Torres Bello, Diego de (1551–1638)

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Torres Bello, Diego de (1551–1638)

Diego de Torres Bello (b. 1551; d. 1638), Jesuit founder and first provincial of the Paraguay missions. Born in Villalpando, Castile, Torres joined the Society of Jesus and in 1581 was sent to work in Peru. He served for a few years as superior of the mission in Juli, near Lake Titicaca, then as superior of the Jesuit colleges in Cuzco, Quito, and Potosí. The Juli mission later served as a model for the Paraguay missions. In 1604 Paraguay and Chile were created as a separate Jesuit province, and Torres Bello was designated the first provincial. He set up his residence in Córdoba, Argentina, where he founded the novitiate as well as a seminary, which later became a university. Determined to protect the Indians from the Spaniards, he won approval for his plan to gather the former into mission towns, or "reductions." The first of these missions was founded in 1609; by the eighteenth century there were thirty. Torres Bello laid out the basic norms for the missions in a list of eighteen recommendations. Proficient in Aymara, Quechua, and Guaraní, he personally oversaw the building of the first missions. He finished his term as provincial in 1615, and spent his latter days working in the colleges of Buenos Aires and Chuquisaca, and in the missions among the Indians. He died in Chuquisaca.

See alsoJesuits; Missions: Jesuit Missions (Reducciones).


Rubén Vargas Ugarte, Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en el Perú, vol. 1 (1963).

Philip Caraman, The Lost Paradise: The Jesuit Republic in South America, 2d ed. (1990).

Silvio Palacios and Ena Zoffoli, Gloria y tragedia de las misiones guaraníes (1991).

                                           Jeffrey Klaiber

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Torres Bello, Diego de (1551–1638)

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