Böhlau Verlag Yearbook
Jahrbuch für Geschichte Lateinamerikas – Anuario de Historia de America Latina
Ed. by Duve, Thomas / Hensel, Silke / Mücke, Ulrich / Pieper, Renate / Potthast, Barbara
This article highlights the relationship between the demographic composition of colonial Paraguay and the construction of Paraguay’s identity. This work analyses the data provided by XVIIIth century censuses, showing the demographic change which happened after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767/1768: half of the population of the Jesuit Missions abandoned their villages and moved among the poor peasants. Nevertheless, the census taken in 1782 categorised them as “Spanish”; they were not included as “Indian” or “mestizo” (a term not yet coined at that moment). We consider this migration a strategy of the indigenous population in order to avoid discrimination. A similar process took place among people with African ancestry. Although synchronically there was also a “guaranization” of society, individuals built their identity neglecting both their indigenous and African roots, aiming being considered “Spanish”.