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Quiz about Jesuit Reductions in South America
Quiz about Jesuit Reductions in South America

Jesuit Reductions in South America Quiz


"We are picking up the mission Jesus left for us / We are doing what He told us". ('On Mission', Amena Brown) Such was the vision of the Jesuit missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose work inspired the 1986 movie 'The Mission'.

A multiple-choice quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
looney_tunes
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
389,162
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
229
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. The title of this quiz says that it will be about Jesuit reductions; in this context, to what does the term reductions refer? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The area in which the Jesuit reductions were established was not bounded by current national boundaries, but extended across a number of countries. Which current countries claim portions of the area where the reductions were established? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. The Spanish referred to the native groups for whom they organised the reductions as the Guarani, a name which is still used today. Did the Guarani people consider themselves a culturally unified group at the time when the Spanish arrived?


Question 4 of 10
4. Which of these was NOT one of the reasons why the Jesuits set up reductions? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. When was the first Jesuit reduction, in San Ignacio Guazu, started? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Eventually there were about thirty Jesuit reductions set up. What nickname was given to the region in which they were established? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. What was the primary reason why the Jesuits moved the reductions which had been established in areas under Portuguese control westwards in 1631, instead of staying where they were first established? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In 1750, a treaty was signed that attempted to settle the conflict between Spain and Portugal in South America. As a result, the Jesuits were instructed to abandon seven of their missions, established in what now became Portuguese territory, and resettle in Spanish lands. What was the name of this treaty? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. What was the name of the Guarani leader in the War of the Reductions, fought between 1754 and 1756? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Why did the Jesuits abandon the South American reductions in 1767? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The title of this quiz says that it will be about Jesuit reductions; in this context, to what does the term reductions refer?

Answer: Villages set up to gather the natives into proximity of the Jesuit missions

The Jesuit priests who arrived in South America intending to convert the natives to their faith decided that it would be advantageous to organise secure villages for the natives, referred to collectively as the Guarani people. The advantages for the Jesuits included increased opportunity to develop economic and cultural links that might increase the acceptance of Catholicism, while the Guarani gained security by living inside the enclosing fence.

The word reduction is used in English; the original Spanish term was "reducciones de indios", or congregations of Indians.
2. The area in which the Jesuit reductions were established was not bounded by current national boundaries, but extended across a number of countries. Which current countries claim portions of the area where the reductions were established?

Answer: Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay

This remote area was chosen primarily because the Jesuits arrived in South America after other orders (notably the Dominicans and Franciscans) had established their missionary posts in most of the more accessible areas. The Jesuits based in Paraguay were happy to agree to the request of the Spanish governor in Asuncion to set up some missions along the Parana River.

The fact that this region was on the border between the Spanish and Portuguese spheres of influence meant that a number of the reductions operated pretty much all the time under threat of attack from Portuguese raiders as well as from hostile natives.
3. The Spanish referred to the native groups for whom they organised the reductions as the Guarani, a name which is still used today. Did the Guarani people consider themselves a culturally unified group at the time when the Spanish arrived?

Answer: No

There were a number of different groups (including the Chandules, Carios and Tobatines) who were perceived as being similar enough in culture and language to be considered by the Spanish as a single ethnic group. Certainly, they had more in common with each other than they did with some of the other groups in the region, such as the Tupi. Those who accepted Catholicism and came to the reductions were called Guarani (a word meaning warrior in their language) by the Jesuits; those who refused to convert were called Cayuha, or men of the jungle.

The process of gathering the people in reductions tended to reduce the differences between groups, and certainly increased the use of a common dialect.
4. Which of these was NOT one of the reasons why the Jesuits set up reductions?

Answer: To make sure the Guarani didn't attack their churches

Of course, the primary purpose was to establish regular contact that would allow for evangelism and conversion. For Jesuits, education was always a close second priority. As well as increasing literacy, the priests taught the natives trades that would allow them to engage in economic interactions with Europeans.

This led to the significant economic success of the reductions that was eventually to make them seem a potential threat to the secular state. The reductions had a church as the central building, with houses and workshops nearby, all enclosed in protective fences that made it more difficult for rival tribes (and the Portuguese raiders called Bandeirantes) to launch a successful attack.
5. When was the first Jesuit reduction, in San Ignacio Guazu, started?

Answer: 1609

The first Jesuits arrived in Brazil in 1540, within a decade of the group's establishment, and expanded into Paraguay in 1587. On 29 December 1609 the Jesuit priests Marcial de Lorenzana and Francisco de San Martin built an altar and celebrated their first Mass on land belonging to the native chief Arapysandu, who had invited them to use the spot. Father Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz arrived soon afterwards, and took charge of the mission. Under his guidance, it became the base from which missionaries set out to establish other reductions in the area, along the Paranapanema River above the Guaira Falls.

If you saw the movie 'The Mission', you will be able to visualise the terrain and the settlements, as these seem to be the setting for the film, even though the political events of the film are from a later time, when the reductions had relocated.
6. Eventually there were about thirty Jesuit reductions set up. What nickname was given to the region in which they were established?

Answer: Guarani Republic

This nickname referred both to the fact that the Guarani people lived there, and to their economic independence. The Guarani people became a significant economic and political force in the region, and the Spanish and Portuguese had to include them in their negotiations about control of the area.

The settlements set up in the next twenty years included Santa Rosa, Santiago, Santa Maria, and San Cosme y Damian.
7. What was the primary reason why the Jesuits moved the reductions which had been established in areas under Portuguese control westwards in 1631, instead of staying where they were first established?

Answer: The constant raids attempting to enslave the Guarani made life difficult

A number of the reductions were established within the Portuguese sphere of influence, and (since the Jesuits were supported by the Spanish), the government did not control the Bandeirantes from Sao Paulo who regularly attempted to capture the Guarani, and sell them as slaves. In fact, government officials rather encouraged the raids. Since the Guarani were forbidden to carry arms, they had difficulty defending themselves. In 1631, most of the reductions moved west into Uruguay, an area under Spanish control, where they would be free from raids. Since the Spanish government did allow the Guarani to have guns and organise themselves into a militia, they were much better able to defend themselves. In 1841 the Guarani militia successfully fought off Bandeirantes in the Battle of Mborore.

If you saw the film 'The Mission', the climactic battle in it seems to be based on this battle, rather than any of the confrontations occurring at the time in which the movie is ostensibly set, a century later.
8. In 1750, a treaty was signed that attempted to settle the conflict between Spain and Portugal in South America. As a result, the Jesuits were instructed to abandon seven of their missions, established in what now became Portuguese territory, and resettle in Spanish lands. What was the name of this treaty?

Answer: Treaty of Madrid

The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) had given the Portuguese much less territory than the Treaty of Madrid, which established pretty much the modern area of Brazil. The Treaty of El Pardo (1761) annulled the Treaty of Madrid when it was seen as unworkable, while the Treaty of San Ildefonso (1777) re-instated most of the terms of the Treaty of Madrid.

Since seven reductions (called San Miguel, Santos Angeles, San Lorenzo Martir, San Nicolas, San Juan Bautista, San Luis Gonzaga, and San Francisco de Borja) had been set up in regions that the Treaty of Madrid declared to belong to Portugal, the treaty specifically instructed that they were to be evacuated, abandoning the missions intact for the Portuguese to take over, and moving the Guarani people across the Uruguay River (or returning them to the jungle). Although the Jesuits attempted to comply, the Guarani refused to cooperate. The compensation they were offered for abandoning their property was pathetic - (28,000 pesos to be split among them all; the value of the lands, buildings and livestock they would be leaving behind was something like 10 million pesos. There were over 30,000 of them who did not want to leave their villages, where they had been living for nearly 150 years. Since they had developed excellent fighting skills in defending themselves against slave traders, this was a bit of a problem.

If you saw the film 'The Mission', which was ostensibly about these events, you would have seen a re-creation of the mission at San Miguel.
9. What was the name of the Guarani leader in the War of the Reductions, fought between 1754 and 1756?

Answer: Sepe Tiaraju

Born and raised in the missions, Sepe Tiaraju organised the Guarani militia to resist attempts to move them out. They defeated the Spanish troops sent to quell their revolt in 1754, and forced the signing of an armistice in Guarani. This early victory actually ensured their eventual defeat - it caused the Spanish and Portuguese forces to realise that they needed to work together to re-establish European control. On 10 February 1756 a combined Spanish-Portuguese force fought the Guarani militia at the battle of Caiboate, which resulted in the death of over 1500 Guarani, both in the actual battle and in the massacre that followed it. The Portuguese took over all seven reductions, or what was left of them. When the Treaty of Madrid was annulled in 1761, the region reverted to being under Spanish control, but by that time the missions were in ruins and the Guarani dispersed.

Sepe Tiaraju has remained a popular figure in local culture. There have been a number of poems written about him, most notably the epic poem 'O Uraguai' written in 1769 by the Brazilian writer Basilio da Gama. The airport of Santo Angelo, Brazil is named after him.

In the film 'The Mission', the Jesuits are shown fighting alongside the Guarani. This is historically inaccurate - the Jesuits obeyed the instruction to leave, and the Guarani resisted on their own.
10. Why did the Jesuits abandon the South American reductions in 1767?

Answer: They had been banished from Spanish territories

The success of the reductions was only one of the many factors involved in the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish and Portuguese territories in 1767. The politics of the decision are complex, and outside the scope of this quiz.

After the Jesuits left, the reductions suffered various fates. Some were destroyed by slave raids, and fell to ruin after being abandoned. The mission in Cordoba, Argentina was taken over by the Franciscans. Six of them, called the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos in Bolivia, have developed into secular residential areas, and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, in recognition of the fusion of European and Amerindian cultures that they exhibit.
Source: Author looney_tunes

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor gtho4 before going online.
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