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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the most significant aspects of constructing the frontier in the north of Bolivia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We particularly focus on the impact of state policies on ethnolinguistic groups in the department of Beni and on the Guarayos in the department of Santa Cruz, as well as on the inter-ethnic relations that developed between these groups and the rest of Bolivian society. We first analyze the strategies, activities, and institutions of indigenous Benianos with respect to the exercise of their constitutional rights in both the sociopolitical realm, as expressed through local government, and the socioeconomic realm, centered on land ownership. We then analyze the establishment of Franciscan missions among the Guarayos as a basic tool employed by Bolivian governments as a “civilizing vanguard” with the theoretic aim of transforming “savages” into “citizens.”

Keywords: Guarayos, Beni, Franciscan missions, legislation, citizenship, colonization

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