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Mojos, region located in the foothills and plains of the Andes, extending from northern to central southeastern Bolivia, and its Indian inhabitants. The Rio Mamoré runs through the center of the region, connecting its tropical savannas to the Amazon basin. The Mojos region, named after the local tribe, beckoned into its inhospitable realms numerous Spanish explorers in search of El Dorado. But its inaccessibility, harsh climate, local resistance, and disputes among the explorers thwarted most efforts of conquest and settlement. Nevertheless, each expedition, whether sponsored by Peruvian authorities or led by Paraguayan competition, pressed further on, establishing outposts where possible. By 1563, although far from pacified, Mojos was officially incorporated into the Audiencia of Charcas.

The Jesuits, who entered the area in 1595, fared better than their civil and military counterparts. They persevered in their attempts at pacification, and in 1667, Brother Juan de Soto made friendly contact with the Mojos. By 1682, the Jesuits had founded the first of twenty-six missions. The Jesuits' activity in Mojos is often compared to their acclaimed and controversial missionary work in Paraguay. With the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, the region remained relatively untouched until the late-nineteenth-century development of its rubber industry.

See alsoAmazon Region; Andes.


Josep M. Barnadas, Charcas: Orígenes históricos de una sociedad colonial (1973), pp. 61-62, 466.

Herbert S. Klein, Bolivia: The Evolution of a Multi-Ethnic Society (1982); pp. 7-8, 35.

Francisco J. Eder, Breve descripción de la reducciones de Mojos, translated and edited by Josep M. Barnadas (1985), pp. xlii-xliii.

Additional Bibliography

Cortés, Jorge. Caciques y hechiceros: Huellas en la historia de Mojos. La Paz, Bolivia: Plural Editores: Universidad de la Cordillera, 2005.

Guzmán Torrico, Ismael. Provincia Mojos: Tierra, territorio, y desarrollo. La Paz, Bolivia: Fundación Tierra, 2004.

Roca, José Luis. Economía y sociedad en el Oriente Boliviano, siglos XVI-XX. Santa Cruz, Bolivia: COTAS, 2001.

                            Lolita GutiÉrrez Brockington