Mission Culture on the Upper Amazon: Native Tradition, Jesuit Enterprise & Secular Policy in Moxos, 1660-1880

By David Block | Go to book overview

v THE MISSIONARIES: FATHERS AND BROTHERS

Missionaries, priests and lay brothers, comprised a hundred-year Jesuit presence in Moxos. While this study has stressed the importance of native people in mission culture, it does not intend to diminish the contributions made by the Jesuits. These men brought with them a material culture radically different from that of the savanna peoples and a spiritual vision shaped by their training in post-Tridentine Christianity. An examination of the Jesuit missionaries as a group illustrates their importance in the formation and function of mission culture in Moxos.


DEMOGRAPHY

The size of the Jesuit staffing in the Province of Peru grew rapidly through the sixteenth century. From an initial contingent of five priests, the Society expanded to 105 priests and brothers by 1578 and 133 eight years later.1 From the end of the sixteenth century until the suppression, the Society in Peru maintained a staff of between 450 and 520 men.

As figure 4 shows, the foundation and growth of the Moxos missionary population took place after the stabilization of the Province's staff as a whole. The Moxos Jesuit population expanded rapidly as the missionary system spread across the savanna. The three priests resident in the 1660s and early 1670s were reinforced to eleven in 1690, to twenty-eight by the end of the seventeenth century, and to thirty-six by 1706. By the second decade of the eighteenth century, the missionary population had reached a level within 10 percent of its maximum, the fifty-three priests and brothers recorded in 1741. Figure 4 also illustrates a drastic diminution of missionary strength in the decade between 1754 and 1764, a trend that had not

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Mission Culture on the Upper Amazon: Native Tradition, Jesuit Enterprise & Secular Policy in Moxos, 1660-1880
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • I The Setting 11
  • II The Jesuit Century 33
  • III The Missions 55
  • IV Mission Indians: Gentiles and Neophytes 78
  • V The Missionaries: Fathers and Brothers 103
  • VI Mission Culture Under Spanish Rule 125
  • VII Moxos to Beni: the Dissolution of Mission Culture 149
  • CONCLUSIONS 174
  • APPENDIX: - Sources of Demographic Data on Moxos Settlements, 1683-1882 183
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliography 215
  • Index 227
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