Brazil is a huge country, well known for its carnivals, rich coffee, fantastic soccer players, and diverse heritage. One of its most remarkable archaeological sites is the São Miguel das Missões. This is an extraordinary example of 18th century architecture in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sol that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.
The Jesuit Order Province and Indian Reductions
To understand the importance and the saga of the mission, it is necessary to understand the history of the Jesuits in this part of Latin America. The Jesuit Order is a religious order has been significant in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries as they were active in the conversion of indigenous people to Christianity during the colonial era.
The Spanish government, in particular, granted them various privileges and allowed them to establish missions among the native peoples. These were called ‘Indian Reductions’ and the indigenous people were persuaded or forced to live here so that they could be Christianized and ‘civilized’.