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SAAVEDRA, Hernando Arias de, Spanish soldier, born in Asuncion, Paraguay, in 1556 ; died there about 1625. He was a son of one of the officers that accompanied Cabeza de Vaca, and at an early age entered a military career, taking part in many engagements against the Indians. For his services he was made governor of Asuncion, which post he held three different times, being the first native to obtain such an office. In one of his expeditions he advanced 200 leagues to the south of Buenos Ayres, and was taken prisoner by the Indians, but escaped and returned to Asuncion. Afterward he invaded the Chaco, and explored the borders of Parana and Uruguay rivers. He gained most renown by the two reforms that he promoted, of which the first was the suppression of the encomi-endas or system of personal slavery, which would have resulted in the destruction of the native race. This reform was approved by King Philip III., and in consequence, in 1609, the Jesuits Mazetta and Cataldini were sent to found the missions of Paraguay. The second reform was the division of the Rio de la Plata into two different governments, Buenos Ayres and Paraguay, which was decreed in 1617, and took effect in 1620.
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