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Brazil Travel

Indians

Brazil Tours / Trekking – The inhabitants of the Americas were called Indians or Indigenous Peoples by European explorers who arrived here at the end of the 15th century. That's a generic denomination introduced by the first impression that they had reached India.

The origin of the indigenous peoples of the Americas (Amerindians) is still a matter of dispute among archaeologists. The traditional view, which traces them to Siberian migration to America via the Bering Land Bridge, at the end of the last ice age (10.000 - 15.000 years ago), has been increasingly challenged by South American archaeologists.

It is believed that the Amerindians who inhabited the actual territory of Brazil about 5000 years ago, were mainly concentrated in the Amazon region. According to linguistic criteria, there were two principal roots: Macro - Tupi and Macro - Ję. The Macro-Tupi root consisted of seven families, among others the Tupi - Gurarani.

Those groups were characterized by the practice of horticulture, hunting and fishing, the constant movement of their villages, intertribal fights including the practice of cannibalism, polygamy and the inexistence of significant social differentiation or any institutionalized forms of religion. The most popular cultivated species were manioc (cassava), maize, peanuts, beans, sweet potatoes, cará (yam), jerimum (pumpkins) and cumari (pepper).

According to the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE), approximately 2,4 million indigenous peoples were living in the actual Brazilian territory at the end of the 16th century. As a consequence of 500 years of European settlement, including wars, diseases and slavery, this number has decreased significantly. According to FUNAI, there are actually around 345.000 natives in Brazil, distributed over 215 indigenous societies, plus some 55 isolated tribes, who sum up about 0,2% of the population. At least 180 languages are spoken by members of these societies – Adventure Tours / Brazil.

Source: Brazil, 500 years of settlement (IBGE)
               Instituto Camőes (Portugal)