Indigenous peoples of Bahia – History

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Indios da Bahia
Indians of Bahia

When the Portuguese colonisers arrived in the south of Bahia in 1500, the Brazilian coastal lands were occupied by Tupi Guarani Indians.

On the coast of Bahia, two large groups of the Tupi nation predominated: tupiniquins and tupinambás.

  • The first group, the Tupiniquins, inhabited the strip from Camamu to Espírito Santo.
  • The second, the Tupinambás, dominated the extensive coastal area from Sergipe to Ilhéus.

In the interior of the state, the Aimorés or Botocudos prevailed, who were only known by the Portuguese years later.

From the beginning, a peaceful barter relationship was established between the colonisers and the natives. The Indians supplied the settlers with food, wood for building and labour for felling trees.

In return, they received tools, clothes and other utensils that were introduced into their consumption from the moment they came into contact with the Portuguese.

According to anthropologist Maria Hilda Baqueiro Paraíso, as the colonisation process became more extensive and demanding, the settlers began to alternate their relations with the Indians.

Attempts to enslave the Indians became more effective. On the other hand, they provoked reactions from the Indians, who did not accept the new form of relationship. In the struggles against the settlers, the Tupiniquins were decimated.

Combined with ecological and biotic factors, such as smallpox epidemics, this process resulted in the death of more than two thirds of the indigenous population of the Far South of Bahia in the second half of the 16th century.

Indigenous peoples in Bahia

Most indigenous people live in the south of Bahia, where villages of the Pataxó and Truká peoples are located, for example.

According to data from the 2010 Census, around 17,741 indigenous people live in the cities of Porto Seguro, Ilhéus, Santa Cruz Cabrália, Pau Brasil and Prado;

The capital Salvador is the city that concentrates the largest number of indigenous people in Bahia, with around 7,500, followed by municipalities in the southern region.

At least 14 indigenous peoples live in Bahia

  • Pataxó
  • Truká
  • Tuxá
  • Atikun
  • Xucuru-Kariri
  • Pankararé
  • Tumbalalá
  • Kantaruré
  • Kaimbé
  • Tupinambá
  • Payayá
  • Kiriri
  • Pankaru
  • Pataxó Hã Hã Hãe

Bahia has at least 11 recognised indigenous territories.

Most of them are located in the south and far south of the state and belong to the Pataxó people.

Delimited Indigenous Territories or Villages

In the process of being regularised
  • Barra Velha do Monte Pascoal (Porto Seguro), of the Pataxó ethnic group
  • Tupinambá de Olivença (Ilhéus, Una and Buararema), of the Tupinambá ethnic group
  • Tupinambá of Belmonte (Belmonte), of the Tupinambá ethnic group
Regularised in the cities
  • Prado
  • Pau Brasil
  • Santa Cruz Cabrália
  • Porto Seguro
  • Camamu, Funai recognises the territory of Fazenda Bahiana as an indigenous reserve

Indigenous peoples of Bahia – Bahia Salvador Travel and Tourism Guide

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