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Domingos Jorge Velho, a notable bandeirante.

The Bandeirantes (Portuguese pronunciation: [bɐ̃dejˈɾɐ̃t(ʃ)is]) were 17th-century Portuguese settlers in Brazil and fortune hunters. This group mostly hailed from the São Paulo region, which was known as the Captaincy of São Vicente until 1709 and then as the Captaincy of São Paulo. They led expeditions called bandeiras (Portuguese, "flags") which penetrated the interior of Brazil far south and west of the Tordesillas Line of 1494, which officially divided the Castilian, later Spanish, (west) domain from the Portuguese (east) domain in South America.[1]

The São Paulo settlement served as the home base for the most famous bandeirantes.[Note 1] Most bandeirantes were descendants of first- and second-generation Portuguese who settled in São Paulo,[2] but their numbers also included many people of mameluco background (people of both European and Indian ancestries). Though they originally aimed to capture and enslave Indians, the bandeirantes later began to focus their expeditions on finding gold, silver, and diamond mines. As they ventured into unmapped regions in search of profit and adventure, they expanded the effective borders of the Brazilian colony.


Expansion of the Brazilian territoryEdit

The main focus of the bandeirantes' earlier missions was to expand the territory.

Gold huntingEdit

In addition to capturing natives as slaves, bandeiras also helped to extend the power of Portugal by expanding its control over the Brazilian interior. Along with the exploration and settlement of this territory[disputed ] the bandeiras also discovered mineral wealth for the Portuguese, which they had been previously unable to profit from.

In the 1660s, the Portuguese government offered rewards to those who discovered gold and silver deposits in inner Brazil. So the bandeirantes, driven by greed, ventured into the depths of Brazil not only to enslave natives, but also to find mines and receive government rewards. As the number of natives diminished, the bandeirantes began to focus more intensely on finding minerals.


The bandeirantes were responsible for the discovery of mineral wealth, and along with the missionaries, for the territorial enlargement of central and southern Brazil. This mineral wealth made Portugal wealthy during the 18th century. As a result of the bandeiras, the Captaincy of São Vicente became the basis of the vice-kingdom of Brazil, which would go on to encompass the current states of Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, part of Tocantins, and both Northern and Southern Mato Grosso. With only a few outlying Spanish settlements surviving and the majority of Jesuit missions overrun, the de facto control by Portugal over most of what is now the Southeast, Southern, and Central West territory of Brazil was recognized by the Treaties of Madrid in 1750 and San Ildefonso in 1777.


  1. ^ Well-known bandeirantes included Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva (the Anhanguera), Antônio Dias de Oliveira, Fernão Dias Pais (the Hunter of Emeralds), Domingos Rodrigues do Prado, Antônio Rodrigues de Arzão, Domingos Jorge Velho, Salvador Furtado Fernandes de Mendonça, Antônio Raposo Tavares, Estêvão Ribeiro Baião Parente, Brás Rodrigues de Arzão, Manuel de Campos Bicudo, Francisco Dias de Siqueira (the Apuçá), Pascoal Moreira Cabral, Antônio Pires de Campos, Manuel de Borba Gato, Francisco Pedroso Xavier, Lourenço Castanho Taques, Tomé Portes del-Rei, Antonio Garcia da Cunha, Matias Cardoso de Almeida, Salvador Faria de Albernaz, José de Camargo Pimentel, João Leite da Silva Ortiz, João de Siqueira Afonso, Jerônimo Pedroso de Barros and Bartolomeu Bueno de Siqueira.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Leme, Luís Gonzaga da Silva, "Genealogia Paulistana" (1903-1905)
  • Leme, Pedro Taques de Almeida Paes, "Nobiliarquia Paulistana Histórica e Genealógica", Ed. São Paulo University (1980, São Paulo).
  • Taunay, Afonso de E., "Relatos Sertanistas", Ed. São Paulo University (1981, São Paulo) *
  • Taunay, Afonso de E., "História das Bandeiras Paulistas", Ed. Melhoramentos (São Paulo)
  • Franco, Francisco de Assis Carvalho, "Dicionário de Bandeirantes e Sertanistas do Brasil", Ed. São Paulo University, São Paulo, Ed Itatiaia, Belo Horizonte (1989)
  • Deus, Frei Gaspar da Madre de, "História da Capitania de São Vicente", Ed. São Paulo University (1975, São Paulo)
  • Crow, John A., “The Epic of Latin America,” (London, 1992)
  • Hemming, John, "Red Gold: The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians, 1500–1760 (London, 1978)

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Um Governo de Engonços: Metrópole e Sertanistas na Expansão dos Domínios Portugueses aos Sertões do Cuiabá (1721-1728)". Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  2. ^ CARVALHO FRANCO, Francisco de Assis, Dicionário de Bandeirantes e Sertanistas do Brasil, Editora Itatiaia Limitada - Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 1989
  3. ^ Integral edition of the book 'Paulistana nobility - Genealogy of the main families from São Paulo, in Portuguese, by Pedro Taques de Almeida Paes Leme
  4. ^ History of Brazil