The largest group of indigenous people in the Bolivian Amazon, the Mojos, has coexisted with non-Natives since the late 1600s, when they accepted Jesuit missionaries into their homeland, converted to Catholicism, and adapted their traditional lifestyle to the conventions of mission life. Nearly two hundred years later they faced two new challenges: liberalism
and the rubber boom. White authorities promoted liberalism as a way of modernizing the region and ordered the dismantling of much of the social structure of the missions. The rubber
boom created a demand for labor, which took the Mojos away from their savanna towns and into the northern rain forests.
About Gary Van Valen
Gary Van Valen is an associate professor of history at the University of West Georgia.