Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jesuit ruins of San Ignacio Mini

Doors and pizzas aside though, the point of being here in San Ignacio Mini was to see the ruins, and it was only a couple of blocks away, so very convenient.

The jesuit missions were designed to bring religion to the indigenous population and to change their lifestyle to a more European style.

Around thirty missions were established in the area around here, in what are now Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.  In 1732, these missions were reckoned to have housed around 141,182 indigenous people.

The San Ignacio mission was founded in 1610 by two Jesuits called José Cataldino and Simon Masceta.

Originally in a different location, it was moved here in 1696 due to the constant raids by the Portuguese bandeirantes attacks, in which they would capture the indigenous Guarani people to be used as slaves.

The Guarani people had previously lived in the forests, and their beliefs encompassed aspects of nature and a great respect for their surroundings.

Moving into the missions would likely have been quite a cultural change for them, but it did at least offer some level of protection.

Whilst the Jesuits wanted to integrate the Guaranis, this did not go so far as sharing living space; aside from religious services in the church, there was a clear delineation of the sacred buildings and those occupied by the Guarani people.

For work, the men mostly worked in the fields, with a few in the workshops, while the women cooked, looked after children, spun fabrics and assisted with the sowing and harvesting of crops.  Children received an education from the age of seven.

In 1767, King Carlos III of Spain signed papers to expel the Jesuits from areas under Spanish control, which theft the people unprotected.  The missions  were later destroyed in the Portuguese and Paraguayan invasions, this particular one in 1817. The San Ignacio mission was restored in the 1940s.

I found I strange that you can still see the numbers on many of the stones where the have been catalogued during the restoration.  I know that the process of doing this is normal, but you would think they would try to wash them off afterwards.

The gates that remain standing are impressive, and give you a sense of their scale and grandeur, which must have been quite overwhelming to those used to forest living. Being here off season, it was nice to have the place almost to ourselves rather than bustling with visitors.

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