Robert H. Jackson

22830 Thadds Trail

Spring, TX   77373

 

Mortality Crises in the Jesuit Missions of Paraguay, 1730-1740

 

Scholars of the European-Native interface in the Americas after 1492 generally stress demographic change among the indigenous populations of the Americas as one of the more important consequences of sustained contact between the Old and New Worlds. However, many discussions of the process of demographic change during the first centuries after 1492 do not benefit from detailed sources that enable a detailed analysis of mortality crises that decimated native populations. A mortality crisis is generally defined as x3 normal mortality, and the general assumption is that recurring mortality crises decimated the native populations, causing drastic population declines.

This essay examines a series of mortality crises in the Jesuit missions of Paraguay between 1730 and 1740 that is well documented in contemporary documents. Three epidemics spread through the missions in 1733, 1735-1736, and 1738-1740. Epidemics usually spread along established trade routes, or when large numbers of people were on the move and carried infection in their bodies. The Jesuit missions of Paraguay participated in regional trade, and the coming and goings of people and goods facilitated the spread of contagion. The larger Rio de la Plata region was also a contested borderland, and thousands of Guarani militia from the missions participated in periodic campaigns against the Portuguese or were mobilized for possible military action. Royal officials mobilized the Guarani militia in the mid-1730s for possible action against the Portuguese in the disputed borderlands during a period of undeclared warfare that lasted until 1737. Moreover, the 1720s and 1730s also witnessed civil disorder in Paraguay known as the Comunero Revolt, and civil war, and royal officials also mobilized Guarani militiamen to defeat the rebels. The movement of goods within the region, the mobilization of thousands of Guarani militiamen, and the movement of troops created conditions ideal for the spread of highly contagious crowd diseases such as smallpox and measles.

Many scholars assume that the native peoples of the Americas had no natural immunities to the Old World diseases introduced into North and South America after 1492, and that the survivors of outbreaks acquired a degree of immunity. However, there is no evidence to support this assumption, and reference to demographic patterns in early modern Europe helps place the affects of epidemics on the native peoples into context.[1] Epidemics of smallpox, measles, bubonic plague, and other maladies swept through Europe’s populations, and killed both adults and children. These epidemics usually occurred once a generation when there were enough potential hosts for the pathogens to spread and sustain the contagion, and then faded away. Moreover, disease killed thousands of young children every year, and respiratory ailments killed the young and old during the colder months of the year. However, the periodic epidemics and chronic ailments only slowed population growth, and the European populations recovered following the periodic mortality crises and during most of the early modern period experience slow to moderate growth.

How did the populations of the Jesuit missions of Paraguay compare to contemporary European populations? Did the mission populations recover following severe mortality crises? This essay outlines mortality patterns during the three epidemics that occurred during the 1730s, but also mortality and fertility in the years following the epidemics to determine if the mission populations recovered and grew. This in turn will document the short and long term consequences of the epidemics for the mission populations. This essay first examines the chronology and then the affects on the native populations of the epidemics. The first is the 1733 outbreak.

 

The timing and trajectory of the 1733 outbreak suggest that it may have traveled northward from Buenos Aires along the Parana River and Uruguay River following established trade routes, and/or with the return of thousands of Guarani militiamen from service in the Banda Oriental. In 1733, the heaviest mortality was in the missions in what today is southeastern Paraguay, including San Ignacio Guazu, Nuestra Senora de la Fe that experienced the largest number of deaths among the thirty missions with a total of 2,618 on the year, Santa Rosa, and Itapua. Several of the missions located east of the Parana River also experienced high mortality, including Loreto and Santa Ana. Mortality was not as high among the missions along and east of the Uruguay River, with the exceptions of La Cruz and San Luis Gonzaga.

A second epidemic spread through the region in 1735 and 1736, although total mortality was not as high as in 1733. The epidemic appears to have been localized. The highest mortality was in two clusters of missions. One was centered on Loreto, which experienced the largest number of deaths of all of the missions on the year with a total of 1,321. Other missions affected included San Cosme, Santa Ana, San Ignacio Mini, Corpus Christi, and San Jose. There were smaller numbers of deaths at neighboring missions. The second cluster of missions was located on both sides of the Uruguay River, in close proximity to each other. This group included Santa Maria la Mayor, San Francisco Xavier, San Nicolas with a total of 726 deaths, and San Luis, and again with lesser number of deaths at several neighboring missions including Martires and San Lorenzo Martir.

The third epidemic during the decade identified as smallpox broke out between 1738 and 1740. The heaviest mortality was in 1738, but the continuation of large numbers of deaths into 1739 and 1740 suggests that the contagion first spread through the western part of the mission region and then to the eastern part of the mission region at the end of 1739 and into the first months of 1740, summer in the Rio de la Plata region which is when epidemics would be most likely to occur. The contagion struck all three mission communities located on the west bank of the Uruguay River in what today is Corrientes, but did not cross over the river to San Francisco de Borja located on the east bank of the river opposite Santo Thome which suggests the implementation of quarantine measures. Among these three missions the largest number of deaths was at La Cruz, where 1,605 died in 1739 and another 186 in 1740.[2] The number of deaths at the neighboring missions Yapeyu and Santo Thome was lower, showing variation in mortality from mission to mission. The epidemic killed 1,279 at Santa Maria la Mayor and lesser numbers of people at Martires and Concepcion. all located on or near the Uruguay River. These mission communities may have suffered higher losses in the previous year as well.   

The contagion killed the largest number of people in the mission communities located east of the Uruguay River, and even here the spread of the epidemic was limited to four of the seven mission communities located east of the river. A total of 1,708 people died at San Nicolas, the westernmost of the missions, 2,445 at San Luis, and 2,681 at San Lorenzo located east of San Luis. The contagion apparently arrived at San Juan Bautista at the end of 1739, and 376 died on the year at that mission. However, most of the victims of the epidemic at San Juan Bautista died in the early months of 1740, and 2,400 died on the year at the mission. Interestingly, the epidemic did not kill many people at the last two and easternmost of the missions east of the Uruguay River, which again suggests the effective implementation of quarantine measures.  At Santo Angel Custodio mission 258 died in 1739, and mortality at San Miguel was within normal ranges in both years.

How did epidemics change the populations and social organization of the missions, beyond the simple reduction in numbers? A detailed 1735 census for Trinidad mission, prepared two years following another severe epidemic, provides clues.[3] In 1731, the population of Trinidad totaled 3,569 and 3,598 in 1733 before the epidemic hit the community. The 1733 epidemic killed nearly half the population of the mission, and in 1735 only 1,837 remained. However, the population of the mission rebounded following the series of epidemics in the 1730s, and stood at 2,680 in 1756 and 2,558 in 1767. The contagion claimed the lives of Guarani across the full spectrum of the mission society including the families of the caciques, and there was a degree of generational change in leadership in the mission. Five  caciques listed in 1735 were young boys under the age of ten who replaced parents killed during the epidemic... The epidemic also destroyed families as evidenced by a large number of orphans (154) and widows (101). Moreover, the census recorded many fugitives (109), primarily males, as well as women (43) abandoned or left in the mission by their fugitive husbands. The fugitives left the mission most likely to avoid military service, but also to escape the epidemic.

The epidemic reduced the number of large families at Trinidad with three or more children. In 1735, 888 (58 percent) people were grouped in families with a size of two or three, meaning either a married couple or a couple with one child. These small families constituted seventy-three percent of all families at the mission. In contrast, there were only fifty families (six percent) with three or more children, or eighteen percent of the population grouped into families. A 1759 census for Santa Ana places the data for Trinidad into context.[4] In 1731, Santa Ana had a population of 4,527, but this dropped to 3,716 in 1733. The numbers rebounded, and stood at 5,040 in 1756 and 5,141 in 1759. A total of thirty-one percent of the families at Santa Ana had three children or more, and as many as seven children. This was forty-seven percent of the people grouped in families. The population of Santa Ana had recovered from the epidemics of the 1730s, and was growing robustly as evidence by the large number of families with three or more children. The profile of the Santa Ana population in 1759 was similar to the structure of the mission populations prior to the epidemics.

A detailed census of Corpus Christi mission prepared in 1759 provides additional insights to the age and gender structure of the mission populations, the affects of the epidemics between 1730 and 1740, and the rebound or recovery of the populations following the epidemics. There are many detailed mission censuses that divide the populations down into family groups, but the 1759 Corpus Christi census is unique in that the Jesuits also noted the date of baptism of the bulk of the population, that enables a reconstruction of the age structure of the population. The population totaled 4,530, plus another 112 identified as Guananas, most likely a group from the Chaco region, congregated on the mission in 1724, 1730, and 1754. The Guananas population at Corpus Christi has not been included in the analysis here, because the date of baptism of the adults, when given, does not translate into the date of birth as it does for the bulk of the population. The mission population evidenced a gender imbalance, with more females than males, 2,321 to 2,209. Moreover, women who reached an age of fifty or over outlived men. There were 206 men over the age of fifty, and only six over seventy. In contrast, there were 220 women over the age of fifty, and twenty over seventy.[5]

Data from the census shows that Corpus Christi was a relatively closed community as regards the selection of marriage partners. With the exception of a handful of women originally from the Chaco region and from neighboring missions, the vast majority of Guarani men at Corpus Christi married women from the mission. Corpus Christi men married eight Guanana women from among the groups congregated in 1724, 1730, and 1754, and one Abipone woman, also a Chaco group. Corpus Christi men also married eight women from neighboring missions: San Francisco de Borja 1; Loreto 2; Santa Rosa 1; San Carlos 1; Itapua 2; and San Ignacio 1. Guarani women generally married shortly after reaching puberty, in a range between the ages of twelve to sixteen- nineteen. Women bore numerous children, but gaps between living children who were generally born two years apart also indicates high infant mortality. Nevertheless, enough children, particularly girls, survived to puberty to form new families and contribute to the growth of the population.

The age structure of Corpus Christi shows the effects of the epidemics, including those in the 1730s, as manifested in age cohorts that were smaller than they should have been given the age structure of the mission. The age 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 cohorts were smaller than the cohorts before and after, showing losses during the epidemics of the 1730s. The 20 to 24 cohort among females was smaller than that of males, and both show losses from the smallpox epidemic that struck the region between 1738 and 1740. Similarly, the 1733 epidemic culled the population of young children, as reflected in a small age 25 to 29 cohort. The epidemic that broke out in 1738 was the strongest of the three during the decade, and the mission population recovered losses during the decade through natural reproduction. Another strong epidemic killed off large numbers of children of both sexes between 1714 and 1719.

The epidemics during the 1730s claimed the lives of thousands of Guarani, and the populations of most of the missions dropped (see Table 1). The total population of the thirty missions dropped from 141,242 in 1732 to 73,910 in 1740, following the final epidemic. However, the populations of the missions in the Rio de la Plata recovered following the epidemics. The recovery or rebound of the Guarani populations demonstrates a major difference from the indigenous populations living on missions elsewhere, such as on the northern frontier of Mexico. The Guarani populations were high fertility and high mortality populations, similar to contemporary European populations. Birth and death rates were high and population growth low to moderate. Epidemics slowed or stopped population growth, but the population did recover.

The Jesuits divided the missions administratively into two groups: those clustered around the Parana River; and those located west and east of the Uruguay River. In 1724, the populations of both groups of missions evidenced a pattern of imbalance, with more girls and women than men. This imbalance was related, in part, to the absence of men from the missions, the absence of thousands of men serving with the militia, and deaths while on campaign. In the Parana missions there were 28,863 girls and women compared to 25,408 boys and men. Similarly, it was 33,107 females and 29,588 males in the Uruguay River establishments. In random populations there generally is a gender imbalance, with slightly more females than males. The disparity reflected, in part, migration by males from the missions. Interestingly, there were considerably more widows than widowers, with 2,980 and 3,880 of the first category and 109 and 236 of the latter in the two groups of missions. This last category of information highlights the importance of the cotiguazu, the separate residence for widows, as a social institution in the missions.  It also shows that widowers remarried. The mission populations evidenced similar patterns in 1740 and 1741 following the epidemics, with more females than males and considerably more widows than widowers. [6]

Patterns of Fertility and Mortality

Figures on baptisms and burials can be used to tentatively reconstruct the vital rates of the Guarani mission populations. The number of baptisms does not necessarily translate exactly to births, and without access to the original baptismal registers it would be difficult to establish if the Jesuits congregated and baptized significant numbers of Guarani or other natives from outside of the missions. Nevertheless, the total numbers of baptisms reported do give a notion of birth rates, but keeping in mind the caveat outlined above. The Guarani populations of the missions were high fertility and high mortality populations, meaning that women bore children and birth rates were moderate to high. At the same time mortality rates tended to be high, particularly for the most vulnerable segments of the population the very young and the old. In 1740, crude birth rates per thousand population was 79.4/thousand and 40.8/thousand respectively for the Parana and Uruguay River establishments, as against crude death rates of 51.3/thousand and 34.1/thousand.  The bulk of deaths occurred among young children, which more closely matches contemporary European demographic patterns. Disease culled the population of children in Europe, and during the course of the eighteenth-century smallpox was the single largest killer in Europe.

Crude birth rates recorded per thousand population were generally higher than death rates (see Tables 2-4) except in epidemic years, and without economic or social constraints the Guarani population grew robustly. The periodic mortality crises culled the population and slowed growth, but the numbers generally rebounded. In examining the global figures for the thirty missions, there were four major mortality crises (x3 regular mortality) in the years for which data are available. These were in 1733, 1738, 1739, and 1764. Major epidemic outbreaks not only raised death rates, but also tended to lower birth rates or the rates of life births. On average, Guarani living in the missions lived between twenty and thirty years from birth, but mean life expectancy at birth dropped as a result of major epidemics.[7] 

An examination of crude birth and death rates at the individual missions demonstrates the strength and also variation in mortality levels during the epidemics in the 1730s as well as the geographic spread of contagion and patterns of fertility and mortality in non-epidemic years. I examine here data for 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, and 1745 (see Tables 2-4). In 1733, there was elevated mortality and death rates in excess of 100 per thousand population at nine of the thirty missions, with the highest at 174.5/thousand at La Cruz on the Uruguay River which was three times normal mortality. Death rates were elevated and higher than birth rates at another eleven missions. Crude death rates at these communities ranged between 50 and 99 per thousand population. Mortality was high throughout most of the mission region, the epidemic centered on the establishments on both sides of the Uruguay River. The 1735-1736 epidemic appears to not have been as severe as the 1733 outbreak, and in 1736 the contagion only affected a handful of missions. Highest death rate of 239.2/thousand population was at Loreto, and it was 169.8/thousand at neighboring San Ignacio. Mortality was also elevated at San Cosme, across the Parana River from Loreto and San Ignacio, and Corpus Christi close to San Ignacio. Death rates were high at San Carlos and San Jose, at Santa Maria La Mayor, San Francisco Xavier, and San Nicolas on the Uruguay River.

The smallpox epidemic of 1738-1740 was a severe mortality crisis. The record of births and burials is not available for 1738, but there are data for the next two years. The heaviest mortality in 1739 centered on the missions located between the Parana and Uruguay Rivers, and several of the missions east of the Uruguay River. This spatial distribution of burials suggests that mortality in 1738 would have been heaviest in the missions located west and northwest of the Parana River, the southeastern districts of modern Paraguay. The contagion most likely spread to the missions from Paraguay. Crude death rates ranged between 100 and 200 per thousand population at three missions, including Trinidad located near the western bank of the Parana. It was 230.8/thousand at San Thome on the west bank of the Uruguay River, which was between x4-x5 normal death rates. Deaths were extremely high at five missions, and as high as x9-x10 or higher normal mortality. The CDR reached 336.8/thousand or nearly 34 percent of the population at San Nicolas, 416.6/thousand at la Cruz, and 565.4/thousand, 565.1/thousand, and 556.9/thousand respectively at Santa Maria la Mayor, San Luis Gonzaga, and San Lorenzo Martir. In other words, more than 50 percent of the population of the three communities died during the course of the year.  The bulk of deaths occurred in the mission communities along both sides of the Uruguay River, and east of the river.

Mortality returned to normal levels and levels at which birth rates were higher than death rates and the mission populations began to grow again. The exceptions were La Cruz, where death rates were nowhere close to being as high as in 1739. Smallpox probably reached San Juan Bautista mission at the end of 1739, and devastated the mission population in the early moths of 1740. Death rates reached 485/thousand, or 48 percent of the population, and the numbers dropped from 4,949 in 1739 to 2,171. In the other missions the smallpox receded as the number of potential hosts dropped as the Guarani neophytes either died or recovered. In the following years the mission populations slowly recovered from the losses during the epidemics of the 1730s. Birth rates again outstripped death rates, and the mission populations slowly grew again.

Conclusions

A conjuncture of events contributed to a series of lethal epidemics during the decade 1730-1740. This included civil war and an undeclared war with the Portuguese. Local royal officials mobilized thousands of Guarani militiamen from the missions, and the militiamen had to be supplied. Moreover, the missions provided supplies to the other colonial forces involved in the campaign. The Jesuits and the Guarani themselves participated in local and regional trade, which meant that there was a movement of people and goods between the missions and the Spanish communities. Spain and Portugal agreed to a conclusion of hostilities in 1737, and the Guarani militiamen returned to the missions as smallpox spread through the region. During the decade three epidemics spread through the Jesuit missions, but the 1738-1740 smallpox outbreak proved to be the most lethal.

Between 40 and 56 percent of the population of several of the Paraguay missions died during the smallpox epidemic in 1739 and 1740, which was extremely heavy epidemic mortality. What accounted for the heavy mortality? Smallpox and other contagion spread inside the bodies of people on the move, and propagated in populations with a certain threshold of people not previously exposed. Contagion spread rapidly in populations living in close proximity to each other, as in the neophyte housing in the missions. Many of the missions, particularly the ones that experienced extremely heavy mortality from smallpox, had large populations concentrated in compact villages (see Figure 6).

In contrast to mission populations on the northern frontier of Mexico, the Guarani populations recovered following the devastating epidemics. Birth rates exceeded death rates, and the populations experienced slow to moderate growth in the decades following the epidemics. There were other epidemics in the 1740s and 1760s, and the Guarani resistance to the plan to relocate the seven Trans-Uruguay missions to sites west of the Uruguay pursuant to the 1750 Treaty of Madrid disrupted the missions, and epidemics continued to recur following the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767/1768.[8] However, epidemic or series of epidemics was/were as devastating as the outbreaks that occurred in the 1730s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1: Population of the Jesuit Missions of Paraguay, 1724-1744

Mission

1724

1731

1733

1735

1736

1738

1739

1740

1741

1744

Guasu

3343

3195

1266

1631

1576

1846

1964

2018

2152

2231

La Fe

5463

6515

4251

2465

2595

2701

2903

3086

3298

3593

S Rosa

4742

6093

2775

1780

1671

1828

1916

1973

2031

2170

Santiago

2720

3524

3479

3237

3740

3955

4081

4128

4276

4389

Itapua

5357

6548

6396

4361

4650

2690

2591

2179

2106

2847

Candelaria

2863

3317

3134

2990

3048

1511

1503

1441

1639

1764

S Cosme

2120

2306

2145

2143

1531

1225

1236

1209

1094

1272

S Ana

3600

4527

3716

4083

4055

4343

4397

4533

4505

4331

Loreto

6113

7048

6077

5523

1937

2234

1756

2246

2422

2789

S I Mini

3138

4356

3959

3010

1808

1934

1849

1933

2076

2218

Corpus

3584

4400

4008

2790

2190

1975

2667

2808

2922

3241

Trinidad

3140

3569

3598

1829

1733

1975

2149

2268

2047

2245

Jesus

1947

2436

2241

2256

2204

1902

1962

1836

1850

1679

S Carlos

3065

3388

3369

2400

3212

2377

1239

1140

1273

1404

S Jose

3274

3720

3605

3473

3382

1392

1338

1390

1411

1594

Aposteles

4140

5185

5267

3884

3716

1315

1341

1494

1582

1577

Concepcion

4894

5848

5881

5920

6460

4234

1669

1944

2369

2296

Martires

3343

3874

3665

3416

3396

3230

2777

2829

2839

2834

La Mayor

3490

3902

3585

2903

2232

2262

 711

 819

 894

 993

S Javier

3409

3813

3663

3494

2873

1876

1710

1789

1894

1895

S Nicolas

6667

7690

7415

6986

6104

5071

1772

2194

2279

3107

S Luis

5045

6149

5619

5305

4445

4327

1978

2308

2432

2868

S Lorenzo

5224

6420

6100

5177

4405

4814

 974

1173

1311

1573

S Miguel

3972

4904

4465

4019

4156

4522

4741

4740

4974

6611

S Juan

4629

4503

4968

4621

5110

5012

4949

2171

2525

2843

Stos Ang.

4052

4601

4925

4501

4336

4921

5163

5228

5199

4824

San Tome

2949

3545

3494

2282

3211

2041

1699

1892

2063

2397

S Borja

2906

3629

3658

3584

3358

2998

3244

3291

3430

3814

La Cruz

3615

4573

4345

4372

4304

3853

2167

2163

2314

2540

Yapeyu

4360

5666

5374

5106

5283

5410

5713

5687

5748

6187

Source: Ernesto Maeder, “La poblacion de las misiones de Guaranies (1641-1682). Reubicacion de los pueblos y consecuencias demograficas,” Estudos Ibero-Americanos 15:1 (June 1989), 49-80.  ,” ; Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in   Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997 (Quito, 1997), 45-57; Guillermo Furlong Cardiff, S.J., Misiones y sus pueblos de Guaranies (Buenos Aires, 1962), 175-179; ; Thomas Whigham, “Paraguay’s Pueblos de Indios: Echoes of a Missionary Past,” in Erick Langer and Robert H. Jackson, eds., The New Latin American Mission History (Lincoln, 1995), 168; ; Pablo Hernandez, S.J., Organizacion social de las Doctrinas Guaranies de la Compania de Jesus, 2 vols. (Barcelona, 1913), vol 2, 616-617.

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2: Crude Birth and Death Rates per Thousand Population in 1733 & 1736

 

Mission

1733

CBR*

1733

CDR*

1736

CBR

1736

CDR

Guasu

49.5

 56.5

35.3

 33.5

La Fe

86.1

 40.7

49.5

 28.8

S Rosa

76.2

 49.1

55.6

 44.9

Santiago

33.1

 22.5

48.2

 36.8

Itapua

53.3

 18.9

50.0

 43.8

Candelaria

43.2

 53.2

45.5

 50.2

S Cosme

 

46.9

 

 15.4

 

28.9

 

100.8

S Ana

55.3

 26.2

33.8

 79.6

Loreto

92.8

 31.3

25.2

239.2

S I Mini

84.9

 39.3

24.6

169.8

Corpus

69.4

 25.1

28.0

 88.2

Trinidad

43.7

 50.3

45.9

 72.2

Jesus

56.8

121.1

47.0

57.6

S Carlos

44.5

 70.8

62.1

 74.6

S Jose

43.4

 93.7

38.3

 84.1

Aposteles

27.2

 60.0

58.7

 41.5

Concepcion

41.1

 55.5

48.1

 47.3

Martires

51.2

124.2

55.0

 58.3

La Mayor

48.6

133.3

33.1

 91.3

S Javier

33.1

115.5

42.1

 94.2

S Nicolas

64.1

103.5

32.9

103.9

S Luis

42.5

148.9

35.6

 56.7

S Lorenzo

36.3

 99.9

34.2

 50.0

S Miguel

30.1

110.4

53.0

 32.4

S Juan

42.1

 94.7

39.4

 43.5

Stos Ang.

38.3

 66.3

44.7

 48.7

S Tome

63.3

 57.6

56.1

 54.8

S Borja

38.0

 92.8

56.1

 49.1

La Cruz

52.8

174.5

73.2

 47.1

Yapeyu

56.4

126.8

96.0

 40.5

*Estimated.

Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in   Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997 (Quito, 1997), 45-57.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3: Crude Birth and Death Rates per Thousand Population in 1739 & 1740

 

Mission

1739

CBR

1739

CDR

1740

CBR

1740

CDR

Guasu

 84.5

 47.7

 68.2

 56.5

La Fe

106.5

 53.3

 86.1

 40.7

S Rosa

 68.9

 44.9

 76.2

 49.1

Santiago

 51.2

 24.3

 33.1

 22.5

Itapua

 52.0

 97.4

 53.3

 18.9

Candelaria

 96.6

 52.3

 43.2

 53.2

S Cosme

 32.7

 37.6

 46.9

 15.4

S Ana

 60.8

 28.3

 55.3

 26.2

Loreto

 63.6

 30.0

 92.8

 31.3

S I Mini

 58.4

118.0

 84.9

 39.3

Corpus

 73.6

 28.9

 69.4

 25.1

Trinidad

 53.7

115.4

 43.7

 50.3

Jesus

 81.5

 50.0

 49.4

 31.6

S Carlos

 11.4

 12.2

 88.0

 32.3

S Jose

 29.5

47.4

 86.7

 20.9

Aposteles

 26.6

 25.1

 79.1

 22.4

Concepcion

  7.1

 35.0

 64.1

 27.0

Martires

 40.9

184.2

 61.2

 34.2

La Mayor

 39.6

565.4

 85.8

 23.9

S Javier

 34.7

 37.3

 74.3

 22.2

S Nicolas

 10.7

336.8

120.8

 50.2

S Luis

 20.3

565.1

 87.0

 36.0

S Lorenzo

 33.2

556.9

 46.2

 50.3

S Miguel

 47.8

 32.3

 52.9

 20.3

S Juan

 64.5

 75.0

 14.4

485.0

Stos Ang.

 52.4

 52.4

 46.3

 27.1

S Tome

 30.4

230.8

113.6

 19.4

S Borja

 46.4

 43.0

 58.3

 21.0

La Cruz

 16.9

416.6

 88.1

 85.8

Yapeyu

 73.8

 38.5

 68.8

 37.5

Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in   Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997 (Quito, 1997), 45-57.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 4: Crude Birth and Death Rates per Thousand Population in 1741 & 1745

 

Mission

1741

CBR

1741

CDR

1745

CBR

1745

CDR

Guasu

112.5

54

  73.1

72.6

La Fe

109.9

40.8

  98.3

39.5

S Rosa

  93.3

59.3

  84.3

41.5

Santiago

  54.0

24.5

  59.0

24.4

Itapua

  67.5

45.4

  75.2

48.5

Candelaria

  49.3

68.0

  86.7

53.9

S Cosme

  51.3

31.4

  65.3

36.2

S Ana

  74.1

57.1

  55.7

24.5

Loreto

  93.1

50.8

  69.9

36.9

S I Mini

  93.1

82.8

  85.7

71.2

Corpus

  97.2

55.6

  78.1

11.7

Trinidad

  54.7

46.3

  66.4

47.2

Jesus

  75.1

77.3

  66.7

45.9

S Carlos

  62.3

24.6

  78.4

47.7

S Jose

  48.2

38.9

  75.9

32.6

Aposteles

  52.2

34.8

  67.9

43.8

Concepcion

  52.5

26.8

  44.0

24.4

Martires

  67.9

56.6

  60.0

49.8

La Mayor

  95.2

40.3

144.0

64.5

S Javier

  63.7

31.9

  64.4

39.6

S Nicolas

  83.9

36.9

  95.9

83.7

S Luis

  70.2

27.7

  71.8

49.5

S Lorenzo

  60.5

27.3

  89.0

45.8

S Miguel

  63.3

25.7

  50.8

40.4

S Juan

108.7

31.3

  60.1

25.0

Stos Ang.

  56.4

37.9

  60.9

60.0

S Tome

103.6

27.0

  78.9

30.0

S Borja

  58.3

24.6

  53.8

65.8

La Cruz

  30.8

20.7

  68.9

43.7

Yapeyu

  76.0

35.6

  70.6

50.6

Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in   Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997 (Quito, 1997), 45-57.

 

 

 

 

Notes


 

[1] For Europe see Michael Flinn, The European Demographic System, 1500-1820 (Baltimore, 1980).

 

[2]  Burials in the Guarani Missions in 1733, 1736, 1739, & 1740

 

1733

 

1736

 

1739

 

1740

 

  Mission

     Adults

  Parvulos

     Adults

  Parvulos

     Adults

   Parvulos

      Adults

   Parvulos

Guasu

560

632

50

40

22

66

27

84

La Fe

1365

1253

58

13

46

98

36

83

Sta Rosa

900

1363

43

37

26

56

30

64

Santiago

76

131

58

61

38

57

37

55

Itapua

243

568

89

102

98

164

18

31

Candelaria

52

194

49

101

13

66

10

70

S Cosme

80

182

117

99

32

14

5

14

S Ana

377

471

151

174

35

89

31

84

Loreto

515

471

779

542

17

50

11

44

S Ignacio

192

257

275

236

148

80

15

54

Corpus

324

261

161

95

20

52

20

47

Trinidad

138

204

68

64

143

85

48

60

Jesus

136

154

66

64

50

45

20

42

S Carlos

44

201

68

111

6

23

8

32

S Jose

117

249

167

125

19

47

9

19

Aposteles

149

178

92

69

15

18

5

25

Concep.

102

229

90

190

102

46

7

38

Martires

154

337

72

127

388

207

40

55

La Mayor

223

298

133

132

1047

232

6

11

S Javier

172

289

166

163

22

48

14

24

S Nicolas

204

595

362

364

1050

658

58

31

S Luis

218

718

163

138

1457

988

37

34

S Lorenzo

400

371

119

140

1655

1026

31

18

S Miguel

240

296

50

80

68

78

43

53

S Juan

226

272

49

152

241

135

1502

898

Stos Amg

129

207

117

102

137

121

66

74

San Tome

60

140

54

71

332

139

13

20

S Borja

124

235

97

79

76

35

25

63

La Cruz

246

617

77

129

1086

519

81

105

Yapeyu

174

559

38

169

45

163

52

162

Sources: ;  Enumeratio Annua, 1733, Archivo General de la Nacion, Sala lX-6-9-6 Enumeratio Annua, 1736, Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, Sala lX-6-9-7;  Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1736; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1736; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1740; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1740,  Archivo Nacional, Asuncion, Paraguay; Pablo Hernandez, S.J., Organizacion social de las Doctrinas Guaranies de la Compania de Jesus, 2 vols. (Barcelona, 1913), vol 2, 616-617.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The net decline in population is was as follows:

Mission

1733

1736

1739

1740

Guasu

-1076

5

68

23

La Fe

-2472

51

143

131

Sta Rosa

-2153

19

44

52

Santiago

-86

37

107

43

Itapua

-604

27

-122

89

Candelaria

-50

-14

67

-15

S Cosme

-192

-154

-6

39

S Ana

-758

-187

140

128

Loreto

-723

-1182

75

108

S Ignacio

-247

-437

-115

88

Corpus

-306

-178

111

118

Trinidad

-227

-48

-122

-14

Jesus

-154

-24

60

35

S Carlos

-91

-30

-2

69

S Jose

-201

-159

-25

88

Aposteles

-179

67

2

76

Concep.

-86

5

-118

62

Martires

-289

-11

-463

75

La Mayor

-323

-169

-1235

44

S Javier

-329

-182

-5

89

S Nicolas

-304

-496

-1654

125

S Luis

-669

-112

-2357

101

S Lorenzo

-491

-82

-2521

-4

S Miguel

       -150

83

70

155

S Juan

-289

-19

-53

-2329

Stos Amg

-142

-18

0

99

San Tome

20

3

-309

160

S Borja

-212

25

13

101

La Cruz

-602

114

-1540

5

Yapeyu

-407

283

191

179

A detailed examination of the vital rates of two missions, Loreto and San Lorenzo, provide additional insights to the affect of epidemics on the mission populations in the 1730s (see Table 7). Prior to the first epidemic, in 1724, Loreto mission counted a population of 6,113, and 6,077 in 1733 at the end of the first outbreak. The numbers dropped to 1,756 in 1739, but then grew over the next two decades and reached 4,023 in 1756. Crude death rates in non-epidemic years averaged 36.0 per thousand population, which put in other terms meant that 3.6 percent of the population died on the year. Two years evidenced a mortality crisis, which is defined as x3 normal mortality. The crude death rate in 1733 was 146.3,  or slightly more than x4 normal mortality. In 1736, the crude death rate was 239.2, or x6.6 normal mortality. Crude birth rates were moderate to high, except in the years of severe mortality crisis. In 1736, for example, the crude birth rate was 23.4, much lower than in non-epidemic years. The average family size, a crude measure of family size, declined during the decade, and stood at 3.6 in 1739.

The population of San Lorenzo experienced drastic decline during the decade, and had only begun to recover at the time of the so-called Guarani War in the mid-1750s. In 1731, the mission had a population of 6,420, but this dropped to 974 in 1739. It then slowly recovered over the next decades, and reached 1,563 in 1745 and 1,459 in 1756. Crude death rates average 44.2 in non-epidemic years, and the two epidemics documented in the sample were extreme mortality crises, particularly 1739. In 1733, the crude death rate was 117 per thousand population, or x2.7 normal mortality. Mortality in 1739 was extremely high at a crude rate of 557, or x12.6 times normal mortality. The year 1739 must have been hellish for the residents of San Lorenzo. The population of the mission had already shown signs of recovery following the earlier outbreaks, and totaled 4,814 at the end of 1738. Smallpox spread to the community, and 1,655 adults and 1,026 young children died. A mere 974 remained at the end of the year, reflecting mortality and a net loss in population of 2,521 as well as flight as Guarani fled hoping to avoid a horrible smallpox death. The crude death rate indicates that 55.7 percent of the population died. Several neighboring missions experienced equally high death rates. Burials at San Luis Gonzaga reached 2,445 in 1739 and a crude death rate of 565.1 per thousand population, 1,708 burials and a death rate of 336.8 at San Nicolas, 1,279 burials and a death rate of 565.4 at Santa Maria la Mayor, and 1,605 burials at La Cruz and a death rate of 416.6. In the following year 2,400 died at San Juan Bautista, and a crude death rate of 484.9.Birth rates at San Lorenzo were moderate to high in the years following the epidemic, but recovery was slow as noted above.

Vital Rates of Loreto and San Lorenzo Missions in Selected Years

Loreto

 

 

 

Burials

 

 

 

 

Year

Families

Population

Baptisms

Adults

Par.

CBR

CDR

AFS

1724

1543

6113

380

  46

119

64.4*

28.0*

4.0

1733

1484

6077

263

525

471

38.6*

146.3*

4.1

1736

549

1937

129

779

542

23.4

239.2

3.5

1739

486

1756

122

  17

 50

 54.6

54.6

3.6

1740

560

2246

163

  11

 44

92.8

31.3

4.0

1741

635

2422

209

  15

 94

93.1

50.8

3.8

1744

703

2789

246

  29

  93

92.3*

45.8*

4.0

1745

738

2855

195

  19

  84

69.9

36.9

3.9

1756

853

4023

216

 40

 74

55.1*

29.1

4.7

S Lor.

 

 

 

Burial

 

 

 

 

Year

Families

Pop

Baptisms

Adults

Paru.

CBR

CDR

AFS

1724

1246

5224

423

   63

 173

84.0*

 46.9*

4.2

1733

1359

6100

280

  400

 371

42.5*

117.0*

4.5

1736

 899

4405

177

  119

 140

34.2

 50.0

4.9

1739

 165

 974

160

1655

1026         

33.2

557.0

5.9

1740

 242

1173

 45

   31

   18

46.2

 50.3

4.9

1741

 340

1311

 71

   12

   20

60.5

 27.3

3.9

1744

 429

1573

121

    8

   50

80.1*

 38.4

3.7

1745

 464

1563

140

  28

   54

89.0

 52.1

3.4

1756

 358

1459

 80

  23

   82

53.9*

 70.8

4.1

Source: Individual annual censuses of the Jesuit missions for 1724, 1733, 1736, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1744, and1745, titled “Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay; Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires; ; Ernesto Maeder, “Fuentes Jesuiticas de informacion demografrica misional para los siglos XVll y XVlll,” in   Dora Celton, coordinator,  Fuentes utiles para lose studios de la poblacion Americana: Simposio del 49o Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Quito 1997 (Quito, 1997), 45-57.

 

[3] Juan Valdeviejo, S.J., Trinidad, September 9, 1735, “Estado del Pueblo de la Santissima Trinidad,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.

Structure of the Population of Trinidad in 1735

Family Size

# of Families

# People/Families

Orphans

Boys

Orphans

Girls

 

Widows

 

Widowers

2

258

516

94

50

101

6

3

124

372

 

 

 

 

4

 93

372

 

 

 

 

5

 34

170

 

 

 

 

6

 13

 78

 

 

 

 

7

   3

 21

 

 

 

 

Not all missions experienced the same level of population loss and particularly of the destruction of families as a result of the epidemic. A 1735 census of San Cosme, located fairly close to Trinidad, manifests a somewhat different population structure, although there was still a large number of orphans and widows. Nevertheless, there was a larger percentage of families with more than one child that survived the epidemic, which is a sign of a population that was reproducing itself.

Structure of the Population of San Cosme y Damian in 1735

Family Size

# of Families

# People/Families

Orphans

Boys

Orphans

Girls

 

Widows

 

Widowers

2

141

282

126

167

133

8

3

121

363

 

 

 

 

4

 95

380

 

 

 

 

5

 64

320

 

 

 

 

6

 45

270

 

 

 

 

7

 19

133

 

 

 

 

8

  3

 24

 

 

 

 

Source: Ventura Suarez, San Cosme y Damian, August 16, 1735 “Padron del Pueblo de S. Cosme y Damian que se hizo este presente ano 1735,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.

 

[4] “Padron del Pueblo de Sta Anna 1759,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.

 

Structure of the Population of Santa Ana in 1759

Family Size

# of Families

# People/Families

Orphans

Boys

Orphans

Girls

 

Widows

 

Widowers

2

350

700

128

121

131

8

3

264

792

 

 

 

 

4

245

980

 

 

 

 

5

180

900

 

 

 

 

6

127

762

 

 

 

 

7

 53

371

 

 

 

 

8

 21

168

 

 

 

 

9

  3

 27

 

 

 

 

Source: “Padron del Pueblo de Sta Anna 1759,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.

 

[5] “Matricula deste Pueblo de Corpus Christi,” Archivo General de la Nacion, Buenos Aires, “Padrones de Indios,” Sala 9-17-3-6.

Age and Gender Structure of Corpus Christi in 1759

Age Cohort

Males #

Percentage

Females #

Percentage

  0-4

339

15.4

372

16.0

  5-9

346

15.7

324

13.9

10-14

324

14.7

380

16.4

15-19

261

11.8

269

11.6

20-24

160

  7.2

133

  5.7

25-29

  82

  3.7

  89

  3.8

30-34

146

  6.6

148

  6.4

35-39

159

  7.2

177

  7.6

40-44

104

  4.7

  97

  4.2

45-49

  70

  3.2

  64

  2.8

50-54

  85

  3.9

  89

  3.8

55-59

  53

  2.4

  47

  2.0

60-64

  49

  2.2

  42

  1.8

65-69

  13

  0.5

  22

  1.0

70+

    6

  0.3

  20

  0.9

Not Given

 12

  0.5

  48

  2.1

Total

2,209

 

2,321

 

Guananas

  52

 

  60

 

Total

2,261

 

2,381

 

Total Population

4,642

 

 

 

 

[6] Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1724; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Uruguay-1724; Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1740; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1740;  Catologo de la numeracion annual de las Doctrinas del Rio Parana Ano 1741; Numeracion Annual de los Pueblos del Rio Uruguay Ano de 1741. The originals are from the Archivo Nacional in Asuncion, Paraguay. I would like to thank Barbara Ganson for providing copies of these documents. Detailed censuses for individual missions confirm the patterns outlined in the general censuses. I cite here a 1759 census for Corpus Christi, that shows that large families were common, but that there were also a large number of widows and orphans. The summary below records the actual family size, or in other words the number of families with a size of two people, three people, etc., as well as the number of people in each category of families, the number of orphans, widowers, and widows.

Structure of the Population of Corpus Christi in 1759

Family Size

Number of Families

Number of People in Families

 

Orphans:

Boys

 

Orphans:

Girls

 

 

Widows

 

 

Widowers

2

314

628

137

137

122

 6

3

211

633

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

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