By Daniel K. Lewis
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Additional resources for A South American Frontier: The Tri-border Region (Arbitrary Borders)
290–291. Beginnings would seem like tranquil islands in comparison to the less friendly lands farther south. The Guaranís had established important precedents that would influence the development of the region in the coming centuries. They had created a material foundation for the region’s economy. By clearing the land and building settlements, they established a more dynamic economy based on farming and trade. As their population expanded, the Guaranís were better able to defend their settlements from outsiders.
This map shows the two lines of demarcation and both countries’ sphere of influence. After signing the treaty in 1494, Spanish officials largely ignored the boundary that separated Spanish and Portuguese zones. As explorers stumbled across the islands and continents of the Americas, they surveyed and claimed territories as they saw fit. The Spanish, like the Portuguese, hoped to find an ocean route to Asia that would open up their own trading system. 16 New expeditions came to the Caribbean and the South Atlantic in the years that followed.
In addition to the contest between the Iberian kingdoms, historical developments complicated the political and material map of the region in other ways, as well. Asunción was the product of an expedition from Spain that targeted the Río de la Plata region for conquest, exploration, and settlement. As Buenos Aires failed, Asunción prospered. Legally, its subjects were ruled by authorities in Lima, the capital of the viceroyal government that ruled over Spanish South America. Communication with Lima, however, was difficult.
A South American Frontier: The Tri-border Region (Arbitrary Borders) by Daniel K. Lewis