Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Dividing the Spoils: Portugal and Spain in South America

Jeannette Gaffney

Contents of Curriculum Unit 92.02.06:

To Guide Entry

Language is words only in part. To study a language is to be exposed to the culture and customs of those peoples who have developed it. Spanish, like all languages, has risen from many sources, each a people who added layers of vocabulary and nuance.

In the seminar “Writings and Re-writings of the Discovery and Conquest of America” the intersection of two worlds is to be considered: the world of sixteenth century western Europe, particularly Spain, and Portugal, and the cultures which existed in the Americas, particularly Amazonia at that time. We will discuss the collision and permeation as understood by writers of the time and by modern writers seeking new interpretations. We will be looking for the historical roots of 20th century problems.

I consider this curriculum unit to be the third in a set of three units which explore seepage between the cultures that came into contact as a result of the voyages of Columbus. My first paper, written in the “Latin American Short Story” seminar presented by Roberto Gonzáles Echevarr’a in 1987, was an analysis of “The High Road of Saint James” by Alejo Carpentier. In it the world of sixteenth century Spain is illuminated as the protagonist travels to the West Indies. The second of these papers was written in 1991 in the seminar on “Regions and Regionalism in the United States: Studies in the History and Cultures of the South, the Northeast and the American Southwest” presented by Howard Lamar. Entitled “Between Aztlán and Quivira: Europeans and Indians in the Southwestern United States,” it is a study of the cultures which existed in the Southwest in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, and includes the impact which Europeans had on these cultures and peoples.

In this third unit, I hope to explore the interaction between the two worlds: Europe in transition from the Middle Ages to Enlightenment, and America in transition from harmony with nature to resistance on annihilation.

I hope to cultivate in students the realization that language, history and culture are dynamic disciplines, that the status quo is change. I hope they will recognize the issues of cultural survival and revival. Students will discover the enormity of the shock of the initial contact between Europeans and the peoples native to the Americas, particularly to the Indians of the South American lowland rain forests. We will also study the political and diplomatic history in Europe which had so great an impact on these people.

It has been said that in North America the discovery and conquest are history unlike in Latin America, where the conquest and discovery are not complete. The last North American Indian resistance fighters, the Chiricahua, were subdued by the late nineteenth century. Though many strong Indian tribes and nations thrive in the USA even now, they are contained on reservation lands. Their internal governance is by tribal law, but their relations with the US federal government are managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In Central and South America in many areas Indian autonomy exists, if not unmolested, at least in a state of non-acceptance of European dominance. The Indians of Guatemala, descendants of the Maya, speak Nahuatl and live in friction with their neighbors, descendants of the Spanish, over the rights to the land. In Peru the leading edge of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) are young women descendants of the Inca. Their cultural training passed down for generations is a communal way of life. They are impatient with the inefficient ways of this government. They speak Quechua and appear determined to reverse the rape and conquest of five hundred years ago.

This paper will focus on the peoples of the jungles of eastern South America, the people who live in the Amazon rain forest and Alto Parana. At the time of the invasion from Iberia there were two and one-half million people who lived in the endless forests of the great rivers, perhaps three thousand tribes, perhaps more. They lived as nomadic hunters and gatherers in a tropical world where animal and plant species flourished in abundance. Even Columbus thought he was nearing Eden as he touched on the mouth of the Orinoco River. Their culture was full of magical beliefs. They built no permanent structures, living as they did amid plenty. Their gods were animalistic. The great God of the Guarani was purely beneficent, capable only of good. No evil punishment could stem from him. They had no gold; they used no metal. They wore few clothes; tropical rain forests are warm and damp. They had no sense of time, other than before and now. Their beliefs were strong, strong enough to bind them into groups for survival, strong enough to maintain ways and rituals which fostered them, though out of context the Europeans may have felt these to be barbaric.

Into this simple paradise, an ecosystem of animals and humans without arrogance, stepped the velvet-clad Iberians, glittering chest plates and heavy swords. They wore hair on their faces and were tall, ever so tall. And they were seeking gold, at first the metal which they would strip from the high mountain people. Later they sought “red gold,’ the warm-blooded kind which they could sell in the markets of Hispanola to be plantation slaves. And if the Indians died in slavery, there were plenty more, a boundless supply in the rich rain forests of the Amazon. Brazil outlawed slavery in 1888, the last ‘western’ country to make illegal the ownership of humans.

But the story does not end. Even today there are stone age tribes in the rain forests whose lives are being eaten away by the destruction of their habitat. Their sacred trees are cut down, and the forest which is their collective memory is being turned into plantations for rubber and beef.

My plan in this unit is to present the history of the discovery and conquest of the South American lowland rain forest people in stages. The first section will explore the conflict between Spain and Portugal over the rights to unexplored territories. For this we will use maps and overlays. The 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas and the resultant 20th century national boundaries in South America will be a focus point in this segment of the unit.

The second section of the paper will encompass the early history of the exploration and conquest of South America focusing particularly on the comparison between the Spanish and Portuguese custom or style of expansion. The systems of agriculture and slavery will be compared.

In a third section, I hope to expose students to the reactions the natives may have had to the Europeans. I will include early writings about the initial contact between Europeans and South American Indians. I plan to use excerpts from Columbus’ diaries about the people he ‘discovered’. In contrast I will use excerpts from Broken Spears to suggest the response to the Europeans which the Indians had. Some passages from The Harp and the Shadow will also be helpful.

In the next section of the paper our journey through time will take us from the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas to the 1750 Treaty of Madrid which reestablished the territorial claims of Spain and Portugal. We will study the Jesuit expansion and establishment of missions (reducciones) especially in Paraguay. We will focus on the growing jealousy about Jesuit power in Europe leading to the expulsion of Jesuits from the Americas in 1767. At this point the class will watch the movie “The Mission.”

Our study will continue with writing, excerpts from novels, journals, newspapers, National Geographic and other sources about the continuing threat to the natives of the Amazon and Rio de la Plata basins. We will look at sections from The Storyteller by Vargas Llosa, and Hudson’s novel, Green Mansions. which was made into a romantic and panoramic film about the endless green rain forest. There are several very new books about the vanishing tribes of Amazonia.

Finally we will end our journey with the very real questions of 21st century obligation to the stone age people who survive. As Vargas Llosa clearly describes, any contact destroys the cultural fabric and thus the existence of these people. Even benevolent contributions toward food, sanitation, and shelter cut the threads which bound the Indians in groups which could survive their environment. Issues of progress, growth, environment, development and responsibility will be explored.

to top

Part I: The Treaty of Tordesillas Spain and Portugal did not exist until the late fourteenth century. The land was there, and the people, and the languages. But political boundaries followed an ebb and flow of power. The greatest external force in Iberia was the presence of the Moors, who invaded in 711. They brought art and architecture and algebra, and they stayed until the Iberians themselves could form a critical mass, enough unity to drive them out.

Portugal was first. In 1250 the Moslems were expelled, and Spain was forced to recognize the existence of Portugal, the kingdom, with national boundaries delineated much as they are today. In 1385 Joao of Aviz became the first Portuguese king whose ancestry was not the House of Burgundy, but Portuguese.

United as a country with a native king, a national language, and strong from the long struggle for self determination, Portugal turned her interest to the sea. It was known that the world was a sphere, and Portugal busied herself to explore eastward, toward the spice islands. Henry the Navigator and Vasco da Gama are the names students recognize from this exciting exploration. For about 100 years a systematic accumulation of knowledge and an innovative use of instruments brought the Portuguese closer and closer to the East.

In Spain, national cohesion has been more complicated. The provinces remaining after Portugal’s independence were and are a disparate lot. Today four distinct languages still survive in Spain: Castillian, Galicia, Basque, and Catalun. The regions have different customs, traditions and ways of life. Some have wanted unity, while others have held out for independence. The Basques even now are struggling for independence from Spain.

Spain was born with the marriage of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon in 1478. Ferdinand and Isabel were strong and complementary monarchs, blessed with longevity and focus. They made Castillian the official language of the kingdom, and set about removing the Moors from Spain. Like Portugal, their success after 800 years left the energy which ignited “el Siglo de Oro,” the Golden Age of Spain.

In 1492 as the Moors were driven from Spain, and non-Catholics were expelled or converted by the Inquisition, the first exploration to the west occurred, and was successful. Columbus returned from his voyage across the seas to report to Isabel that he had indeed sailed west to India. Portugal was shaken. Portuguese explorers had nearly reached India by sailing east and now suddenly must compete with Spain for the profits. They appealed to the Pope.

In the fifteenth century the Pope was the arbiter in these matters. His authority throughout Europe was immense, although in most countries the beginnings of self empowerment were stirring. In Portugal during the reign of Denis, 1279 - 1325, Roman Catholic land holdings were curtailed in order to consolidate the neophyte nation. In Spain the Inquisition itself was founded in 1478 under control of the crown. In Northern Europe, in Flanders and Germany and Britain the rumblings of dissent could be heard, though it was to be fifty years before Martin Luther took his stand. The Jesuit order was to be founded in 1539, designed to be a militant and monastic order of the intellectual and moral elite pledged to defend the Papacy against the Protestant Reformation. In 1492 church and state were not separate. Ferdinand and Isabella were called the Catholic Kings. To be Iberian was to be Catholic. The conflict of authority between religion and politics was undeveloped.

It was to Spain’s advantage that the Pope, Alexander VI was a Spaniard. His solution to the conflict was to draw a line from pole to pole which granted the crown of Castile all lands to its west unless they were already possessed by another Christian king. The line was drawn initially 100 leagues to the west of Cape Verde. The Portuguese took exception to the location of this Line of Demarcation. Perhaps they knew, or guessed, more than they said about world geography. They may have known about the American continents. Portugal prevailed, and in 1494 at Tordesillas a bilateral treaty was signed by Spain and Portugal, dividing the earth between them at 270 leagues farther west.

To the Europeans, this made perfect sense. To prevent the waste of time and energy that competing claims would cause, a proactive decision was made before problems arose. To the inhabitants of the lands just divided, such a decision, had they known about it, would have been meaningless. The concepts of private ownership and of amassing surplus were useless, especially for the Indians in the rain forests of South America. In their animalistic religion, nature was to be revered, not exploited. They were self sufficient. They took what they needed from nature and lived in a balanced ecosystem. The earth could not be possessed, merely used, like oxygen and sunlight. The Amazon Indians were war like, yet possession was not related to status. Unfortunately, the Europeans did not understand this difference.

to top

Part II: Discovery and Conquest From the beginning, the raison d’etre of the conquest of the Americas was exploitation. The Portuguese search for a sea route to India was a commercial venture. The Spanish mandate to bring gold back from the New World was scantily disguised by the heavenly mandate to convert and catechize. Substantial differences did exist, however, between the style of conquest by the two countries.

Portugal had successfully circumnavigated Africa and extended the trade route to China by establishing a string of pearls, a Portuguese port in every country. Traveling south and east from Portugal, one hops from island to island: the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, the islands in the Gulf of Guinea, Angola, Mozambique, Goa in India, and Macao in China. They developed a commercial empire using their port cities as trade bases. As a rule, the Portuguese did not bother to extend their empire inland.

Portuguese colonization of Brazil began much the same way. From its suspicious accidental discovery in 1500, Brazil was seen as a commercial port. Brazil owes its name to brazilwood, the source for red dye greatly demanded in Europe. Thus began the Portuguese exploitation of Brazilian resources. Colonization remained largely costal for some time. The first land was granted by the king in 1533, and slaves from Guinea began to arrive in 1538. In 1549 the first Jesuits arrived, to catechize the slaves and to provide education and a church-centered social structure for the settlers.

The Portuguese system of land granting differed from the Spanish. While the Spanish crown maintained legal and financial control of its territories, the Portuguese crown began by granting government powers along with huge territories. The Portuguese grantees were expected to run their estates independently of the crown, to develop and to protect. They could tax and make governmental appointments. The Spanish employed a cumbersome system of waiting for legal approval from Spain for every governmental decision.

As Portugal granted herself more and more land in the New World, Spain was busy first in Mexico and then in Peru, emptying the continent of gold and silver. With Spain focused in the west Portuguese expansion involved lands which blurred the line of demarcation. The Portuguese, too, were hungry for gold. Finding little they turned to exploitation of other resources, and to enslaving Indians for labor. Brazilian agriculture developed early as an exploitative venture. Europe wanted raw materials, so Portugal saw no need to diversify the economy of Brazil. A series of speculative products mark the history of the Brazilian economy. The fazendas, the large estates, focused on brazilwood, sugar, tobacco, cotton, cacao, and rubber, one after another.

As the slavery of Indians proved less and less feasible, importation of Africans increased. The Portuguese colony of Angola became the main source of slaves. An eerie exchange began between Angola and Brazil, of slaves from Angola, of Jesuits from Brazil going to learn African languages in order to catechize the new slaves, and of Luso-Angolans to Brazil to be educated in Jesuit colleges. According to Burns by 1822 two million slaves, Africans or their descendants, lived in Brazil where the total populations was four million people.

Enslavement of Indians had always been problematic. They had no natural resistance to European disease. The common cold, measles and small pox decimated huge portions of the population. In 1500 there were perhaps two and one half million Indians in the rain forests. It is impossible to verify, but a conservative estimate has 50% dead of disease immediately after initial contact.

It wasn’t only susceptibility to disease that made the Indians impractical slaves. An equally powerful resistance was the Indian attitude toward production and consumption. The rain forest Indian culture was communal and reciprocal. Living in plenty, the concept of private ownership was irrelevant. They revered nature, took what they needed and never learned to hoard. Status derived from kinship and social dictates, from religious and communal expression. Material was irrelevant. The idea of working very hard to amass a great deal of wealth, of sugar cane or rubber was absurd. What do you do with acres of sugar cane? Capitalistic motivation was incomprehensible. Indians made poor slaves, and later, unproductive wage earners.

The third factor which limited the use of Indians as slaves was the heated debate about the morality of their enslavement and of the conquest as a whole. Contemporary and modern writers about the destruction of American Indian cultures abound. In the sixteenth century one of the most powerful voices, though not powerful enough, was the Jesuit Order.

to top

Part III: The Rain Forest Indians Of the complex Indian societies of Mexico and Peru an abundance of archeological and historical evidence survives. These high mountain cultures developed cities and various forms of visual communication. Their societies were large and composed of layers of power with the authority to distribute goods to the people.

The rain forest Indians developed differently, in response to their natural environment. Where their counterparts grew complicated life styles in a demanding geography, the rain forest Indians had no need to develop protective clothing nor systems to store and distribute food. The natural action of the jungle is decay, to erode objects, so we have no archeology to study. Rain forest Indian groupings were relatively small, 400 to 800, in relation to the food sources. They were migratory as well, in an ancient pattern of the moveable feast. They developed no written language and no complicated political leadership. What we know of them we have gleaned from anthropological studies, from the European writers of the time, and from the rain forest Indians who survived the first five hundred years of conquest and are still struggling to maintain their culture.

The Indians in the Amazon and La Plata rain forests belong to the Tupi Guarani language group. They are small, with rounded flat faces, and broad. Their language is earthly and onomatopoetic. They are a forest people. Their clothing was limited. The raw forest environment is warm and humid, the temperature staying near 80°. In temperament they are described as friendly and gentle, though ferocious in battle. Pendle describes their religion as “a mythology which enabled them to live in harmony with the prolific plant and animal life around them.” (Pendle, p.5). Lupang, the central deity, was present in all nature, and capable only of good, omnipresent and omnibenificent. He did not punish. The other gods were the protectors of various flora and fauna. Only one god was malevolent.

The Tupi Guarani Indians lived in innumerable small tribes. Their small villages were temporary, typically built inside a crude stockade along a river bank. Thatched huts with hammocks sheltered the extended family groups of one hundred people. Kinship was patrilineal, and marriage was typically monogamous. The governance was most frequently by council, but a shaman was an important presence. Their agriculture amid the plenty of the rain forest basin included the slash and burn cultivation of the staple manioc. Though generally nude, they did engage in body ornamentation. Geometric designs were painted on face and body, and nose, lip and ear ornaments might include feathers, stones or wooden discs.

The Guaranies knew of the high mountain Inca Empire to the west. Some authors suggest that the Guaranies pushed west from the river drainage. Others suggest that some lowland rain forest Indians of other language groups may be the remnants of peoples fleeing the Inca expansion.

The early interaction between the Indians and Europeans is variously described. Burns quotes the Portuguese da Nobrega, as saying that the Indians were “blank paper upon which we can write at will.” (Burns, p. 41). Pendle says that “Guarani women willingly bore children to white men” (Pendle, p. 9). In the beginning, the Europeans found the Guaranies to be childlike, and innocent. Later, the Guaranies proved themselves to be fierce. As in war, the Europeans described them as brutal and savage. Their self sufficiency, their harmony with nature let the Europeans to find them indolent and unsatisfactory as workers.

to top

Part IV: The Jesuits in the New World Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuit Order in 1539 as a defense against the Protestant Reformation. The Jesuits were to be teachers, educators in philosophy and religion. They became the intellectual elite of the church, advisors to the kings and queens of Europe. For two hundred years they were a confident and powerful arm of the papacy. Even their governance held them apart: their bishopric lies in Rome, with the head of the Order known as The Black Pope.

Within ten years of their founding, Jesuits were in South America and other Catholic colonies. They quickly developed a systematic and extensive educational structure to support the colonists as, they did in Spain.

In 1549 Tome de Sousa headed the official party which included six Jesuits to found the capital of Brazil. The king mandated conversion of the Indians to Roman Catholicism. From the very beginning relations between the church and the Indians were very serious. Believing that enslavement of Indians was against royal decree, the Jesuits began to gather them into villages for protection and catechism. These villages became missions or reducciones. Gradually the Jesuits were able to develop these successful autonomous cooperative centers throughout Paraguay and in other parts of South America.

As early as 1511 we find evidence of the political conflict about Indian enslavement. A Portuguese decree stated that for those Indians who fought against Portugal, slavery was just. Also any Indians who were cannibals, or who sold themselves or family members out of need, or those who were rescued from being sacrificed were not protected. The settlers claimed that they were feeding the Indians and teaching them farming skills. Jesuits claimed any Indian slavery was against the mandate. Eventually the debate was resolved by the high death rate among Indians, and the flight to the interior of the survivors.

The first Jesuits in Paraguay arrived in 1588, in Asuncion, the capital. Asuncion is a natural center for an internal land-locked country lying on the junction of two great rivers, the Pilcomayo and the Paraguay. It was also a geographic center for the Guarani. A combination of factors, geographical and political, left Paraguay isolated from her neighbors for most of her story. From this outpost, the Jesuits involved themselves with the forest Indians.

The Jesuit purpose was to convert and to civilize this untamed population. It became apparent early on that a third goal was to protect them from the Portuguese slave traders, known as Mamelucos, who invaded the area from the northeast. Tension immediately arose among the three groups: the protective Jesuits, the Portuguese slave hunters, and the Spanish landowners of Paraguay.

The Jesuits were able to gather into thirty missions 100,000 Guarani Indians by the end of the seventeenth century. These mission towns were called “reducciones,” and organized for communal work. They were often built around a central square, with the church on one side, and long houses on the other three sides. The missions were scattered throughout Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, in a variety of ecosystems. The products of the missions included cotton, hides, carintery, rope, ships, musical instruments, manuscripts and printed books, and yerba mate. Mate is to the South American cone as coffee is to much of our world. It is a beverage, a tea, made from the leaves of the mate tree. More importantly it is a social break. Mate drinking is time out, as a coffee break is delineated in minutes, not ounces. Even then it was a lucrative business. In her isolation, Paraguay often ran out of legal tender, and mate was used to replace it. A system of barter, an exchange of goods and services in lieu of money, is still common in the rural areas of Paraguay.

Where there is profit, there is greed. The land owners of Paraguay grew jealous of the success of the Jesuit “reducciones.” Instead of protecting these missions from the invading Mamelucos, they allowed the raids. The highly successful missions, housing tens of thousands of Christianized Indians in communal and profitable centers, were under attack from all sides.

In Europe in the early eighteenth century church politics were becoming heated. The Protestant Reformation had taken root and extended throughout northern Europe. In France and Portugal a theological argument had arisen within the Catholic Church leaving the Jesuits as defenders of the Papacy and at odds with the crowns of Europe. The Catholic states began to resist the power of the Pope. In 1759 Portugal expelled all Jesuits from her realms and in 1760 Portugal broke off relations with the Pope, and left church power in the hands of the Bishops. In 1764 France expelled Jesuits from her realms. In Spain, Jesuits had controlled education for two centuries. Now, under Carlos III, a push toward Enlightenment led the resistance to Jesuit control. Finally in 1767, Carlos expelled the Jesuits from Spain and from all Spanish realms. The defenders of the papacy did not find their defense in the Pope. In 1773, the Company of Jesuit, the Order of Jesuits was abolished. The Fathers themselves were arrested, detained and removed from Spanish America. According to Hargreaves-Mawdsley, 2267 Fathers and novices were in the Spanish Empire at the time of expulsion. They were loaded on ships and taken to the Papal States, where they were not received by the Pope. It wasn’t until 1891 that Pius VII allowed the Jesuits to reform in Russia.

In politics as well as religion, the Catholic kingdoms and Jesuit missions were in conflict. Since the Treaty of Tordesillas, the boundaries between Portuguese and Spanish America had taken a more natural shape. Portuguese pushed west and south, and Spaniards pushed north. As a result, some boundaries were contested. Beginning in 1750, a series of treaties addressed the contested border. The principles at stake were the preexisting treaty, and “uti possidetis,” which basically intends that the possessor has 9/10 of the law. The Treaty of Madrid upheld “uti possidetis,” allowing the Portuguese territory deep into Alto Parana, where Jesuit missions were. In 1759 Jesuits were expelled from all Portuguese realms, and hence at risk of expulsion from Alto Parana. In 1761, The Treaty of El Pardo nullified the Treaty of Madrid, giving the Jesuits a reprieve. The issue of territorial boundaries was not resolved until 1777 with the Treaty of San Ildefonso, ten years after the expulsion of the Jesuits from the New World.

The reducciones of South America were largely abandoned. Franciscans attempted to continue the operation of some, but the Indians did not stay. The rain forests reclaimed the land and tumbled the buildings of brick and quebracho. The mission was ended.

The Fate of the Survivors

Today, two hundred twenty five years later, most of the rain forest Indians have become part of the new civilization, or perished. Paraguay in particular is a mestizo nation, peopled by the descendants of the early Spanish explorers and Guarani mothers. It is the only true bilingual country in Latin America. Nearly all Paraguayans speak Spanish and Guarani. For the most part, the fate of the rain forest Indians has spun out. Yet there are still some forest tribes which have remained apart, and live as their ancestors lived five hundred years ago. The fate of these survivors will be decided during the lives of our students. The issues of that fate are to be explored by teaching this curriculum unit.

Activity I: Perspectivism

As part of the history of the initial contact between Europeans and Indians, selections from early writings and later reinterpretations will be prepared for students. As an example, I will pair excerpts from Columbus’ diaries with selections from The Harp and the Shadow. Students will be exposed to a record of Columbus’ reaction to the people he discovered, and to the fictional reaction of Dieguito to the Spaniards. Another pairing will be selections from Bartolome de las Casas in The History of the Indies with selections from Miguel Leon-Portilla’s, Broken Spears. A passage from The Storyteller, by Vargas Llosa will be contrasted with a description from Hudson’s Green Mansions.

In each case I want students to compare and react to the different perspectives which they are reading. The reaction might be expressed artistically in dance or visual art or theater improvisation. It could be a pairing of original journal entries. Directions might be to write a journal entry about the first contact between Indians and Europeans in a setting of your choice. Include reactions to all sensory receptions (what do you see, hear, smell, taste, feel?) Then rewrite the same moment from the perspective of the Other, so you have written once as the European experienced it and once as the Indian experienced it. (Explorer, Slaver, Priest, Indian, Spanish conquistador.)

Activity II: “The Mission”

Once the students have studied the history presented by this paper, they will watch the film, “The Mission.”

Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro star in this haunting drama of the expulsion of the Jesuits from the New World in 1767. The locale of the story is Alto Parana, the rain forest above the falls, Foz IguaCu, and Asuncion, Paraguay. It is an adult drama, rated PG. The Indians are dressed historically accurately, which is to say breasts exposed. There is considerable violence in the film. I recommend it highly for its depiction of the multi-faceted conflict between the church, the powers of Europe, and the Jesuit protection of the Guarani Indians.

Before watching the film it will be important for students to participate in a discussion about the anthropological development of appropriate clothing. Issues to be explored will include how climate affects clothing, how clothing becomes a visual clue to a judgment about people, and the perspectivism that as we react to people who appear different, they are reacting to us. This should help put the issue of the Indian dress in perspective.

The movie is a fast-paced gripping drama. Students should have no difficulty following the plot which parallels the history they have just learned. Many activities are possible as a follow-up discussion.

1) Describe the Guaranies initial reaction to the Europeans who entered their territory. Why did they react this way? What made them react differently and accept Father Gabriel? Different levels of response will be appropriate. We want to aim for students to be thinking reflectively and critically. They may discover that the music Father Gabriel played and its spiritual expression was a point of mutual perspective.
2) Read a selection from Broken Spears. Write a letter or journal entry which might have been written by a Guarani Indian during the period of the conquest of the rain forest. Include responses to the slave traders as well as to the priests.
3) Have a debate about which Jesuit was right: Father Gabriel who resisted violence with non violence or Rodrigo Mendoza who armed the Indians and fought the invading Europeans. Use examples from other historical incidents to support your argument, (e.g., Martin Luther King, The Shining Path, Ghandi, Hitler, South Africa.)

Activity III: The Separation of Church and State

Having studied the Treaty of Tordesillas and the Line of Demarcation, investigate the issue of the separation of church and state. What are the laws in the USA now? If there were no legal separation of church and state, how would our lives be different? How did the separation come to be? What conflicts arise from the separation? Who is the arbiter in world matters now? Ill the discussion issues should arise such as prayer in school, legalization of abortion, the Bill of Rights which guarantees freedom of religion, the United Nations, and the conflict of Israel and the Palestinians.

Activity IV: Geography

As a class prepare a set of maps, perhaps using overlays of several geographic notions.

1) The known world in 1494, the year of theTreaty of Tordesillas
2) 100 leagues west of Cape Verde
3) 350 leagues west of Cape Verde
4) The current division between Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking Latin America. (A league is between 2.4 and 4.6 statue miles.)
5) Why does Brazil speak Portuguese?
6) A world map of Portuguese settlements in the route to the East Indies as well as the New World including dates
7) An overlay of Spanish settlements including dates

Activity V: Communal Property

Who Owns Nature?: a debate.

Investigate the concept of ownership. What is ecology about? How does it imply communal use? When does ‘use’ become ‘abuse?’ Who owns chalk in the classroom? - the moon? the sunset? Are these three similar or different? Work toward a concept of communal responsibility.

Activity VI

In the 21st century what is the responsible course of action for the industrialized world to take in response to rain forest stone age peoples? If, for example, health care were extended to the Amazon tribes, how would their lives and culture be affected? Is the survival of the individuals, through health and nutrition, more valuable than the survival of their way of life? Who decides? Have students role play the arrival of a medical team at a Yanomano village. The purpose of the visit is to inoculate the tribe against DPT, polio, and MMR.

to top

BIBLIOGRAPHY Sandy Tolan and Nancy Postero. “Accidents of History.” New York Times Magazine, February 23, 1992.

The Yuqui Indians of Bolivia emerge from the rain forest into the 20th century.

Berrigan, Daniel. The Mission: A Film Journal. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986.

Father Berrigan played a small role as a priest in the film, “The Mission.” He also served as an advisor to Jeremy Irons about his character, Father Gabriel, a leading role. Berrigan kept a journal of his experiences.

Boff, Leonardo. Nova Evangelizacao: Perspectiva dos Oprimidos. Fortaleza, CE:

Brugada Guanes, Alejandro. Paracuaria: obras arquitectonicas de la era jesuitica en el Paraguay. Asunción: Offset Comuneros, 1975.

Burns E., Bradford. A History of Brazil. Second edition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.

A very complete and useful history.

“Can Stone Age Indians Survive in the Modern World?” Weekly Reader, senior edition, Volume 46, Issue 9, November 15, 1991.

The culture and traditions of the Yanomamo Indians of Brazil and Venezuela are protected by the government of Venezuela.

The Captivity of Hans Stade of Hease. 1547 - 1555. Among the Wild Tribes of Brazil. (Translated by Albert Tootal, Esq.) London: Hakluyt Society, 1874.

Caraman, Philip. 1911. The Lost Paradise: The Jesuit Republic in South America. London: Sidgwick and Jackson. c1975. 1976 printing.

An excellent source on the history of Jesuits, Guarani Indians and Missions in Paraguay.

Carpentier, Alejo. The Harp and the Shadow. (Translated by Thomas Christensen and Carol Christensen.) SanFrancisco: Mercury House, Inc., 1990.

As a complete novel, The Harp and the Shadow is advanced for middle school students. However, selections can be used with them. In particular, I will use the thoughts and comments of Dieguito, the Taino Indian who is brought to Spain by Columbus. He finds the Spaniards of bad odor and peculiar habit. p. 106-107.

Cushner, Nicholas P. Lords of The Land: (Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru. 1600-1767.) Albany: State University of New York Press, c1980.

Cushner chronicles Jesuits in Peru, contemporary to the missions in Paraguay.

De las Casas, Bartolome. History of the Indies. (Translated and edited by Andree Collard.) New York, Torchbook Library, 1971.

De las Casas is required reading as he is the first outspoken Spanish critic of the conquest of the Americas. Though he praised Columbus for the intelligence and courage to discover the New World, he spared no quarter in his attack on the imperialist and destructive conquest which followed. This edition is edited for relevance and readability. Sections may be pulled for classroom use.

Elliot, Arthur Elwood, 1888. Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay. Indianapolis: College of Missions, 1920.

Gaffney, Jeanette. “Between Aztlán and Quivira: Europeans and Indians in the Southwestern United States,” Yale New Haven Teachers Institute, Volume I, Number 1. New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1991.

From the seminar, “Regions and Regionalism in the United States: Studies in the History and Cultures of the South, the Northeast and the American Southwest” with Howard Lamar.

Gaffney, Jeanette. “The High Road of Saint James,” by Alejo Carpentier. Yale New Haven Teachers Institute, Volume I, Number 1. New Haven: Yale University, 1987.

From the seminar, “The Modern Short Story in Latin America” with Roberto González Echevarr’a. The study of a short story of a Spanish pilgrim in the New World.

Graham, R. B. Cunninghame. A Vanishing Arcadia: Being Some Account of the Jesuits in Paraguay 1607-1767. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1901.

Caraman finds Cunninghame Graham’s book important even though it was published nearly a century ago. In reading, one develops a clear sense of the disappearance of the Jesuits in the 18th century. Even as he writes Graham speaks of their forgotten contributions.

Hargreaves-Mawdsley, W. N. Eighteenth Century Diplomatic and Institutional History. London: Macmillan, 1979.

A good source to untangle the jealousies and politics leading up to the expulsion of the Jesuits from the New World.

Hemming, John, 1935. Red Gold: The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978.

Red gold refers to the lucrative market in the enslavement of Indians. This book is central to the theme of this paper.

Herr, Richard. The Eighteenth Century Revolution in Spain. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1958.

Another useful source into the complications of religion and politics in Iberia.

Hill, B. J. W. Background to Spain. London: Longmans, Green and Co., Ltd., 1969.

A less thorough history.

Leon-Portilla, Miguel, ed. The Broken Spears.

The classic of the rewritten history of Mexico. Leon-Portilla has collected whatever texts survived which had been written by Indians about the conquest. Easily readable by students, it gives a perspective of the Indians reactions and experiences which is difficult to find.

Hudson, Henry William. Green Mansions. A Romance of the Tropical Forest. London: Duckworth, 1931.

Humboldt, Alexander von, 1769-1859. A Catelogue of the Library

Irving A. Leonard. Colonial Travelers in Latin America. Newark, Del.: Juan de la Cuesta, c1972.

This collection contains several important texts relevant to our theme, including writings by the first Jesuit to Brazil, Bougainville’s account of the expulsion of the Jesuits, and von Humboldt’s experiences among the Caribs in Venezuela.

Long, Haniel, 1888-1956. The marvellous Adventure of Cabeza de Vaca: Also Malinche. London: PanBooks, 1975; Picador ed.

Cabeza de Vaca was an early explorer of the Southwestern United States and Mexico. His biography lends another perspective to the conquest. He was also governor of Asuncion, Paraguay, deposed in 1544.

McAlister, Lyle N. Spain and Portugal in the New World. 1492-1700. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, c1984.

Though very academic and comprehensive (including the entire New World,) McAlister has provided a basic text with a considerable collection of statistics and an intelligent interpretation.

McNaspy, C. J. (Clement J.,) 1915. Conquest or Inculturation: Ways of Ministry in the Early Jesuit Missions. Regina: Campion College, University of Regina, [1986], c1979.

McNaspy, C. J. (Clement J.,) 1915. Lost Cities of Paraguay: Art and Architecture of the Jesuit Reductions. 1607-1767. Chicago: Loyola University Press, c1982. Photographs by J.M. Blanch.

Montaigne, Michel de, 1533-1592. Complete Essays. 1958.

Map Supplement, “Spain in the Americas.” National Geographic, February, 1992, Volume 181, Number 2.

“Spain in the Americas” is an excellent map depicting the exploration and division of the New World between Spain and Portugal.

Map Supplement, “Amazonia: A World Resource at Risk,” map of Brazilian rain forests; “Paraguay: Plotting a New Course.” National Geographic, August, 1992, Volume 182, Number 2.

“Brazil: Moment of promise and Pain.” National Geographic, March, 1987, Volume 171, Number 3.

“Alexander von Humboldt, Geographic Pioneer.” National Geographic, September, 1985, Volume 168, Number 3.

“Christopher Columbus and the New World He Found.” National Geographic, November, 1975, Volume 148, Number 5.

Nunn, George Emra, 1882. The Diplomacy Concerning the Discovery of America. Jenkintown, Pa.: Tall Tree Library, 1948.

Pendle, George. Paraguay: A Riverside Nation. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.

A brief account of the early history of Paraguay, peppered with mid 20th century attitudes about the natural indolence of the Guarani. Another perspective. It would be useful to students to learn about the Guarani from a current perspective and then read and react to Pendle’s descriptions.

Indian-religious Relations in Colonial Spanish America. Syracuse, NY: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1989. Edited by Susan E. Ramirez; contributors, Murdo J. MacLeod . . . [et al.]

Ratto, Luis Alberto. Garcilaso de la Vega. Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1964. Guaman Poma de Ayala por Federico Kauffmann.

Echevarr’a, Roberta González. “Seminar Description for 1992,” in Yale New Haven Teachers Institute, Volume I, Number 1. New Haven: Yale University, 1991.

This is the bibliography from the seminar from which this paper was written, “Writings and Rewritings of the Discovery and Conquest of the Americas.

Spain: A Country Study. Area Handbook Series. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1990. Edited by Eric Solsten and Sandra W. Meditz

A simple resource for facts about Spain. Contains some photographs.

Vargas Llosa, Mario. The Storyteller. New York: Farvar Straus Giroux, 1989. Translated by Helen Lane.

Vargas Llosa has written a novel about a modern Peruvian who becomes involved in the culture of stone age rain forest Indians, the Machiguengas. The novel is perhaps too advanced for middle school students, but retold by the teacher, it could have fascinating implications.

Velazquez, Rafael Eladio. Paraguay in the Age of Jesuit Missions. Asunción, Paraguay: Mediterraneo?, 1988.

Vogt, Federico. Estudios Historicos: La Civilizacion de los Guaranies en los Siglos XVII v XVIII. con un mapa. Buenos Aires: Imprenta de Guadalupe, 1903.

Wilgus, A. Curtis (Alva Curtis), 1897-1981. Latin America. Spain and Portugal. a selected and annotated bibliographical guide to books published in the United States.1954-1974. Metuchen,NJ: Scarecrow Press,1977. Compiled and annotated by A. Curtis Wilgus.

to top

Contents of 1992 Volume II | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

© 2014 by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Terms of Use Contact YNHTI