Misiones Orientales

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The Misiones Orientales

The Misiones Orientales (Eastern missions) (Spanish) or Sete Povos das Missões (Seven Peoples of the Missions) (Portuguese) are a historic region in South America, in present-day Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost State of Brazil.

Together with present-day Misiones Province in Argentina and Misiones Department in Paraguay it formed the Jesuit Reductions between 1609 and 1756, an almost fully independent territory created and ruled by the Spanish Catholic order of the Jesuits. It was famous for its resistance to enslavement and its egalitarian laws based on the Bible.

The King of Spain was the nominal ruler of these lands and in the Treaty of Madrid (1750) he gave the eastern part of the Jesuit Reductions to Portugal. The seven Jesuit missions here were to be dismantled and relocated on the Spanish western side of the Uruguay River. The Guarani people living there refused, which led to the Guarani War, won by Portugal and Spain.

The territory returned to Spain in 1777 in the First Treaty of San Ildefonso, but was definitively ceded to Portugal in the Treaty of Badajoz (1801). It became part of Brazil when this country gained its independence from Portugal in 1822.

Coordinates: 26°42′00″S 51°24′00″W / 26.700°S 51.400°W / -26.700; -51.400