La Chiquitania

Bolivia, 2010. The Chiquitania is a region in the eastern part of the country, where Jesuitical missions were established between 1691 – 1767, carrying on a unique experiment in terms of respectful integration of the Indigenous Chiquitanos, while, of course, Christianising them. The “Chiquito” province represented the first scenery in the East of Bolivia where the encounter between the Spanish conquistadors’ culture and the indigenous’ one took place; the name “Chiquitos” was first formulated by the Spanish arriving in this region in their search for richness — apparently surprised by the tiny dimensions of the doors Chiquitos used to built to access their traditional houses. The Chiquitano people – apparently, and comparing with other ethnic groups – have little history and culture; yet, this is not true. They are people indeed rich in history and customs, today in a delicate equilibrium between tradition and modernity. Today the territory of Chiquitos is a land, a province, 10 missions, an ethnic group, a language, a culture, and an ecosystem. In this hot and humid region of the eastern Bolivia, between 1691 and 1767, 10 Jesuitical missions where established, giving rise to a unique experience, which lasted 75 years, and whose overall cultural heritage is well alive today.