Indian Reductions


Indian Reductions

Reductions (known as "Reducciones de Indios", or simply "Reducciones" in Spanish; also "Congregacíones") were settlements founded by the Spanish colonizers of the New World with the purpose of assimilating indigenous populations into European culture and religion.

Already since the beginning of the Spanish presence in the Americas, the Crown had been concerned with the building of indigenous towns. The evolution of this concern can be seen in the documents issued from the Court such as the "Instrucciones a Ovando" (1501), the "Leyes de Burgos" (1512), and the "Leyes Nuevas" (1542). In the instructions to Nicolás Ovando, for example, the Crown ordered that the Indians live in the cities of the Spanish (thus favoring a total assimilation of the indigenous population). The "Leyes de Burgos"--the first law code of the Spanish in the New World--encharged the encomenderos with the indoctrination of the Indians, and decreed that the Indians should live near Spanish settlements, "so that the continuous conversion of those that will have it, through going to church on the feast days to hear mass and the divine rites, and seeing how the Spanish live" would be quickly accomplished.

However, the abuses of the encomenderos and, above all, the evangelistic character of the Spanish state--which based its right over the land and persons of the Indies on the Papal charge to evangelize them--created an impetus for a better organized missionary involvement. For this, it was essential that the Indians be concentrated in cities and towns of the Spanish style, if well separated from Spanish populations. At the same time, so that the Crown could offer the Indians services and protection, it was necessary that the collection of taxes be efficacious, and this was impossible with a dispersed population. In this way, it can be seen that the goals of the reductions were not only evangelistic, but also demographic, economic, and political.

The effective organization of the reductions dates to 1531, according to the instructions communicated to the second Audiencia of New Spain. In each "reduccion de indios" there was required to be a church staffed by a priest. The priest was to be supported by tributes required of the Indians. The regimen of life in the reduction was communal, and the resources of the reduction (including land) untransferably belonged to the reduction.

The majority of the reductions were incorporated by the Spanish Crown, although some were given to particular people along the lines of the encomiendas. A collection of reductions incorporated by the crown received the name "corregimiento", which was commanded by a "corregidor". However, this brought with it the growth of corruption, as the post of "corregidor" was bought and did not entail a salary, which provoked all kinds of extortion.

The Franciscans and the Jesuits also organized reductions, mainly in the Viceroyalty of Peru. It were these that eventually achieved the most development, success, and fame, especially the Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay. This was a result in a difference between the application of the reduction system between Viceroyalty of New Spain and the Viceroyalty of Peru. The work of Vasco de Quiroga--the bishop of Michoacán who founded a number of hospital towns--and Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa--the viceroy of Peru who promoted the system and convinced the Jesuits to work within it--should be especially noted for their efforts to improve the system.

ee also

*Jesuit Reductions
*São Miguel das Missões in Brazil
*Jesuit Asia missions
*Cargo system
*Spanish missions in Arizona
*Spanish missions in Baja California
*Spanish missions in California
*Spanish missions in the Carolinas
*Spanish missions in Florida
*Spanish missions in Georgia
*Spanish missions in Mexico
*Spanish missions in New Mexico
*Spanish missions in the Sonoran Desert
*Spanish missions in South America
*Spanish missions in Texas
*Spanish missions in Trinidad
*Spanish missions in Virginia


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Reductions of Paraguay — • Jesuit campaign to convert the natives of Paraguay Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Reductions of Paraguay     Reductions of Paraguay      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Indian Rhinoceros — Indian Rhinoceros[1] Indian rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Indian property bubble — The origins of Indian Property Market Bubble can be traced to the interest rate reductions made by the NDA coalition government in the years following 2001. Home Loan Rates fell to a (then) historical lows of 7.5% in early 2004. This prepared the …   Wikipedia

  • Jesuit Reductions — Related article: Indian Reductions The Jesuit Reductions were a particular version of the general Catholic strategy used in the 17th and 18th centuries of building reductions ( reducciones de indios ) in order to be able to Christianize the… …   Wikipedia

  • Sino-Indian relations — China India relations India …   Wikipedia

  • Catholic Indian Missions of Canada —     Catholic Indian Missions of Canada     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Catholic Indian Missions of Canada     The French discoverers of Canada did not fail to impress the aborigines they met with a vague idea of the religion they professed. Thus,… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Spanish missions in California — Part of the Spanish missions in the Americas series Arizona …   Wikipedia

  • Mission Indians — is a term for many Native California tribes, primarily living in coastal plains, adjacent inland valleys and mountains, and on the Channel Islands in central and southern California, United States. The tribes had established comparatively… …   Wikipedia

  • Rio Grande do Sul — Infobox Brazilian State name = State of Rio Grande do Sul motto = anthem = capital = Porto Alegre latd= |latm= |latNS= |longd= |longm= |longEW= largest city = Porto Alegre demonym = Gaúcho or Sul rio grandense leader name1 = Yeda Crusius leader… …   Wikipedia

  • Native Americans in the United States — This article is about the indigenous people of the United States. For other indigenous people see Indigenous peoples by geographic regions Native Americans …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.