views updated


Tamoio, Tupi term for "forebear," adopted by the Tupinambá of southern Brazil. In the mid-sixteenth century, when the Portuguese colonists of coastal Brazil began to acquire Tupinambá captives through their Tupinikin and Tememinó allies, several Tupinambá groups near Guanabara Bay formed a military alliance which came to be known as the "Tamoio Confederation." While essentially an indigenous movement, the Tamoio revolt gained strength with the arrival of the French in Rio de Janeiro in 1555, who formed an alliance with the Tupinambá. Victimized by a brutal military campaign, especially under Governor Mem de Sá (1557–1572), weakened by the 1563 smallpox pandemic, and stripped of their French allies when those colonists abandoned Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro Tamoio finally succumbed in 1567, though Tamoio groups in Cabo Frio continued to resist until the 1570s. Many survivors of the war were reduced to slavery or placed in Jesuit missions, but others retreated to the interior and reconstructed village society as far away from the Portuguese as possible. By the end of the sixteenth century, the Tamoio had ceased to exist as an independent society, though Tamoio slaves were to be found on farms and plantations throughout Brazil.

See alsoSá, Mem de; Tupinambá.


The most complete account in English is John Hemming, Red Gold (1978), ch. 6-7. On early Portuguese-Indian relations, see the still-useful work of Alexander N. Marchant, From Barter to Slavery (1942). On the French in Rio de Janeiro, Olive P. Dickason, The Myth of the Savage (1984), ch. 9.

Additional Bibliography

Magalhães, Domingos José Gonçalves de, and Visconde de Araguaia. A Confederação dos Tamoios. 3rd ed. Rio de Janeiro: Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Secretaria de Estado de Cultura, 1994.

Quintiliano, Aylton. A guerra dos tamoios. 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro, Relume Duramá, 2003.

                                    John M. Monteiro