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Spanish Boundary Commission Report on Spanish and Portuguese Territory in South America and the Guarani War

Identifier: GTM-20131216

Scope and Contents

The report is a 454 page bound manuscript written in Spanish in scribal hand, dated to approximately 1760.

This collection has been digitized and is available to view online in DigitalGeorgetown.


  • circa 1760

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the manuscript is generally restricted for preservation purposes. The manuscript has been digitized and is available online via DigitalGeorgetown. Additionally, a facsimile is available for viewing in our reading roon.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Historical Note

The events described in this memoir pertain to the proceedings of the section of the commission sent to enforce the Treaty of Madrid on Brazil's border with Paraguay, (a party had been sent to Brazil's northern border as well). The Commission had been sent by Ferdinand VII of Spain and John of Portugal, in order to arrive at a settlement of the boundary question arising out of the terms of the Bull of Alexander VII whereby the world, as a field of Spanish and Portuguese conquest, exploration and development, was divided into two parts, by a line running down a parallel one hundred leagues distant from the Azores.

Differences of opinion arose, but were amicably settled by the two sovereigns, and the Treaty was concluded at Madrid in 1750. Each monarch undertook to guarantee the integrity of the other's dominions, and a mutually satisfactory plan to put the Treaty into effect was agreed. Under Spanish and Portuguese leadership it was to be assisted by experts well versed in the cartographic sciences. The Spanish King nominated the Marquis de Valde-Lirios as his plenipotentiary. The party set out from Cadiz in November 1751, arriving at Montevideo in January 1752 proceeding later to Buenos Aires. Here they were warmly welcomed by the Captain General, and other dignitaries, but the Jesuits were especially cordial, and the Spaniards made the Jesuit college their headquarters. However while the expedition was at sea, the Jesuit Society of Paraguay petitioned the Spanish Viceroy to prevent the work of the commission being carried out, on the grounds that the political redistribution inevitably arising from their work would involve the surrender to Portugal of a number of towns, and “reductions” whose inhabitants were loyal to the Spanish crown having been converted by the Paraguayan Jesuit mission. Charges of various kinds were leveled against Portugal in an attempt to bolster the petition, for instance, that the Portuguese had more correct information than the Spaniards, concerning the conditions and geographical distribution of communities in South America, had deliberately planned the new survey to increase their sphere of influence amongst the native population. The Viceroy began an inquiry into these allegations, but found no substance in them and ordered the implementation of the Treaty. Despite further attempts at sabotage by the Society, matters proceeded relatively smoothly, until insurrection by the Guarani, supported by the Jesuits in the “seven reductions” hindered its finalization. The Guarani War ensued but eventually, despite first being repulsed in 1754, the joint Hispano/Lusitanian force finally subdued the native rebels in 1756.

[Provided by Maggs Bros. Ltd., London.]


0.2 Cubic Feet (1 bound manuscript box)

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian

Metadata Rights Declarations

Custodial History

Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster purchased the item from Maggs Bros. Ltd., London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster, 2013.

Spanish Boundary Commission Report on Spanish and Portuguese Territory in South America and the Guarani War
John Zarrillo
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024-05: Digitized content linked to finding aid by John Zarrillo.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057