Our history

The province of Misiones is named after the Jesuit towns, but its history is rooted in the indigenous America.

Guaraní natives, from the Tupí-Guaraní family, who came from Amazonia, arrived in what today is Misiones territory around the year 1000. In their mythic quest for the “land without evil” they ended up settling by the side of rivers and streams.

They displaced small isolated groups that populated this practically uninhabited territory and did the same with more prominent communities, such as the Guayaquíes and Kaingang.

Guaraníes were warriors, hunters, and gatherers. They called themselves “avá”, which means “man”. But they also had significant artistic skills and an agricultural tradition. They shared the same tongue and consolidated their communities through blood relationships. By the time of the Spaniards’ arrival, the Guaraníes had occupied a large portion of the Cuenca del Plata (the Río de la Plata basin), an immense territory demarcated by the Paraná, Paraguay, and Uruguay rivers and their tributaries.

The Spanish conquistadors started to explore the Cuenca del Plata after the foundation of Buenos Aires (1536) and Asunción (1537). One of them, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, sailed from the Brazilian coast to the city of Asunción, had contact with several Guaraní groups, and found the wondrous Iguazú falls (1542).

At first, Spaniards and Guaraníes were on relatively amicable terms, but the former’s ambitions led to abuse and domination through the so-called encomienda. This system, created by the Spanish crown, granted lands and natives to Spanish conquistadors, who became lords and masters of their encomendados (vassals).

The arrival of Jesuits would spark several conflicts. The fathers of the Society of Jesus, founded by Ignacio de Loyola in 1539, settled in an area submerged in political tension between two colonial empires of that time: Spain and Portugal. The over 200 years of permanence in the region of Guaraníes were marked by pressures and aggressions from both sides. That period would leave a strong imprint in the region. The missions constituted a singular experience in this part of the Americas and left their mark in the area: the town ruins and the values, myths, and legends that persisted through time.

After the expulsion of the Jesuits by King Charles III in 1767 and the creation of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata, governments and intendancies were set up and the region was left under the charge of Asunción.

The Revolution of May of 1810 increased the conflicts on the territory of Misiones, which was disputed by the Paraguayans, the Portuguese, and independence fighters. Andresito, foster son of Uruguayan hero José Artigas and appointed governor by his father, fought alongside his Guaraní forces to prevent the annexation of Misiones by Portugal.

Years later, Southern Misiones was occupied by forces from Paraguay, Corrientes, and Brazil. After the Triple Alliance War (1865-70), the province’s boundaries were delimited.

In 1881, Misiones was declared a National Territory and its governor first named Corpus as the capital city, but afterwards the city of Posadas was designated capital on a definitive basis.

In the late 19th century, several immigrants started to come from Europe. This phenomenon started in the South, in the area of Apóstoles, where Poles and Ukrainians occupied farms assigned to farming colonies. Subsequently, in the Alto Paraná area, colonisation companies bought lands and sold them to European colonisers, particularly German and Swiss immigrants, and the towns of Montecarlo, Puerto Rico, and Eldorado were created. However, one of the most interesting cases was recorded in the Central Area, in Oberá, where colonisation was spontaneous, with the arrival of Scandinavians, Italians, French, Russians, Poles, Swiss, and Spaniards, who, together with Paraguayans and Brazilians, forged a multiethnic community. Later, this and other locations in Misiones would receive Asian immigrants: Arabs, Turks, and Japanese.

In 1953, Misiones was officially declared a province.

Los orígenes

El territorio que hoy ocupa la provincia de Misiones estaba poblado, ya en el siglo XIV, por etnias como los kaingang y los xokleng.

Misiones Jesuítico Guaraní

Los 30 Pueblos Originarios

Nación Guaraní

A partir del siglo XV comenzó la expansión de los guaraníes, que descendían desde lo que hoy es el centro de Brasil. Junto con otras tribus como los tupinambá, los amaguá y los amoiripá, formaban la llamada “Nación Guaraní”.

Colón 1985 - Posadas - Misiones
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