San Rafael de Velasco mission, Chiquitania, Bolivia

San Rafael de Velasco mission (1696), Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Written by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck  San Rafael de Velasco, the second oldest mission settlement in the Chiquitania, was established in 1696 by the Jesuit missionaries Juan Bautista Zea and Francisco Hervás (each of whom later co-founded two other missions). It was settled largely as what was then anticipated as an eventual way stop along the road to other Jesuit ...

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Santa Ana de Velasco mission, Chiquitania, Bolivia

Santa Ana de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Written by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck  Santa Ana de Velasco, founded in 1755, holds the distinction of being the only Chiquitos mission founded by one individual, the Jesuit missionary Julián Nogler. It is also is the only settlement that has its original church almost wholly intact (restoration on it is ongoing), which also happens to be the only church built ...

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San José de Chiquitos mission, Chiquitania, Bolivia

San José de Chiquitos mission (1697), Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Written by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck  San José de Chiquitos, the third-oldest Jesuit mission in the Chiquitania and one of the prettiest, was founded in 1697 by Felipe Suárez (who later co-founded San Miguel de Velasco to the north) and Dionisio Avila. Relocated in 1706, it was its new location that made it the most important town in the region ...

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San Ignacio de Velasco mission, Chiquitania, Bolivia

San Ignacio de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Written by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck  San Ignacio de Velasco was founded in 1748, primarily for the benefit of the local Ugaraño peoples, by Jesuits Miguel Areijer and Diego Contreras. It was settled in part by the inhabitants of a former reducción, San Ignacio de Zamucos, which was destroyed three years earlier. One of the few missions that was not ...

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Concepción mission, Chiquitania, Bolivia

Concepcion mission (1699), Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Written by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck  Concepción was first established as the mission of La Inmaculada Concepción in 1699, although this settlement lasted only until 1704. It was re-established in 1709 (a date that some historians incorrectly claim as its founding), and incorporated the nearby ephemeral mission of San Ignacio de Boococas in 1712. Concepción was established by Jesuit missionaries ...

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San Javier mission, Chiquitania, Bolivia

San Xavier mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck.

Written by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck  San Javier (originally San Francisco Xavier de los Piñocas), the earliest permanent Jesuit mission in the Chiquitania, was founded by the missionaries José de Arce and Antonio de Rivas on 31 December 1691. It was rebuilt three times (in 1696, 1698, and 1705-6) before assuming its present form in 1708. Today it is a ...

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The Long Silence: The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos after the Extrañamiento

San Xavier mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck.

Written by Geoffrey A P Groesbeck Introduction There is much still to discover regarding the early history of the Jesuit missions (reducciones1) of Chiquitos2 (1691-1767). By now it has been reasonably well documented3, albeit in greater detail in Spanish and German than in English. Over the last three decades, scholarly research on these missions’ individual and collective artistic, musical, and ...

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A Brief History of the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos

Concepcion mission (1699), Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Written by Geoffrey A P Groesbeck Introduction It is a simple fact that no comprehensive history of the Jesuit missions of Chiquitos1 exists in English.2 There are numerous accounts in Spanish, most of which rely primarily upon two secondary sources dating from the nineteenth century: D’Orbigny’s recollections of his travels in the region between 1831 and 18333, and René-Moreno’s numerous ...

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New book on the Spice islands: Spain and Moluccas in the 16th and 17th centuries

In the Spice islands. Spain and Moluccas in the 16th and 17th centuries

On the occasion of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Ferdinando Magellano’s first trip around the world. A new book about the Spice Islands has just been published by the Spanish publishing house Desperta-Ferro, specialized in Spanish military history. It is a large format book (384 pages, 189 x 246 mm), and includes old maps. I had the honor ...

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Arguin: A Portuguese Fortress in Mauritania 1445-1633

Written by Marco Ramerini. English text revision by Dietrich Köster. Situated on the Arguin island (today Mauritania), this was the first fort the Portuguese built in Africa. The fort remained under Portuguese control between 1445 and 1633. The Arguin area was explored by the Portuguese around the years 1442-1444 by Gonçalo de Sintra (1442), Dinis Dias (1442), Nuno Tristão (1443) and Lançarote ...

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The forts of the Saint-Martin island: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Louis

Fort Amsterdam, Sint Maarten. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Written by Marco Ramerini. The island of Saint-Martin (Sint Maarten) is an island of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. The island is located between the islands of Anguilla and Saint-Barthélemy and has the distinction of being divided between France and the Netherlands. This division dates back to the treaty signed by the two countries in 1648 (Treaty of Concordia) ...

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The Forts of Fernando de Noronha

The view towards the Morro do Pico from the round tower of the Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Written by Marco Ramerini. English text revision by Dietrich Köster. Fernando de Noronha was discovered by the Florentine Amerigo Vespucci in 1503. In 1504 the Crown granted the archipelago as a “capitania hereditária” to a Portuguese lord, Fernão de Noronha, from whom it takes its name. The archipelago was occupied by two other European nations (Dutch and French) during the ...

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Portuguese Malacca 1511-1641

Written by Marco Ramerini. English text revision by Dietrich Köster. THE PORTUGUESE CONQUEST At the time of the Portuguese arrival in the Asian seas, Malacca thanks to its strategic position on the strait bearing the same name, was a remarkable trading center for the trade and shunting of spices. At that time, Malacca was ruled by a Muslim Sultan. The ...

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Dutch Malacca 1641-1795, 1818-1825

Written by Marco Ramerini. English text revision by Dietrich Köster. On 14 January 1641 the Dutch took possession from the Portuguese of the fortress of Malacca with the help of their ally the Sultan of Johore. The Dutch had treaties with the Johore Sultans to get rid of the Portuguese. The Malays were confident of a victory with the help ...

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Book: Spice Islands Forts by Simon Pratt

Spice Islands Forts by Simon Pratt

Written by Marco Ramerini. On this page I want to write about an interesting book that has just been published. The book tells the story of the spice islands and focuses on the fortifications that Europeans built on these islands to control their trade. The story narrated in Simon Pratt’s book begins with the first contacts with Europeans and reaches ...

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Letter by General Luis Jose Orbegoso y Moncada, 1834

Letter from Luis Jose de Orbegoso to Peruvian People 1834

Written by Randy Shaw. General Luis José de Orbegoso y Moncada, scion of an aristocratic criollo family from Trujillo, in northern Peru, was Provisional President of the country between 1833 and 1834, and was named in 1837-1838 President of the short-lived Republic of North Peru, set up by the Peru-Bolivia Confederacy after the invasion of the country by Bolivian strongman ...

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Heraldic Coat of Arms encased in wood that belonged to Pedro Pizarro

Heraldic Coat of Arms encased in wood that belonged to Pedro Pizarro

Written by Randy Shaw Several years ago General Jose Ramon Pizarro who was many times over the great grandson of the Spanish Chronicler and Conquistador Pedro Pizarro passed away in Lima Peru his widow contacted a mutual friend to discuss an item that had descended down through the family of Pedro Pizarro. So on my next trip to Lima my ...

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The Dutch Fort of Tangalle, Sri Lanka

Fort2. Author Dirk Holtschlag

Written by Marco Ramerini. Photos by Dirk Holtschlag. Tangalle is a small coastal town located a few kilometers east of the city of Matara, in the extreme south of the island of Ceylon. At the time of the Dutch occupation of Ceylon, Tangalle, thanks to its natural harbor, was used by them as an important anchorage. Here, around 1775, the Dutch ...

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St Thomas Fort, Tangasseri or Thangassery, Kerala, India

Written by Marco Ramerini. Photos by Prof. Rahul Basu. Tangasseri or Thangassery / Kollam is a city located along the coast of the ancient Malabar, in the Indian state of Kerala in southern India. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in this port of Malabar, they landed there in 1502. In the following years Tangasseri or Thangassery / Kollam that the Portuguese called ...

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The Catholic mission in Bengal prior to the nineteenth century

The Basilica of the Holy Rosary, Bandel, Hughli. Copyright Stefan Halikowski Smith

Written by Prof. Stefan Halikowski Smith, Dept. of History, Swansea University. The Bengal mission was one of the most Christian successful mission-fields in the Orient in early modern times, despite relatively small numbers of active missionaries. However, the mission, despite its successes in ‘harvesting souls’, encountered bitter political vituperation between the two orders active here, the Augustinians and Jesuits, who ...

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