The Mission Essay

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The Mission “The Mission” is a 1986 film that depicts the process of colonization in Latin America, particularly Paraguay. Based on historical events, the movie illustrates how the Spanish and Portuguese cooperated to gain more political control over the Catholic Church by driving the Jesuits off the land. The Catholic Church initially sent the Jesuits to Paraguay in hopes to spread Christianity amongst the indigenous people. The Jesuits set up missions to support saving the Indians by converting them into Christians. The Guarani, were the native Indians of the territories and were met by the struggles of being captured and enslaved by the Spanish-Portuguese forces and being culturally overtaken by the Christianity faith. The film tells the story of a Spanish Jesuit priest, Father Gabriel, who enters the South American jungle to build a Christian mission (San Miguel) and to protect the Guarani people from some of the evils that come along with Spanish-Portuguese colonialism. Historically, the movie was set in the 1750s in Asuncion, Paraguay right around the time the Treaty of Madrid (1750) was signed. The treaty itself was designed for Spain to give up some Jesuit-territory to the Portuguese in Paraguay. During this time, the Europeans were expanding their imperial empires beyond into the Americas in order to make political, economical, and religious gains. The main states involved are Portugal, Spain and the Church. The smaller actors include the Jesuits and the Guarani Indians. The missions were first set up in the 17th century by the Jesuits to protect and convert the Guarani. The film captures the struggle for power that was present during the time. We witnessed the early stages of colonialism in the Americas, and how the process developed. The Americas were being colonized for the sake of political, economic and religious campaigns on behalf of the

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