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Span. reducciones, settlements of indigenous peoples in colonial Latin America, founded (beginning in 1609) to utilize efficiently native labor and to teach the natives the ways of Spanish life. Best known were those established by the Jesuits in old Paraguay (many of them in present-day Argentina)—about 30 among the GuaraníGuaraní
, indigenous group living in the eastern lowland area of South America, related to the Tupí of the Rio São Francisco and the Tupinambá on the Atlantic coast.
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 and about 7 in the Chaco wilderness. Each Jesuit reduction was directed by two priests, a spiritual overseer and an administrator; their rule was absolute but usually benevolent. The missions prospered in agriculture, trade, and manufactures, and printed thousands of volumes, contributing greatly to geographic and scientific knowledge about South America. Some reductions were established and run by civil authorities.
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The post-Jesuit history of Chiquitos chronicles the slow deterioration of the Indian reductions.

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