By Daniel K. Lewis
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Extra info for A South American Frontier: The Tri-border Region (Arbitrary Borders)
The Cario tribes that lived in the area surrounding the site were grateful hosts. Having engaged in generations of conflict with surrounding tribes that launched raids from the west and the south, the Carios were willing to make an alliance with the Spanish survivors. This alliance gave the Spanish a military force that dominated the region. Campaigns into the Chaco and along the Paraguay and Paraná River basins helped secure a transit route into the Atlantic. The alliance also served as the basis of a distinct community that spread south and west of Asunción.
The successful exploitation of the area’s resources, however, attracted explorers and invaders from Brazil. Searching for slaves and for marketable goods, after 1545, raiders from the coast attacked Guaraní settlements with greater frequency. As the raids grew, tensions between Spanish and Portuguese authorities mounted. Consequently, before the first wave of European exploration and settlement of the tri-border region had come to a close, the 29 30 A SOUTH AMERICAN FRONTIER: THE TRI-BORDER REGION question of who controlled this land and its people fell into dispute.
These awards put one or more Guaraní settlements in the hands of the grantees. Those who controlled an encomienda controlled the labor of the settlements under their authority. ) With available labor, the grantees took charge of the supply of food, clothing, and other staples. They also opened up new mercantile industries: ranching, tanning, the production of yerba mate, and the collection of wood for fuel, construction, and other uses. The encomienda grants cemented the elite position of the Spanish invaders and their descendants in the generations that European Settlement followed.