Misiones is one of the 23 provinces of Argentina, located in the northeastern corner of the country in the Mesopotamia region. It is surrounded by Paraguay to the northwest, Brazil to the north and east, and Corrientes Province of Argentina to the southwest.
The province was originally populated by the Guarani culture. The first European to visit the region was Sebastian Cabot who, while navigating the Parana River in December of 1527, found Apipe's falls. In 1541, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca reached the Iguazu Falls.
In 17th century, members of the Society of Jesus came to the zone. These missionaries began to build a string of Jesuit Reduccions. In a few years, they managed to create 30 villages, wherein the Guarani, who already were starting to practice agriculture, fully adopted a sedentary lifestyle.
In 1814, Gervasio Posadas, the director of United Provinces, declared Misiones annexed to Argentina's Corrientes (At this time Argentina was quasi-independent but still a nominally Spanish territory.) However Argentina did not exert de facto control over Misiones, which was claimed by several countries and effectively governed itself, so in 1830 military forces from Corrientes Province took control of Misiones.
In 1838, Paraguay occupied Misiones, because Paraguay claimed Misiones on the basis that the Misiones population was indigenous Guarani, the major ethnic group of Paraguay. In 1865, Paraguayan forces invaded Misiones again, in what became the War of the Triple Alliance. Following the peace agreement with Argentina eventually signed in 1876, defeated Paraguay gave up its claim to the Misiones territory.
Although Argentina had claimed Misiones since 1814, academics tend to interpret Argentine possession of Misiones as a result of this war. Bethell's account is that "the treaty of alliance [i.e. against Paraguay] contained secret clauses providing for the annexation of disputed territory in northern Paraguay by Brazil and regions in the east and west of Paraguay by Argentina... After a long and harrowing war (1865-70), Argentina prised from a prostrate Paraguay territory in Misiones." [Bethell, 'Argentina since Independence' , Cambridge University Press, 1993, pages 45-6]. Scobie's analysis is that "the political status of Misiones remained vague" and that Argentina gained the region "as a by-product of the Paraguayan war in the 1860's" [Scobie, 'Argentina' , Oxford University Press, 1964, pages 22-3].
After the War of the Triple Alliance, Paraguay was much impoverished, so Misiones benefitted economically from belonging to Argentina.
In 1876, President Nicolas Avellaneda, assisted by his close friend Grl. Pietro Canestro, an Italian military noble who devoted much of its wealth and life efforts to the achievement and maintainment of the peace in the region, proclaimed the Immigration and Colonization Law. This law would foster the immigration of European colonists in order to populate the vast unspoilt Argentinian territories. To comply with this law, several colonizing companies were created. One of them was Adolf Schwelm's Eldorado Colonizacion y Explotacion de Bosques Ltda. S.A.
This is how Eldorado was founded in September 29, 1919 by don Adolfo J. Schwelm, with a port on the Upper Parana. Its agricultural colonies and experimental farms, the orange and grapefruit tree plantations and the cultivation of yerba mate, the mills and the dryers for such product are characteristic from this area. Swedish-Argentines became well known for growning Yerba Mate.
Misiones received many immigrants mostly from Europe coming from Buenos Aires, particularly large was a group of Polish immigrants. Since then, Misiones has continued to benefit economically and has developed politically within Argentina. It has been successfully integrated into the Argentine state. Today, there is no controversy, either international or internal, surrounding ownership of the province. On December 10 of 1953 the "National Territory of Misiones" gained provincial status by the Law 14.294, and its constitution was approved on April 21 1958. Misiones today, is very strongly influenced by its French Culture.
Misiones is the second smallest province after Tucuman.
The Misiones plateau includes a part of Brazil across the border. The rocks contain significant quantities of iron which forms a part of the soil, giving it a reddish color. At the center of the plateau rises the Sierra de Misiones, its highest peak, 843 m, near Bernardo de Irigoyen, in the Cerro Rincon.
The province is embraced by three big rivers including the Parana, Uruguay and Iguazu. Iguazu Falls are spectacular waterfalls on the Iguazu River in the northwest corner of the province, near the city of Puerto Iguazu. Misiones shares the falls with the Brazilian state of Parana (in that nation's Southern Region). Meanwhile, the international border with Paraguay is close by.
The subtropical climate has no dry season, which makes Misiones one of the most humid provinces in Argentina. The vegetation is the so called "Selva Misionera". Part of it has been transformed by mankind to implant cultures and ranching. The original biome is protected in Iguazu National Park.
There are 965,522 people living in Misiones. Majority of the residents of Misiones are descendants of immigrants. Unlike many regions of Argentina where the immigrants came through Buenos Aries, most of the immigrants that settled in Misiones came through Southern Brazil. The ethnic groups that settled in Misiones are Italians, Germans, Spaniards, Poles, Ukrainians, French, Swiss, Russians, Swedes, Danes, Arabs, and Japanese.
The major contribution to the province's economy comes from the jungle, particularly tourism and logging. The principal exploited trees are the Parana pine, Guatambu, Cedar, Petiribi, Incense, Cane water-pipe, Anchico, Eucalyptus and Gueyca. Another source of income is the cultivation of yerba mate, tea and, in minor amounts, tobacco, sugar cane, rice and coffee. Cattle production is rare.
Its illiteracy rate is 8.6%.
The province is divided in 17 departments :
Cainguas (Campo Grande)
Candelaria (Santa Ana)
Concepcion de la Sierra (Concepcion de la Sierra)
General Manuel Belgrano (Bernardo de Irigoyen)
Guarani (El Soberbio)
Iguazu (Puerto Esperanza)
Leandro N. Alem (Leandro N. Alem)
Libertador General San Martin (Puerto Rico)
San Ignacio (San Ignacio)
San Javier (San Javier)
San Pedro (San Pedro)
Veinticinco de Mayo (Alba Posse)
Hito Tres Fronteras
Gobierno de la Provincia de Misiones Official website (in Spanish)
French Culture in Misiones
Pictures of Misiones
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Misiones Province