In contrast to the Spanish-language literature, there are only a few rigorous studies in English on the Jesuit missions of Paraguay. This lack has been generally covered over by eloquent classics of apologetics such as A Vanished Arcadia (1901) by R. B. Cunninghame Graham and The Lost Paradise (1975) by Philip Caraman or the many translations of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Jesuit writings, which offer an oversimplified portrait of the Jesuit “state” of Paraguay. The recent turn in the historiography of the region emphasizes at least three aspects: the insertion of the Paraguayan case into a broader regional context, the complexity and internal contradictions of the Jesuit missionary regime, and indigenous participation in the formation of the missions. Although ethnohistory and demography have played key roles in this turn, economic history had not made substantial contributions since the work of Magnus Mörner (1968),...

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