A Current Description of the Province of the Society of Jesus in Paraguay with Neighboring Areas


Between 1609 and 1780, the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) established an autonomous Christian Indian state on the territory of present-day Paraguay, Uruguay, and parts of Argentina and Brazil. After unsuccessful efforts to Christianize the warlike Guaycurú Indians of northeastern Paraguay, the Jesuits concentrated on organizing the Guaraní Indians into a series of reducciones (reductions or townships), in which a kind of communal living was practiced. The system of reductions was an attempt to correct earlier abuses, in which the Paraguayan Indians were transformed into virtual slaves who were compelled to work for the Spanish settlers. This map of 1732, in Latin, with some place names in Spanish, depicts the Jesuit province of Paraguay, showing the main missions and missionary journeys. The map was made in Rome by Giovanni Petroschi (1715-66), and is dedicated to Francisco Retz (1673-1750), Superior General of the Society of Jesus. In 1993, the ruins of the Jesuit missions of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarangue in Paraguay were named UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Last updated: September 29, 2014