Eldorado, Native Past
According to research done in excavation sites and archeological recoveries in areas such as San Ignacio, Eldorado, Apóstoles, San Pedro, etc., it is estimated that the territory of Misiones would be inhabited about 10,000 years ago.
The truth is that there is very few data. Most information pieces have been found through archeological findings carried out at sites such as the Tres de Mayo Creek, where hand axes and other carving tools made of stone, similar to those from the European Paleolithic, were found in a natural cave near the creek.
The Guaraní natives that inhabited this soil were hunters, collectors and farmers (their main crop was the tapioca).
The natives that dwell Misiones nowadays are the Mbayá, one of the three large ethnic groups that would orginally make up the Guaraní people strictly speaking.
The primitive Guaraníes developed three types of settlements: well-houses and embankments complemented with funeral mounds, campsites and temporary campsites in caves.
They would make simple pieces of pottery: bowls and pots with round bases, conical and cilindrical glasses. The polished flowerpots were smooth, had a dark chestnut reddish color and were decorated with geometric forms (parallel, horizontal and transverse lines). They would also make large stone axes and mortar pestles.
The families had an absolute patriarchal organization and were under the command of a chief whom they called k>Tubicha.
In December 1527, going up the Paraná river, Sebastián Caboto came across the Apipé waterfalls. In 1541, Álvar Núnez Cabeza de Vaca discovered the Iguazú Falls and, in the name of the crown, took possession of those lands, thus giving origin to a new stage in the history of Misiones.
In the early XVII century, the conquerors tried to imposed themselves by force, but they were confronted by the Indians' strong resistance. The Spanish governor decided to put in practice another colonialist strategy and gave the task of catechizing the Natives to the Company of Jesus.
Thus, a process of concentration of the population began towards the end of 1637, with the reducciones. A reducción was a settlement formed by Indian communities gathered in order to be evangelized. According to the Jesuit priest Antonio González Dorado, the reducciones system had three main purposes: 1) the conversion of the infidels to Christianism; 2) the salvation of Indians; 3) the pacification between Spaniards and Indians.
The cacicazgo was a traditional Guaraní institution that was kept at the reducciones. In some towns there were up to 50 caciques. Each of them would watch for their subjects. This task became a noble competition to improve each group. The reducción would be divided into neighborhoods and each neighborhood constituted one or several cacicazgos.
Charles III, king of Spain, signed the expulsion of the Jesuits from all their domains by Royal Charter in February 27, 1767. The order was executed by Bucarelli, who was the governor of Buenos Aires, in August 1768. The Jesuits and the Guaraníes abided peacefully by such command.
In 1876, President Nicolás Avellaneda proclaimed the Immigration and Colonization Law. This law would foster the immigration of European colonists in order to populate the vast unspoilt Argentinian territories. To comply with this law, several colonizing companies were created. One of them was Adolf Schwelm's Eldorado Colonización y Explotación de Bosques Ltda. S.A.
This is how Eldorado was founded in September 29, 1919 by don Adolfo J. Schwelm, with a port on the Upper Paraná.
Its agricultural colonies and experimental farms, the orange and grapefruit tree plantations and the cultivation of yerba mate, the mills and the dryers for such product are characteristic from this area.