Arias de Saavedra
By Vanessa Chu
Hernando Arias de Saavedra, also known as Hernandarias, a Spanish soldier, born in Asunción, Paraguay, in 1561, and died in Santa Fe in 1634. Son of Spanish parents, his father was one of the officers that accompanied Cabeza de Vaca, who participated in many arrangements against Indians. As a child Saavedra he spoke the language and knew the customs of the natives of the land, which allowed him to ascend later on. Hernandarias held office by the power of popular vote in July of 1592. For the first time a native held such a high position, he was made governor of Asuncion, which he held three different times, between 1597 and 1599, 1602 and 1609, and between 1615 and 1618. He was an incorruptible officer, he helped establish the economic because he strongly enforced the laws against smuggling.
He dedicated his time in exploring the territories in his jurisdiction, especially the territories in the South of Paraguay, in the Paraná and Uruguay rivers. Between 1607 and 1608, an expedition he made with a group of people, after months of observation he realized that the land were very good and could be used for cattle raising. He told the King of Spain about this expedition and the King thought it was a good idea and by time Hernandarias went back and took a whole group of cattle to be raised in that land. The abundance in cattle started to prosper and it attracted a lot of people from the north, the Brazilians, which were only there for the leather the cattle were producing.
In one of his expeditions he advanced south of Buenos Ayres, and was taken prisoner by the Indians, but he escaped and went back to Asuncion. He was best known by the reform he promoted, Ordenanzas de Hernandarias, which established the protection of the Indians and structured the relationship between the Spanish and the Indians. The second reform was the division of the Rio de la Plata into two different governments, Buenos Ayres and Paraguay, which was established in 1617, but resulted in 1620. He also strengthened the Spanish settlements, pacified the Native Americans, introduced public schools, and encouraged the growth of Buenos Ayres. Hernandarias was also well-known for uniting the church and the civil authorities, and for encouraging the establishment of Jesuit and Franciscan authorities. Hernandarias founded the city of Corrientes (now Argentina) and helped develop Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Asuncion.