By Daniel K. Lewis
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Extra resources for A South American Frontier: The Tri-border Region (Arbitrary Borders)
These missions had created a skilled workforce, and the bandeirantes captured Guaraní adults and children and marched them off to the slave markets of coastal Brazil. Although initial raids led to the capture of hundreds of neophytes, the danger grew. In 1628, an army of 3,000 attacked mission after mission. The raiders destroyed the compounds and killed all those who were too old to be sold profitably as slaves. In 1631, raiders attacked Spanish towns as well as missions. To avoid a total disaster, the Jesuits decided to flee with the surviving mission population.
The loss of these missions coincided with rising sentiment in Spain against the Jesuits. Although the Treaty of San Ildefonso returned the seven missions to Spanish control in 1761, the Crown did not allow the Jesuits to rebuild their operations. 26 The expulsion of the Jesuits did not turn back the changes that the Jesuits had brought to the region. The missions perfected the region’s main industries and developed a labor force that served farms, ranches, and commercial activities across Spanish South America.
With Spanish authorities focused on the complex and rich central Andes, and the Portuguese presence concentrated on Brazil’s Atlantic coastline, the blended communities in and near what would become the tri-border region became accustomed to autonomy. Spanish and Guaraní traditions did blend, but the establishment of a new mestizo, or mixed-race, elite produced resentment and resistance within the Guaraní settlements. Labor drafts, efforts by the descendants of Spanish invaders to take control of more and more land, and the concentration of political power in the hands of a few privileged families created tensions.
A South American Frontier: The Tri-border Region (Arbitrary Borders) by Daniel K. Lewis