Guaraní (people)

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Guaraní family
Shaman at a meeting of Guarani leaders

The Guaraní are an Indian ethnic group who settled as arable farmers in Central South America in pre-Columbian times and are therefore one of the indigenous peoples of South America . The settlement areas of the more than 280,000 Guaraní in 2017 belong to Paraguay , where 61,000 of them live, then Bolivia (83,000), Argentina (54,000), Brazil (85,000) and Uruguay .


The Guaraní were one of the first peoples in South America to come into contact with Europeans. In 1567 Ulrich Schmidl reported about them in his work " True histories of a wonderful shipping" .

Even the first Spanish governor of Paraguay officially promoted the mixing of the Spanish colonists with the indigenous people, a concern that later rulers also had. Many Paraguayans therefore have Guarani ancestors, although they are not officially assigned to this people.

The Jesuits were committed to protecting the Guaraní from slave hunters and exploitation by the white upper class. With the " Jesuit reductions of the Guaraní" they created America's first "Indian reservations" from 1610. These protected settlements were only allowed to be entered by Guaraní, Jesuits and invited guests; they were not under the jurisdiction of the colonial government, but formally the Spanish crown.

However, the conflicts with the colonial authorities and large landowners led in 1767 that the Jesuits on the orders of the Spanish King Charles III. expelled from the Spanish areas of Latin America and the Jesuit reductions lifted. One testimony is the ruined city of San Ignacio Miní , a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Argentine province of Misiones.

In 1857 the historical novel O Guarani by José de Alencar was published , one of the most important works of Brazilian Romanticism. The action takes place in 1604. The opera adaptation by Antônio Carlos Gomes (1870) is considered a milestone in Brazilian music history.

The annihilation of the Jesuit reductions by the Spanish and Portuguese is the subject of the film Mission (1986).

Guaraní today

In Paraguay, the Guaraní now make up around 1 percent of the population. However, their language is spoken by over 80 percent of Paraguayans and is recognized as the country's second official language. The nickname of the Paraguayan national soccer team and the currency of Paraguay are also called Guaraní .

In Brazil, the Guaraní are the largest indigenous people in the country, divided into three subgroups (Kaiowá, Ñandeva and M'byá). 54,000 Guaraní live in Argentina. About 130,000 Guaraní live in Bolivia and their language, like all indigenous languages ​​occurring in the country, is officially recognized. Some of the speakers actually belong to the Chiriguanos , but they usually identify themselves as Guaraní nowadays.

The film Birdwatchers - the land of the red people , in which indigenous amateur actors take part (2008, director: Marco Bechis ) has the theme of the Guaraní's struggle for survival in Mato Grosso , Brazil .

See also



  • Clemente McNaspy: Pueblos de Guaranies en las Selvas Rio-Platenses . Ediciones Loyola, Asunción 1981.
  • Franz Müller: Etnografía de los Guaraní del Alto Paraná . Societatis Verbi Divini, Rosario 1989.
  • Elisabeth Gallhoff: The Ñemongaraí ritual of the Guaraní. An ethnological analysis (= workbooks of the Latin America Center. No. 63). Latin America Center of the Westphalian Wilhelms University Münster, Münster 1999.
  • Branislava Susnik: The natives on the Rio Paraguay. Ethnic history of the Guaranies . Neuwied 1995, ISBN 3-9803007-6-5 (German translation by Wilhelm Chraska of the first edition published in 1980 by the Museo Etnográfico "Andres Barbero" , Asunción, under the title Los Aborigenes del Paraguay. Etnohistoria de los Guaranies, Epoca Colonial ).
  • Angélica Otazú Melgarejo: Práctica y Semántica en la Evangelización de los Guaraníes del Paraguay (pp. XVI – XVIII) . Centro de Estudios Paraguayos "Antonio Guasch" / Distribuidora Montoya, Asunción 2006, ISBN 99925-895-7-4 .


  • Wolf Dietrich : More evidence for an internal classification of Tupi-Guarani languages . Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-7861-1606-7 .
  • Bartomeu Melia: La lengua guarani del Paraguay . Editorial MAPFRE, Madrid 1992, ISBN 84-7100-608-1 .
  • Azucena Palacios Alcaine: Introducción a la lengua y cultura Guaraníes . Universitat de València, Valencia 1999, ISBN 84-370-4151-1 .
  • Yolanda Russinovich Solé: Valores comunicativos y emblemáticos del Español y del Guaraní . Instituto Caro y Cuervo, Bogotá 2001.


  • Lucía Gálvez: Guaranies y Jesuitas. De la Tierra is Mal al Paraíso. 2nd Edition. Sudamericana, Buenos Aires, 1995.
  • Ernesto Maeder: La Conquista de la Justicia. Ruiz de Montoya y los Guaranies . Editorial Docencia, Buenos Aires 1988.
  • John Manuel Monteiro: Os Guarani ea história do Brasil meridional, séculos XVI – XVII. In: Manuela Carneiro da Cunha (Ed.): Historia dos índios do Brasil . Editora Schwarcz, São Paulo 1992, pp. 475-500.
  • León Goldstein: Las Misiones Jesuíticas Guaraníes . Manrique Zago ediciones, Buenos Aires 1997, ISBN 950-9517-92-5 .
  • Graciela Chamorro: História Kaiowa. The Origens aos Desafios Contemporâneos . Nhanduti, São Bernardo do Campos 2015, ISBN 978-85-60990-23-8 .

The Guaraní today

  • Manya Ghahramani: The development of a bilingual intercultural school system in Bolivia with a special focus on the Guaraní . Edition Praesens, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-7069-0097-1 .
  • Richard K. Reed: Guardianes de la Selva. Comunidades guaraní y recolección comercial . Centro de Estudios Antropológicos de la Universidad Católica, Asunción 2003, ISBN 99925-879-0-3 .
  • Diethelm Busse: School with the Guaranies in Bolivia. Strengthening indigenous identity and empowering them for the future . Paulo Freire Verlag, Oldenburg 2006, ISBN 3-86585-218-1 .

Web links

Commons : Guaraní  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b 280,000 Guarani Indians live in four countries , UN
  2. Expedition to the Silver Stream. Ulrich Schmidl's adventures in South America. ( Memento from April 12, 2013 in the web archive ) TV documentary by Engelbert Schwarzenbeck
  3. Website for the film Birdwatchers (with video)