Copacabana Fort, Revolt of

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Copacabana Fort, Revolt of

Revolt of Copacabana Fort (1922). Cannon fire shook Brazil's capital during the early morning of 5 July 1922, initiating a rebellion that became the epicenter of a series of military insurrections known as the tenente (lieutenant) revolts. Mutinies orchestrated by army coconspirators quickly ensued in other Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) garrisons, but legalist officers were forewarned and easily crushed these subsequent uprisings. Organized primarily by junior officers, the revolt included common soldiers, noncommissioned officers, cadets, and a handful of civilians. Incensed by the civilian government's corruption and the arrest of former president and army spokesman Marshal Hermes Da Fonseca, the junior officers acted to depose President Epitácio Pessoa.

The rebels of Copacabana Fort learned of the revolt's failure outside their battlements but refused to surrender, despite heavy bombardment. On 6 July the acting commander, Lieutenant Antônio de Siqueira Campos, allowed all soldiers not prepared to fight to the death to leave the fort. The eighteen troops and officers who remained sallied forth with shreds of the fort's Brazilian flag in their breast pockets. Eleven of them confronted loyalist forces in a suicidal gun battle on the beachfront Avenida Atlântica. This audacious act captured popular attention, providing martyrs and inspiration for succeeding tenente revolts.

See alsoTenentismo .


For a narrative account of the revolt, consult Glauco Carneiro, História das revoluções brasileiras, 2d ed. (1989). Another analysis of this insurrection can be found in José Augusto Drummond, O movimento tenentista (1986). Sources in English deal with this initial tenente revolt only in passing. A standard reference that focuses on the subsequent uprisings is Neill Macaulay, The Prestes Column: A Revolution in Brazil (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Borges, Vavy Pachecho. "Tenentes, tenetismo: tenetismo versus oligarquia: reflexões para uma revisão historiográfica." Anais do museo Paulista 34 (1985): 105-143.

Fausto, Boris. A Concise History of Brazil. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Levine, Robert M. The History of Brazil. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Sena, Davis Ribeiro de. As revoltas tenentistas que abalaram o Brasil: 1922, 1924, 1925/7. Brasília: s.n., 2004.

                                            Peter M. Beattie