine of the thirty missions, with the highest at 174.5/thousand at La Cruz on the Uruguay River which was three times normal mortality. Death rates were elevated and higher than birth rates at another eleven missions. Crude death rates at these communities ranged between 50 and 99 per thousand population. Mortality was high throughout most of the mission region, the epidemic centered on the establishments on both sides of the Uruguay River. The crude death rate at San Lorenzo was 117 per thousand population in 1733, or slightly more than eleven percent of the population. The numbers stood at 4,019 in 1735, down from 6,100 two years earlier.
The 1735-1736 epidemic appears to not have been as severe as the 1733 outbreak, and in 1736 the contagion only affected a handful of missions. Highest death rate of 239.2/thousand population was at Loreto, and it was 169.8/thousand at neighboring San Ignacio. Mortality was also elevated at San Cosme, across the Parana River from Loreto and San Ignacio, and Corpus Christi close to San Ignacio. Death rates were high at San Carlos and San Jose, at Santa Maria La Mayor, San Francisco Xavier, and San Nicolas on the Uruguay River.
The smallpox epidemic of 1738-1740 was a severe mortality crisis. The record of births and burials is not available for 1738, but there are data for the next two years. The heaviest mortality in 1739 centered on the missions located between the Parana and Uruguay Rivers, and several of the missions east of the Uruguay River. This spatial distribution of burials suggests that mortality in 1738 would have been heaviest in the missions located west and northwest of the Parana River, the southeastern districts of modern Paraguay. The contagion most likely spread to the missions from Paraguay. Crude death rates ranged between 100 and 200 per thousand population at three missions, including Trinidad located near the western bank of the Parana. It was 230.8/thousand at San Thome on the west bank of the Uruguay River, which was between x4-x5 normal death rates. Deaths were extremely high at five missions, and as high as x9-x10 or higher normal mortality. The CDR reached 336.8/thousand or nearly 34 percent of the population at San Nicolas, 416.6/thousand at la Cruz, and 565.4/thousand, 565.1/thousand, and 556.9/thousand respectively at Santa Maria la Mayor, San Luis Gonzaga, and San Lorenzo Martir. In other words, more than 50 percent of the population of the three communities died during the course of the year. The bulk of deaths occurred in the mission communities along both sides of the Uruguay River, and east of the river. The population of San Lorenzo virtually collapsed, dripping from 4,814, a figure that showed some recovery following the first two epidemics, to a mere 974 at the end of 1739.
Mortality returned to normal levels and levels at which birth rates were higher than death rates and the mission populations began to grow again. The exceptions were La Cruz, where death rates were nowhere close to being as high as in 1739. Smallpox probably reached San Juan Bautista mission at the end of 1739, and devastated the mission population in the early moths of 1740. Death rates reached 485/thousand, or 48 percent of the population, and the numbers dropped from 4,949 in 1739 to 2,171. In the other missions the smallpox receded as the number of potential hosts dropped as the Guarani neophytes either died or recovered. In the following years the mission populations slowly recovered from the losses during the epidemics of the 1730s. Birth rates again outstripped death rates, and the mission populations slowly grew again.In 1745, the population of San Lorenzo stood at 1,563, and 2,091 in 1753, before the outbreak of hostilities in the Guarani War.
The Guarani War, 1754-1756
The second crisis of the period resulted from the signing of the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, that attempted to establish colonial boundaries between Spain and Portugal in South America. 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 located east of the Uruguay River, as well as the extensive estancias of the seven missions and Yapeyu, La Cruz, and Santo Tome. The population of the seven missions that totaled 29,191 people 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.
The Guarani resisted the forced relocation, and faced two invasions by Spanish and Portuguese troops. In 1754, the Guarani forced the Spanish to withdraw from their lands, but experienced a major defeat in February of 1756 that allowed the Spanish-Portuguese expedition to occupy the missions. 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. 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. Spain and Portugal went to war over the disputed Rio de la Plata borderlands in the 1760s after Spain abrogated the Treaty of Madrid, and only resolved the boundary disputes with the signing of the 1777 Treaty of San Ildefonso. 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 29,000 at the beginning of the war.
The Guarani uprising of the 1750s caused a wave of out-migration from the seven Trans-Uruguay River missions. Following the crushing of the uprising, the Spanish relocated some 12,000 Guarani neophytes 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. 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.
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.
The population of San Lorenzo was 1,459 in 1756, following the occupation of the seven missions by the joint Spanish-Portuguese expedition. Spain abrogated the terms of the 1750 treaty, and reoccupied the territory of the seven missions in the early 1760s. In 1762, the population of the mission was 1,782, but dropped as a result of another smallpox epidemic in 1764. When the Spanish government ordered the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, 1,412 people remained at San Lorenzo. The mission had not recovered the twin disasters of the epidemics of the 1730s, and the Guarani War.
Population Trends Following the Expulsion of the Jesuits, 1768-1827
Following the expulsion of the Jesuits, the government appointed civil administrators to the mission communities. As Julia Sarreal suggests, the transition to civil administration caused a break-down in the Jesuit economic system that had shared resources among the communities, and the new economic system placed greater emphasis on production by each individual mission with little or no exchange between missions. One aspect of the break down of the Jesuit system was out-migration from the ex-missions. The trend for the population of San Lorenzo Martir from 1768 to 1801 was of a gradual decline. In 1772, the population was 1,454, 1,273 in 1783, 1,171 in 1792, and 1,037 in 1801.
In the years immediately following the exodus of the Black Robes, out-migration occurred, but on a limited scale. In 1767, 88,796 Guarani reportedly lived in the thirty missions, and the number dropped to 80,891 five years later in 1772. The greatest drop occurred during the decades of the 1770s, and in 1783 56,092 Guarani still lived in the missions. The numbers stabilized somewhat in the 1780s and 1790s, but also fluctuated. In 1791, the population of the missions totaled 44,677, rose to 51,991 in 1793 although this figure also incorporated people who were still on the mission roster but were absent. In 1801, there reportedly were 45,637 in the missions.
Another important cause for the decline was the physical destruction of many of the missions located in what today are Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and Misiones (Argentina) 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. 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 returned to Spain following the Treaty of Madrid fiasco and the Guarani War. The Portuguese distributed Guarani mission lands to settlers in grants called sesmarias. 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. Invasions occurred in 1811 and 1812, and again in 1817 and 1818. During this last invasion 3,190 people in Misiones died and 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. San Lorenzo avoided the wartime destruction, but the population of the ex-mission continued to drop in the two decades following the Portuguese conquest of the seven missions. There were 434 people in 1814, and 258 in 1827.
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 mission communities east of the Uruguay River 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 trans-Uruguay 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. Non-Guarani eventually resettled the ex-mission, and used stone from the ruins for their own houses.

Table 1: Population of the Seven Trans-Uruguay Missions, 1641-1827

Year San Miguel San Nicolas SF de Borja San Luis Gonzaga San Lorenzo San Juan Bautista Santo Angel
1641 1860 1803
1647 1165 1854
1657 2101
1660 3684
1675 3640
1676 3830 2921
1682 3740 3548
1687 3500 3000 3280
1690 4195 3648 2922 3512
1694 4592 5315 2888 3280 3769
1698 1885 5819 2688 3582 4140 2832
1700 5279
1702 2197 4699 2600 3473 4427 2650
1705 3107 4927 2572 3935 4544 2929
1707 3100 5386 2814 3997 4579 3361 2879
1708 3074
1711 3254 5909 4284 3339 4271 3088 3088
1714 2899
1715 2823 6658 3391 3830 4760 3850 3026
1719 3441 5729 2673 4532 4880 3722 3470
1720 3596
1724 3972 6667 2906 5045 5224 4629 4052
1729 4710 5984 3297 6215 6225 4111 4745
1731 4904 7690 3629 6149 6420 4500 4601
1732 4859 7751 3679 6182 6513 5274 5085
1733 4465 7415 3658 5619 6100 4968 4925
1735 4019 6986 3584 5305 4019 4621 4501
1736 4156 6104 3358 4445 4156 5110 4336
1738 4522 5071 2998 4327 4814 5012 4921
1739 4741 1772 3244 1978 974 4949 5163
1740 4740 2194 3291 2308 1173 2171 5228
1741 4974 2279 3430 2432 1311 2525 5199
1744 6611 3107 3814 2868 1573 2843 4824
1745 6675 3530 3924 2968 1563 2925 4818
1750 6635 4255 3435 3354 1729 3221 5186
1753 6229 4724 3232 3783 2091 3892 5417
1756 1035 416 1668 3824 1459 3347 2531
1757 2972 2542 1934 3802 1852 3880 3368
1762 4038 4429 2714 4239 1782 4017 3863
1766 3011 3939 2546 3177 1205 3829 2710
1768 3556 4194 2761 3500 1412 4106 2820
1772 2118 3741 2131 3420 1454 3087 2039
1783 1973 3667 2906 3500 1273 2338 1926
1784 1773 1942 1275 1986
1793 2334 2984 2154 3312 1171 2018 1448
1801 1664 2406 2413 2776 1037 1292 1092
1814 706 1545 1424 1412 434 554 320
1822 600 250 400 200 250 300 350
1827 271 404 180 446 258 212 103
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; ; Thomas Whigham, “Paraguay’s Pueblos de Indios: Echoes of a Missionary Past,” in Erick Langer and Robert H. Jackson, eds., The New Latin American Mission History (Lincoln, 1995), 168; ; Pablo Hernandez, S.J., Organizacion social de las Doctrinas Guaranies de la Compania de Jesus, 2 vols. (Barcelona, 1913), vol 2, 616-617; Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1731, 1733, 1736,1738, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; “Empadronamiento de las Treinta Pueblos de Misiones, por el Coronel Don Marcos de Larrazabal,” 1772. Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Empadronamiento de Misiones,” Sala 9-18-8-4; Individual Missions Census for 1801 found in AGN, Padrones de Misiones, Sala 9-17-3-6; Edgar and Alfredo Poenitz, Misiones, Provincia Guaranitica: Defensa y Disolucion Posadas, 1993), 54-55; Aurelio Porto, Historia das Missoes Orintais, 2 vols. (Porto Alegre, 1954), 38, 48, 52,57,66,70, 81.














Table 2: Baptisms, Burials, and Population at San Lorenzo Martir Mission in Selected Years
S Lor. Burials
Year Families Pop Baptisms Adults Paru. CBR CDR AFS
1690 823 3512 84 27 36 4.3
1694 896 3769 258 19 79 71.5* 27.2* 4.2
1698 953 4140 131 35 87 31.7* 29.5* 4.3
1702 990 4427 262 46 105 56.8* 35.1* 4.5
1705 1027 4544 196 40 110 43.6* 33.4* 4.4
1707 1022 4519 283 25 106 64.8* 30.0* 4.4
1724 1246 5224 423 63 173 84.0* 46.9* 4.2
1733 1359 6100 280 400 371 42.5* 117.0* 4.5
1736 899 4405 177 119 140 34.2 50.0 4.9
1739 165 974 160 1655 1026 33.2 557.0 5.9
1740 242 1173 45 31 18 46.2 50.3 4.9
1741 340 1311 71 12 20 60.5 27.3 3.9
1744 429 1573 121 8 50 80.1* 38.4 3.7
1745 464 1563 140 28 54 89.0 52.1 3.4
1756 358 1459 80 23 82 53.9* 70.8 4.1
*Estimated.
Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; 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; Aurelio Porto, Historia das Missoes Orientais do Uruguai (Porto Alegre, 1952), 70.



















Table 3: Crude Birth and Death Rates per Thousand Population in 1733 & 1736

Mission 1733
CBR* 1733
CDR* 1736
CBR 1736
CDR
Guasu 49.5 56.5 35.3 33.5
La Fe 86.1 40.7 49.5 28.8
S Rosa 76.2 49.1 55.6 44.9
Santiago 33.1 22.5 48.2 36.8
Itapua 53.3 18.9 50.0 43.8
Candelaria 43.2 53.2 45.5 50.2
S Cosme
46.9
15.4
28.9
100.8
S Ana 55.3 26.2 33.8 79.6
Loreto 92.8 31.3 25.2 239.2
S I Mini 84.9 39.3 24.6 169.8
Corpus 69.4 25.1 28.0 88.2
Trinidad 43.7 50.3 45.9 72.2
Jesus 56.8 121.1 47.0 57.6
S Carlos 44.5 70.8 62.1 74.6
S Jose 43.4 93.7 38.3 84.1
Aposteles 27.2 60.0 58.7 41.5
Concepcion 41.1 55.5 48.1 47.3
Martires 51.2 124.2 55.0 58.3
La Mayor 48.6 133.3 33.1 91.3
S Javier 33.1 115.5 42.1 94.2
S Nicolas 64.1 103.5 32.9 103.9
S Luis 42.5 148.9 35.6 56.7
S Lorenzo 32.5 117.0 34.2 50.0
S Miguel 30.1 110.4 53.0 32.4
S Juan 42.1 94.7 39.4 43.5
Stos Ang. 38.3 66.3 44.7 48.7
S Tome 63.3 57.6 56.1 54.8
S Borja 38.0 92.8 56.1 49.1
La Cruz 52.8 174.5 73.2 47.1
Yapeyu 56.4 126.8 96.0 40.5
*Estimated.
Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; 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.






Table 4: Crude Birth and Death Rates per Thousand Population in 1739 & 1740

Mission 1739
CBR 1739
CDR 1740
CBR 1740
CDR
Guasu 84.5 47.7 68.2 56.5
La Fe 106.5 53.3 86.1 40.7
S Rosa 68.9 44.9 76.2 49.1
Santiago 51.2 24.3 33.1 22.5
Itapua 52.0 97.4 53.3 18.9
Candelaria 96.6 52.3 43.2 53.2
S Cosme 32.7 37.6 46.9 15.4
S Ana 60.8 28.3 55.3 26.2
Loreto 63.6 30.0 92.8 31.3
S I Mini 58.4 118.0 84.9 39.3
Corpus 73.6 28.9 69.4 25.1
Trinidad 53.7 115.4 43.7 50.3
Jesus 81.5 50.0 49.4 31.6
S Carlos 11.4 12.2 88.0 32.3
S Jose 29.5 47.4 86.7 20.9
Aposteles 26.6 25.1 79.1 22.4
Concepcion 7.1 35.0 64.1 27.0
Martires 40.9 184.2 61.2 34.2
La Mayor 39.6 565.4 85.8 23.9
S Javier 34.7 37.3 74.3 22.2
S Nicolas 10.7 336.8 120.8 50.2
S Luis 20.3 565.1 87.0 36.0
S Lorenzo 33.2 557.0 46.2 50.3
S Miguel 47.8 32.3 52.9 20.3
S Juan 64.5 75.0 14.4 485.0
Stos Ang. 52.4 52.4 46.3 27.1
S Tome 30.4 230.8 113.6 19.4
S Borja 46.4 43.0 58.3 21.0
La Cruz 16.9 416.6 88.1 85.8
Yapeyu 73.8 38.5 68.8 37.5
Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; 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.









Table 5: Crude Birth and Death Rates per Thousand Population in 1741 & 1745

Mission 1741
CBR 1741
CDR 1745
CBR 1745
CDR
Guasu 112.5 54 73.1 72.6
La Fe 109.9 40.8 98.3 39.5
S Rosa 93.3 59.3 84.3 41.5
Santiago 54.0 24.5 59.0 24.4
Itapua 67.5 45.4 75.2 48.5
Candelaria 49.3 68.0 86.7 53.9
S Cosme 51.3 31.4 65.3 36.2
S Ana 74.1 57.1 55.7 24.5
Loreto 93.1 50.8 69.9 36.9
S I Mini 93.1 82.8 85.7 71.2
Corpus 97.2 55.6 78.1 11.7
Trinidad 54.7 46.3 66.4 47.2
Jesus 75.1 77.3 66.7 45.9
S Carlos 62.3 24.6 78.4 47.7
S Jose 48.2 38.9 75.9 32.6
Aposteles 52.2 34.8 67.9 43.8
Concepcion 52.5 26.8 44.0 24.4
Martires 67.9 56.6 60.0 49.8
La Mayor 95.2 40.3 144.0 64.5
S Javier 63.7 31.9 64.4 39.6
S Nicolas 83.9 36.9 95.9 83.7
S Luis 70.2 27.7 71.8 49.5
S Lorenzo 60.5 27.3 89.0 45.8
S Miguel 63.3 25.7 50.8 40.4
S Juan 108.7 31.3 60.1 25.0
Stos Ang. 56.4 37.9 60.9 60.0
S Tome 103.6 27.0 78.9 30.0
S Borja 58.3 24.6 53.8 65.8
La Cruz 30.8 20.7 68.9 43.7
Yapeyu 76.0 35.6 70.6 50.6
Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; 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.

Notes

Arno Alvarez Kern, ed, Arqueologia historica missioneira (Porto Alegre, 1998), 72. In 1682, Francisco Garcia de Prade, S.J., established San Francisco de Borja on the east bank of the Uruguay River. In 1687, Anselmo de la Mata, S.J., Miguel Fernandez, S.J., and an unrecorded Jesuit established San Nicolas, San Luis Gonzaga, and San Miguel respectively east of the Uruguay River. In 1690, Bernardo de la Vega, S.J. established San Lorenzo Martir. In 1697, Antonio Sepp von Reinegg established San Juan Bautista. Finally, in 1706 Diogo Haze, S.J., established Santo Angelo Custodio.

For Europe see Michael Flinn, The European Demographic System, 1500-1820 (Baltimore, 1980).

Burials in the Guarani Missions in 1733, 1736, 1739, & 1740
1733 1736 1739 1740
Mission Adults Parvulos Adults Parvulos Adults Parvulos Adults Parvulos
Guasu 560 632 50 40 22 66 27 84
La Fe 1365 1253 58 13 46 98 36 83
Sta Rosa 900 1363 43 37 26 56 30 64
Santiago 76 131 58 61 38 57 37 55
Itapua 243 568 89 102 98 164 18 31
Candelaria 52 194 49 101 13 66 10 70
S Cosme 80 182 117 99 32 14 5 14
S Ana 377 471 151 174 35 89 31 84
Loreto 515 471 779 542 17 50 11 44
S Ignacio 192 257 275 236 148 80 15 54
Corpus 324 261 161 95 20 52 20 47
Trinidad 138 204 68 64 143 85 48 60
Jesus 136 154 66 64 50 45 20 42
S Carlos 44 201 68 111 6 23 8 32
S Jose 117 249 167 125 19 47 9 19
Aposteles 149 178 92 69 15 18 5 25
Concep. 102 229 90 190 102 46 7 38
Martires 154 337 72 127 388 207 40 55
La Mayor 223 298 133 132 1047 232 6 11
S Javier 172 289 166 163 22 48 14 24
S Nicolas 204 595 362 364 1050 658 58 31
S Luis 218 718 163 138 1457 988 37 34
S Lorenzo 400 371 119 140 1655 1026 31 18
S Miguel 240 296 50 80 68 78 43 53
S Juan 226 272 49 152 241 135 1502 898
Stos Amg 129 207 117 102 137 121 66 74
San Tome 60 140 54 71 332 139 13 20
S Borja 124 235 97 79 76 35 25 63
La Cruz 246 617 77 129 1086 519 81 105
Yapeyu 174 559 38 169 45 163 52 162
Sources: ; Enumeratio Annua, 1733, Archivo General de la Nacion, Sala lX-6-9-6 Enumeratio Annua, 1736, Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, Sala lX-6-9-7; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1736; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1736; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1740; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1740, Archivo Nacional, Asuncion, Paraguay; Pablo Hernandez, S.J., Organizacion social de las Doctrinas Guaranies de la Compania de Jesus, 2 vols. (Barcelona, 1913), vol 2, 616-617.

The net decline in population is was as follows:
Mission 1733 1736 1739 1740
Guasu -1076 5 68 23
La Fe -2472 51 143 131
Sta Rosa -2153 19 44 52
Santiago -86 37 107 43
Itapua -604 27 -122 89
Candelaria -50 -14 67 -15
S Cosme -192 -154 -6 39
S Ana -758 -187 140 128
Loreto -723 -1182 75 108
S Ignacio -247 -437 -115 88
Corpus -306 -178 111 118
Trinidad -227 -48 -122 -14
Jesus -154 -24 60 35
S Carlos -91 -30 -2 69
S Jose -201 -159 -25 88
Aposteles -179 67 2 76
Concep. -86 5 -118 62
Martires -289 -11 -463 75
La Mayor -323 -169 -1235 44
S Javier -329 -182 -5 89
S Nicolas -304 -496 -1654 125
S Luis -669 -112 -2357 101
S Lorenzo -491 -82 -2521 -4
S Miguel -150 83 70 155
S Juan -289 -19 -53 -2329
Stos Amg -142 -18 0 99
San Tome 20 3 -309 160
S Borja -212 25 13 101
La Cruz -602 114 -1540 5
Yapeyu -407 283 191 179
A detailed examination of the vital rates of two missions, Loreto and San Lorenzo, provide additional insights to the affect of epidemics on the mission populations in the 1730s (see Table 7). Prior to the first epidemic, in 1724, Loreto mission counted a population of 6,113, and 6,077 in 1733 at the end of the first outbreak. The numbers dropped to 1,756 in 1739, but then grew over the next two decades and reached 4,023 in 1756. Crude death rates in non-epidemic years averaged 36.0 per thousand population, which put in other terms meant that 3.6 percent of the population died on the year. Two years evidenced a mortality crisis, which is defined as x3 normal mortality. The crude death rate in 1733 was 146.3, or slightly more than x4 normal mortality. In 1736, the crude death rate was 239.2, or x6.6 normal mortality. Crude birth rates were moderate to high, except in the years of severe mortality crisis. In 1736, for example, the crude birth rate was 23.4, much lower than in non-epidemic years. The average family size, a crude measure of family size, declined during the decade, and stood at 3.6 in 1739.
The population of San Lorenzo experienced drastic decline during the decade, and had only begun to recover at the time of the so-called Guarani War in the mid-1750s. In 1731, the mission had a population of 6,420, but this dropped to 974 in 1739. It then slowly recovered over the next decades, and reached 1,563 in 1745 and 1,459 in 1756. Crude death rates average 44.2 in non-epidemic years, and the two epidemics documented in the sample were extreme mortality crises, particularly 1739. In 1733, the crude death rate was 117 per thousand population, or x2.7 normal mortality. Mortality in 1739 was extremely high at a crude rate of 557, or x12.6 times normal mortality. The year 1739 must have been hellish for the residents of San Lorenzo. The population of the mission had already shown signs of recovery following the earlier outbreaks, and totaled 4,814 at the end of 1738. Smallpox spread to the community, and 1,655 adults and 1,026 young children died. A mere 974 remained at the end of the year, reflecting mortality and a net loss in population of 2,521 as well as flight as Guarani fled hoping to avoid a horrible smallpox death. The crude death rate indicates that 55.7 percent of the population died. Several neighboring missions experienced equally high death rates. Burials at San Luis Gonzaga reached 2,445 in 1739 and a crude death rate of 565.1 per thousand population, 1,708 burials and a death rate of 336.8 at San Nicolas, 1,279 burials and a death rate of 565.4 at Santa Maria la Mayor, and 1,605 burials at La Cruz and a death rate of 416.6. In the following year 2,400 died at San Juan Bautista, and a crude death rate of 484.9.Birth rates at San Lorenzo were moderate to high in the years following the epidemic, but recovery was slow as noted above.
Juan Valdeviejo, S.J., Trinidad, September 9, 1735, “Estado del Pueblo de la Santissima Trinidad,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.
Structure of the Population of Trinidad in 1735
Family Size # of Families # People/Families Orphans
Boys Orphans
Girls
Widows
Widowers
2 258 516 94 50 101 6
3 124 372
4 93 372
5 34 170
6 13 78
7 3 21
Not all missions experienced the same level of population loss and particularly of the destruction of families as a result of the epidemic. A 1735 census of San Cosme, located fairly close to Trinidad, manifests a somewhat different population structure, although there was still a large number of orphans and widows. Nevertheless, there was a larger percentage of families with more than one child that survived the epidemic, which is a sign of a population that was reproducing itself.
Structure of the Population of San Cosme y Damian in 1735
Family Size # of Families # People/Families Orphans
Boys Orphans
Girls
Widows
Widowers
2 141 282 126 167 133 8
3 121 363
4 95 380
5 64 320
6 45 270
7 19 133
8 3 24
Source: Ventura Suarez, San Cosme y Damian, August 16, 1735 “Padron del Pueblo de S. Cosme y Damian que se hizo este presente ano 1735,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.

“Padron del Pueblo de Sta Anna 1759,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.



Structure of the Population of Santa Ana in 1759
Family Size # of Families # People/Families Orphans
Boys Orphans
Girls
Widows
Widowers
2 350 700 128 121 131 8
3 264 792
4 245 980
5 180 900
6 127 762
7 53 371
8 21 168
9 3 27
Source: “Padron del Pueblo de Sta Anna 1759,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.

Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1724; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay-1724; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1740; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1740; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1741; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1741. The originals are from the Archivo Nacional in Asuncion, Paraguay. I would like to thank Barbara Ganson for providing copies of these documents. Detailed censuses for individual missions confirm the patterns outlined in the general censuses. I cite here a 1759 census for Corpus Christi, that shows that large families were common, but that there were also a large number of widows and orphans. The summary below records the actual family size, or in other words the number of families with a size of two people, three people, etc., as well as the number of people in each category of families, the number of orphans, widowers, and widows.
Structure of the Population of Corpus Christi in 1759
Family Size Number of Families Number of People in Families
Orphans:
Boys
Orphans:
Girls

Widows

Widowers
2 314 628 137 137 122 6
3 211 633
4 157 628
5 153 765
6 143 858
7 58 406
8 17 136
9 8 72
Source: “Matricula deste Pueblo de Corpus Christi,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.
A small fragment of baptisms survives for Santa Rosa in the 1750s and 1760s, and shows large numbers of births. A figure on the number of burials for 1756 from the census for that year places the number of baptisms into context. In 1756, the net growth in the population of Santa Rosa was 67, not factoring in out-migration.
Baptisms Recorded at Santa Rosa, 1754-1763
Year Baptisms Burials
1754 176
1755 153
1756 180 113
1757 185
1758 161
1759 168
1760 203
1761 190
1762 202
1763 183
Source: Santa Rosa Baptismal Register, Santa Rosa Parish, Paraguay; Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional.”

Calculated by Robert McCaa using Populate and included as a dataset with Populate, a microcomputer program that uses inverse projection to calculate sophisticated demographic statistics including mean life expectancy at birth. Populate analyzes five year samples of data, and reports statistics at the mid-point in the quinquennium. McCaa used data from the research of Ernesto Maeder, and used Populate to fill in the gaps in missing data.
Quinquennium Mean Life Expectation at Birth* in the Guarani Missions, 1692-1767
Year MLE Year MLE Year MLE
1692 29.7 1722 26.7 1752 30.0
1697 28.6 1727 34.8 1757 23.2
1702 26.6 1732 8.8 1762 6.1
1707 26.7 1737 0.2 1767 8.3
1712 32.3 1742 20.1
1717 19.3 1747 23.0
*Calculated using “Populate.”

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

Ibid., chap. 11.

Ibid., chapter 12.

Ibid., chapter 12.

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

Moacyr Flores, Reducoes Jesuiticas dos Guaranis (Porto Alegre, 1997), 118-120.

Ibid., 121-126.

Luis Rodolfo Gonzalez Rissotto, “ La Importancia de las Misiones Jesuiticas en la Formacion de la Sociedad Uruguaya,” Estudos Ibero-Americanos 15:1 (June 1989), 191-214. Royal officials did try to return fugitive Guarani to the ex-missions, for example in 1790. Officials enumerated the number of fugitive Guarani in their jurisdictions in preparation for an effort to return the fugitives to their home communities. Tomas Estruday at the Colonia do Sacramento in the Banda Oriental enumerated thirteen fugitive Guarani, including seven from the ex-Jesuit missions. See Tomas Estruday, Colonia do Sacramento, March 31, 1790, “Relacion de los Yndios que se han recojido de la provincial del Paraguay, y de los Pueblos de Misiones del Uruguay y Parana,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6. A second report listed more than 300 fugitive Guarani in the jurisdictions of the Villa de Concepcion del Uruguay, San Jose, and San Antonio. Despite the efforts to return the Guarani to their home communities, out-migration continued.

Number of Guarani Listed in the Jurisdictions of the Villa de Concepcion del Uruguay, San Jose de Gualeguayes, and San Antonio de Gualeguay in 1790
Concepcion From:
Ex-Mission # of Guarani Ex-Mission # 0f Guarani
Yapeyu 21 Concepcion 21
San Carlos 15 San Luis 5
Loreto 14 San Nicolas 5
La Cruz 8 Sta Maria la Mayor 4
San Thome 4 San Javier 3
San Borja 5 Martires 2
Sto Angel 1 Aposteles 6
San Juan 3 San Jose 8
San Miguel 2 Sta Ana 5
Candelaria 2 San Ignacio 6
Corpus 3 Trinidad 2
Jesus 5 Ytapua 9
San Cosme 4 Santiago 4
Sta Rosa 5 La Fe 1
Guasu 1
San Jose From:
Ex-Mission # of Guarani Ex-Mission # of Guarani
Loreto 1 Martires 1
San Thome 1 Yapeyu 3
Corpus 1 San Juan 1
Concepcion 1 Sta Ana 1
San Miguel 1 Aposteles 1
San Antonio From:
Ex-Mission # of Guarani Ex-Mission # of Guarani
Yapeyu 8 San Jose 1
Sta Ana 2 Loreto 2
San Luis 1 Candelaria 2
Sta Rosa 1 La Cruz 3
Aposteles 2 Corpus 3
San Cosme 1 San Juan 1
Sto Angel 1
Source: Vicente Ximenez, Villa de Concepcion, April 26, 1790, “Lista de los Yndios Guaranis procedientes de los Pueblos de Misiones que se hallan en las Villas de Concepcion del Uruguay, San Joseph de Gualeguayes, y San Antonio del Gualeguay y sus partidos,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios, Sala 9-17-3-6.

Julia Sarreal,” Paraguay Missions: Illusions of Prosperity and Decay, 1700-1800,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the Conference on Latin American History, Washington, D.C., January 9, 2004.

Herencia Misionera, chap. 21.

Flores, Reducoes, 127. A fragment of baptismal and burial registers survive for San Francisco de Borja mission, located on the east bank of the Uruguay River opposite San Thome mission. The register shows that after the Portuguese occupation of the mission the normal sacramental life of the Guarani population continued uninterrupted, and priests with Spanish surnames continued to record in the registers. The register also shows continued population growth, and rebound or recovery following an epidemic in 1809.
Baptisms and Burials Recorded at San Francisco de Borja, 1798-1811
Year Baptisms Burials Net +/-
1798 125 N/A
1799 118 N/A
1800 N/A 88
1801 N/A 97
1802 N/A 100
1803 N/A 91
1804 163 68 95
1805 109 62 47
1806 105 64 41
1807 161 69 92
1808 144 64 80
1809 147 262 -115
1810 132 75 57
1811 133 70 63
Source: San Francisco de Borja Baptismal and Burials Registers, Diocese of Uruguaiana, Uruguiaina, Brazil.
The elevated mortality in 1809 was caused by an apparent epidemic that broke out in San Francisco de Borja in October and November, and then subsided by March of the following year. Mortality returned to normal levels during the rest of 1810, as seen in the presentation of burials by month in 1809 and 1810.
Year Jan Feb Mar Apl May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1809 9 2 5 9 7 7 9 11 5 97 84 17
1810 11 10 4 7 8 5 5 4 3 6 6 6
Source: San Francisco de Borja Baptismal and Burials Registers, Diocese of Uruguaiana, Uruguiaina, Brazil.
Another sacramental register, baptisms, survives for Santa Rosa for the period following the expulsion of the Jesuits, and provides important insights to conditions in one of the ex-Jesuit missions located in what today is Paraguay, and removed from the violence in the missions east of the Parana River. Non-Guarani had settled in Santa Rosa, and the priests maintained separate registers for the baptisms of children of Guarani and the non-Guarani settlers. The internal social and political structure of the Guarani population divided into cacicasgos persisted into the early 1840s. During the Jesuit period, the Black Robes identified new-born children by their parents, as well as the cacicasgo they belonged to. This practice continued until 1841, after which time the priests no longer identified the cacicasgo of new-born children. The growth in the number of baptisms of non-Guarani after 1815, as Paraguay consolidated independence under the leadership of Dr. Gaspar Francia, suggests an increase in the number of non-Guarani residents of Santa Rosa. The number of baptisms of new-born Guarani also shows that a large number of natives still lived at Santa Rosa.
Baptisms Recorded at Santa Rosa, 1806-1828
Year Non-Guarani Guarani Year Non-Guarani Guarani
1806 27 1818 31
1807 15 1819 25
1808 16 1820 23
1809 9 1821 22
1810 15 1822 29 77
1811 11 1823 23 52
1812 11 1824 33 68
1813 9 1825 39 62
1814 9 1826 32 54
1815 10 1827 40 81
1816 27 1828 67
1817 27
Source: Santa Rosa a Baptismal Register, Santa Rosa Parrish, Paraguay.
A detailed 1777 Corpus Christi census provides additional details on demographic patterns in the missions following the Jesuit expulsion. The census recorded smallpox mortality, by broad age and gender groups.
Smallpox Mortality at Corpus Christi in 1777
General Age Group Males Females
Adults 115 119
Muchachos/Muchachas 12 8
Children Under Age 10 12 12
The population of the mission was still robust. There was a total of 889 families and 2,028 young children and teens. Families averaged 2.3 children. The mission population was still organized socially and politically into cacicasgos. Francisco Bruno de Zavala, Corpus Christi, September 1777, “Empadronamiento del Pubelo del Corpus Christi que se expressen por Cacicasgos,” AGN, Buenos Aires, Sala 9-17-3-6.

Herencias Misionera, chaps. 26-28.

Gonzalez Rissotto, “ La Importancia de las Misiones Jesuiticas,” 201-203.