February 8, 2012

0120 BRAZIL (São Paulo) – "I am not lead, I lead"

The first Portuguese permanent settlement in the Americas, São Vicente, was founded in 1532, at 32 years after the fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral claimed the land now called Brazil in the name of the Portugal. In the following decades settlers were spread along the coast, establishing some trading points, without having penetrate in the interior lands of Brazil. This made him the bandeirantes, composed of Indians, caboclos (people of Indian mixed with white), and some whites who were the captains. Named bandeiras because they used to carry a flag to identify them (bandeiras means flags in Portuguese), these adventurers have pursued in the beginning to capture and force amerindians into slavery (1580-1670), but later began to focus their expeditions on finding gold, silver and diamond mines (1670–1750), without wishing to conquer land (as it was happening in the US).

In other words, the bandeiras were essential in the territorial formation of Brazil. Many cities grew around the mines that the bandeirantes discovered, and others was created to serving them in transit, as a kind of logistics network. In 1750, by force of the Spanish-Portuguese treaty signed at Madrid, new borders were adjusted. The land would belong to whoever occupied it, so all those villages founded by the bandeirantes became Portuguese possessions. It can be said therefore that Brazil owe to bandeirantes some of the modern States, such as Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Amazonas, Pará or Tocantins.

The flag of the city São Paulo carries the inscription "Non ducor, duco" (I am not lead, I lead), a reference to the bandeirantes, because most bandeiras started in this city. As well the anthem of the State of São Paulo is Hino dos Bandeirantes (Bandeirantes Anthem), composed by Guilherme de Almeida in the 1960s. There are also several monuments all around the State (including the government palace, called Palacio dos Bandeirantes). Probably the best-known is that from the postcard, Monumento às Bandeiras (the Monument to the Bandeiras), a stone sculpture group by Victor Brecheret (1894-1955), located in the Parque Ibirapuera in São Paulo. The monument was proposed in 1920, begun in 1936, and completed on 1953.

The Parque Ibirapuera, one of Latin America largest one, was inaugurated in 1954 for the 400th anniversary of the city. With buildings designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape by designer Roberto Burle Marx, it covers an area of almost 2 km2.

sender: Elaine Valeria (direct swap)
sent from São Paulo (Brazil), on 23.01.2012
foto: Eduardo S. Barbosa

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