Undergraduate Research Journal


The early history and exploration of the Americas are riddled with names such as “Frontiersman,” “Pioneer,” and “Coureur de bois”. Yet, a commonly unrecognized name is that of the Brazilian Bandeirante. The memory of Brazil’s Bandeirantes remains controversial as they not only settled lands, but also gained considerable wealth and power from capturing new and escaped slaves. Additionally, unlike their North American counterparts, Bandeirantes hailed from an assortment of occupations, with “explorer” not being one of them. Bandeirantes were those individuals who turned to the unexplored heartland of Brazil as they grew tired of the marauding pirates found along the Atlantic trade routes as well as a bureaucracy which did little to help them. With prominently displayed statues of Bandeirantes facing recent criticism, what then is their role on Brazil’s history? Although their impact on Brazil as being positive or negative is still highly contested today, the fact of the matter is the Bandeirantes in Brazil left an unmistakable impact, expanding Brazil’s borders, economy, and overall culture, but with a heavy cost.



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