1. Migratory flows of missionaries

Most of the Hungarians who emigrated to Latin America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were Jesuit missionaries who mainly participated in the evangelization of the American continent, thus contributing to the improvement of the daily conditions of the inhabitants, and leaving their traces for future generations, especially in Peru and Argentina. Besides preaching on faith, their contribution was valuable in other fields such as medicine, architecture and geography, and several taught in colleges and universities. Their achievements include the preparation of the plan to rebuild the cathedral of Lima after the earthquake, the founding of the first printing house in Argentina, the successful work against the plague epidemic in Paraguay, and the description of the maté herb infusion. In addition to promoting the development of the culture of the local communities, these Jesuits expanded the knowledge of the Hungarians on the New World through their publications on these communities and distant regions. After the suppression of the Society of Jesus, some Jesuits decided to return to Hungary, while others stayed in Latin America where several had to spend the rest of their lives imprisoned.

János Rátkay (1647-1684) Jesuit missionary in Latin America who lived in the current territory of Mexico. He carried out his missionary activity among the Tarahumara, in the Strait of Carichic, where he died. The letters he wrote during his mission later were also published in print and contributed to the knowledge on Latin America at the time. (Mexico)

Zsigmond Asperger (1667-1772) Hungarian doctor. He arrived to Buenos Aires in 1717, and later taught at the University of Córdoba. He participated in the struggle against two plague epidemics (1719, 1730). The second one expanded in Paraguay. Most of the Indians could survive the epidemic thanks to the curative activity of Asperger. Asperger was a Jesuit, but he did not carry out missionary activity. He collected several medicinal plants, from which he elaborated medicines. He achieved so much prestige that when in 1767 the other monks of his community were expelled from South America, they made an exception with him, and he was allowed to remain in the Loreto Mission for the rest of his life. (Paraguay)

János Rér (1691-1756) Jesuit missionary. He arrived to Peru in 1729, where he taught the Quechua population - then taught mathematics at the University of San Marcos. After the earthquake of 1746, he played an important role in the reconstruction of Lima. To resist future earthquakes, the fallen roof of the cathedral was completely redesigned by him. Between 1750 and 1756, he published studies in relation to natural sciences every year. (Peru)

Károly Brentán (1694-1752) Jesuit missionary. He arrived to South America in the 1720s, to the region of the Marañón River. He learned different autochthonous languages and successfully carried out a missionary activity in several indigenous communities. In 1732 he was appointed head of the San Regis de Yameos Mission. Between 1744 and 1747 he had the rank of governor in the province of Quito, and then he was sent to Rome as ambassador. He traveled to Genoa with the intention of publishing his book, but before he could achieve it, he died in a village near Genoa. (Ecuador)

László Orosz (1697-1773) Hungarian Jesuit monk. Before emigrating to Argentina he participated in Ferenc Rákóczi’s War of Independence. In 1729 he arrived to Buenos Aires, then in Cordoba, where he taught at the university and founded the first printing house in Argentina, which was moved to Buenos Aires after the suppression of the Jesuit order. The achievements of László Orosz are outstanding, however in the country has no commemorative plaque. (Argentina)

Ferenc Limp (1696-1769) Jesuit missionary. He arrived at the colony of the Río de la Plata (Argentina) together with László Orosz, and managed to reach the Guaraní people in Paraguay. He participated in several missions, first in Concepción, then in Loreto. He spent his last years in Yapeyú (Argentina). At the time when the Jesuits were leaving he was not deported due to his lethal illness. From the preserved letter about his work we can learn about the geography of Paraguay and the life of the missionaries of the time (Argentina, Paraguay).

Mihály Herre (1697-1737) coadjutor brother, missionary in Chile. He took part in the construction of the Jesuit School of Concepción, where he collaborated with another Hungarian missionary, Márton Hedry. (Chile)

Nándor Koncság (1703-1759) Jesuit missionary. He was sent to Baja California, and later named visitator of the province. His memory is kept in the missions of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores and Santa Gertrudis - still inhabited - and his diary in which he declares that California is a peninsula and not an island. (México)

Márton Hedry (1709-1774) missionary in Chile, spread the Christian doctrines among the Araucan people. After leaving the American continent he returned to Hungary, where he settled first in Esztergom, then in Székesfehérvár, and became a parish priest. (Chile)

Fülöp Ferder (1713-??) missionary. He arrived to the Rio de la Plata region in 1745. He worked for five years in the Jesuit reduction of San Tomé, and later became head of the Loreto mission. After the expulsion of the Jesuits, he also returned to his country. (Argentina)

Ferenc Szerdahelyi (1717-1773) missionary. He arrived to Latin America in 1748, participated in the Yapeú mission in Paraguay (now Argentina), he successfully produced cotton and tobacco. The tea composed by him, an infusion of evergreen leaves of the shrub Ilex paraguayensis, is also known as the tea of the Jesuits. It is an important article of export of Paraguay, widely known as mate. (Argentina, Paraguay)

Ignác Lyro (1717-??) He arrived to South America in 1754 as a Jesuit missionary. He worked in Quito, Ecuador, where along with his missionary activity, he mainly carried out geographical research. He studied a lot the Peruvian and the Ecuadorian geography. After the suppression of the order, he returned to Europe. (Peru, Ecuador)

Ignác Szentmártonyi (1718-1793), Jesuit friar, arrived to Brazil in 1749. The mission of Szentmártonyi explored the region of the common border of Peru and Bolivia with the current Rondonia and Mato Grosso, as well as the jungles of the Rio Negro. (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru)

János Zachariás (1719-1772) after being ordained a priest, he decided to be a missionary in Latin America. After his arrival he lived in Lima, then began his missionary activity in Bolivia. From South America he sent letters to Europe, in which he reported on slave traders and on the often cruel actions of European soldiers. He returned to Europe in 1776. (Peru, Bolivia)

Dávid Alajos Fáy (1721-1767) Jesuit missionary. He arrived from Portugal to Brazil, after 46 days of sailing. Throughout his trips on the rivers that flow into the São Marcos Bay, he came into contact with several local ethnic groups. The reports on their life and customs that he prepared are significant sources of information. As he never studied natural sciences, his notes in many cases do not reflect reality. He was expelled from Brazil, and imprisoned in Portugal, where he lost his life. (Brazil) 

János Szluha (1723-1803) Jesuit missionary. In 1750 he was ordained a priest, and from 1752, for eight years, he participated in the mission of Marañón in Peru. During his journey he took advantage of his mathematical knowledge, mainly when doing cartographic calculations. After the expulsion of the Jesuits, he was imprisoned in Portugal, and could only thank his escape to the successful intervention of an Austrian envoy. (Peru)

József Haller (1725-1777) missionary, abbot of the monastery of Maramures. He arrived to Brazil as a missionary, however, he only spent a few years there. He carried out most part of his missionary activity in Peru, teaching several indigenous communities. In 1777 he arrived to Quito. (Ecuador)

József Kayling (1725-1791) entered the Jesuit order in Trenčín. In the 1750s he arrived to Brazil, assigned to the tremembé population. He joined the missionaries who were already active in this indigenous community. Later, he was appointed director of a sugar mill, then he was expelled from Brazil and imprisoned in Lisbon. Thanks to the intervention of Queen Maria Theresa, he was released. (Brazil)

Xaver Ferenc Éder (1727-1772) Jesuit missionary. He arrived to Peru at the beginning of 1751. He founded several missionary centers. In order to evangelize the local population, he learned indigenous languages. He traveled throughout the entire territory, took notes on local populations, and on flora and fauna. He helped discover the unknown landscapes of the region, drawing maps based on his experiences. He returned to Hungary and summarized all his knowledge of the region in a manuscript written in Latin. His studies were published 20 years after his death by Pál Makó and later they were published in Spanish as well. (Peru)

Miklós Plantich (1738-??) Jesuit monk, half Hungarian, half Croatian, born in Zagreb. He arrived to the current territory of Argentina together with László Orosz. He worked first at the University of Córdoba, and then at the Jesuit School of Montevideo. He did not carry out missionary activity, he taught in the schools. In Paraguay, he was accused of acts against the State in an unfounded manner, since it can be assumed that he had never visited that region. After the suppression of the order, he returned to his homeland with his companions.


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