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Jesuits in Spanish America before the Suppression pdf

Book Title Jesuits In Spanish America Before The Suppression
Book AuthorRobert H. Jackson
Total Pages114
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Jesuits in Spanish America before the Suppression Organization and Demographic and Quantitative Perspectives

By Robert H. Jackson



From the late sixteenth century until their expulsion in 1767, members of the Society of Jesus played an important role in the urban life of Spanish America and as administrators of frontier missions.

This study examines the organization of the Society of Jesus in Spanish America in large provinces, as well as the different urban institutions such as colleges and frontier missions. It outlines the spiritual and educational activities in cities.

The Jesuits supported the royal initiative to evangelize indigenous populations on the frontiers, and particularly the outcomes that did not always conform to expectations. One reason for this was the effects of diseases such as smallpox on the indigenous populations.

Finally, it examines the 1767 expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish territories. Some died before leaving the Americas or at sea. The majority reached Spain and were later shipped to exile in the Papal States.

The 1759 publication of the novel Candide, ou l’optimisme (Candide, or optimism) by Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet [1694–1778]) provided contemporary literate Europeans with what was one of their few views of the activities of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Spanish America.

The novel also created the notion that the missions established among the Guaraní in the Río de la Plata region of South America functioned as a type of socialist republic based on the belief that the Jesuits controlled production on the missions and distributed food to the Guaraní.1 However, the reality of Jesuit activities in Spanish America was quite different.

The Guaraní mission residents worked their own subsistence plots to produce for their own needs and provided labour for communal projects; the Jesuits did not use communal production to feed and clothe them.

Candide was published at a time of dramatic change for the Society of Jesus—after coming under attack from reformist monarchs, the Jesuits were eventually expelled from Portugal in 1759, France in 1764, and Spain in 1767, a process that culminated in the pope’s suppression of the order in 1773.

 However, forty years later, in 1814, the pope restored the order, and it continues to exist today. The sitting pope, Francis I (r.2013–), is a Jesuit originally from Argentina.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Jesuit superiors general sent missionaries to the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Jesuits found their way to Huronia in the French colony in Canada, the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia, Goa and other Portuguese outposts in India, the Ming dynasty court in China, and Japan, where they baptized thousands until the government initiated anti-Christian persecution that ultimately resulted in the expulsion of most Europeans and a policy of isolation that lasted for several centuries.

The first act of persecution was the 1597 crucifixion in Nagasaki of Japanese Christians and a handful of foreign missionaries, a total of twenty-six men including three Japanese Jesuits. One was the Franciscan Felipe de Jesús (1572–97), who was a native of Mexico City. Forty years later, the Jesuits established a mission in the Guaraní village of Caaró (the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), which they named Los Santos Mártires del Japón to commemorate the Nagasaki martyrs. The Jesuits also came to the Spanish territories in the Americas. They arrived in Lima in the viceroyalty of Peru in 1568 and the viceroyalty of Nueva España four years later in 1572.

Jesuits also died in Spanish America, and Gonzalo de Tapia (1561–94) was one of the first to be martyred in Mexico. In 1590, he established a mission named San Luis de la Paz in what today is southern Guanajuato as part of a

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