In São Miguel das Missões, Brazil, the 17th Century Is Alive in the Ruins

São Miguel das Missões

São Miguel das MissõesIt’s a small, silent town. It is called São Miguel das Missões and is in the Northeast of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. In a more detailed examination of the streets, surrounded by vegetation and crops, however, it is possible to hear people speaking English, French and Spanish, and sometimes even Japanese.

The peaceful São Miguel houses one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, the ruins of São Miguel, an archaeological site of a Jesuit priest and Indian community that existed there in the XVII century, Redução de São Miguel Arcanjo.

The site attracts tourists from all over Brazil and abroad, mainly from Latin America and Europe. According to the head of the technical office of the Institute for National Artistic and Historical Heritage (Iphan), Candice Ballester, the ruins of São Miguel receive some 60,000 visitors a year.

Recent research shows that 25% of the visitors are foreign. The historic connection of the site with Europe and Latin America makes these regions mostly responsible for the tourists visiting the sites. “They are tourists seeking information while traveling,” said Candice.

She explains that Europeans are frequent visitors as the ruins end up being promoted by the office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in Paris, France.

The site was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1983. “Several of the tourists focus on the cultural area, working with preservation – they are historians. But there are also people like an Argentinean who is riding his bicycle around America,” explained Candice.

Despite attracting tourists for its historic value, the archaeological site of the ancient Jesuit mission enchants due to its natural beauty. The ruins are in the midst of a broad lawn, in a quiet city, and it is possible to hear birds and the sound of distant chats.

The most preserved building at the site is the ancient church of the community. There are also many remnants, like the walls of the houses of priests, of workshops and of the school. In the orchard, plants that were cultivated in the seventeenth century were planted.

The formation of the community took place in the context of the Jesuit missions, when the Catholic Church’s Society of Jesus, from Spain, decided to send members to evangelize the Indians who lived in America.

The community of São Miguel Arcanjo was established in 1687, as part of the Seven People of the Missions, which are the seven Jesuit settlements in the region at the time, in an area that is currently in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, but that then belonged to the Spanish.

The priests also set up communities in Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay, also in the area under Spanish domain, and then decided to cross the Uruguay River.

São Miguel settlement operated for several years, mixing the social model of the Guarani Indians with that of the Jesuits. In 1750, however, the Treaty of Madrid resulted in a revision of the Treaty of Tordesillas and the governments of Portugal and Spain redefined their possessions in the region.

The Seven Settlements of the Missions were granted to the Portuguese and the Indians would have to cross over to the other bank. This resulted in a revolution, the Guarani War, between 1754 and 1756.

To control the situation, Portugal and Spain joined forces against the Indians. At the time a fierce warrior became very famous, due to his leadership in the fight, chief Sepé Tiaraju.

A new treaty resulted in everything returning to how it was before. But the Jesuits were expelled from their missions and then, in the early 18th century, when Portugal took command of the region once again, the communities had already dissipated and spread to other areas.

In the ruins of São Miguel, every evening there is a light and music spectacle, as well as a play telling the story of the region, with special attention to the Indian warrior.

At the archaeological site, there is also a museum, created by urbanist Lúcio Costa, who designed Brasília. It includes 120 religious images, of saints and angels, among others, which were carved by priests and Indians – mainly Indians – in the XVII Century.

The community of Indians was made up mainly of Guaranis. Currently, a family of Mbyá Guarani Indians, one of the Guarani lines, lives in São Miguel das Missões and sells handicraft in the archaeological site.

Service

São Miguel Ruins
São Miguel das Missões – Rio Grande do Sul
Further information: (+55 55) 3381 1300
Site: www.saomiguel-rs.com.br/Turismo

Anba

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

Ads

You May Also Like

EDP Brazil

Portugal Firm EDP to Invest US$ 344 Million in Brazilian Energy

Company Energias de Portugal (EDP) wants to invest 270 million euros (US$ 344 million) ...

Lula and Minister Bet Interest Rates in Brazil Will Fall Soon

Brazil’s Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, stated his belief ...

Brazil Gets Ready for National Referendum on Firearms

A year after arriving in the Chamber of Deputies, a bill authorizing a referendum ...

33% of 23,000 Brazilians Deported Are Women, Many Victims of Sex Rings

A large portion of the Brazilian women deported from or refused permission to enter ...

Automation in Brazil

Brazil’s Automation Revenues to Grow 30% to Over US$ 2 Billion This Year

Automation industries from Brazil should expand their revenues by 30% this year. The forecast ...

Arab restaurant in Rio, Brazil

Brazil: Evoking a Time When 20% of Rio’s Population Was Arab

Rio de Janeiro, later this year, should get a book about Arab immigration to ...

Embraer plant in Brazil

Despite Low Dollar Brazil Expects US$ 197 Billion in Exports This Year

Numbers disclosed by the AEB (Brazilian Foreign Trade Association) show that the Brazilian trade ...

Brazilian drag queen Beirão

Brazil’s Drag Queen, the Toast of New Zealand, Stars in Own Play

Color, style, laughs, maybe some tears, live singing, lots of fun and glamour is ...

Brazil’s Petrobras Signs Biodiesel Contracts. 65,000 Families to Be Benefited

Brazilian oil company Petrobras signed today with four private companies their first contracts for ...

Greenpeace protests against Bunge in Passo Fundo, Brazil

Labeling Transgenic Food Is the Law in Brazil. But Nobody Obeys It

The multinational food giant, Bunge, has 60 days to inform the public in Brazil ...