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Apóstoles Department, Misiones Province, Argentina

Last modified: 2021-12-24 by rob raeside
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Apóstoles Municipality

[Apostoles municipal flag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 Sep 2012

The municipality of Apóstoles (42,457 inhabitants in 2010) is located In the southeastern corner of the Misiones Province, 70 km of Posadas.

Apóstoles originates in the establishment of the Natividad reduction in August 1633 by the Jesuit fathers Diego de Alfaro and Pedro Alvarez. Originally located in today's Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), the reduction was threatened by raids organized by Portuguese colonists from Saõ Paulo. In 1637, Father Superior Antonio Ruiz ordered the exodus of the reductions towards safer place, first southwards and eventually westwards. Natividad was relocated close to the San Francisco Javier reduction - today, San Javier.

Following the advance of the colonists and the destruction in September 1839 of the reduction of Apóstoles de Caázapaguazú, Diego de Alfaro was appointed commander of the Guaraní troops and killed in a battle. Pedro Álvarez temporarily succeeded him as the leader of Natividad, until replaced by the Belgian father Nicolás del Techo (Nicolas du Toit), who renamed the reduction Principe de los Apóstoles in 1641. The reduction was moved three years later between the San Javier and Santa María la Mayor reductions, and, much later, between the Concepción and Santa María la Mayor reductions.

In 1644, del Techo renamed the reduction Santos Apóstoles Pedro y Pablo (Sts. Apostles Peter and Paul), subsequently shortened to Apóstoles. The reduction was eventually relocated in 1652 on the site of the today's town of the same name.

As prescribed by the Royal Pragmatic Sanction signed on 27 February 1767 by King of Spain Charles III, the Jesuits were expelled from Apóstoles on 7 August 1768. Father Segismundo Spergger, deemed too old and ill to travel, was allowed to stay in Apóstoles, being the only Jesuit father not expelled from the Spanish realms. Appointed as the new religious administrator of Apóstoles, the Mercedarian father José Antonio Barrios failed to learn the Guaraní language; so did the civil administrator, Juan de Alegre, so that the organization and agricultural production of the reduction quickly declined

The exile of the Jesuits did not stop the colonist's threat. Andrés ("Andresito") Guaçurarí y Artigas, a mixed-race adoptive son of Gervasio Artigas probably born in 1778, was appointed in 1815 Commander General of the Missions. On 2 July 1818, Guaçurarí defeated in Apóstoles the troops led Franco das Chagas Santos, who had invaded and looted the region in January-March 1817. The Portuguese colonists were repelled beyond river Uruguay. After the battle, some of the inhabitants of Apóstoles stayed there, while other moved westwards, founding Loreto (Corrientes), or southwards, founding Durazno (Uruguay). In 1830, the government of Corrientes sold Apóstoles, which became the crossroads of trails used by the yerba mate "mining" expeditions. In the 1860s, Father Gay reported that most inhabitants of Apóstoles worked as carters.

Apóstoles had 1,263 inhabitants according to the 1895 census. The same year, the engineer Juan Queirel was commissioned to draft the plan of the future colony of Apóstoles. A first group of 60 European immigrants, mostly Poles and Ukrainians, arrived in the colony on 27 August 1897. The railway built by the Clark Brothers company appeared in the colony in 1909.

The municipality of Apóstoles was officially established on 28 November 1913, succeeding the Municipal Council formed in 1908. The National Yerba Mate Festival was prescribed in the town in 1961 by Provincial Law No. 82. in 1981, a National Decree made of Apóstoles the permanent host of the National Yerba Mate Festival and the Yerba Maté National Capital.

The symbols of Apóstoles (coat of arms, flag, song, day of refoundation, day of establishment of the first Municipal Council, day of onomastics and of the town) are prescribed in Article 5 ("Municipal symbols") of the Organic Charter of Apóstoles, promulgated on 17 December 2010.

The tortuous description of the flag is copied, word for word, from the official description of the flag of the Misiones Province, green replacing blue as the middle colour. Accordingly, the flag is horizontally divided red-green-white.

The municipal website explains that the flag of Apóstoles dates back to the Federal League of Free Peoples (Banda Oriental - today, Uruguay -, Entre Ríos, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Corrientes and Misiones), governed by José Gervasio Artigas. The League used the blue-red-white flag - today used by the Misiones Province, while each of the constituting provinces used its own flag. Andrés Guaçurarí, governor of the Misiones Province, designed the green-red-white flag for the province. At the time, red meant Federalism and the blood shed in the struggle for freedom, green represented the dense forests, and white stood for liberty and peace.

The flag used today in Apóstoles has a different meaning: red represents the coloured land, a place of work and an ethnical melting pot; green represents yerba mate and the healthy and ecological environment; and white represents hope, tolerance, dignity and life.
Ivan Sache, 30 Sep 2012

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San José Municipality

[San Jose municipal flag] image by Ivan Sache, 03 Jan 2014

The municipality of San José (4,599 inhabitants in 2001; 417 sq. km)is located in the south of the Misiones Province.

San José is named for the Jesuit reduction of San José. The historian Pablo Pastells writes that the reduction was founded in 1633 in the Serranía del Tapé, threatened by the Portuguese pioneers ("bandeirantes") from Brazil, and relocated in 1638 on the eastern bank of river Paraná. Félix de Azara writes that the reduction was relocated in 1660 to its eventual location, northeast of the sources of brook Pindapoy in the Tabiapú mountains.

The exact location of the reduction between 1638 and 1660 is unknown. Written sources relate that General Artigas crossed the Paraná at San José Pass, "the port of the disappeared reduction of San José, once the port of Anunciación and Santa Cruz de Itapúa, on the left bank of Paraná". It can be guessed that the reduction of San José de Itacuatiá was located from 1638 to 1660 on the site of the suppressed reduction of Anunciación de Nuestra Sra. de Itapúa, the today's site of Posadas, the capital of the Misiones Province.

San José was re-settled in 1891 by the land surveyor Juan Queirel; the San José colony was officially established by Decree of 14 August 1892.

The flag of San José is vertically divided white-green. At the bottom is placed a yellow five-rayed rising sun ensigned with a brown Jesuit cross surrounded by two hands.

The flag, selected among six proposals in a public contest organized by the municipality, was presented on 30 November 2010 (Misiones Flag Day).

According to the flag's designer, Maria Haidee Gallardo, white represents simplicity, green represents vegetation. The hands are a symbol of friendship, the rising sun is a symbol of energy, and the Jesuit cross represents the origin of the town.
Ivan Sache, 03 Jan 2014

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