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Deciphering the Reducci-nes

November 11, 2001

When I read "Communing With the Jesuits" (by Richard O'Mara, Special Travel Issue, Oct. 14), I wondered why the missions into which the Jesuits gathered the Indians of Argentina in the 18th century were called reducci-nes. I knew that reducci-n means "reduction" in English. That's an odd word for a mission community. Then I looked in my diccionario and found that the word has another meaning: "subjugation." O'Mara wondered why King Charles III of Spain expelled the Jesuits from his American dominions. Maybe he didn't approve of subjugating the Indians.

Ann Alper

Pacific Palisades

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