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The Jesuits were instrumental in the colonization of the indigenous peoples of the eastern lowlands of what are today the departments of Santa Cruz and Beni. The missions they established at the end of the seventeenth century through the mid-eighteenth were modeled on the ideal cities proposed by sixteenth-century humanist philosophers and were influenced by both church architecture and local building materials and styles. In 1767, the Spanish Crown expelled the Jesuits from the missions and the Americas, as part of a consolidation of secular over religious power. Alcide d’Orbigny, the French scientific traveler and natural historian (see part VI),...

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