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History of Brazil


bandeirantes brazil
Historic Tours / Brazil – Bandeirante was the name given to the leader (capitão - mor) of armed groups (bandeiras) from São Paulo, during colonial Brazil. They were composed of tenth of white men, hundreds of Mamelucs and thousands of Indians. During the 17th century of the colonial period, they killed or enslaved about 500 thousand Indians and destroyed more than 50 Jesuit reductions.

Antônio Raposo Tavares (1598 - 1658), probably one of the boldest bandeirantes was leading in 1624 a bandeira composed of 2.000 Indians, 900 Mamluks and 69 Paulistanos. Only this expedition was responsible for the destruction of most of the Spanish Jesuit missions in the region and the capture of over 60.000 Indians.

From 1648 to 1652, Tavares also lead one of the longest known expeditions from São Paulo to the mouth of the Amazon river, crossing a distance of more than 10.000 km. From the 1200 men who left São Paulo, only 60 reached the final destination. Only few years after this expedition, Tavares died in São Paulo.

Until nowadays, the image of the Bandeirantes is split. On the one hand, they were responsible for the finding of new routes to the hinterland (sertão) and for Brazil's territorial and economical expansion and on the other hand they were the worst criminals of their times.

In memory of them, many of the larger roads leaving from the capital to the interior of the state carry the name of a Bandeirante (Raposo Tavares, Fernão Dias or Anhangüera) – Brazil Travel / History.

See also: History of Brazil / São Paulo City Map