Antonio Ruiz de Montoya was born in Lima, Peru, on 13 June 1585 and died there on 11 April 1652. He was a Jesuit priest and missionary in the Paraguayan Reductions.
Montoya entered the Society of Jesus on 1 November 1606. In the same year, he accompanied Father Diego Torres, the first provincial of Paraguay, to this mission.
In co-operation with Fathers Cataldino and Mazeta, he founded the Reductions of Guayra. He also brought a number of tribal groups into the Catholic Church, and is said to have personally baptized 100,000 Indians. As head of the missions from 1620 he had charge of the "Reductions" on the upper and middle course of the Paraná River, on the Uruguay River, and the Tape River, and added thirteen further "reductions" to the twenty-six already existing.
When the missions of Guayra were endangered by the incursions of Paulistas from Brazil in search of slaves, Father Mazeta and Montoya resolved to move the Christian Indians, about 15,000 in number, to the reductions in Paraguay, partly by water with the aid of seven hundred rafts and numberless canoes, and partly by land through the forest.The plan was successfully carried out in 1631. "This expedition", says von Ihering, "is one of the most extraordinary undertakings of this kind known in history" [Globus, LX (1891), 179].
In 1637 Montoya (on behalf of the governor, the Bishop of Paraguay, and the heads of the orders) laid a complaint before Philip IV of Spain as to the Portuguese policy of sending kidnapping expeditions into the neighboring regions. He obtained from the king important exemptions, privileges, and protective measures for the reductions of Paraguay. Soon after his return to America, Montoya died.
Ruiz de Montoya was a fine scholar of the Guaraní language of the Amerindians, and left standard works on it. These are:
Marion Mulhall calls Ruiz de Montoya's grammar and vocabulary "a lasting memorial of his industry and learning". German linguist Georg von der Gabelentz regarded them as the very best sources for the study of the Guaraní language, while Hervas declares that the clearness and comprehensive grasp of the rules to which Montoya traced back the complicated structure and pronunciation of Guaraní are most extraordinary. All three works were repeatedly republished and revised. In 1876 Julius Platzmann, the German scholar in Native American languages, issued at Leipzig an exact reprint of the first Madrid edition of this work "unique among the grammars and dictionaries of the American languages". A Latin version was edited by the German scholar Christoph Seybold at Stuttgart in 1890-91. A collected edition of all Montoya's works was published at Vienna under the supervision of the Vicomte de Porto Seguro in 1876.
Of much importance as one of the oldest authorities for the history of the Reductions of Paraguay is Montoya's work, Conquista espiritual hecha por los religiosos de la C. de J. en las provincias del Paraguay, Paraña, Uruguay y Tape (Madrid, 1639), in quarto; a new edition was issued at Bilbao in 1892.In addition to the works already mentioned Montoya wrote a number of ascetical treatises.
Letters and various literary remains of Ruiz de Montoya are to be found in the "Memorial histor. español", XVI (Madrid, 1862), 57 sqq.; in "Litterae annuae provinc. Paraguariae" (Antwerp, 1600), and in the "Memorial sobre limites de la Repúbl. Argentina con el Paraguay" (Buenos Aires, 1867), I, appendix; II, 216-252; cf. Backer-Sommervogel, "Bibl. de la C. de Jesus", VI, 1675 sqq.
Guaraní specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guarani, is a South American language that belongs to the Tupi–Guarani family of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay, where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and where half of the rural population is monolingual. It is spoken by communities in neighboring countries, including parts of northeastern Argentina, southeastern Bolivia and southwestern Brazil, and is a second official language of the Argentine province of Corrientes since 2004; it is also an official language of Mercosur.
Guarani are a group of culturally-related indigenous peoples of South America. They are distinguished from the related Tupi by their use of the Guarani language. The traditional range of the Guarani people is in present-day Paraguay between the Uruguay River and lower Paraguay River, the Misiones Province of Argentina, southern Brazil once as far north as Rio de Janeiro, and parts of Uruguay and Bolivia. Although their demographic dominance of the region has been reduced by European colonisation and the commensurate rise of mestizos, there are contemporary Guarani populations in these areas. Most notably, the Guarani language, still widely spoken across traditional Guarani homelands, is one of the two official languages in Paraguay, the other one being Spanish. The language was once looked down upon by the upper and middle classes, but it is now often regarded with pride and serves as a symbol of national distinctiveness. The Paraguayan population learns Guarani both informally from social interaction and formally in public schools. In modern Spanish, Guarani also refers to any Paraguayan national in the same way that the French are sometimes called Gauls.
The Jesuit reductions were a type of settlement for indigenous people specifically in the Rio Grande do Sul area of Brazil, Paraguay and neighbouring Argentina in South America, established by the Jesuit Order early in the 17th century and wound up in the 18th century with the banning of the Jesuit order in several European countries. Subsequently it has been called an experiment in "socialist theocracy" or a rare example of "benign colonialism".
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This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.Missing or empty