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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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The community counted native tributaries, sedentary agriculturalists. The tribute consisted of three cargas or loads of clothing, nine jars of honey, and birds. In addition to the tributaries, the report noted that there were also "many other chichimecas" otros tantos chichimecas. Finally, the report noted that livestock ranches could be established in the Xalpa district, and wheat cultivated where practical. The Augustinian missions in the sixteenth century focused on the settlements of sedentary agriculturalists established at strategic locations beyond the Chichimeca frontier.

Later documents show that the Augustinians did attempt to evangelize the nomadic hunter-gatherers they classified as Mecos, but the initial thrust of their mission was the evangelization of the colonies of sedentary natives. The Augustinian missions along the Chichimeca frontier and particularly those in the Sierra Alta were subject to raids by Chichimeca bands, and several Augustinian missionaries died at the hands of the Chichimecas. The Augustinian chroniclers Juan de Grijalva, O. It is very rough and with craggy land, the climate is hot and the Indians are very barbaric In the year 87 the Chichimecas attempted to destroy the house convent and the town, they entered the lower cloister of the convent, robbed the sacristy and burned all that did not have arched ceilings of stone which was the greater part of the convent.

The missionaries religiosos with some Indians had retired to the convent, defending the entrance to the upper cloister with such bravery that they escapted with their lives. In directing the construction of the doctrinas and visita chapels the Augustinians incorporated defensive elements that were suitable for raids by nomadic warriors armed with lances and bows and arrows, and served as places of refuge in case of attack.

One late sixteenth century source cited the construction of the Franciscan convent at Alfajayucan located in the Mezquital Valley on the Chichimeca frontier in Hidalgo, as having taken into account the threat of raids by the nomadic warriors. The history of these efforts to evangelize the Chichimecas provides context for the Augustinian missions in the Sierra Gorda. He was responsible for the establishment of the mission at Valle de San Francisco among Guachichiles.

The report alluded to the difficulties the Augustinians faced in trying to convert the "diverse and wild" Chichimeca bands, although the Augustinians believed they were achieving success in evangelizing the Guamares and Guachichiles. The argument in support of a just war against the Chichimecas cited the apostasy and rebellion of the Chichimecas against royal authority, and their attacks on and killings of clerics.

Additionally, the Spanish considered other causes to have been Chichimeca attacks on Spanish settlements, thefts of Spanish livestock, and assaults on caravans and travelers on the roads. As the history of the evangelization of the Sierra Gorda region shows, on the other hand, the expectations of the missionaries generally did not match reality. Spaniards first established settlements beyond the Chichimeca frontier in the s and s, and accelerated colonization following the discovery of silver mines at Zacatecas and other sites beyond the frontier.

Missionaries, including Augustinians, attempted to evangelize native groups living beyond the Chichimeca frontier after about , and established missions among different Chichimeca groups such as the Pames. The missionaries often arrived following initial Spanish settlement.

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Another account added that three Augustinians died when Chichimecas attacked and burned the church and convent, but gave the date of the attack as This may have been the same incident, or a second attack. The account described the church and convent as being built of adobe walls with a packed earth roof. As occurred in other parts of central Mexico, jurisdictional disputes occurred between the Augustinians and the other missionary orders that competed for the mission territory in the Sierra Gorda.

However, there was early competition from Franciscans. In , in response to complaints, Viceroy Luis de Velasco signed an order confirming the Sierra Gorda mission at Xalpa to the Augustinians. The Augustinian churches were described as jacales, or wattle and daub construction. In Cabeza de Vaca enumerated the population of the Xalpa jurisdiction. Cabeza de Vaca cited several reasons for the failure of the Augustinian mission. According to the missionary the natives resisted evangelization and resettlement on the mission communities and their consumption of locally produced alcohol as causes for the lack of progress.

The Pames preferred to live in their own settlements, and only visited the missions periodically and often infrequently. Finally, Cabeza de Vaca petitioned for support from civil officials to take harsh measures to force the recalcitrant natives to accept sedentary life on the missions.

The dynamic of religious conversion differed between sedentary and non-sedentary natives living on and beyond the Chichimeca frontier of the sixteenth century. Gerardo Lara Cisneros documents the persistence of the cult dedicated to hills, and the incorporation of Christian symbols such as the cross into religious rites.

The Augustinian missionary Antonio de Aguilar, O. The idols and sacrifices in the cave were under the care of a native named Acatonial, and idols and other paraphernalia related to traditional religious practices were found in the houses of several natives including two named Suchicalcatl and Tezcacoacatl. The incomplete record of the Ocuila case does not indicate what punishment the missionaries applied to those implicated in idolatry. The Pames, on the other hand, preserved their traditional culture and religion by not cooperating with the missionaries.

Cabeza de Vaca described and complained of a pattern of passive resistance on the part of the Pames, who simply refused to live on the missions or to attend religious instruction and mass. The Augustinians did not have the means to force the Pames to comply with the mission program, and the missions among the Pames continued to operate for several centuries from the sixteenth century to the end of the eighteenth century with mixed results.

In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries Franciscans and Dominicans established largely ephemeral and unsuccessful missions in the larger Sierra Gorda region. There essentially was little difference in the management of these missions, since they largely relied on having to entice the Pames and Jonaces to abandon their way of life, and did not have coercive power over the natives.

Working with Franciscans Labra directed the establishment of eight new misions in and A decade later Fray Felipe Galindo, O. Galindo had eight missions founded. The continued active and passive resistance of the non-sedentary natives in the Sierra Gorda frustrated efforts at congregation and evangelization. The Jonaces, Pames, and Ximpeces Chichimecas lived scattered across the mountainous region in small bands. The Augustinian, Dominican, and Franciscan missionaries persuaded individual bands to settle on missions for short periods of time, but then the natives, and particularly the Jonaces, abandoned the missions and returned to their traditional way of life.

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A census prepared in highlighted the problem the missionaries faced. The census enumerated six Jonaces bands cuadrillas that ranged in size from 34 to 69 people, and altogether totaled people. De la Fuente convinced the Jonaces to settle on the mission, but the natives abandoned the mission after the Franciscan died in Those natives who did settle on the mission did so because of the influence of one particular missionary, but abandoned the mission following his death which was symptomatic of the limitations the missionaries faced in trying to convince the non-sedentary natives to change their way of life.

The population of the missions was divided among seven bands cuadrillas. The enumeration of the bands provided complete information on only the first, that consisted of 21 families. Altogether, the seven bands totaled 79 families and people, or an average of 2. The Franciscans congregated thousands of Pames on the new and reorganized missions. A census prepared in enumerated 3 Pames congregated on the five missions, with the largest number settled on Xalpa see table 3. The Jonaces did not respond well to this approach at directed social-cultural change, and the majority had abandoned the missions by In response, royal officials used force to recapture the fugitives, and distributed the natives among obrajes textile mills as forced laborers.

The Fernandinos tried to convert the Guaycuras into a disciplined labor force after they replaced the Jesuits in Baja California in , but the Guaycuras also resisted the forced and rapid change in life-style. The Franciscans ended up having to hire non-natives to work the mission lands the Guaycuras refused to work. The Pames congregated on the five missions established by the Franciscans responded differently to the economic system the missionaries introduced.

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The Franciscans distributed rations among the Pames to enhance economic dependence, and also to motivate the natives to work on communal agriculture, livestock raising, and building projects. As the communal mission economies produced more, the Franciscans were able to provide the Pames with daily rations, which in turn helped keep the natives on the missions. The same group of Franciscans attempted the same approach on the Guaycuras in Baja California, with the outcome already noted above.

This was also the same economic system the Franciscans from San Fernando implemented on the Alta California missions established after , which was responsible for the production of large surpluses on those missions, although also with native discontent and resistance. The dilemma of evangelization: Demographic patterns and resistance on the Sierra Gorda missions in a comparative context.

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The Franciscans and royal officials envisioned a sea-change in the lifestyle of the Pames congregated on the missions established in They were to live congregated in larger communities, and practice a sedentary lifestyle. However, as occurred on other frontier missions established among nomadic hunter-gatherers, the Pames populations of the Sierra Gorda missions proved to be demographically fragile and inviable. In other words, the Pames populations did not grow through natural reproduction, and expanded only when the Franciscans congregated non-Christians on the missions.

Periodic epidemics decimated the mission populations, and flight was one common response to the outbreak of contagion. There were two severe epidemic outbreaks in the Sierra Gorda missions during the first two decades of the Franciscan administration. A report drafted about noted that in four years 1 Pames had died at four of the missions there is no data for Tancoyol.

Some Pames died from smallpox in at Tilaco. However, the fragility of the mission populations becomes evident on examining the net balance between baptisms and burials on the missions. Several reports summarize the total number of baptisms and burials recorded on the missions between and see table 5.

Over two decades there were 1 more burials than baptisms and during the same period of population of Xalpa dropped from 1 in to in The recruitment of non-Christians buffered the decline on the other missions. Flight from the missions which reflected the unwillingness of many Pames to abandon their way of life also continued to be a problem.

Baptismal registers exist for Tancoyol and Tilaco missions, and provide additional insights to demographic patterns on the missions. The register for Tancoyol records the first baptisms in , but the Franciscans only started recording complete information on those baptized in In other words, they only began to record information in the individual baptismal entries as to whether it was of newborn child or a non-Christian resettled on the mission.

The Franciscans stationed on Tilaco only began to record the complete information in Therefore, the analysis of baptismal patterns is limited to these years. Between and , the year that the Franciscans turned the mission over to parish priests following the secularization of the five Sierra Gorda establishments, they baptized children born on the mission and several other rancherias administered from Tancoyol.

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That was an average of 23 births per year. The summary of the number of burials at Tancoyol indicates that the Franciscans on average buried 39 natives per year. The number of deaths was greater than the number of births. The Franciscans baptized 31 adults and 23 young children who were non-Christians see table 6. Between and the Franciscans stationed on Tilaco recorded births, or an average of 31 per year.

The Franciscans recorded an average of 57 burials per year. From to the Franciscans baptized 56 adults who previously had not been baptized. Even with the influx of small numbers of non-Christians, the population of Tilaco constantly declined as the number of deaths was consistently greater than the number of births and baptisms of non-Christians see table 7. The Pames populations of the five Sierra Gorda missions analyzed here continued to be inviable following the secularization of the missions in A series of reports summarized the total number of baptisms and burials recorded on three of the former missions in the years to see table 8.

The Pames population of Santiago Xalpa showed a positive balance of 73 baptisms over burials, but this did not necessarily reflect more stable demographic patterns. It was equally possible that some natives died away from the former mission, and their deaths may not have entered the record. The average family size AFS is a crude index of the size of families in a given population, and is calculated by dividing the total population by the reported number of families. The AFS can be useful in characterizing the dynamics of a population, when used in conjunction with other sources, such as detailed censuses that divide the population into enumerated family groups.

The AFS indicates small family sizes with couples having one or two children. Non-sedentary peoples generally had fewer children than did sedentary natives. However, a low AFS could also reflect an incomplete congregation or resettlement of the population of a given band. The problems the Augustinians and later the Franciscans encountered in their efforts to evangelize the non-sedentary natives living in the Sierra Gorda did not represent the failure of the missionaries or their methods, but rather the persistence of engrained cultural and social patterns and the unwillingness of the natives to abandon their traditional way of life.

Missionaries on other frontiers experienced similar problems with nomadic hunters and gatherers who refused to abandon their way of life. Moreover, the populations of nomadic hunters and gatherers, such as the Coahuiltecos and Karankawas, proved to be equally demographically fragile as was the population of Pames congregated on the Sierra Gorda missions. This section examines several comparative case studies of the experiences of nomadic hunters and gatherers on missions.

The first example examined here is a group of Franciscan missions on the north Mexican frontier in Coahuila and Texas in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The second example is of one of the Jesuit missions in the Chaco region in modern day Argentina, established among a group known as the Abipones.


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The Abipones adopted the use of the horse, and became formidable mounted warriors who gained status from their equestrian skills, and rejected agriculture which was too closely related to the collection of wild plants that was the gendered work of women, and not men. The Spanish initially colonized Coahuila in the late sixteenth century.

Mining and ranching were the main economic activities. In the s natives subject to labour drafts solicited the establishment of missions by Franciscans, to serve as a buffer against the demands of Spanish entrepreneurs. They were similar to the Chichimecas living in the Sierra Gorda in terms of their social and political organization. The populations of the two missions were unstable, and the numbers fluctuated as a consequence of the effects of disease and the abandonment of the missions by natives who elected not to remain.

The Franciscans recorded the total number of baptisms and burials recorded at the two missions in reports prepared in Between and , for example, the missionaries stationed on San Bernardino baptized 1 natives and buried 1, This left a net difference in population of In the same year only 80 natives lived on the mission. Liernur and Fernando Aliata ed. For modern languages, the specific skills within each language are provided on the right. Revista de historia intelectual, Dordrecht and New York: Springer. Collective translation supervised by Dr. In collaboration with Tadeo Lima.

URL: www. Curriculum vitae Publications. Contact information About Pablo Blitstein Pablo Blitstein joined the chair of Intellectual History in with a project on the relation between text circulation, travel experiences and political imagination in late imperial and early republican China 19 th th centuries. Presentations in seminars 15 April : Presentation of my book Les Fleurs du royaume. Since Member of the editorial board of Sinopolis , Paris, France.