(A new homeschool year has begun and so has a new tour of World Heritage Sites around the globe! Print your own River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us every Wednesday.)
Argentina in southern South America is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of Argentina’s World Heritage Sites: the Jesuit Missions of the Guaranís.
The several early Jesuit mission sites in Argentina and adjacent Brazil testify to the historic cultural encounters between Jesuit missionaries and the native Guaraní people of this region:
The Jesuit Missions of the Guaranís, a serial transnational [World Heritage] property, consists of the ruins of São Miguel Arcanjo in Brazil, and those of San Ignacio Miní, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto, and Santa María la Mayor in Argentina. These are the impressive remains of Jesuit Mission settlements established in the 17th and 18th centuries on lands originally occupied by Guaraní indigenous communities. In Brazil, the ruins of the São Miguel Arcanjo church constitute the most intact and complete structure among this period’s designated heritage properties. In Argentina, the four Jesuit–Guaraní Missions, located in the southern Misiones province, provide an exceptional example of systematic and organized territorial occupation.
The properties’ surviving ruins depict the experience of the Society of Jesus in South America, where there emerged a singular system of spatial, economic, social, and cultural relations in 30 settlements — referred to as reducciones — that included ranches, mate plantations, and networks of trails and waterways extending across the Uruguay River and its tributaries. This particular model of the reducciones also included smaller structures and constructions designed to support the basic functions of the settlements. Together, these elements, each closely integrated within productive lands, and each manifesting the distinct potential and complementary traits of the various settlements and the other Jesuit provinces in the region, inform this underlying interpretation, reflected by the serial heritage property in a singular and specific fashion.
An integral part of the evangelization campaigns, the Missions stand as an important testament to the systematic occupation of the area and to the cultural relations forged between the area’s indigenous populations, mostly Guaraní, and the European Jesuit missionaries. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #275)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list of World Heritage Sites online at the World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures will you be exploring in your homeschool this Cygnus Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 752–859; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇦🇷
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌎