Description of the Paraguay River

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Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788499530420

Before joining the Society of Jesus José Quiroga (1707-1784) he was a sailor. Together with the Jesuits Cardiel and Strobel he made a naval expedition between 1745-1746 from Buenos Aires along the Patagonian coast to Puerto Deseado and Puerto de la Cruz, of which there is a relationship and cartography.
After having determined exactly the geographical position of the thirty towns of Misiones and that of the cities of Asunción, Corrientes, Santa Fe, Colonia, Montevideo and Buenos Aires, he wrote his map Description of the Paraguay River, from the mouth of the Xaurú to the confluence of the Paraná.

Father José Quiroga, one of the most enlightened members of the Society of Jesus, was born in 1707 in Fabás, a small village in the jurisdiction of La Coruña, in Galicia. The proximity of this port, and the continuous commemoration that was made in his family of the travels of a bereaved who frequented the Colonies, fueled his desire to visit them. To this end he studied mathematics, in which he made rapid progress; and when his age permitted, he embarked to do his nautical apprenticeship. He wanted to acquire the necessary knowledge to occupy the position of pilot.
On one of these trips he befriended a religious of the Society of Jesus, who was going to the Indies. The painting he made of his institute, and of the advantages it offered to those who manifested zeal and talents, made such a vivid impression on the spirit of the young Quiroga, that he decided to take the habit of St. Ignatius. His superiors urged him not to abandon his studies, in which he was well advanced; and they offered him a chair of mathematics, which they founded expressly in the college of Buenos Aires.
The governor Don Domingo Ortiz de Rosas, entrusted this task to Father Quiroga, who since then was consulted with preference in all scientific enterprises.
When the court of Spain ordered to explore the accessible points of the Patagonian coast, and the most purposeful to establish populations, the pilots Varela and Ramírez, who came aboard the frigate San Antonio, were associated with Father Quiroga, whose diary served Father Lozano to write the one we have published in the first volume of our collection.
On his return from this commission, the fathers of the Society commissioned him to raise the map of the territory of Misiones: —vast and difficult work, not only because of the nature of the terrain, but also because of the lack of materials and resources. In spite of these obstacles, Father Quiroga accepted this commission, and after having determined with a neat accuracy the geographical position of the thirty towns of Misiones, and that of the cities of Asunción, Corrientes, Santa Fe, Colonia, Montevideo and Buenos Aires, he wrote his map with the data provided by the published and unpublished relations of the missionaries. when it was not possible for him to acquire them personally.
This work, which has no more merit on the day than that of its priority, was published in Rome in 1753, by the chalcographer Fernando Franceschelli, who, conforming to the custom of his time, added in the margins several news of Paraguay, and the general table of the degrees of latitude and longitude, according to the observations of the author.
One of the most incorrect parts of this map is the course of the Paraguay River, and it was precisely the one that Father Quiroga had the opportunity to rectify shortly after, when in 1752 he accompanied the Spanish commissioner, Don Manuel Antonio de Flores, in charge of putting the dividing frame at the mouth of the Jaurú, in compliance with article 6 of the treaty, adjusted in Madrid on January 13, 1750.
This recognition, the only fruit of that laborious negotiation, was the last service rendered to the government by this religious scholar, and it is also the one that most honors his memory. Don Luis de la Cruz Cano de Olmedilla used this diary for the formation of his great map of South America, which published in Madrid in 1775, and reproduced by Faden in London, in 1799, was adopted by Arrowsmith, in 1811.
This document would have suffered the fate of almost all the works of the last Jesuits in these regions, had it not been for the care of Father Domingo Muriel (or Ciriaco Morelli, as he seemed to be called in his works), who inserted it in the appendix of his Latin version of Father Charlevoix’s History of Paraguay. from where we have extracted it.

Peter of Angelis

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