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The Mission Historical Analysis History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The movie, The Mission, gives a good detail onto the historical context on the imposition of other societies’ colonial and political objectives towards the native peoples of Paraguay. The similar scenario throughout the history of humanity of imperialist civilizations and forces invading other native lands and impose their beliefs, political systems, and society attitudes towards native peoples unfamiliar in their way of life and understanding of humanity is presented in the movie with great detail, this time with Spain and Portugal imposing their political and religious systems onto the Guarani people. The move culminates with the Guarani War of 1754 – 1756, in which the Guarani tribe defend their territory from the Spanish and Portuguese forces the imposing the terms of the Treaty of Madrid of 1750 onto their way of life and civilization.

The movie takes place in the 1750s. The Jesuit Reductions is a sect of the Catholic Church sought to covert indigenous native peoples in South America to Christianity. The movie progresses the story of Father Gabriel, a Jesuit priest of Spain. Gabriel has achieved a successful Jesuit mission in the Amazon jungles and has succeeded Guarani natives to sects of Christianity. The devastation of the missions does eventually take place by the Spanish and Portuguese governments.

There are many historical issues that are addressed in the movie, which among them, include Spanish and Portuguese imperialism and invasion, and the power of the church in state and political affairs. The Treaty of Madrid of 1750 is considered to be a foundation of expansionist Spanish and Portuguese foreign policy and imperialism into the new world, and more specifically, Latin America. In the Treaty of Madrid, it was agreed that Spain and Portugal would jointly undertake establishing the boundaries of the New World throughout Latin America, which was considered to be a terrible disaster for the Guarani tribe and many of the ingenious native peoples throughout the Latin American continent.

The key provisions of the treaty included the cessation of several Jesuit missions to Portugal. From the time of the middle of the 17th century during the paulista slave raids, the Guarani tribe considered the Portuguese to be an enemy of their civilization and their way of life. The Guarani that considered themselves loyal to the Spanish royal government resisted the Treaty of Madrid, regardless of the advice that were given by the Jesuit missions at the time. The Guarani’s protest movement did not bear the results that had been wished since the Spanish Empire ignored all grievances of the Guarani tribe.

As a result of the failure of the protest movement, many of the Guarani decided to leave the Jesuit missions. However, other sects of the Guarani decided that armed rebellion and resistance was necessary against Spanish and Portuguese imperialism. The forces established by the Guarani tribe could not go against the superiority of the colonial forces. The opponents of the Jesuits missions in Europe blamed them for the Guarani resistance.

After the failed resistance against Spanish imperialism, the Jesuits no longer enjoyed support from royal officials of the Spanish and Portuguese government. Charles III in 1767 ordered the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish empire. After the expulsion, Charles III ordered royal administrators to govern the Guarani missions.

The movie, The Mission, does a great job in terms of the historical interpretation of the Guarani war and the imperialism exhibited by the Spanish and Portuguese empires. In the movie, the effort to convert the Guarani natives to Christianity is considered to be a positive experience. The advancement of the Christian missionaries into the South American native civilizations is considered to be a positive progression as the missionaries are able to bring expanding prosperity and peace to recent warring tribes and resolve old quarrels.

The negative interpretation of the activities of the Christian missionaries is centered in the political disturbances, which are instituted upon the missionaries. The missions are not able to protect the Guarani from the orders from the Spanish and Portuguese empires. In addition, the culture of the Guarani was portrayed correctly according to historical record. Among the depictions of Guarani culture that was full display in the move includes complete nudity of the children and adults, and the initial savagery of the tribesmen and the initial distrust of the missionaries.

The Mission does overall give a great detail to the objectives of the Treaty of Madrid and the colonial and imperialist objectives of the Spanish and Portuguese governments in Latin America. Giving accurate detail of the objectives and brutality of the empires against the Guarani tribes, The Mission gives historical accuracy to events of the time, and doesn’t mince images when it comes to exhibiting the brutality and oppression of the time. The Mission does also do a great job by giving an accurate detail of the society and lives of the Guarani natives, without apology.

The Mission overall gives an accurate display and detail of the historic period of the colonial conquests of the Spanish and Portuguese empires against the Guarani tribes. For anyone wishing to have a deeper, stronger understanding of the objectives of the colonialists and the Guarani tribes, The Mission gives the historical detail necessary in order to understand this important period Latin American colonial history.

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