Between XVIII and XVIII (they were expelled by the Spanish Crown in 1767) the Jesuits worked in projects of successful social and economic communities in the north of Argentina and left a significant legacy of fundamental value for mankind. Their work and vision were included among the World Heritage sites by the UNESCO.
The 17th century San Ignacio Mini mission ruins (declared Historic Patrimony by the UNESCO) located 60 kms from Posadas and 222 from Iguaz˙, are one of the greatest attractions of the province of Misiones. The Jesuits arrived in America during the middle of XVI century, and established towns for the indians independent of the Spanish government, directly responding to the Crown of Spain. But in 1768 they were expelled from America and the kingdom of Spain and they started to
weaken in the area.
Finally, all these towns were attacked and
arsoned and between 1817 and 1822 had almost disappeared. Many years later San Ignacio was rediscovered and almost completely restored (between 1943 and 1952) from the materials that layed scattered around. Argentine poet and writer Leopoldo Lugones was one of the first promoters of the area. He wrote a book about the missions, with photographs taken by Horacio Quiroga, who would later become a writer himself and who best described
the typical red soil of this part of Argentina.
A treasure of
the past the San Ignacio Mini are the best known missions ruins but not the only ones. There were others missions located in this "earth without evil" as called by the Indians.
Another similar treasures is located in Yapeyu, (General Jose de San Martin┤s birhtplace) from the beginning of XVII. The present town of Yapey¨ was built on the ruins of what was the Jesuits town and you can see vestiges of those walls which were reused by later settlers.