The Guaraní welcomed European missionaries because they saw the missionaries as buffers between them and Spaniards in Asunción who wanted Indians as laborers, they wanted protection from the Portuguese in Brazil, and they were attracted to Christianity by its “stories”. The Jesuits isolated the mission stations, called reductions, erected massive architectural churches and buildings, and, probably most important, armed and trained the Indians in offensive and defensive maneuvers. Financial support of the reductions came principally from the “Jesuit tea” or Yerba Mate, grown on reduction farms and exported throughout Latin America.
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