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Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva (1865–1958)

Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva (1865–1958)

Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon (b. 5 May 1865; d. 19 January 1958), Brazilian general and first director of the Indian Protection Service (SPI). At the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Brazilian government was considering large-scale army intervention to halt episodes of violence between settlers and native peoples along frontiers, Rondon was a principal spokesman for adoption of a humanistic attitude toward indigenous peoples. Influenced by the positivist writings of Auguste Comte, Rondon believed that indigenous peoples were neither savage nor barbarian. He advanced the theory that their societies represented an earlier stage in the development of human civilization and, therefore, deserved governmental protection against exploitation and destruction caused by expansion. Together with a number of other young army officers who shared his philosophy, Rondon successfully convinced the government to establish a special agency to protect Brazil's native peoples and in 1910 the government founded the Indian Protection Service. Rondon maintained that Indian peoples would eventually become members of the national society.

Since 1890 Rondon had headed a governmental commission charged with conducting military and scientific expeditions in Brazil's unexplored interior. The Rondon Commission laid over 1,362 miles of telegraph lines, mapped more than 20,000 square miles of land, and discovered twelve new rivers in the Amazon and Mato Grosso regions. During these expeditions Rondon contacted the Bororo, Nambi-kuara, and Paresí Indians and developed the strategy for peacefully contacting "hostile" groups that was employed by the SPI and later by National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) pacification teams. In 1913–1914 Rondon also accompanied Theodore Roosevelt on his geographical expedition throughout the Brazilian interior.

See alsoBrazil, Organizations: Indian Protection Service (IPS) .


Vincenzo Petrullo, "General Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon: 'Sertanista' and Indianist," America Indígena 2, no. 1 (1942): 81-83.

Darcy Ribeiro, "A Obra Indigenista de Rondon," America Indígena 19, no. 2, (1959): 85-113.

Shelton H. Davis, Victims of the Miracle: Development and the Indians of Brazil (1977), esp. pp. 1-4.

Additional Bibliography

Bigio, Elias dos Santos. Cândido Rondon, a integração nacional. Rio de Janeiro: PETROBRAS: NUSEG: Contraponto, 2000.

Diacon, Todd A. Stringing Together a Nation: Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon and the Construction of a Modern Brazil, 1906–1930. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

                                             Laura Graham

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